Frontline political reporting from Tim Leatherbarrow.
RECENTLY TWO OF our brave ministers packed their summer gear and factor 300 suncream and flew out to meet ‘our boys’ on the front line (or about 30 miles behind it).
While they were there bravely shaking hands with the troopers before dinner, one big-mouthed little swine blurted out:
“When are we getting more men and equipment?”
Our highly trained ministers leapt into action, putting on a concerned, but interested (with full eye contact) look and folded arms over their large pot-bellies. And tried to put the trooper’s mind at ease. You only had to look at the difference between the soldiers and the politicians to see who’s having the harder time of it.
This poses the question .Which is the sharp end and which is the blunt end? The soldiers were fit and bronzed, quick to smile and in good spirits. The politicians, overweight ,grey well kept hair, looking a little wispy, but also with lined faces and those summer shirt buttons straining at their pot-bellies.
The soldiers face the screaming hordes of the Taliban and terrorists, missiles, road side bombs, suicide bombers, etc, etc. But it’s old stuff the British armies managed for years. The politicians are faced with debates, conferences, television interviews, meals, drinks and nibbles. They have to slash services they don’t use and cut benefits they don’t need and maintain their expenses. And while living this hell, keep smiling and give fewer answers to straight questions than an SAS man under enemy interrogation. Even coming under physical attack, hit by the occasional raw egg.
There. If that doesn’t convince you who the true heroes are, I don’t know what will. Forget men and equipment for Afghanistan. We need more MPs’ bigger offices, funds for committees and study groups. And, of course much higher expense accounts for our boys on the front line of parliament.