Friday, April 10, 2009


Sunday Times: A.A. Gill---"As the President stepped up to 10 Downing Street, he leant over, made eye contact, said something courteous, and shook the hand of the police officer standing guard. There's always a police officer there; he is a tourist logo in his ridiculous helmet. He tells you that this is London, and the late 19th century. No one has ever shaken the hand of the policeman before, and like everyone else who has his palm touched by Barack Obama, he was visibly transported and briefly forgot himself. He offered the hand to Gordon Brown, the prime minister, who was scuttling behind.
It was ignored. He was left empty-handed. It isn't that Mr. Brown snubbed the police officer; he just didn't see him. To a British politician, a police officer is as invisible as the railings.
But the rest of us noticed. Being nice to the staff is second only to being nice to dogs as a pinnacle of civilization. Remember: a butler's not just for Christmas."

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