Alex Massie

Respecting the Office

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I think I've mentioned before that President George W Bush was said to find the British press corps lack of respect for his office somewhat grating. Unlike our American counterparts, British journalists declined to stand to attention when Mr Bush strode into the East Room or sauntered out into the Rose Garden for yet another press conference with ACL Blair. If the President was not disgruntled by this discourtesy he was certainly, as they say, far from gruntled.

The contrast between this and his cheery "For the record, it was a size 10" rejoinder to this week's shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad is striking. Just goes to show you that the rules are different for young, exhuberant, fizzing-with-disputation democracies than they are for the weary cynics accustomed to casting a baleful eye over the Mother of All Parliaments.

UPDATE: Toby Harnden asks the important question. Sure, the Secret Service might not be faulted for failing to anticipate the first shoe attack, but permitting the assailant to reload and launch a second shoe must be considered somewhat embarrassing, yes? Misfortune and carelessness, etc etc...

UPDATE 2: Ambinder has the tick-tock of how it went down.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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