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World Politics

Politics: Mr President, your Tube carriage/limo/helicopter awaits...


And you thought Vladimir Putin commuted to the Kremlin topless on the back of a lion. Nope, the President gets around the Russian capital like millions of other Muscovites: via its notoriously snarled-up streets. So bad is gridlock in Moscow that the President has now taken to working from his suburban home to save angering his subjects with his massive motorcade, for which everything must give way.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has also agreed to confine himself to his mansion where possible, occasionally going so far as to sacrifice his limousine for a helicopter (nobody can honk you at 5,000ft).

Many leaders live above shop, commuting via carpet to their desks (it's a wonder Obama bothers with shoes). When David Cameron does leave No 10, it's rarely by bike these days after embarrassment that followed the revelation in 2006 that the Tory leader's pannier was a car.

City chiefs, meanwhile, are obliged to use public transport. Boris Johnson is a Tube regular but Michael Bloomberg was caught out, Cameron-style, when the NYC "billio-mayor" was seen getting to his station in a convoy of SUVs.

François Hollande, AKA Monsieur Normal, zipped about Paris by scooter before high office forced him to travel by more secure means. Joe Biden was similarly reluctant to switch modes. As a senator, the US Vice President commuted three hours a day to Washington DC by train. Amtrak recognised his loyalty last year by re-naming his station in his honour.

Most manly in the man-of-the-people stakes, however, is Enda Kenny; the Irish PM told Time magazine last week that he walks to work. Beat that, Putin.