George W

It was a great honour to be asked to have lunch with President George W. Bush in Dallas in June. I feel fairly sure it will be the only time in my life where I have the chance of a private meeting with a two term President. Not an invitation to turn down.

The former President is a keen artist and this was the premise for our 90 minute lunch. I had read his memoirs the day before and was fully briefed on his extraordinary life and his commentary in the hours, days and months after 9/11. W has a formidable knowledge of geopolitics around the world – I soon discovered that he is very well read on Africa and when I mentioned that I would be travelling to North Korea next month, he immediately told me the three books I should read.

He is warm and engaging and it was certainly a day that will live with me forever. I wonder whether history may look back at his eight years in The White House with growing fondness. He has manners, dignity and a great deal of admirers not just in Texas, but across the length and breadth of America. He steered the country in the aftermath of 9/11 with an admirable blend of anger, compassion and resolve.