Which brings me to the growing flurry of interest in English sports. Alas, again. The United Kingdom holds the dubious accolade of having invented most of the world's greatest sports but failing to shine in any of them. Modern golf came from Scotland; cricket, soccer, hockey, tennis, rowing and rugby from the South. But the last time we won the World Cup at soccer was in 1966, and no one's expecting to see many Brits on the podium at London's 2012 Olympic Games.
Very occasionally a British athlete such as David Beckham, the delicious footballing hunk with that wife, captures both the critics' and the public's imagination. But No. 1 in everyone's love seat right now is Lewis Hamilton, the handsome 22-year-old rookie who looks set to win the Formula One car racing championship.
Some clever exec should snap up Hamilton's life story. Since Hamilton was a child, he and his father, a former British Rail employee, dreamed of winning the championship. It was an unlikely goal for a boy who grew up in a poor family. Hamilton has cited his younger half brother, Nicholas, who has cerebral palsy, as his inspiration. There wouldn't be a dry eye in the cinema.
There'll be a different kind of tears in a forthcoming film about another English sportsman. Brit comedian Steve Coogan will play Eddie the Eagle, who became a national hero by being an utter failure. Michael "Eddie" Edwards was an overweight plasterer who decided to represent his country at ski jumping in the 1988 Winter Olympics. The fact that there was no snow in Eddie's hometown was only one drawback. He also was so nearsighted that if his glasses fogged up on the descent, he had to ski blind. Unfortunately, he came in last in both his events.
Today our politicians, so often tarnished by national and international events, need that sprinkling of magic fairy dust that only celebrities can provide. For Blair's inauguration party, he invited a whole load of raffish pop stars, designers, playwrights and literati. This fete marked the beginning of an era known as Cool Britannia.
Brown wanted to launch his leadership on a different note. For starters, with his Labour Party so strapped for cash, the former chancellor wasn't going to offer any freebies. He asked guests to pay up to $2,000 to attend an event at the magnificent new Wembley Stadium. And although there were a few glitterati in attendance, Brown's VIPs were the nation's top athletes. There were lots of speeches and toasts, including one to future English sporting success.
Don't mock. We can dream, can't we?