Obama spent a second day here in London yesterday; not that Londoners seemed to notice – our citizens are way too “cool” to acknowledge being interested in anything, even the US Prez. There was a police presence around the Regents Park mosque when I cycled past in the morning and again in the evening and I wondered if that was related; perhaps he planned to pray there? (Ha! Not really… Just tossing a morsel to the morons who still think Obama’s a Muslim).
I got home and watched the 7pm TV news on Channel 4. The 55-minute bulletin was dominated by coverage of Obama’s speech to both houses of parliament, and also covered the barbeque hosted by Obama and Camoron, along with several minutes devoted to Michelle Obama’s meeting with working class teenagers at Oxford University. The overall feeling: the UK is still in love with the Obamas.
Channel 4 had commissioned a poll via YouGov, comparing British public attitudes to Obama with a similar poll about Bush conducted in 2003. Some of the results:
- Those who have confidence in the US President: Bush: 22%, Obama 72%
- Is the President a danger to world peace? Bush: 60%, Obama 6%
- Do you welcome the President? Bush 21%, Obama 60%
- Do you think the President is highly intelligent? Bush 17%, Obama 81%
- Is he a good advertisement for America? Bush 20%, Obama 78%
Pretty conclusive… full results here (PDF).
Then I checked Twitter, and found a tweet from serial-moron @mdino90: Obama once again embarrassed country in front of Queen – How did he do this I wondered? The answer, I was told, is that Obama continued a toast to the Queen during the national anthem. Apparently he also wrote the date as 2008 when he signed a guest book the previous day.
Let me explain something about the British: we’re not a patriotic country. We don’t fly flags from our houses (except perhaps on the important occasions, like the football World Cup). We rarely hear the national anthem, and most people don’t know the words. Although we tend to enjoy a bit of ceremony around state events, we don’t really worry too much about tradition. If Black Rod forgot to bring his stick to the opening of Parliament, few would either notice or care.
So even if the British people were aware of Obama’s “gaffe” yesterday (and as far as I can tell, the UK media barely noticed), nobody gave a damn. Notably, if you search for “Obama gaffe” this morning on the Google UK News service, most of the links that appear are American, with Fox (of course) featuring near the top. The only prominent link on the subject I could see was from Sky News – which (coincidentally, I’m sure) is owned by Rupert Murdoch, as Fox is.
I’m sorry Obama-haters, but this seems to be a story that’s been 99% concocted by the US media. The British people couldn’t give a damn about a glass raised during our (very dull) anthem. We rate Obama far more highly than Bush (click the poll link above if you don’t believe me), regardless of any misgivings we may have over his continuation of many aspects of Bush’s foreign policy.