Sunday, May 03, 2009

Flying off the handle

Reactionaries of all colours will be spewing self righteous rage after it has been revealed that the Foreign Office has asked for tenders for a contract to provide charter flights for the Foreign Secretary. Some of the perennially offended will play the environment hypocrisy card, hand-wringing over the damage to David Miliband's climate karma by choosing to fly instead of sending a hemp-powered email. Others will agonise over the expenditure.

And as if by magic, Matthew Elliott of Tory black ops propaganda front group the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"David Miliband would do a better job if he remembered he is there to serve the people, not live a life of luxury at our expense."
This cynical approach illustrates the utterly partisan position of the Taxpayers Alliance. By the time such a contract comes on stream there's a fair chance that David Miliband may not be Foreign Secretary, either through reshuffle or change of government. Perhaps the Taxpayers Alliance think the Foreign Secretary would better represent our country by arriving on a flight after being packed in with drunken stag and hen bender tourists?

It's no fun working away from home and family for any length of time, and a job like Foreign Secretary will no doubt require a lot of hours in hotels, airports and on planes. No matter how luxurious the trolls at the Taxpayers Alliance think it is, being away from your family for extended periods can be soul crushing.

I'm no fan of David Miliband. His role so far as Foreign Secretary has proven to be one of ethical corruption and dishonesty. To be fair though, I doubt we have ever had an honest and moral Foreign Secretary, which suggests that the role could be something of a poisoned chalice.

But he's our Foreign Secretary with a job to do for a nation which has always punched above it's weight, no matter how much we disagree with his moral vacuum. I don't begrudge flying our representative around if it means he is fit to fight in the shark tank of foreign politics, and can quickly get back home to his family afterwards.

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