Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Yes, We Can (If We Have To)

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Yes, We Can (If We Have To)

Article excerpt

It was hailed as a triumph but then so was Gallipoli. In truth, it was a disaster so savage that it has reduced the Prime Minister to mooching about in off-season Ibiza. There he sulks, rousing himself only to kick a piece of rented furniture and put another Pingu DVD on for the kids, now horribly aware that as a player on the global stage he ranks a couple of rungs beneath those Dublin crooners, Jedward.

To deal first with what Little Gove persists in calling "the positives": there is no doubt that Mrs C and Mrs Obama could special relationship for England. They proved to be thoroughly at ease in each other's company, whether listening to one of the Queen's anecdotes or eating salad.

The problems were all on the spear side. Again looking for one of Gove's positives, it can be said with confidence that the US president managed to remember the PM's name for the entirety of the trip, but frankly you would expect as much from a former professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago. But, that aside, nothing. I have not spent time with two people who have so little in common since, in my youth, I mistakenly went to a nightclub with Edwina Currie and Sir Nicholas Fairbairn.

There were efforts at conversation, Dave stolidly keeping up a commentary on the weather and Barack dropping the odd aphorism for his retinue of biographers. But the president's heart was not in it. He had crossed the Atlantic for a 40-million-vote photo opportunity with a pint of Guinness and, after travelling so far, realised that it would be damaging, perhaps fatally, to the "essential relationship" (one of mine) if he couldn't be fagged to go the extra mile. …

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