Mr Brown Goes to Washington

This is pure comedy; Ben Brogan reflects on the gift of a pencil holder (?) made from wood from HMS Gannet:

…I wonder what Mr Obama will make of the fact that the only action it saw was in Sudan when it shelled rebels against the British empire. He’s also getting Sir Martin Gilbert’s seven volume biography of Churchill, which will help him find out more about how the Mau-Mau were successfully suppressed in Kenya by the British Emp… Oh, I’m sure it will be fine.

It was of course Churchill who ordered the suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya in the 1950s; Obama’s grandfather was detained as a subversive for six months at that time. Hopefully Obama will see the funny side. Already in Washington, Adam Boulton said yesterday that

… observers will be on the look out for any hint of a patronising slight from the President. For example Downing Street is hoping for a joint news conference with the President as was routine with Bush and Clinton…

On landing outside snowbound Washington after a 7 hour transatlantic flight, while Brown was getting his post-flight make-up done onboard, the rest of the Lobby learnt there is to be no press conference with Obama.

Brogan says there will just be

… a quick question or two on the fly, not the standing podium-to-podium with the Messiah image that Mr Brown imagined. The joint presser is usually a given on these trips, so this is odd.

Over at the Telegraph Toby Harnden mocks

Mr Brown might be forgiven for thinking that his friend, rival and predecessor Tony Blair would not have been treated the same way by his bosom buddy President George W. Bush. After all, there are 132 rooms in the White House at least some of which, presumably, are currently be free of snow.

On the other hand, President Obama is terribly busy this Tuesday. The White House schedule tells us that he is delivering remarks at the Department of Transportation to deliver remarks about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is also speaking at the Department of Interior to mark its 160th anniversary.

There’s a conflab with Pentagon chief Bob Gates. Oh, and Mr Obama will also meet “a delegation from the Boy Scouts of America and receive their 2008 Report to the Nation” in the Oval Office.

Mr Brown might lament that despite the so-called “special relationship” Britain is now getting the same treatment as the President of Uruguay but he need not despair. I’m told there’s a chance he might get drinks with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening.

The Boy Scouts of America obviously are better prepared than the Downing Street boys…




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