I förra veckan träffades Storbritanniens premiärminister Gordon Brown USA:s president Barack Obama. I söndagens The Observer kan man läsa att det uppstod en viss kulturkrock när det gäller vilka gåvor man valde att ge varandra.

There was some embarrassment around the edges. Before they settled on an appropriate gift for the president, there had been endless thoughtful debate in Number 10. The pen-holder was carved from the timbers of HMS Gannet, built 130 years ago. Wood from its sister vessel, HMS Resolute, was used to make the desk in the Oval Office. In return for that historically resonant and tastefully symbolic token, the Americans presented the prime minister with what smelt like a panic buy, a DVD collection of 25 American movies. Amazon will sell you a box set of 100 Hollywood classics for $17.99. It is not so much the cheap price tag that is wounding to British pride; it is the lack of thought for their visitor displayed by the White House. A film collection which includes Raging Bull and Gone with the Wind might be loosely metaphorical of Gordon Brown’s political career and what the financial crisis has done to it. But films are not his thing. When he has the time to get in front of a television, the prime minister prefers to watch sport.

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