"These days, former British prime ministers regard half a bottle of wine at dinner as shocking. It was not always thus. Churchill managed to conceal his thirst from the public; not so poor George Brown, who as Harold Wilson's foreign secretary made it a point of honour never to draw a sober breath. At a reception for a South American republic, Brown is reputed to have staggered up to a glamorous figure in red silk and asked for a dance. "I must refuse for three reasons," came the reply. "First, this is not a dance but the national anthem. Second, you are clearly drunk. And third, I am the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima."
Friday, 10 September 2010
In all my years drinking toasts with maotai in China - I used to visit the country frequently in a former life buying tea - my hosts never once got to the drunken shouting stage. I was thus surprised to read how China's top-ranking UN diplomat recently embarked on a drunken rant against the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, telling his boss he'd "never liked" him, and adding for good measure that he didn't like Americans either.The incident just didn't fit with my impression of the character of a Chinese government official but the reminiscence from a London Daily Telegraph editorial about George Brown, the Foreign Minister in Harold Wilson's Labor Government that the Chinese behaviour prompted did ring true.
Posted by Richard Farmer at 08:19