John Prescott came up with a strange analogy to defend Gordon Brown's sullen demeanour on the Andrew Marr show this morning: "When you get on an aeroplane, do you go and look in the cockpit to see if the pilot is smiling".
Imagine the situation:
Hullo, this is the 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 that 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 look good - at least you'll die in style.
Now here's the rub: we haven't enough fuel to make for another airport, so 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. We're going to hold a review. The co-pilot will hand out a questionnaire and we will all vote whether we want to die on the land or in the sea. I can't guarantee we will follow the review's advice, as I believe that on most occasions, I know better. And please note, this is not a referendum - I don't do them.
Please believe me when I say that even though this is all my fault, I believe I'm the best qualified person on this plane to crash it. If you do by some wild chance survive this flight, please understand that I have been listening and learning and I hope you will fly with us again.