Dawn, Nic, Nelson.. and that man Obama

THAT man again: Nic Careem explains in today’s New Journal how he’s travelled the world getting famous faces – and politicians – to sign tributes in a book for his hero, Nelson Mandela. Whatever you think of his fast-talking style, the end product is pretty impressive. Everyone from Sir Paul McCartney to Obama has inked a message to the great man. When Nic showed it to me, I thought such a precious thing should be kept in a bank vault.

Understandably, the recent Tory recruit is most proud of the Obama message but – argh – there’s still something that irritates about him on the page the President graced with his ridiculously neat lines of text. Careem reckons that when Labour MP Dawn Butler (Brent South) took her turn to sign the book, she made a beeline to the page already pressed by the President, squeezing her own message into the corner of the same page. “It’s on the shoulders of giants I stand,” she wrote (see above).

Nic told me as we ran through the book together last week: “Honestly! She could have used any blank page in the book like everybody else – but there she is on the Obama page. Why did she have to put herself there? It looks like she just wanted to put herself next to him.”

Maybe he shouldn’t be surprised: Butler was full of wonder when Obama endorsed her work with a signed note last year. Slightly embarrassingly, it was later reported that it was Ms Butler’s office which had suggested the reference and even worked on the wording, which turned out to be the very highest level of toe-curling.  Wording which read like this:

 I say to people of Brent, you should have the audacity of hope and when someone asks you can she do it, you respond yes we can.

Nooooooooooo. Make it stop.

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