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Back in the UK

Justin Webb | 16:42 UK time, Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Home again.

The White House's official description of the UK - for those journalists on a deadline and too old to remember school geography - is "smaller than Oregon". That's it. Very crowded as well - dense, as they put it.

The drive in from Stansted Airport reveals density and titchiness in equal measure, though Passport Control turned out to be rather jolly and almost apologetic - no need to queue with the common man (the White House travelling press do not appreciate queueing).

The White House staffers who have stayed on after George W Bush - they are junior folk, but they have nevertheless seen it all come and go - are hugely (and it seems genuinely) impressed with the pace of the Obama revolution.

But the American governmental machine is still almost ludicrously slow - Mr Obama arrives in Europe with key people gone and not replaced: no London ambassador (the genial and moderate Republican Mr Tuttle could surely have been persuaded to stay?), no Nato ambassador and no Under-secretary of State for Europe.

By the way, there was exemplary sobriety on the press plane - I suspect because everyone appears to be carrying those little video recorders you can plug straight into a computer and nobody wants to be fired.

The Boys on the Bus have become Lambs in the Air...


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