View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Long reads
20 November 2008

The best-dressed man

By Gideon Donald

Who will rid me of this turbulent president? Ever since Guy Fawkes Night it has been a case of Obama this, Obama that. I am not a fool; it is a significant moment. But the world has not turned on its head, merely shifted on its axis. It is akin to hearing that a favoured godson has been made Captain of School – the kind of news that puts an extra pep in one’s step, but not something to become too carried away about.

The first signs of the madness were apparent at the awfully crowded election-night party given by the US ambassador, at which Gove was hopping up and down in front of the television. Little Michael loves the box. He is always on it or watching it or, I hazard a guess, watching himself on it. The other Friday night I woke up to discover him advising the nation on which books to read. I realise that he is shadow minister for education, but even so surely this is de trop. Later, at our own private party, Gove was keen to stress the “connectivity” between Obama and the man who would be the 20th OE prime minister.

“Background no longer matters, GD,” he said to me. “Dave, like Obama, transcends class and race.” To which I replied, “Maybe.”

Further conversation was rendered impossible by the increasingly desperate Osborne shouting out “Yes, we Cam” every time that Obama, rather ponderously, said “Yes, we can”. At first, I assumed he (Osborne) was slurring his words. However, as he repeated the slogan, it was evident he meant every word. When politicians go, they go quickly. Astonishingly, others were quite taken with GO’s infantile punning and there was a chorus of “Dave for PM; Yes, we Cam”. Truly, we have come a long way from “Jerusalem”.

There has been no encore of this ghastly ditty at the weekly “ideas meetings” that little Andy has instigated to “keep things fresh”. No one, in fact, has attempted any levity because since the day “Hope Returned to the World” DC has been in a steaming bate. I haven’t seen him so unjustifiably furious since he was overlooked for the first Pop Election of our year. Then I offered some consolation by pointing out that my election meant he had one vote in the bag for next time. This time there is no consolation.

Fortunately, the main object of his anger is Colonel Fawn, the author of Dave on Dave, a book of so little merit that even the mighty Gove would hesitate before recommending it to the nation. Over the past fortnight it has become evident that Colonel Fawn had let the side down, badly. Apparently Fawn had suggested the possibility of a joint magazine cover to DC. This Dave had fallen for H, and S. Vanity is his major (only?) flaw and he can be more vehement in response to criticism of his clothes than of his policies.

The prospect, therefore, of Obama and DC sharing a prestigious Best Dressed Man trophy, and being photographed by Bailey for a leading gentlemen’s quarterly, tickled him greatly. Not only would it look good, it would play well, and no less an authority than Sam Cam said the resulting image had the potential to make a truly great Christmas card.

Imagine Dave’s furniture-kicking fury as it has become apparent that the Colonel had somewhat overplayed his intimacy with the incoming president.

Not only did he not know, in even the loosest sense of the word, Obama, or “Obama’s people”, he didn’t actually know anyone in the Democratic Party or, scarcely credibly, anyone who had voted Democrat.

The coveted magazine cover is, to put it mildly, a long shot. Gove, it appears, may struggle for “connectivity”.

Content from our partners
Future proofing the NHS
Where do we get the money to fix the world's biggest problems? – with ONE
Labour's health reforms can put patients first

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.