10:30 AM, Aug 19, 2015 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
Proof positive that it’s the latter half of August—when just about everyone is on vacation, or ought to be—arrived this week with the news that the latest social media sensation in Great Britain is a clandestine video of Prime Minister David Cameron.
It was filmed by a teenage girl named Ashleigh on an Easyjet flight from London to Algarve, Portugal, and shows Cameron sitting among his bodyguards, tapping on his iPad – and eating from a package of paprika-flavored Pringles potato chips. “The prime minister was three seats away from me,” Ashleigh tweeted to her followers, “eating paprika Pringles. Help me.” A few moments later: “Guys, I’m crying. He was eating Pringles.”
Ashleigh’s Twitter cri de coeur swiftly went viral—and this being the second decade of the 21st century, soon became a meme on social media and the subject of much chin-wagging in the press. The sight of the prime minister transferring a paprika-flavored chip from its package to his mouth served as an all-purpose metaphor for Cameron, for the governing Conservative party, for the state of politics and public life in modern Britain, and of course, as a partisan cudgel. Why was the prime minister traveling on a budget? airline? Was he working on his iPad, or merely amusing himself? One tendentious Guardian reporter (but I repeat myself) sarcastically declared that the combination of elements—the cheap flight, the budget destination, the Pringles—meant that “Dave’s ‘Man of the People’ game is STRONG.”
Well, let us concede that few politicians—few human beings, for that matter—look especially appealing when eating. Cameron was the source of much merriment during the recent election campaign when he was photographed dining on what appeared to be a hot dog with knife and fork. And his Labour rival, Ed Miliband, was caught on camera at one point struggling to consume a sandwich. But let us also concede that even politicians have to take nourishment, and in this instance at least, Cameron was eating in what he must have assumed was privacy.
There is another way of looking at it as well. David Cameron is the highest-ranking elected official in Great Britain; and yet he is not only traveling to meet his wife and children on vacation on a budget airline, but in an economy seat as well. Indeed, the very fact that the very ordinary Ashleigh could gaze upon him just a few feet across the aisle, and take a selfie with Cameron in the background —wearing earphones and punching furiously on his iPad—is unimaginable over here. When our First Family travels to Martha’s Vineyard, for example, it is not on the American equivalent of Easyjet but on Air Force One, and at considerable taxpayer expense. And if Ashleigh were to take a selfie featuring President Obama, she would likely be wrestled to the floor by the Secret Service and charged with any number of felonies.
Only a Guardian reporter, after all, would perceive the PM’s modest travel arrangements as a cynical ploy. No doubt, he believes that someone of Cameron’s wealth and upper-class status would ordinarily prefer to travel on a yacht, or in a horse-drawn coach; and to Monte Carlo and not Algarve—perhaps reclining in top hat and spats while retainers feed him paprika-flavored Pringles, one by one.
Dec 15, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 14 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Many Brits are known to enjoy a pint a day. Winston Churchill certainly did—though his daily ration was a pint of champagne, not ale. So it was fitting that the wartime prime minister was toasted last week in Washington with clinking glasses of bubbly. House speaker John Boehner invited a small group—of which The Scrapbook was happily part—to celebrate two birthdays: that of the great man himself, and that of the bust in the Capitol that honors him. One was the 140th, the other just the first.
10:12 AM, Sep 19, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama has released a statement praising Scotland's vote to remain with the United Kingdom.
"We welcome the result of yesterday’s referendum on Scottish independence and congratulate the people of Scotland for their full and energetic exercise of democracy," says Obama in a prepared statement.
Rotherham and the failure of multiculturalismSep 15, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 01 • By REUEL MARC GERECHT
The massive sexual abuse case in Rotherham, England, has revealed again how awkward and self-defeating the Western response often is to matters that touch on religious identity. Although the independent inquiry led by Professor Alexis Jay is tersely graphic about the 1,400-plus girls, some as young as 11 years old, who were sexually assaulted over several years by organized gangs of mostly Pakistani men, it isn’t detailed about the male predators.
Scots debate independence Sep 1, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 47 • By SARA LODGE
If at first you don’t secede, try, try again. This might be the motto of Alex Salmond’s Scottish National party, which since 1934 has been advocating the proposition that Scotland should be an independent country, governed not from London but from Edinburgh and able to make its own policy decisions about defense, immigration, taxation, and spending. On September 18, Scots will finally face a referendum about their future.
2:48 PM, Aug 15, 2014 • By JOSH COHEN
It was a threat Europe’s security services had long feared coming true.
11:58 AM, Jul 25, 2014 • By JEFFREY GEDMIN
I've lived in Europe the past dozen years—in Berlin, Prague, and London. When it comes to Israel, Europe's ways seldom cease to amaze.
Aug 5, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 44 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Scrapbook does not usually take notice of royal births around the world, but you had to have been in serious misanthropic mode to fail to notice the birth of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, third in line of succession to the British throne, last week in London. Whether he will someday succeed his great-grandmother, grandfather, and father to become King George VII is up to the gods, of course; but The Scrapbook wishes him and his parents good health, much happiness, and long life.
4:09 PM, Apr 16, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Barack Obama's administration will not be sending any sitting American politicians to attend funeral services for the former U.K. prime minister Margaret Thatcher. The Guardian reports:
It's time for the Obama Administration to change our Falklands policy.3:53 PM, Mar 20, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Philip Terzian on his editorial, Stand with the Falklands. Hosted by Michael Graham.
3:01 PM, Nov 29, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The Falkland Islands seem to be popping up in the news a lot in the last month. There was the recent death of Sir Rex Hunt—the governor of the territory during the Argentine invasion—and his obituary must be read to be believed. It's like something straight out of an Evelyn Waugh novel.