The Sketch: Whoops Apocalypse: Hague lays down the rules of Armageddon

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The Independent Online

No seriously, are you absolutely sure we're not on the edge of the Apocalypse? I wasn't speaking infallibly at the time but I have warned before about our British candidate for the Antichrist. He has the experience, the charisma for the job: Tony Blair is on hand right there below the Plain of Megiddo – on location for Armageddon. Everything is in place.

Listening to Foreign Office questions it was all laid out for us – the weapons of Biblical destruction are armed and ready within 45 minutes. The Middle East from one end to the other is breaking out on its various fault lines. The magma is already flowing.

Wickedness and injustice, fire and death – and lawyers worldwide saying where and when we can send troops in, if that's what we want to do.

Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Iran...

Sir Peter Tapsell reached into the long locker of his memory and told the House he'd never known a Foreign Secretary confronting so many and such different problems at the same time. His question: "May I tell him how much I admire the way he's dealing with them all?" Cries of "Answer!" from a good-natured Labour.

In return, Hague said Tapsell's understanding of history was "an inspiration to all of us, and his conclusion an inspiration to me".

I suppose one should try to make a joke out of it, but in truth it was a charming exchange.

By contrast, Denis MacShane – the man with the extra adenoids – angrily demanded Hague "get his mojo back" and act in defiance of "empty EU resolutions" to send the fighters into Libya.

Hague replied, to muted but persistent Labour laughter, that in the matter of "mojo" he hoped "never to discover what motivated the hon gent, and that if I do, never to partake of it".

Bob Ainsworth urged caution – and Lord knows he might be right. Others urged action and Lord knows they might be right. David Tredinnick urged us to remember the Marsh Arabs of Iraq. They had been encouraged by us to revolt and when they did we left them to be slaughtered by Saddam. Tredinnick will probably be right, in the end.

One MP brought up the plight of two of his constituents delayed on the outskirts of the tsunami damage. So, not only was theForeign Secretary to manage the overthrow of a massively armed desert dictator, not only is he to formulate a strongly worded resolution on the rules of Armageddon, he was also to arrange the pick-up of some British citizens from a hotel in Japan.

No wonder they look tired occasionally. The energy of these people is frankly demonic. That'll come in handy when trying to house train the Beast of the Apocalypse.



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