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Dubya's War

Blair to employ Basil Fawlty as war adviser
The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, announced the recruitment of several new staff today in what many see as part of the government's preparations for war with Iraq. From Monday, John Cleese's comic creation Basil Fawlty will join Corporal Jones of Dad's Army fame in the Downing Street press office. The duo, who have never worked together before, are expected to give key advice on media relations in the event of conflict, including "don't mention the war" and "don't panic".

Corporal Jones's role will be split with the Ministry of Defence, though, where he will be employed as a military strategist. Military planners are said to be "looking forward" to drawing on the World War One soldier's experience, although some have called into question how useful the self-employed butcher's advice that Saddam "doesn't like it up him" will be.

Other Dad's Army characters have also been called up for service. For the duration of any conflict, Tony Blair's Commons performances will be delegated to Captain Mainwaring, who is expected to call Iain Duncan Smith a "stupid boy" regularly. Sergeant Wilson has also been given a new job with Chancellor Gordon Brown at the Treasury, where analysts expect him to constantly ask Mr Blair whether his actions are wise on the Chancellor's behalf.

However, the new policy of employing fictional comic characters in key roles has not gone without criticism. Charles Kennedy, for the Liberal Democrats, pointed out to the Prime Minister that many of the actors who played the characters are actually dead, while Iain Duncan Smith insisted that the government had enough comedians in it as it is. "If it needs any more, though, I'm always available," he added.

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