They say power is shifting from the United States, but I'm standing outside of Westminster Abbey having joined an enthusiastic surge of people keen to see the US president. People of all ages have snuck out of their offices to catch a glipse of Barack Obama.
And here he comes: 30-odd cars, with his big-windowed limousine in front, zip pass the Speccie offices and we get a wave from the President and the First Lady. I never see the Chinese president getting this kind of rock star treatment. In fact, I don't see many people getting kind of reception, except the Queen and maybe Justin Bieber.
This matters. The US may be indebted, overstretched and led by a man whose leadership is less sure-footed than his public personality. But its leader draws an impromptu crowd of well-wishers. Yes, it is because he is who he is. Yes it is because it is a sunny day and the lawn outside the Queen Elizabeth II centre is more pleasant than a small office. But it is also because of what he represents: a great nation, Britain's closest and most important ally and country that has given greater things to mankind in the last 200 years than probably any other on the planet. Oh, and probably because he has a lovely wife.