Tuesday 30 May 2006

At the helm.

Many people seem to be under the impression that nations have big control rooms, a bit like ships, and that someone has to be at the controls, carefully piloting the country and making sure it doesn't crash into an iceberg or another country or an unfavourable trade agreement. We see this a lot with the popular criticism of Bush that he's taken more holidays than any other president. This factoid is calculated by counting every minute not spent in the White House as holiday time. Apparently, it is impossible to perform any presidential duties anywhere else, presumably because the Oval Office is where the USA's only steering wheel is located.

And now we're seeing it with John bloody Prescott. Having an extra-marital affair and thereby proving that he is completely untrustworthy wasn't enough to do his career any significant damage, but it appears that playing croquet is. Yes, MPs are calling for his resignation because he played a game of croquet while in charge of the country. For this demand to make any sense whatsoever, the following exchange needs to be at least conceivable:

"John, John! The French have declared war on the UK! They've stated that they're willing to use the nuclear option, John! They've given us five minutes to surrender!"

"Can't tha see I'm playing croquet? Boogger off!"

Politicians believe that politics is important, just as carpenters believe that decent hand-made wooden furniture is important. They don't understand — they refuse to accept — that the public can get by without them, even for twenty minutes. Prescott was in charge, but he wasn't watching the road! Who was steering? Help, help! We're out of control! The UK's going to crash! Aaaaaaaaaaarrrgh!

Anyone else notice the effects during this croquet match? The way crime got worse, the economy slumped slightly, and British industry shed six hundred jobs during John's fateful half-hour on the lawn? No?

Sack Prescott, please. But not over this puerile tripe.


Mark Holland has spotted rather a nice historical allusion.

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