So the Venezuelan vice-president Nicolas Maduro is pleading with President Chavez to return to Caracas because “we’re waiting for you here…your children, we who’ve sworn to be loyal to you even beyond this life.”
Quite apart from the 58-year-old Chavez being rather too young to be the ‘father’ of his people, Mr Maduro ‘s remarks are so obsequious as to be almost Uriah Heep in quality. Like Heep, he might also have made a reference to his “humbleness” and the portrayal would be pitch perfect for reprising the Charles Dickens character.
Granted Mr Maduro owes his job to Mr Chavez. And that he may owe him his next one too, if the people heed their current President’s “absolute” command to elect the vice-president to the top job should he not make it back from cancer. But a little public dignity might be in order. A la Dmitry Medvedev. He is a particularly good example of wrapping the shreds of his dignity tightly around him, even though he knew that the world knew that he owed his previous job (as president of Russia) to Vladmir Putin.
Mr Medvedev owes Mr Putin his current one too (prime minister). But all along, he has seemed singularly unwilling or unable to flatter in that most unappealing of ways – ie, exhausting everyone around in their efforts to believe it!