Gordon Brown's speech to the Congress yesterday was as vapid and platitudinous as you might expect from a man who last said something interesting in the early 1990s, and who presided over the making of the current economic crisis - and refuses to take the slightest responsibility for it. But the saddest thing, apart from the vacuous invocations of the "special relationship", is the way in which the Brits seem to examine every scintilla of protocol for evidence that Americans don't like them any more. Sending back a Churchill bust should not be an occasion for national self-doubt. But the neurosis continues:

In a 10-minute phone call Wednesday, Obama thanked British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for dropping off the gifts Tuesday when he visited the White House, according to an official release. The unusually-detailed readout on the call said Obama has put a pen holder taken from the HMS Gannet on his Oval Office desk, known as the Resolute desk. The statement also said a first-edition biography of Churchill, the legendary World War II British premier, has been placed in the president’s private study just outside the Oval.

Please, guys. Get some self-respect.

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