Posts Tagged ‘the great escape’

Can Labour’s Cooler King make it over the wire?

02/08/2011, 12:43:18 PM

by Dan Hodges

Every Christmas evening my family and I would settle down for the same ritual. Excitement, mixed with anticipation, blended with hope.

Could this, we wondered, be the year Steve  McQueen finally makes it over the wire?

In the days before satellite television lured us out of our cosy viewing habits with “Ice Road Truckers” and “Extreme Animal Attacks 2”, the film the Great Escape was a festive staple. Cruel Gestapo hoods. A brutal execution of heroic allied officers. The perfect accompaniment to the season of peace and goodwill.

Though it was on every year, familiarity did not breed contempt. Instead it produced intrigue. Would James Garner check the fuel gauge before shepherding Donald Pleasence on his doomed flight to safety? Might Gordon Jackson hold his tongue when the suspicious German ticket collector wishes him “good luck”?

But most tantalising of all, what fate would befall Captain Virgil Hilts, ‘The Cooler King’, McQueen’s perpetually incarcerated US fighter pilot?  Every year he would gun his stolen BMW motorbike towards the snow capped mountains of neutral Switzerland. And every year his heroic bid for freedom would fall agonisingly short.

For the first year of his leadership Ed Miliband has been the Labour party’s Cooler King. Trapped by an inconclusive mandate, imprisoned by his own insecurity, held hostage by a party unable to come to terms with electoral defeat and the reality and demands of opposition.

No longer. Labour’s leader has awoken to find the cell door ajar, the guard towers deserted and the searchlights extinguished. Suddenly he sees the prospect of making his own great escape. (more…)

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