Monday, June 04, 2007

On Publishing, Politicians and the Simple Life.

The Guardian Weekend magazine carried a fascinating article by Martin Amis.
Amis followed Tony Blair on his world wide farewell tour, recording his observations as he went. Whether you are for or against Blair, Amis' writing offers a revealing insight into the mysterious world inhabited by our politicians.

One paragraph in particular attracted my attention. While the Prime Minister visited Washington, some of his staff talked with some of the President's staff about foreign travel.

"When Blair goes somewhere, he relies on a staff of 30 (and five bodyguards). When Bush goes somewhere, he relies on a staff of 800 (and 100 bodyguards); if he visits two countries on the same trip, the figure is 1,600; three countries, and the figure is 2,400. At the other end, Blair will settle for whatever transport is made available. Using freight aircraft, Bush takes along his own limousine, his own back-up limousine, his own refuelling trucks and his own helicopters. "Mm," murmured a chastened Brit. "You make our lives seem very simple." This was, shall we say, the diplomatic way of putting it."

How many Americans does it take to change a light bulb?

I read the article in the paper based version of the Guardian.
What would Saturday be without a newspaper?

The article is also available online, together with videos and photographs. The additional multimedia materials provide a powerful supplement to the original article.
The footage of Blair flying into Baghdad is particularly telling.

Once upon a time, colour supplements used to complement newspaper reading.
Now the Internet is complementing the supplements.
Publishing in the 21st century has truly changed.

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