The Third Leader: Lost leaders

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The Independent Online

It is often unwise to expect too much from world leaders. Their unprepared thoughts and instant aperçus tend especially to disappoint those seeking any great insights.

One thinks of the recent lip-reading of Adolf Hitler's home movies, which, apart from revealing him to have been a fan of Mickey Mouse, produced this to Eva Braun: "You talk about a dress that does not fit ... imagine my problems".

Further back, Pitt the Younger's final pronouncement was, "I think I could eat one of Bellamy's veal pies". Richard Nixon, asked in China for his reaction to the Great Wall, replied: "It's a great wall".

So, not much of a surprise, apart from the number of syllables, that this should be George W Bush on his post-presidential plans: "I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch."

Others will emphasise outrage at this one, on the disastrous, apparently disobedient decision to disband the Iraqi army: "Yeah, I can't remember. I'm sure I said, 'This is the policy, what happened?'"

We were taken with the President's choice, while he was opining, from all the White House chef could offer, of low-fat hotdogs.

A man clearly, then, in want of a little imagination. Perhaps we can suggest some anti-boredom retirement measures: 1. Crayons. 2. Delia Smith boxed DVD set. 3. Foreign travel: south-eastern Cuba is most interesting, although the accommodation can be a bit cramped. 4. Buy a map. 5. Ask Dick what happened. 6. Read your autobiography. 7. Without moving your lips. 8. Scrabble would be a mistake. 9. Take an interest in those things with horns on. 10. Ride one.

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