15 years in Blighty

It slipped past almost unnoticed, but last week marked the 15th anniversary of my arrival in this green and pleasant land. If you had told me back then in October 1989 that I’d still be here now, I’d have told you you were crazy. But here I am. A few things that happened while I’ve been here (not in chronological order):

Nelson Mandela free

Berlin Wall falls/Communism collapses

Got expelled from UK

IRA bombs City of London (twice)

Marry Alice

Sheffield Wednesday lose two cup finals in one year

Become Charlie’s Dad

IRA bombs Canary Wharf

Chicago Bulls win six championships while I’m not looking

America elects evil cretin President


Get laid off by formerly great newspaper

Sheffield Wednesday relegated (twice)

Nebraska 10, Texas Tech 70 (proof there is a God)

Kerry elected President in landslide (you heard it hear first)

The face of a real loser

This AP photo of George Bush during Thursday’s debate really says it all about the man. Does he look like the leader of the free world? No. Does he look like a man at ease with himself? Not at all.

But let’s get another view. Here’s the ultra-conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan, writing in the Sunday Times:

He seemed – in a word – defensive, and his impatience gave the impression of a man who hasn’t had anyone talk back to him in a long time. The cocoon of unreality that has sealed him off for well over a year was suddenly visible…

[Bush] had to reassure and he didn’t. Just read the following passage: “In Iraq, no doubt about it, it’s tough. It’s hard work. It’s incredibly hard. It’s – and it’s hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is. But it’s necessary work. We’re making progress. It is hard work.” Feel better now?

His constant repetition of tired campaign phrases suggested that he was indeed out of touch with reality in Iraq. When Kerry rightly pointed out the failure of Bush to revamp the CIA or to secure Soviet nuclear material, Bush simply and sadly responded that every morning some guy comes in and briefs him on national security. Sorry, Mr President. We know that already. And you don’t want to be the president who is forced to say: “Of course I know Osama Bin Laden attacked us.”

And from Sullivan’s website: “Bush’s critical problem is the last year in Iraq – and his arrogant, Pollyannish response to it. What happened Thursday was that for the first time, the public saw the president confronted with these issues directly and saw that he had no real answer. Worse, they saw him visibly angry at being called to account at all. Out of it and pissy. Not a great combination.”

The Democrats have put together a very clever photo gallery of the split screen images from the debate. It’s an absolute classic.