From this week’s New Statesman (but not, sadly, available online to non-subscribers) — and complete with photo! — are two entire pages on a Balliol contemporary, Gerard Russell, “Our man in the land of Zam Zam Cola”, by Christina Lamb:
In a large, high-ceilinged room at the Foreign Office, where the television is tuned to al-Jazeera and three clocks show the time in Washington, London and Abu Dhabi, sits the young (he’s 29) diplomat whose task it is to spread the Blair message in Islamic countries….
Russell may be an anonymous, slightly balding man in a pinstripe suit in London, but in the Middle East he is “Brother Gerard”, recognised everywhere from petrol stations in the Sinai Desert to customs offices at Riyadh airport. When Tony Blair visited the unit, Russell was introduced to the Prime Minister as “the man more famous on al-Jazeera than you are”…
My goodness. Who would have thought it?