Saturday, 24 July 2010

Another Love In

So after 'Slick-gate', 'Lockerbie-gate' (blame the Scots) and 'Winston Churchill's bust being removed from the Oval Office-gate', Prime Minister Cameron has now stepped into the lion's den with a pearly smile and an outstretched arm.

A journalist by the name of Alexander Chancellor, writing in the Guardian newspaper (not known for being the most Ameri-friendly of organs) posed this question:

"Britain has only one 'Special Relationship'. The US has many. What does that tell us?"

I appreciate that this headline was rhetorical in nature but I shall answer it. It tells us that Britain needs to get out more. We are, according to the guy I just mentioned, "like the faithful spouse of a philanderer".

Here in Blighty we are fast becoming the Millwall of Europe if not the world. However, whilst angry men in dusty caves burn the US and UK flags, they still drink coke, wear US labelled clothing and presumably yearn for a day where they might be free to live in a place like New York.

None of them drive mini coopers or wear Fred Perry tops. The French don't like us and I don't think the Spanish or the Germans care for us all that much either. The Aussies positively hate us, most people in the third world view us as a monsterous faded imperialist behemoth, we can't even get along with each other over Hadrian's Wall and Offa's Dyke.

So perhaps we should be starting to try and make new friends.

I believe that Mr Cameron was offered the same warm greeting as accorded President Medved several weeks ago when he visited the White House. David was likewise taken out for lunch by his US hosts although it was only to a Little Chef where he had egg, chips, mushrooms, black pudding and a cup of tea.

All in all the trip was a huge success, particularly the bit where the PM stated that the UK should be seen as the 'junior partner' to the US as we were in 1940 against the Nazis (America didn't actually enter the war until 1941).

But apart from this minor fawning and confusion over his dates, he did remain firm on the BP and Lockerbie questions although he made it quite clear that he was totally against Al-Megrahi's release at the time, which would surely have gone down very well with his hosts.
He even broached the subject of the Asperger Syndrome-suffeirng computer hacker, whose name I forget and whose extradition the PM is hoping to prevent.

So all in all, bonds have been re-affirmed, and ties re-strenghtened, President Obama again declaring that the US has "no closer ally and no stronger partner" (I bet he says that to all the heads of state).

For now, I shall leave you with the words that our eminent leader wrote in the Wall Street Journal on the eve of this trip:

"No other international alliance seems to come under the intense scrutiny reserved for the one between Britain and the United States. There is a seemingly endless British preoccupation with the health of the special relationship. Its temperature is continually taken to see if it's in good shape, its pulse checked to see if it will survive. I have never understood this anxiety.

The US-UK relationship is simple: it's strong because it delivers for both of us. The alliance is not sustained by our historical ties or blind loyalty. This is a partnership of choice that serves our national interests. Yes, it always needs care and attention, but it is resilient because it is rooted in strong foundations

He also described himself as "unapologetically pro-America", saying he "loved" the US and "what it's done for the world", great news for me since I am now utterly convinced that he will sign the flag....

Monday, 19 July 2010

Nothing In This Game For Four In A Bed

Do you know who Jose Manuel Borroso is? I thought not.

Neither did I. Apparently he is the President of the European Union. I wasn't even aware that the European Union had a President.

He is from a country in Europe known as Portugal, a country where national banks go 'pop' in the night and where people like to fry everything in olive oil.

I am aware of the latter since I observed first hand the dietary habits of a young Iberian couple whom I recently ejected from my flat. The lady of the partnership, who was generally in charge of cooking, would fry things on such a high heat that the paint on the wall behind my hob has now blistered off. However, this is not why I ejected them.

I digress.

Jose Manuel Borroso, whose first name should have an acute accent that I am not sure how to perform on here, has stated that America's "transatlantic relationship" with the EU is not "living up to its potential".

He went on to say "I think we should do much more together. We have conditions like we have never had before and it would be a pity if we missed the opportunity."

I find it slightly depressing that American now has a 'relationship' with the EU too. Hot on the heels of the wining and dining of Russia's President (without the wine) by President O, Continental Europe now suggests that they too have something good going on with the yanks.

I wish everyone would stop muscling on our own cosy little coupling with the US, after all, if we all share the bed and the little one says roll-over, one might fall out, and I fear it might be us.

Hopefully Prime Minister Cameron, or Big Dave C (as he insists I call him), will get everything back on track when he jets over to D.C. next week.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Jack Of All Trades

(Left: My flags on an unmade bed - The unmade bed is irrelevant, although it may be a sign of my general laziness)

After a lot of umming and erring, not to mention a bit of eh?-ing, I have finally got round to acquiring a couple of flags, quite an integral part of my project really.

This is because, as you may be aware by now, the project involves sending 1 Union Jack to Barack Obama containing 100 goodwill messages written by 100 different UK 'Celebs', whilst another one signed by the same individuals will be sent to the Help for Heroes Charity and will hopefully swell their coffers by untold amounts.

