Monday, April 03, 2006

England is our Ally

Not Bush's ally. Our ally. Blair is Bush's ally. England agrees with us.

Let's recap the gigantic Public Relations triumph that was Condoleezza Rice's trip to England.

Something inside me tells me that I SHOULD feel sorry for her, but no matter how hard I try, I just can't.

Rice went to England as a sort of reciprocation for Jack Straw's visit here (Jack Straw, in case you didn't know, is the British Foreign Secretary who sounds like a character in a nursery rhyme). Straw is Rice's British counterpart, and when he was in the United States, Rice showed him around her hometown of Birmingham. So Straw invited her to England to look around HIS old stomping grounds in Blackburn, Lancashire, England (even though the place had enough holes to fill the Albert Hall). Isn't that nice?

So the first thing Straw did was invite her to a soccer match.

But the team, the Blackburn Rovers, wound up rescheduling the soccer match for the sake of TV revenues. So Straw took Rice on a tour of an empty soccer stadium instead.

Then Straw took her to his old school, Pleckgate High School. Most of the students are Indian and Pakistani, and Straw wanted to show her how diverse they were.

But let us just say that the Indian and Pakistani students were not happy to see Dr. Rice, at all, at all. In fact, they were sort of screaming things.

Things like "Condi, go home!"

And, "Hey, Condi, hey, how many kids did you kill today?"

And "Who let the bombs out?"

Through megaphones.

Since Blackburn is close to Liverpool, Rice thought it would be neat to meet Sir Paul McCartney (who wouldn't?).

But Sir Paul declined the invitation, so poor Condi never got to meet him.

She took a tour of his school instead. And saw a performance at the Paul McCartney Theatre.

And when she got to the Paul McCartney Theatre, the first thing she saw - standing abreast right inside the front door - were six people wearing black T-shirts that said, "No torture. No compromise." With the school director's permission.

Then, in response to a question by the British Press, she tossed out THIS little winner:

"Yes, I know we have made tactical errors, thousands of them, I am sure."

By evening's end she was (ahem) assuring everybody that she was only speaking "figuratively, not literally." Which, I suppose, means that by "thousands," she meant, oh, I don't know, four or something.

Her embarrassing gaffe was preceded by a talk from Douglas Hurd, Maggie Thatcher's Foreign Secretary and Straw's predecessor. In her presence, Hurd said this:

"The world only works if the world's only superpower follows the rules like everyone else."

Of course, Hurd was too polite to say precisely who he was referring to by "the world's only superpower."

On Friday night, they went to a performance by the Liverpool Philharmonic.

The host cancelled his appearance to protest Rice's visit.

One of the performers sang John Lennon's Imagine, and dedicated it to "the protesters outside," and spliced a piece of "Give Peace a Chance" into the song.

Then they decided to visit Masjide al-Hidayah mosque. A fine symbolic gesture.

But the mosque decided that they had had symbolic gestures up to here. They cancelled the visit. They had received many angry phone calls from many angry people threatening to "invade" the mosque should Rice show her face.

So it looks like Rice got an up-close-and-personal view of just what England thinks of Mr. Bush and his policies.

And it seems pretty obvious that they aren't his ally.

They are ours.

1 comment:

Ted W said...

AMEN! Excellent post!!