This NYRB piece on Gordon Brown put me in a really good mood.

The positive view of Brown was set abnormally early. He had been in Number Ten for about thirty-six hours when a car bomb was discovered in London's West End, followed by a failed attack on Glasgow airport. There was no sign of panic. Brown did not rush before the cameras insisting that he was taking personal charge or proclaiming a struggle for civilization, as his predecessor might have done. Instead he had his home secretary, Jacqui Smith, report to the public, making good on his promise to replace the presidentialism of Blair with a return to cabinet government.

When he did comment, following the Glasgow attack, he did so plainly and soberly as if discussing a serious crime rather than an act of war. This fitted Brown's disavowal of the phrase "war on terror," which he believes grants too much status, even dignity, to the murderers of al-Qaeda. The new approach, which instantly took the heat out of the moment, spreading calm rather than panic, won universal plaudits, including from Britain's Muslim communities....

Nowhere was the shift more apparent than in his relationship with the Bush administration. Brown used his first visit to the US in July to signal, by means subtle and overt, that a change had come.... Gone were the chinos, first names, and chummy informality of the Bush–Blair summits. At Brown's request, prime minister and president wore suits and addressed each other formally. Brown wanted to convey that the relationship from now on would be strictly business. Brown's inability to make smalltalk underlined that he did not want to be Bush's buddy and that the "special relationship" would be between Britain and the US rather than between Number Ten and the White House. As one of Brown's allies remarked later: "It was fascinating to watch Gordon turn his pathologies into assets."