Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sailing in a new direction

I'm sure we're all glad to see the sailors and marines escape from the clutches of the Iranian government and its ludicrous propaganda machine. I have to say the whole episode gave me quite an insight into the modern Royal Navy.

The first conclusion I'd draw is that these men - particularly the officers, who were shown on Iranian TV hosting what looked like weather forecasts - were formidable communicators. If any of us found ourselves in similar circumstances, we'd all spout whatever b*****ks our captors wanted us to, but these guys actually managed to do it quite professionally and slipped in the odd aside to suggest they were distancing themselves from the content. Political careers in the UK are now surely on the cards.

This leads me to my second observation. None of the blokes looked particularly scary. One of them was called Arthur and seemed to be about fifteen. What happened to the days when a punch-up with a couple of sailors in Portsmouth on a Saturday night would end up with twenty lads in the local A&E? Where were the "Hong Kong" tattoos and the missing teeth?

Imagine if those live interviews with President Ahmadinejad had taken an ugly turn. After all, a small bloke with a beard has come up to you and has started giving it some.

First reaction: "You got some kind of problem, mate?"

He doesn't listen and just carries on.

Time for a slap.

Given that we all want to avoid a nuclear confrontation, it's just as well that our military crews are now better versed in PR than pugilism.

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