Travelling with the Prez
Justin Webb is the BBC reporter who’s been travelling with Dubya on his mission to smooth ruffled European feathers. (En passant will somebody explain to me why Europe has been welcoming the head of a state which practices and condones torture?) Mr. Webb has been keeping a Blog. Here’s an excerpt from today’s:
“Made a big error of judgement this morning – leaving the warm embrace of the White House team to cross this snow covered city to get to a studio for an interview with the Today programme on Radio Four.
All went fine till I tried to get back. I have seven passes (no really!) all with photos and official inscriptions. But none of them impress riot police schooled in the eastern European approach to public relations. “No,” they say. “You go. You no come here today.”
I smile. I try to look important and official. Nothing works. Briefly I imagine being trapped here forever among the stony faced denizens of Bratislava (I have no passport: the White House whips them away on these trips and whisks you in and out of nations without need of it).
Then a miracle. The secret service agent with whom I had been discussing hamburgers in Brussels passes by on the other side of the barricade. “Help,” I shout!
A small man in a sensible grey suit, he approaches the goons and says, “US Secret Service: I need him in here.”
They briefly consider clubbing us both to death there and then. Old habits die hard even when you’ve joined Nato.
But my man in the grey suit is backed up by the greatest power ever seen on the face of the Earth: his identity card carries a menace which every security guard in every godforsaken corner of the globe understands and appreciates.
If you are going to be an ally of America, you must let the secret service through roadblocks with whomsoever they choose to travel.
And they did. Freedom is on the march.”
The funniest things today were the hostile questions about US ‘democracy’ planted by the Russians during the Press Conference in Bratislava Castle.