Thursday, March 05, 2009

Further endearing ourselves overseas...

It is, of course, usual for heads of state to exchange gifts, particularly when meeting for the first time. So when British Prime Minister met with President Obama last week, it was standard protocol that there would be an exchange of gifts.
Mr Brown's gifts included an ornamental desk pen holder made from the oak timbers of Victorian anti-slaver HMS Gannet, once named HMS President.

Mr Obama was so delighted he has already put it in pride of place in the Oval Office on the Resolute desk which was carved from timbers of Gannet's sister ship, HMS Resolute.

Another treasure given to the U.S. President was the framed commission for HMS Resolute, a vessel that came to symbolise Anglo-US peace when it was saved from ice packs by Americans and given to Queen Victoria.

Finally, Mr Brown gave a first edition set of the seven-volume classic biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.

The White House issued a press briefing today that put on record how much Mr Obama had appreciated the gifts.

Well, that all sounds lovely and appropriate. The kind of gifts that one head of state gives to another, particularly as they reaffirm a "special relationship." And, of course, Mr. Obama reciprocated.
Gordon Brown has been given a collection of 25 classic American films on DVD as his official gift from Barack Obama. The Prime Minister flew home from his successful trip to Washington this morning with the 'special collector's box' of films hidden in his luggage.

No. 10 had tried to keep the present a secret...One reason for the secrecy might be that the gift seems markedly less generous and thoughtful than the presents taken to Washington by the Prime Minister.

Hmm... I wonder if that set of movies* also sells for $15 at the White House Gift shop, like the little models of Marine One given by Mrs. Obama to Mrs. Brown for the Brown sons.

The funniest line comes from a commenter at Ace of Spades' site, who said that "Gordon should take the pen back and give Mr. and Mrs. Racially Sensitive a Betamax copy of Song of the South..." (As always, there's a language warning if you go to Ace's...)

* - No word on whether the DVDs are region 2 and PAL so that the Prime Minister can at least watch them in Great Britain, or if they're region 1 and NTSC, so that they'll make nifty coasters...

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