Byline: JASON BEATTIE POLITICAL EDITOR in St Petersburg firstname.lastname@example.org
VLADIMIR Putin yesterday found out just how much punch a small island can pack when David Cameron laid into him over his arrogant jibe.
The PM launched a passionate speech about Britain's fantastic achievements through the centuries and challenged anyone to find a greater nation than ours.
He even proved to the Russian president that we have the biggest sense of humour across the globe by announcing: "We gave the world One Direction."
And Tory MP Henry Smith showed we're not too bad at telling it straight when he tweeted: "Putin really is a tosser." Although he was later slapped down by Mr Cameron for resorting to insults.
As tension grew over Russia's refusal to back military action against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad for gassing his own people, Mr Cameron went on the offensive after Mr Putin's spokesman said the UK was a "just a small island: No one pays any attention to them". The PM said: "Britain may be a small island, but I would challenge anyone to find a country with a prouder history, a bigger heart or greater resilience.
"Britain is an island that has helped to clear Europe of fascism and was resolute in doing that throughout World War Two.
"Britain is an island that helped to abolish slavery, that has invented most of the things worth inventing, including every sport currently played around the world, that still today is responsible for art, literature and music that delights the entire world.
"We are very proud of everything we do as a small island. A small island that has the sixth largest economy, the fourth best-funded military, some of the most effective diplomats, the proudest history, one of the best records for art and literature and contribution to philosophy and world civilisation.
"We gave the world the Beatles, Elgar and, less congruously, One Direction."
Clearly getting carried away with his Churchill-style cry, Mr Cameron added: "I'm thinking of setting this to music..."
Mr Cameron's spirited speech echoed that made by Hugh Grant in the 2003 film Love Actually.
The actor played a PM who took offence at a visiting US president (Billy Bob Thornton) putting down Britain. He said: "We may be a small country, but we are a great one too.
"A country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham's right foot. David Beckham's left foot, come to that. A friend who bullies us is no longer a friend."
Mr Cameron spoke out after the small island jibe which was made at the G20 summit in St Petersburg in Russia. The comment led to a frosty meeting between the PM and Mr Putin in the early hours of yesterday where they had a "frank exchange of views". Mr Cameron also hit back at claims by the Russian leader that al-Assad had not used chemical weapons on his own people. …