A reader writes:

I want to take issue with you over your request for the British to show some self respect. In a way you are right – the petty fixation over the Churchill bust and the pen does reflect a sense of unease about the relationship between Britain and the USA. But that unease is confined to two groups – the political media and the current government. I doubt whether ordinary Brits give a damn about the Churchill bust – and if asked I suspect most would see its removal as an understandable desire on Obama’s part to make a symbolic break with the Bush / Blair era. That relationship was unhealthy and led us into the disaster of the Iraq war, the ongoing mess in Afganistan, and who knows what abuses of civil rights. It is good that he is bringing balance back into that relationship.

Brown is in the USA for one reason only – to try and distract the UK media from his colossal mistakes in handling the economy.

His regulatory failures, encouragement of a credit and housing boom, and massive public spending have all contributed to the mess the UK economy is in. His refusal to admit any failings adds to the contempt in which he is held – no matter how many times he tries to claim that this is a global crisis that began in America, the UK electorate isn’t fooled. The political media want a story – they are all too aware of  Brown’s weakness and for them, the real story should be,  not the pen or the bust, but the extraordinary sensitivity of Brown and his team. It is New Labour, not the Brits, who lack self respect. And the truth is – they are right to be insecure.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.