Persson fears Lipponen

The former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson tells in his memoirs (fi) of a brush with death at a 1998 European Union meeting in Cardiff, Wales.

"During a break in the line to the bathroom, the big Lipponen was in front of me. He was angry. Lipponen was furious; he literally radiated anger. I had probably said something in my statement that didn't suit him and Finland.

"Lipponen turned toward me and said in a low, clear voice, stressing every syllable, which is why his speech is always unbearably slow, 'You better watch out!'

"It felt very awkward, but just in that blink of an eye the bathroom door opened and out stepped a happy Mandela. He looked at me and Paavo, greeted us affably, and we exchanged a few words."

Nelson Mandela's timely intervention defused the situation and saved the rotund Persson's hide.

I have two comments on this:

First, given Lipponen's well-publicized new driver's license, if Persson is hit by a car with Finnish license plates and the culprit flees the scene, we know whose alibi to check first. Persson thinks they've patched up their differences, which just goes to show how much he knows.

Second, Mandela really deserved that Nobel Peace Prize.

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