Top Ten hard hats

Written by Anoosh Chakelian on 21 February 2013 in Culture
Culture
Getting the UK working is today’s goal, and dressing the part means your party will get it done, right?

In 2009, the then-energy secretary was once cheery in his yellow helmet. But his smile swiftly faded when the real work began, and he decided to do a demolition job on his brother’s political career, whitewash Labour’s economic legacy, and drill the phrase ‘One Nation’ into party members’ heads.

Rebuilding Britain 

At party conference last year, Labour’s front bench were kitted out in the classic high-vis-and-red tie combo to live their slogan ‘Rebuilding Britain’. But considering the flummoxed Rachel Reeves, Jack Dromey and Ed Balls with a Hilary Benn more interested in the camera, we could rechristen this scene ‘Manual Labour’s Not Working’.

An Olympic headache

London 2012 tsar Seb Coe looks pained in this pre-Olympics picture – and not just because his glamorous job has descended into a perpetual photo op in a construction yard. Clearly he’s been obsessively practising the Mobot in anticipation of Super Saturday. The branded helmet is to hide the scars.

Earth to George

Chancellor George Osborne scans the wasteland despondently, certain this is where the gold was buried. Before silently giving up to go and deliver the bad news to the Treasury, he wonders if this site is what the Americans mean when they talk about the fiscal cliff.

DIY government

Dave’s smile freezes as he realises the apprentices on a construction project he’s been invited to visit have built a super-scale model of the UK inflation rate. Even the Ronseal used on its woodwork can’t quite console the prime minister.

Cross-party work

Like beer goggles, politicians from opposing parties sometimes suffer a phenomenon called ‘actual goggles’, where they’re so blinded by the beauty of regeneration and collective endeavour that they forget they’re working with that duplicitous clown Boris Johnson/New Labour-bot Tessa Jowell (delete as applicable).

Bunga builda

Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi would never let something as drab as an infrastructure project get in the way of a drink, teaming his hard hat with a flute of Champagne here in 2010. Or maybe he’s opted for Prosecco, to slum it with the working men.

Bien à la tête

The French are known for their sophisticated style, and president François Hollande is no exception in his petit chapeau blanc. In fact, it was probably this charming UN-humanitarian-worker look that had all those French female socialists fighting over him so publicly. They call it industry chic.

Blue Labour

Gordon Brown looks particularly pleased with himself in this image of politician-construction bliss, having turned up in a perfectly matched tie and helmet upon visiting a flood defence system. Not pictured: pale SpAd wiping the sweat from his brow in relief, thanking the heavens he didn’t hand his boss the navy one. Or worse, the duck egg, or the angry puce.

Just gets harder

In a last-ditch attempt on the 2010 election campaign, Gordon and Sarah Brown visit a factory to woo the electorate. An earnest Sarah looks on woefully as her husband comes close to hanging up his hard hat. Surely a classic sign of a Labour PM’s submission…

Tags: Hard hats, Issue 56, Life, March 2013, Top Ten

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