There is a curious international interchangeability to political speeches these days. Mrs Thatcher tells us that the main priority is the fight against inflation. An identical message is delivered by Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter to their voters, and by Helmut Schmidt to his. Raymond Barre tells the French the same thing. Whoever happens to be in power in Italy, from one day to the next, says the same. I have no doubt that if Prince Rainier manages to get a few hours away from the ski slopes he tells Monacans the same thing, too. So drearily universal is the refrain that it hardly seems worth reading foreign newspapers these days — it’s pure Cole Porter:
Birds do it
Bees do it
Even cuckoos in the privacy of clocks do it.
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© R. W. Johnson 1985