Differences between the US and the UK are often commented upon. But the storm ‘Sandy’ this week has highlighted one in particular.
It is no criticism of either President Obama or Governor Romney to say that it seems strange to me to see them hugging and otherwise comforting people who have lost their homes and in some cases all their possessions.
I keep testing – and then mentally blocking – the images of a similar thing happening here. I am trying to imagine my mental state had my house and few possessions been washed away only to see, emerging from the mist, the figure of Gordon Brown. He would be surrounded by legions of cameras and reporters, of course, otherwise there would be no point in him being there. But I cannot imagine my feelings would be ones of relief as he bounded in towards me and leaned in for a hug.
The same reaction flickers while trying this thought-experiment with other British politicians. David Cameron, Ed Miliband, George Osborne? Such an event might of course be the last straw. Certainly it would leave me gnashing my teeth, shaking my fists and cursing the sky. I can just about imagine a weighty, sad, pat-on-the-back and ‘bad luck’ from Boris. But that’s it. I like America very much, but sometimes we do seem very different peoples.