Mo and the importance of speaking the vernacular

The Guardian is running a fascinating series at the moment. It’s extracts from Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to Washington DC. After handing out some punishingly low marks to some of Tony Blair’s star cabineteers, he praises Mo Mowlem’s handling of the big guns in the US Congress:

The senators and congressmen would be primed by Sinn Féin, and if not on top of all the detail themselves, they had staff whispering in their ears who were. Mo handled this well. Her combination of candour, lack of pomposity, and tough-talking earned her respect and credibility on the Hill and in the administration. It helped also to be a woman in a wig. Mo’s great gift was that she could ‘speak’ American. Europeans divide into those who can ‘speak’ American and those who cannot. This is not a narrow linguistic point. It means having the ability to slip naturally into the American idiom.