John Prescott has pulled himself up to his full height. He has spoken with the full weight of authority vested in him as "Deputy Prime Minister". He was there on BBC News at Ten. I can't find a link to it, but I swear I saw him.
Now, one can forgive old Reidy and Squeaky Alexander getting up at 4.30am on Thursday morning and doing a deadpan, straight to camera, never mind the questions, "the Scots have taken you over, you Sassenach devils" announcement of the terror alert.
But two days later, after John Reid had chaired several Cobra meetings, and Blair had spent hours on the phone to Bush, Chirac et al, is there any excuse for the "Deputy Prime Minister", John Prescott, to dispense with the independent minds of journalists and talk straight to camera?
And even if he had an excuse to do that, is there any excuse for the repulsive faux smiles he assumed and the asinine platitudes which he spouted? It could all be roughly translated as "I have got some sort of role here, even if it is just thanking people".
So there it is. The answer to the question: "What is John Prescott for?". It is:
"To thank people...oh....and he also serves to remind you of that bloke....that comic chap...started in the Music Hall.....northern chap...was it Les Dawson?...or Max Wall?...or Robb Wilton?"
At last we have been told. He gets paid £133,000 a year. That works out at about £1,000 per grisly smile and £1,000 per evoked memory of that chap who started in the Music Hall.
"Yes...that was it...Robb Wilton...the incompetant minor civil servant...it's all there:..'The day war broke out, my Tony said to me, he said..."Get back in the broom cupboard Presco...and come out once the dust has settled and thank a few people" ' "