John Prescott leapt to the Prime Minister's defence this evening:
"Gordon doesn't smile. But when a pilot's in the cockpit, who cares if he's smiling or not? You just want him to be able to get you there and land."
Imagine if Gordon was your pilot:
Hullo, this is your pilot speaking. We have been informed that our arrival in New York has been delayed. This nothing to do with us, this kind of delay is happening around the world and I'm afraid it's out of my hands. Now, normally this is the point where I would say that there's no need for concern.... but, you see, ah - now how shall I put this? You know how we normally carry enough fuel in reserve for occasions like this? Well erm, we haven't today. Not my fault, you see - we've run out of money. Those fancy new seats you're sitting on cost an absolute fortune and I'm still paying for them. Yes I know they are uncomfortable and the recline function doesn't work, but hey, you've got to admit, they do look good.
Now here's the rub: because we haven't enough fuel to make for another airport, there is a choice to be made. Do we crash on land or into the sea? I can't decide, I've never been very good at making important decisions. I know that is not an ideal quality when you're looking for a pilot, but I've been pushing to be one for ages and no one else turned up for the interview. So this is what we are going to do. My co-pilot Alistair will come amongst you and take your votes for a forced landing on land or sea. I can't guarantee we will go with the majority, as I believe that on most occasions, I know better. And please note, this is not a referendum - I don't do them.
So please understand that even though you may think that I got us into this terrible situation, I believe I'm the best qualified person on this plane to crash it. If you do by some wild chance survive this flight, be assured that I have been listening and learning and I hope you will fly with us again.
Good luck (smiles).