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Anorak | Politicians’ geography gaffes – a history

Politicians’ geography gaffes – a history

by | 29th, September 2012

WHEN quizzed about Britain on the David Letterman show, David Cameron was apparently unable to give the meaning of the words Magna Carta. We say “apparently” because Boris Johnson, who might of course have his own agenda here, suggested that the Prime Minister knew perfectly well what it meant, but feigned ignorance in order to give the impression that he is just a regular, down-to-earth kinda guy.

Johnson then – possibly deliberately, possibly not – contrived to give the wrong answer to the question, “Who scored a hat-trick for England in the 1966 World Cup final?”

If deliberate, this was surely a political first – a politician NOT trying to jump on the football bandwagon.

As for Cameron, it was somehow fitting that he should make his faux pas – or possibly faux faux pas – in the United States. Over the years, American politicians have amused us with displays of ignorance which would be even funnier if the perpetrators weren’t busy policing the planet about which they remain so stubbornly ignorant.

“We are part of Europe,” declared Dan Quayle on one famous occasion. Another time he expressed his delight at being in “the great state of Chicago”. And he was just as happy further south. “I love California,” he exclaimed, “I practically grew up in Phoenix.”

Furthermore, Quale’s shaky grasp on geography is shared by a stellar cast of political talent.

The invasion of Georgia alarmed some Americans, who thought this was happening in their own dear old southern state. And the former Governor of Alaska is another US citizen who is keenly aware of her Russian, ahem, neighbours….

Palin also believed that Africa was a country. As indeed, did Senator Rick Santorum…

And George W Bush…

Africa is a nation

But whatever the problems of that “country”, they pale into insignificance beside those identified by John McCain, who, when not pronouncing on “Czechoslovakia”, is concerned about events on the as yet uncharted Iraq-Pakistan border…

When Herman Caine ran for the Republican presidential nomination this year, his foreign policy credentials came under scrutiny…

But then, as he argued, there are more important things than what happens in places like Ubeckibeckibeckibeckistanstan …

After all, would it really matter is Ubeckibeckibeckibeckistanstan fell into the sea and disappeared? Like, say, the Pacific island of Guam…

Never mind. US politics may be inward-looking, but at least American leaders know the 50 states of their own nation like the back of their hand.

Oh, hang on…

 



Posted: 29th, September 2012 | In: Key Posts, Politicians Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink