Oh, the memories! Cameron and Obama exchange presents

The President and the PM exchange gifts that commemorate... er, the last state visit.

If you've watched the news, looked at a paper, or listened to the radio this week, you'll be well aware that David Cameron went on a state visit to America.

And what are state visits about, if not presents? (And endless photo opportunities, of course).

Obama presented Cameron with a customised and charcoal cooking grill, complete with bean bag chairs for the children and his and her's chef jackets. It's not a random gift either - it is a reference to Obama's visit to London in May last year, when the two cooked burgers for military servicemen.

Not to be outdone, Cameron presented Obama with a table tennis table - which also commemorates the last visit, when the pair played ping-pong with students. How romantic -- the memories we've shared!

Perhaps Obama has learned from his mistakes. In 2009, Gordon Brown gave him an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet. Its sister ship was carved to make the desk in the Oval Office. In return, Obama gave Brown a set of 25 American DVDs, which, in a tragic twist, weren't even compatible with UK DVD players. Nothing very memorable about that.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty Images/Carl Court
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Nigel Farage: welcoming refugees will lead to "migrant tide" of jihadists

Ukip's leader Nigel Farage claims that housing refugees will allow Isis to smuggle in "jihadists".

Nigel Farage has warned that granting sanctuary to refugees could result in Britain being influenced by Isis. 

In remarks that were immediately condemned online, the Ukip leader said "When ISIS say they will flood the migrant tide with 500,000 of their own jihadists, we'd better listen", before saying that Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, had done something "very dangerous" in attempting to host refugees, saying that she was "compounding the pull factors" that lead migrants to attempt the treacherous Mediterranean crossing.

Farage, who has four children, said that as a father, he was "horrified" by the photographs of small children drowned on a European beach, but said housing more refugees would simply make the problem worse. 

The Ukip leader, who failed for the fifth successive occassion to be elected as an MP in May, said he welcomed the prospect of a Jeremy Corbyn victory, describing it as a "good result". Corbyn is more sceptical about the European Union than his rivals for the Labour leadership, which Farage believes will provide the nascent Out campaign with a boost. 

 

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.