Perhaps Boris Johnson should watch Love Actually and learn how to stand up to a bullying American president - Anthony Clavane

President Trump declared Kim Darroch, who resigned as the UK's ambassador to the US two days ago, a non-person. (Picture: SWNS.com).
President Trump declared Kim Darroch, who resigned as the UK's ambassador to the US two days ago, a non-person. (Picture: SWNS.com).
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Some bad news. The American actress Laura Linney, who played Sarah in Love Actually, has ruled out a sequel to the 2003 film.

Readers of this column might be surprised that this news has upset me so much. This is because I am no fan of Richard Curtis, the movie’s writer and director, having previously declared that the very thought of his rom coms brought me out in a cold sweat.

Conservative leadership candidate Boris Johnson is vying with Jeremy Hunt to be the next Prime Minister. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images).

Conservative leadership candidate Boris Johnson is vying with Jeremy Hunt to be the next Prime Minister. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images).

I must confess that, in the past, I have been less than complimentary about the likes of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Not my cup of tea, you see. Or, to put it more brutally: “I would rather stick pins in my eyes than watch another group of metropolitan, middle-class southerners fall in and out of love with each other (and then back in again) before discovering that they can’t get by without a little help from their friends.”

Anthony Clavane: Seeing those four words ‘Richard Curtis rom com’ tends to bring me out in a cold sweat

It was this, admittedly intemperate, critique of a genre that has brought comfort and joy to millions of Curtis fans which provoked a Twitter pile on a few months ago. Some of his devotees reacted in the manner of a wounded cult follower outraged at the questioning of their great leader’s musings.

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“It sounds like (Clavane) needs some love in his life!” one tweeted. “Blimey he needs to chill out !!!” tweeted another. “Attention seeker,” snapped a third cultist. “Someone give that man a hug.” Ouch.

It’s only a matter of time, I’m sure, before they no-platform me or I get cancelled with extreme prejudice – and then declared a non-person.

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In retrospect, I may have been a bit harsh on Curtis. For Love Actually contains an iconic scene, one which deserves to be revered as a classic moment in cinema. It has been replaying in my mind for the last few days.

It is the one where the British prime minister – played, inevitably, by Hugh Grant – stands up to the bullying American president.

I was reminded of it after Donald Trump took the extraordinary step of declaring Kim Darroch, who resigned as the UK’s ambassador to the US two days ago, a non-person. That’s the same Donald Trump who recently enjoyed a bromance with Kim Jong-un.

Darroch’s crime was offering, as his former job required, a private assessment of the president, which ended up being leaked to the press. “The wacky Ambassador that the UK foisted upon the United States,” tweeted Trump, “is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy.” For good measure, he added that Theresa May had been “foolish” not to follow Trump’s advice on Brexit.

May’s likely successor, Boris Johnson, has clearly not watched Love Actually. Perhaps, like me, he’s a Curtis-sceptic. Which is why a sequel would be a good idea, with a Johnson-esque PM telling The Donald where to get off.

Appallingly, Boris threw Darroch under the bus by refusing to rule out sacking him if he became prime minister. This triggered the resignation.

No doubt the sycophantic prime-minister-in-waiting would follow May’s example and roll out the red carpet for the overbearing president. When this happened, during last month’s state visit, Trump praised the enduring strength of a “special relationship” which has existed between the two old allies the since the war.

“I love that word relationship,” says Grant in the iconic scene. “Covers all manners of sins, doesn’t it? I fear that this has become a bad relationship. A relationship based on the president taking exactly what he wants, and casually ignoring all those things that really matter to Britain.”

This was a cathartic point in the film. Clearly, when Boris finally assumes power there will be no such catharsis for the British public.

Instead, he will attempt to woo Trump away from the new love interest: Kim Jong-un. The president recently revealed that his feelings had changed towards Rocket Man. “He wrote me beautiful letters and they’re great letters,” he explained. “We fell in love.”

Ah, how sweet. If Curtis changes his mind and actually writes a Love Actually sequel, perhaps the predatory president’s attentions will switch from Martine McCutcheon to a dictator once described by The Onion as “the sexiest man alive”.