Volcanic ash: Brown to blame for aviation shut-down

According to a report in the Guardian of 16 April, ‘Gordon Brown apologised for any disruption caused by the eruption [of the Icelandic volcano] but said, “safety is the first and predominant consideration.”‘   A spokesman for David Cameron immediately welcomed this admission by the prime minister of his responsibility for the eruption of the volcano but said his apology was completely inadequate:  “Since Gordon Brown has acknowledged that he is to blame for causing the greatest disaster in European aviation history, he should resign forthwith instead of keeping us all waiting until the 6th of May.  He should let Dave take over immediately — only Dave has the skills and imagination required to suppress the eruption of the volcano and to change the direction of the winds to blow away Labour’s ash clouds over Britain.”  A Conservative government would act within a week of taking office to get our planes flying again.

Sources close to Nick Clegg, the LibDem leader, were saying last night that the closure of all British airports and the uncertainty over when they would reopen demonstrated the failure over the last 65 years of both the tired old parties that had been taking it in turns to govern the country.  “Neither Conservative nor Labour governments bothered to do anything to prevent this disaster and it will now be up to a new, fresh, Liberal Democratic government headed by Nick to sort out the mess.”  Nick The sources added that Nick Clegg had been the clear winner in the leaders’ debate and looked forward to his invitation from the Queen to form a LibDem majority government.   St Vincent Cabling, the LibDem shadow Chancellor, told Jeremy Paxman last night on Newsnight that he had predicted the volcanic eruption as long ago as 1942 and had warned then that the prevailing winds would blow the ash over our airports, forcing them to close, unless we moved the airports to northern Spain while there was still time.  Unfortunately his warning had been ignored by the government of the day, as usually happened with his premonitions of assorted impending disasters.

In the same Newsnight programme last night, the Conservative shadow aviation minister, Henry ‘Jumbo’ Bumbleberry pointed out that when Labour came to power in 1997, they had inherited from the Tories a situation in which every single UK airport was open and functioning normally.  Now, after 13 years of Labour government, not a single plane was flying in or out of a British airport.   For 10 of those years Mr Brown had been responsible for the economy as Chancellor, yet in all that time he had done nothing to prepare the country for the crisis that had hit us last Wednesday.  He could not escape responsibility for the sufferings of British familes stranded in dangerous foreign countries such as the US or Australia, or whose binge holidays on the Costa Bravo had been ruined.  Who was to blame for “Labour’s ash-cloud” if not the Labour leader?  In reply, the prime minister pointed out that for years he had been trying to persuade the G20 to take collective action against Icelandic volcanoes but unfortunately the greedy investment bankers had refused to provide the credit to European governments that would have been needed for firm resolute action to be taken.  Mr Brown had himself been firm and resolute and had indeed been recognised as the world’s leader in the struggle against volcanic eruptions, but the rest of the world had lacked both the courage and the credits needed to follow him.  However, he had accepted his responsibility for what had happened and had apologised to the nation.

This morning a Liberal Democratic Party spokesperson issued a statement claiming that Nick Clegg had been the winner of the leaders’ television debate.  She added that “my Nick’s ready to be prime minister whenever that Gordon realises that with the airports all closed the game’s up and he will have to resign.  Gordon was right to apologise, though.”

A spokesman for UKIP blamed the EU for ordering Britain to close its airports so that other European countries could steal business from British airlines.  “Britain should get out of this cowardly European Union and order our aeroplanes to start flying again immediately.  Our brave British pilots aren’t afraid of a bit of harmless dust even if the faint-hearts across the Channel are.”   The BNP said immigration was out of control and that this was to blame for the airport crisis.  It was Nature’s wonderful way of preventing yet more immigrants flying in to take away jobs from Englishmen.

In a new up-date at 2am this morning, the Civil Aviation Authority announced that in view of the Met Office’s latest forecasts, all flights in and out of UK airports would remain suspended until 4am on 31 January 2011 at the earliest.  A further statement would be issued in the middle of the night on 25 December 2010.

In the latest MeGov opinion poll in the Son newspaper, the LibDems were on 95%, the Tories on 4% and Labour on 1.  Experts predicted that if this was still the position on polling day, Labour would be the biggest party in a hung parliament.

[Note: The first sentence above is true.]


8 Responses

  1. Pete Kercher says:

    A good parody, Brian, but I think you’ve missed the dire warning from Mother Nature.
    Poor thing, she and her sister, Mother Earth, have simply had enough of election campaigns. Had you noticed just how many have been taking place all over the world recently? What with Hungary a few days ago and our regional campaign here in Italy just before that… followed immediately (as was predictable) by everyone gearing up for our next general election, originally set for 2013, but already being threatened next year. Now the UK joins in with its tuppence worth of hot air (sorry, when it comes to political flatulence, Italy has the UK beaten hands down) … and the planet says “enough is enough” and shows us who is boss at spewing out hot air. What a magnificent way of putting them all in their place! Al Gore must be proud of his new Icelandic acolyte.
    But how to solve this dilemma and get BA, Easyjet and Ryan flying agan in time to unload tens of thousands of lilly-white-soon-to-be-lobster-pink Brits on the terrace cafés in the vicinity of beaches (and closer vicinity of bars) on the Cotes, the Rivieras and the Costas this summer? Empedocles demonstrated that jumping into Etna didn’t stop it erupting, so that one’s out.
    Maybe what we need is a moratorium on politically-generated hot air on television? It could take the form of a concerted, Copenhagen-Kyoto-style international effort: the UN convenes a major international conference in Iceland (all that money wasted should help the Icelandic economy get back on its feet, as a useful side-effect), so that all the world’s hot-air-generating politicians can maximise their output at once, in one splendid moment, to achieve a critical mass of hot air that might – just might – be enough to shut the volcano up and force all that ash back down where it came from.
    Of course, it may not work… but there would always be the silver lining to the (ash) cloud: just as King Canute was forced to admit that he could not command the waves, our politcians might also learn that there is indeed a limit to what they can do with hot air.
    Well, it’s a thought….

