Yet further proof that The Thick of It
has rendered not only political satire redundant but actually a great deal of politics itself could be found in this policy initiative
, presented with a straight face
by the shadow defence secretary. The iconic scene in a taxi on the way to a press conference where they’re desperately trying to concoct a new policy on the hoof for awaiting journalists (“It’s not easy coming up with Das Kapital in the back of a cab”) has become Westminster shorthand with good reason: its echoes can be heard in one hollow, meaningless policy after another, from government and opposition alike. Like this:
Labour calling for UK airlines to introduce ‘speedy boarding’ for members of UK Armed Forces
Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, has written to 22 airlines proposing that they offer this special service but none agreed. Labour is urging them to think again and introduce this public symbol of support for UK military personnel…
Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, said: “Speedy boarding for UK heroes would be a fitting public tribute. I am disappointed this is not being embraced by UK airlines.
“There is much we can learn from our US friends on how we celebrate the unique contribution made by those in uniform. I urge all UK airlines to think about how they can do more to reflect our national pride in the Armed Forces community.”
Perhaps making it compulsory to affix a daisy to the cap of a passing soldier, or always giving way to them at junctions even if you had right of way, had already been rejected as impossible to police. Gestures this empty can only patronise. Neither soldier nor voter is likely to fall for such hopeless tat, in which case I’m forced to wonder who it exactly it was pitched at. The Sun
? Other politicians? Jim Murphy’s own relatives? Did anyone at any point actually say, “Wow, that sounds like a great idea!”? Did it replace a bit of solid policy that was an early casualty of costing actual money
Murphy gets bonus points for an instance of “community” so redundant that it’s actually satirical. I never thought we’d get to this point but we have now reached Threat Level Delta: we must all keep our eyes peeled for any possible sightings of some strategised gimp
using the phrase “the going forward community”.