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Bemused Britain

At the end of 1998, Britain is conducting a confused national meditation on memory and forgiveness

By Armando Iannucci   January 1999

Midnight. A dark and dirty patch of south London. A Cabinet minister gets into a spot of difficulty with a Rastafarian and, before he knows it, the front pages are speculating about his genitals. His days in the Cabinet look numbered. But then, the sudden roar overhead of a US jet drowns out the sound of screaming paparazzi; the nation’s journalists watch as the aircraft touches down on an improvised runway normally used on the common as a cycle-lane.

Out steps the president of the United States, eager to stand shoulder to shoulder with the embarrassed Cabinet minister and offer…

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