How does our Prime Minister expunge from the public's memory the image of its chief executive being tossed about the waves of Polzeath like so much fat flotsam?
What can a PM, who is more drowning than waving, do to reassert his authority after being snapped flolopping amid the spume, sporting a rubber unitard where children could see him?
By what method can a government climb back into the driving seat after its leader has been seen beached on the sands of Cornwall like someone had sawn the tusk off a narwhal?
Raise the threat level, that's how. It is the oldest weapon in the professional politician's armoury. The public will come flocking back to the warm certainty of the establishment's embrace if it feels its life is in danger, as ducklings rush under their mother's wing.
The Home Secretary, Theresa Kitten Heels May, has announced that The Threat Level had been raised from “Casual insouciance” to “Run to the hills”. On the five point gradation of fear, we are now at the second most terrifying, leaving only “Abandon all hope” to go.
Specifically, the level we are now at is characterised as meaning an attack on the country is “highly likely but not imminent”. Think about that for a moment. Almost everything you can imagine is highly likely but not imminent. Another Transformers film, the next staged X-Factor panellist punch up, your own demise, the next ice age are all highly likely but not imminent.
The Earth being burned up by an exploding Sun and shattering into trillions of white hot fragments, catapulted to the furthest reaches of space to coalesce under gravity and reform another planet is highly likely but not imminent. The phrase is meaningless.
And it is also useless. What are we to do with this information? Should London tube travellers be on the lookout for tanned gentlemen with rucksacks on their backs? Because that would include EVERYONE ON THE TUBE.
Are we to avoid mainline railway stations? Quite hard to do, as most trains tend to arrive at mainline railway stations. Short of throwing ourselves from the carriages between stops, how are we going to do that?
Should we steer clear of shopping centres and supermarkets? That would be fine if you plan on starving to death, but I suspect that would be just what the terrorists would want.
The spreading of fear is the job of those frothing, swivel eyed nut jobs that want to party like its 699, it should not be competing with the British government to see who can terrify us the most.
It is not as though the authorities have any reason to suggest there is an actual threat. They said so themselves. The government said that they have no intelligence. I believe them!
Apparently, the security services are concerned that some raving jihadists have been on an exciting adventure holiday to YouTube their medieval exploits and show what heroes they are before returning to shake the sand out of their boots and recommencing their Happy Meal lives back in boring Blighty.
The are worried that they may be planning some undisclosed outrage here on these pebbly shores.
They also might be planning lunch, we have no idea.
Something may happen tomorrow, or in ten years, in which case the government will be able to say “I told you so”. In the meantime, there will be smooth assurances that some threats have been surreptitiously eliminated without waking the neighbours and that we are all better off under the protectorate of the Dave.
It is an unrelated coincidence that Douglas Carswell's defection to the Ukippers, declining living standards, the staggering ineptitude and blithe lack of sympathy towards children by the establishment in Rochdale, and the increased likelihood that Labour will win the next general election, have all been routed from the front pages of the newspapers.