Right: Amir Khan with a flag (not my flag)

I therefore did a little bit of dabbling on Ebay recently, not that I ever understand what to do on that lord forsaken website - I almost ended up with a Union Jack scatter cushion - but lo, it came to pass that after correctly bidding and winning the two items pictured above, 'stella-comm (97499 * )' sent me said items in the post the other day, meaning that Jeffrey Archer will now have something to actually sign on 27th July when I turn up at his that's fortunate.

More to the point, last night I actually received my first email as a direct result of this website, by someone who had cleverly spotted the 'contact me' tab in the right hand column.

Dan, who if memory serves hails from Oxford, informed me that the flag that actually adorns this website left, right and centre, ie the flag that I have just bought and will be trapesing around the country with for as long as it takes, is not actually a 'Union Jack' but is in fact called the 'Union Flag'. He then started banging on about ships or something.

(Left: Geri Halliwell wearing a flag - again not mine, more's the pity)

Well as far as I'm concerned, this flag is the Union Jack, primarily because I'll be damnned if I'm going to spend another £5.98 on an online auction.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Ricky Gervais, Nick Faldo, David Milliband...

....and 27 other assorted individuals will soon be getting my letter beseeching them to sign my two flags (One to be sent to President Obama, the other two be auctioned off for the Help for Heroes charity).

You see once upon a time, not so long ago - six days to be exact - I mentioned that many of the 500 iconic British individuals on my list had not replied to me, largely because they hadn't yet received my letter nor had a clue about what I was doing.

Therefore, as of tomorrow I will be sending out my letters to the following strange bedfellows:

John Cleese Catherine Tate Nick Faldo Gail Porter William Hague John Barrowman Ricky Gervais David Milliband Terence Conran David Walliams Colin Montgomerie Richard Wilson Gary Bushell Kate Winslett Damien Hirst Delia Smith Professor Stephen Hawking Rebecca Adlington Andrew Motion Kelly Holmes Polly Toynbee Bill Oddie David Haye Johnny Vegas Robbie Williams Maggie Smith Callum Best David Mitchell Steve Ryder Julie Etchingham

I'm not going to pretend that this list of names has been arranged in an odd, traffic-light colour coordinated scheme for any particular reason, ie that those in green are likely to reply and those in red aren't....I just think it looks pretty.

And yes I am heterosexual, not that there's anything wrong with blah blah blah

So the important question, other than whether I've spelled 'professor' correctly, is will any of these illustrious 30 actually get back to me.

Who knows or dares to dream.

Well, me actually.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Independence Day....

(Fireworks on Lake Michigan)

Other than a slightly mawkish film featuring William Smith saving the world from aliens, Independence Day also signals the day that them over their rid themselves of us over here, for that was the day that they finally cast of their shackles and freed themselves from the yoke of British tyranny, for want of a better cliche.

All rather apt really, as last night I was trying to free one of my t-shirts from the yolk of a hard boiled egg that had seen a toasted soldier forcibly shunted into it.

My project, as you may or may not be aware (you would be aware if you'd read my earliest post) is designed to help me research my next book which will be examining the US/UK 'special relationship' or 'spec ral' as I might start calling it, largely because I'm tired of typing those 19 letters on my blog and am now feverishly trying to cut corners.

Currently 4 of the 500 UK celebs on my list, a list chosen by you the Great British public, on Facebook, have agreed to sign the flag that will be sent to Barack Obama.

I am soon going to send out a fresh batch of letters to some of the other 500, since only 30 or so of my letters have been dispatched so far and I'm definitely of the opinion that one of the things currently preventing some of these British singers, actors, athletes, newsreaders, politicians, magicians, artists etc etc from signing the flag is that they don't have the first clue about what I'm doing...

In the meantime I'd like to wish every American that I know, and some of the other 350 million that I don't know, a very very happy 4th of July!

Well done for getting rid of us and please gain comfort in the knowledge that if you hadn't done so, you too would now be suffering cricket, morris dancers, pot noodles and James Corden.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Reply - Boris Johnson

The Mayor of London aka Boris Johnson will hopefully be signing the flag in the not too distant future. However, he may be signing it without me being in the vicinity and frankly, I’m not altogether upset about having to drop the flag off at City Hall and waiting for it to be returned to me by post, since surely having BoJo’s message to Barack inscribed on it would be something of a feather in my cap.

I am informing you of this having just received the following email from a kindly lady named Ann who works out of the Mayor’s office. Incidentally, I’m not sure why writing the expression ‘who works out of the Mayor’s office’ makes me think of Gotham City and Batman, but it does.


"Dear Mr Segal,

The Mayor is always happy to sign items for charity. His diary is very full and we are unable to facilitate a specific meeting for the purpose.

Please send or leave the flag at City Hall for signing with full details and we will be happy to arrange to have the flag signed."

So that's all good then, President Obama will at some stage in the future, be reading a message on a flag that has been directed to him by the Mayor of London.

I will have acted as the human fulcrum in this conveyance.