I guess it was inevitable that Britain's profile with the Obama administration would be lower than with any other, but the the descent from "World Power" to "just another country" has been faster than even the most dedicated declinist might have predicted. Tony Harnden reveals the contents of a recent press kit provided to American reporters:
Those fretting about the demise of the term "special relationship" might not be reassured by this briefing book. There's talk of a "strong bilateral relationship", of the UK being "one of the United States' closest allies" and of "close coordination" and "bilateral cooperation" between two countries who "continually consult on foreign policy". Everything except "special".
After the country sections, we're introduced the personalities, with information mainly culled from their websites. Queen Elizabeth "enrolled as a girl Guide when she was eleven, and later became a Sea Ranger", we are informed. During the war she "put on pantomimes with the children of members of staff for the enjoyment of her family and employees of the Royal Household".
Gordon Brown's entry reads a little like one of those awful Christmas round robins. Young Gordon, we are told repeatedly, was very, very clever. He "did well a school from an early age" and then "excelled at sport and joined in every aspect of school life, quickly becoming popular".
He "took his exams a year ahead of his contemporaries" and "went on to University at the age of 15", where he edited the student newspaper "in a prize-winning year" and won "a First Class Honours degree and a number of prizes for his studies".
There goes the last prop for the "punch above our weight" folks as far as British influence with the American government. But I'm sure Mr. Brown will enjoy those storied DVDs . . . if he can find a DVD player that they'll work on.Posted by Nicholas at April 1, 2009 10:39 AM
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