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Photo MSN Canada

Well we have all done it haven’t we?.

The picture today is of Barack Obama’s limousine beaching itself like a highland whale, on a speed bump outside the Dublin Embassy.  Hardly a great advertisement for this bomb proof, attack proof, terrorist proof, all purpose, all terrain Pressie wagon. It isn’t the first time large American State vehicles have come unstuck in the slightly different driving situations of European cities.

I recall, way back in the mid-eighties, visiting Denver and being asked to admire my doctor friend’s top of the range Lincoln.  He had just taken delivery of it and was ever so proud. It was simply huge.  Vast, so it was, bigger than the livingroom of my first apartment.  When he asked why I didn’t have a similar behemoth, I had to tell him there were streets in my tight little medieval and Victorian city that I simply could not get such a car down.  His look of sheer incredulity has stayed with me ever since.  I was reminded of it yesterday.  It is clear he was not alone.

These huge “Pressiemobiles” look great sweeping in full convoy down the architect designed boulevards of America’s open, planned cities, but they are a complete liability abroad.  What happened in Dublin was funny.  If it had been elsewhere – well it might have been dangerous.

The following youtube clip from Sky News is of an equally amusing scene which every driver on Obama’s watch will be hoping not to repeat.  It is set in Downing Street, where the British Prime Minister lives.  Downing Street is actually a rather narrow little Georgian cul-de-sac in central London.  So tight was the street, and so contorted the efforts needed to turn the monster wagon round that the video of the President’s driver taking endless cuts at his three point turn went viral when it came out.

Not that Presidential cavalcades have not had their funny sides even in America.  Do you remember the fun everyone had at Nixon’s expense when Spiro Agnew his VP knocked over a bicyclist in New York?  The Presidential car sustained ten thousand dollars worth of damage (mostly to paintwork and a new light) whilst the bicycle only needed its handlebars straightened.

Copyright David Macadam 2011