Tom Switzer in The Spectator has a close encounter of the ex-prime-ministerial kind
My wife Sarah and I recently had the wonderful experience of having John Howard and his wife Janette over for a barbecue. (Sorry for the self-promotion, but I figure if you can’t shamelessly boast in The Spectator diary, where can you?) The idea of hosting a small dinner for the former first couple and some close mutual friends was initially daunting. After all, we live in an apartment probably the size of just one of the 119 rooms in Washington’s presidential guesthouse. In the end, though, we were helped in this task by knowing that our guests have personalities precisely the opposite of those the media suggests: they’re warm, witty, charming and very good-natured, qualities not habitually found in our former political leaders. And they remain true-blue patriots. I thought I’d impress the ex-PM with my collection of imported European beers, but he insisted on an Australian beer instead.
Switzer clearly wants to be loved by “true-blue patriots” (a supposedly clearly marked group in society that enjoys gourmet sausages and fine, imported beer in inner Sydney, though not for “patriot” John Howard).