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What would Picard do?

Patrick Stewart thinks politicians should be asking themselves this one question before they act. Please, says Gabby Hutchinson-Crouch, make it so.

patrick stewart no credit needed

“Intergalactic diplomacy and plentiful Earl Grey? Make it so!”

Everybody rejoice, the world is saved, for thespian, hot baldy, lobster impersonator and general Cool Old Man Patrick ‘PStew’ Stewart has weighed in on the horrible, horrible state of British politics.

His advice? That politicians should go back to their constituencies and prepare to watch Star Trek, and the next time they’re in a quandary, should ask, “What would Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise do?”

His reasoning is that Interstellar Sex God Picard understood the importance of negotiation and diplomacy. He wasn’t about kissing green women and bashing lumpy-headed men on the head with Styrofoam boulders. He was more likely to get the lumpy-headed man and the Styrofoam boulder into talks for a peace plan, before sending the green lady a memo in iambic pentameter informing her of his interest in a lip-to-lip meeting; perhaps she could schedule him in when she has a window in her diary?

Generally, I think the advice to see Jean-Luc Picard as a role model is entirely relevant to anyone seeking to be a great leader – the man saved the world from the Borg twice, and still takes time to play the penny whistle.

So, while he didn’t specify it was the Labour party in particular who should take their cues from Jean-Luc, I can’t see why lifelong Labour supporter Sir Patrick would want to give such brilliant advice to a rival party.

The Next Generation analogy fits Labour perfectly, too. Like Picard, whoever wins the Labour leadership will face a constant battle to free themselves from the shadow of a recent predecessor. He was always going in fighting without stopping to think it through first and had a dour, cold second in command who eventually became captain himself, even though people keep forgetting this ever even happened.

But this is how I think the next leader of the Labour party should really use the good example set by Jean-Luc Picard to achieve great things:

Choose your crew wisely

Preferably a very hairy Number One – possibly work there for Jeremy Corbyn if he doesn’t win – and a sensual, sensitive dark-eyed beauty to give advice in a weird accent… basically, I’m saying, make Ed Miliband the Shadow Minister of Sensing Great Danger. They’ll also need an android to go haywire every other week: Andy Burnham has the faintly plasticated look of a prototype AI that was never programmed to feel love, so this could be the perfect fit for him if he doesn’t get the top job.

“Change the slogan of the Labour party to ‘Let’s have a nice cup of tea and a chat about this.’ That’ll work.”

Other roles for Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall if they don’t get to be the captain of this ship: Cooper can be Tasha, the Blonde Bobbed Kick-Ass who failed to make a good impression and Kendall can be Ro Laren because she just turned up out of nowhere and now suddenly she’s a major character for some reason.

Be proud of your heritage, but utterly respectful of others’

Picard is a proud Frenchman, even if everyone in France does speak English with a Northern English accent for some reason in the 24th century. I’m assuming at some point in the next 300 years France gets invaded by a brutal army of Yorkshiremen. Even so, he is happy to understand different cultures, partake in different traditions, listen to Worf banging on and on about Klingon Honour… whether Blairite or Old Labour or something completely new, any leader worth their salt should be like Picard in this respect. Honour, Captain! Batlh!*

Your vessel must be top of the range – awe-inspiring, sleek and comfortable

But I reckon if you spray paint some chrome unicorns onto Harriet Harman’s Pink Bus, that’ll do.

Don’t let any apparently indestructible whimsical trickster nemesis get you down

Mentioning no Borises.

Lose yourself in an utterly immersive, long-running fiction

For Jean-Luc, it’s playing a noirish gumshoe in the Holodeck adventures of Dixon Hill. For Labour, it’s ‘The Chilcot Report will be out soon, honest!’

You can never have enough meetings

Under attack? Meeting. Holodeck malfunction? Meeting. Turning into a lemur? Meeting, once you’ve stopped turning into a lemur. (This is actually a thing that happened to Picard.) Have a big-ass meeting room with a conference table right next to your centre of operations. Turn your office into a secondary, smaller meeting room, with soothing fish. Ensure the lift to get there always takes just about long enough for a tiny meeting to happen on your vertical commute to the main meeting rooms. Change the slogan of the Labour party to ‘Let’s have a nice cup of tea and a chat about this.’ That’ll work.

Drink a lot of tea

Hey, if you’re still based around the unions, this should be a no-brainer.

Always listen respectfully to your bartender

This is just good advice for everyone generally.

There are four lights.

There are! Four! Lights!!!

Hope all of this helps, The Labour Party. (There ARE four lights, though.)

*I can now add ‘English to Klingon translator’ to my list of things I can’t believe I’ve had to do an online search for for work.


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Written by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch

Gabby Hutchinson Crouch is a comedy writer, mum & nerd. She writes for BBC Radio Comedy and Huffington Post UK, and once saw Dawn French coming out of a toilet.