Tuesday, 18 October 2005
Hoon to replace army units with ENSA troops in bold "It ain't 'arf hot mum" Iraq gamble.
Hoon: "Thinking the unthinkable"
Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has raised the stakes of the Iraqi occupation by claiming that he is prepared, if absolutely necessary, to send in some of Britain's elite entertainers to support troops currently battling insurgents in Basra and would even considering replacing the soldiers with crack song and dance review troupers who are trained to handle even the most hostile of theatres, "if the situation on the ground demanded it". "War is a tricky business", said Hoon, "and sometimes you've got to use your brains instead of your brawn. I look at it as a sort of carrot and stick type thing. Basically, in Basra, we're faced with a complex set of circumstances. What's tended to happen is that, in order to keep things sweet, we've handed over a lot of residual control to the Shia militias who have done a pretty good job keeping the lid on things. However, the unfortunate by-product of this looser approach is that we are now facing the intolerable situation whereby our troops are being taken out by militiamen dressed as legitimate Iraqi police forces. It's becoming increasingly difficult for our boys to know who to shoot - although I suppose you could argue that the same is true back in Blighty. The question we now need to ask ourselves is, has the softly, softly approach worked? If not - and I stress that this is only one of the options currently on the table - isn't now the time to grasp the nettle and send in Bruce Forsyth?"
Brucie: "good game?"
The military has welcomed the potential development but some senior officers have expressed concerns that the MoD may try to palm them off with non-elite units in order to keep down the spiralling costs of the bungled occupation. "I hope they don't try to get away with sending over anything but the most crack performers they can muster. I don't want to see people like Anthony Worrall Thompson, Penny Smith and Bradley Walsh in a situation where they would be patently out of their depths, having to try to control an unruly mob, many of whom would happily see them swinging from the nearest lamp-post. Let's face it, they get enough of that at home. No, this situation calls for professionals - seasoned ones at that - and I won't be happy unless we get the likes of Brucie, Barrymore and Natasha Kaplinsky doing her dance routine. We want the Ricky Gervaises and Parkys entertaining us with songs and sketches and jokes old and new, raising the rafters with a 'hey hey hey!' - not some half-baked chorus of daytime TV presenters hoofing their way through a poorly written script, with terrible costumes and poor production values and David Dickenson constantly fluffing his lines."
The response of the entertainers themselves has been overwhelmingly positive. Said comedienne Rhona Cameron, "I've worked at the Glasgow Empire and, believe me, after that southern Iraq holds no fears!"
Cameron "Basra? I'll shit it!"
Love on y'all,