In an impromptu drop-in visit to Afghanistan on his way to what promises to be a truly awesome party in Beijing, Gordon Brown has won the hearts and minds of his hard-pressed forces, praising them for being as brave as Britain’s Olympic medal-winners.
Members of 16 Air Assault Brigade based at Camp Bastion fought to hold back unsoldierly tears of adulation for their leader as the Prime Minister told them: “This week we are celebrating the Olympics where we have had great successes. But this week I also believe our Olympic athletes and everybody else in our country will remember that you have shown exactly the same courage, professionalism and dedication. Hullo, is that a news camera? Well, fancy that. I have no idea how the media managed to find out about this top-secret visit. Gosh, is that the time? Must dash, or I’ll miss the first course.”
As Mr Brown was whisked away, escorted by squadrons of strike fighters and assault helicopters, hard-bitten troopers applauded his death-defying five-minute photo-opportunity.
“Next time I’m out patrolling the lawless, mine-strewn badlands of Helmand province in my paper-thin Land Rover, with my cardboard body armour and a half-decent pair of boots I had to pay for myself, Gordon Brown’s stirring words will inspire me to be as courageous and professional as our do-or-die yachties pottering heroically about in the pollution-infested Chinese waters, risking life and limb in their colourful little dinghies,” said a grizzled sergeant who had served in both Gulf Wars, Northern Ireland and the Balkans.
Another veteran with two tours in the Middle East under his belt expressed the hope that, should his feet be blown off by an improvised pipe bomb, he might find within himself the same stoic endurance in the face of unimaginable suffering as Paula Radcliffe showed when she limped into 23rd place clutching her gammy hip.
Meanwhile, the PM told the press that he would be having stern words about human rights with China’s leaders, between mouthfuls, at the gala dinner he would shortly be attending.