    Brian writes: Thank you for this, Pete. I agree that I had failed to spot the causal relationship between the plethora of election campaigns around the world, with their concomitant emissions of hot air, and the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Your proposal that an international conference should be held in Iceland to agree on a single one-off belch of the world’s politicians’ hot air is incredibly constructive, but I foresee one potential snag: how are the world statesmen and stateswomen (statespeople?) going to get to Reykjavík for the conference? They can’t fly there, obviously, and no passenger ships would be able to sail through the hot waters around Iceland now that they have been heated up to over 100 degrees C. by burning lava and ice turned by the volcano into boiling water. One solution would be for the British government to rent out its Trident submarines to the presidents and prime ministers of the world to transport them to and from the conference; there’s nothing else useful for those heat-proof boats to do.

  2. Peggy K. says:

    I love your comments-you almost make it sound like the TV nonsense here in the US 🙂
    How is the ash cloud affecting everyone other than airplanes?

    Brian writes: Thank you for this, Peggy.  The ash cloud doesn’t seem to be affecting anyone otherwise than by stopping us all flying:  there are no reports (yet) of respiratory difficulties, crops poisoned, or darkness at noon.  The impossibility of flying is however causing widespread hysteria, clinical depression, insomnia, enormous telephone bills, and vast profits for the Channel ferry operators and the Channel Tunnel.  There have also been some isolated cases of angry and frustrated would-be holiday-makers throwing their computers out of second-floor windows.  Apart from that, we’re all maintaining our traditional British sang-froid, often mistaken by your fellow-Americans for a nationwide catatonic trance.

  3. Tim Weakley says:

    The Icelandic government can clearly engineer the release of volcanic ash clouds as required.  They have taken advantage of a northwesterly air stream to retaliate for Brown’s use of anti-terrorism laws against Icelandic banks.  Their intention is to destabilise the UK by upsetting tourism and spreading public alarm.  Dastardly!

    Brian writes: Gad, Tim, Sir, you’ve rumbled them! We need a coalition government of all the talents and political parties, led by the inspirational Mr Clegg, to figure out some way of defending ourselves against these fiendish Icelanders. Perhaps our scientists could design and build a giant magnet that could be towed or carried on sleighs to the North Pole, to suck Labour’s volcanic ash back over Iceland, although the potential consequences of that for our national dish of cod and chips are too awful to contemplate.

  4. Pete Kercher says:

    Brian, Peggy, I just received a link to photos of midday darkness from friends in Iceland. But up there nobody is panicking.
    The cloud has  now closed airports even here in northern Italy: they are now due to stay closed until Monday morning. The weather has also taken a sudden and noticeable turn for the worse: our forecast was sunshine and practically dry weather, but we have heavy cloud and occasional rain. You probably wouldn’t notice it so much in the UK, Brian, as it’s pretty flat and windy up there, so the weather passes over rather quickly anyway.. and anyway it’s April, when that is supposed to happen in the UK anyway, but here in the foothills of the Alps we notice unexpected accumulation of cloud and out-of-season thunderstorms. There’s no cause for alarm, of course, it’s just a sudden drop of a few degrees in temperature that makes it easier for clouds to form and precipitate when they strike mountains.
    I suppose the US media are talking about Mayan prophecies and doomsday? Just imagine: all because of electing a commie like Obama instead of a decent Christian warmonger! 😉

    Brian writes: Thanks again, Pete. Up here in Europe’s chilly north (England, I mean) we have beautiful blue skies and bright sunshine. Apparently the jet-engine-clogging cloud of volcanic particles through which the sun is valiantly shining are invisible to the naked eye (if you’ll pardon the expression) and also invisible to the sun: indeed, I can’t work out how the climate boffins know they’re there in the first place. Perhaps they have just made it all up, like that ‘climate change’ scam, so as to keep the meteorologists in business.

  5. Pete Kercher says:

    Devilish stuff, this invisible dust: no doubt a fiendish conspiracy!
    Yes, I think the powers that be are overreacting ever-so-slightly…. We have absolute chaos here, with the Milan Design Week and the world’s largest beauty trade fair in Bologna at the same time (that’s lunacy already) and now problems with hotels, as all north Italian airports are closed until Monday at 8 am!

  6. Richard T says:

    Having seen the Tory Shadow Transport Secretary spouting opportunist twaddle on the news last night, I fear your post was not quite as satirical as you intended.  Life was imitating art indeed.

    Brian writes: Thank you for this. I listened to the appalling Theresa Villiers (for it was she) with exactly the same reaction of horror. The trouble is that it’s impossible to satirise what’s already farcical, or about to be.

  7. ObiterJ says:

    Excellent – a superb piece!

  1. 13 May, 2010

    Volcanic Ash Clouds, Aircraft and Holidays…

    Something ought to be done!…

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