Give Col Bob a flak jacket and rifle and send him off

EVERYWHERE Col Bob Stewart
EVERYWHERE Col Bob Stewart
Picture: Shutterstock

STEVE CANAVAN: Being overcharged for posh prawns really raised my tempura

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I’m not entirely sure why we are once again taking a leading role in a military campaign against another country – but I just wish people didn’t seem to be enjoying it so much.

You sense that employees of every national media organisation in the country – both broadcast and written – are rubbing their hands together in anticipation of what is to come.

Those tasked with filling 24-hour news operations have the choice of vivid pictures of deadly pyrotechnics, garbled eye-witness accounts and an endless procession of armchair warriors willing to unburden themselves.

The rubicund, ever-eager features of Col Bob Stewart, the former United Nations commander in Bosnia and now a Tory MP, have been popping up all over the place as soon as a plane takes off or a missile lands.

He is so obviously enamoured of his former life that someone should put the poor chap out of his misery by providing a flak jacket and a rifle and pointing him in the general direction of north Africa.

The outbreak of hostilities (especially those featuring British arms or personnel) also signals the start of dressing-up time for the studio-bound newscasters.

Jeans, hiking boots, open-necked shirts and scruffy jackets are hastily dragged out from the back of the wardrobe as the intrepid staff set off to position themselves on a comfortable hotel balcony several miles from the action.

From there they proceed to conduct facile interviews and introduce packages from genuine front-line journalists.

Indeed, they do nothing which could not have been done just as effectively from the comfort of a studio – but in their minds they have been elevated from auto-cue readers to ‘foreign correspondents.’

The united front put up by the main parties over this latest little bit of unpleasantness means the news programmes have no deep vein of domestic discord to mine.

Messrs Cameron and Miliband are not only singing from the same hymn-sheet, they actually sound as if they attend choir practice together. It is up to the likes of George Galloway to trumpet the hypocrisy being shown over Libya – but nobody takes any notice of him any more.