Sunday, 11 January 2009

What now, Skipper?

The boaty magazines run a popular feature in which they pose a hypothetical situation at sea and ask readers to suggest solutions. Generally something like "You are 140nm west of Ireland making passage to Westport; winds are SW force 4-5. Suddenly the boom scroff shears at the vangs, and carries overboard, taking with it all your sails which you have laid on deck to dry, except a lightweight racing spinnaker. You were using the EPIRB to weigh them down and this has been crushed. The wreckage has fractured the rudder at the stock. On attempting to start the auxillary engine you remember you drained all the fuel in New England and forgot to refill the tank. A freak wave has shorted the dist board and both your VHF and HF radios are unserviceable. What now, Skipper?"

Lengthy discussions then ensue about fashioning a drogue from the spinnaker, running the engine on olive oil, fashioning oars from the spinnaker poles and rowing home, making radio batteries from urine and soot and the like. Sometimes the yotties get a little carried away and the discussions become heated and the readers spilt into polarised camps, somewhat akin to Lilliputian big-enders and little-enders passionately fighting for which end of a boiled egg to crack.

Such is the political response to the economic crisis.

Reading the accounts of those that have survived disaster at sea, one common survival factor emerges, and it's not seamanship. It's luck. A passing freighter fortuitously spots the stricken mariner, or an aircraft picks up a peep from the dying EPIRB.

There is a quote often attributed to Napoleon; "I know he's capable, but is he lucky?".

Now if there's one thing that Brown isn't, it's lucky. His Jonah-like qualities in not only bringing misfortune on himself but on everyone else have been well documented. Brown's chances of being spotted by a passing freighter are nil.

Right now the UK needs every ounce of advantage it can muster. And that includes luck.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Boney's marshals had one other vital characteristic that Broon lacks: tremendous physical and moral courage.

Whether it's Lannes getting his legs blown off at Aspern-Essling or Poniatowski at Leipzig or Marmont catching grapeshot at Salamanca or good old fucking Ney fighting musket in hand in Russia, leading the final charge at Waterloo and giving his own firing squad the orders to shoot - Napoleon's marshals were men of uncommon courage, even if they were not all strategic geniuses like Wellington.

Broon, on the other hand, is a man of uncommon cowardice. He has never, in his whole career, taken a tough stand on anything. As a pseudo-academic teaching at a Glasgow polytechnic, he never deviated an iota from the Labour Party line under Callaghan and Foot; as a junior parliamentarian, he could always be relied upon to mouth whatever Kinnock wanted; under John Smith, everyone knew that Broon never said a word that hadn't first been uttered by the party leader.

Broon has never disagreed with his party or taken a stand against his party on any issue except one and that one issue was the Labour Party's leadership under Tony Bliar.

That is Broon in a nutshell, comrades: a blind (boom-boom!) career-driven coward with no moral compass, no real opinions, no real ideas and not even any ideology - he will say whatever he has to say to get power; he will do whatever he has to do to get power; and once he gets power, he will do nothing that might lead to a loss of power. And that is why I very much doubt he'll call an election until forced to by statute.