‘And it is Gordon Brown who has given grounds to believe that today’s British are a cowardly, unprincipled, amoral and duplicitous lot. Because he is all of those. Can he remain in power having been revealed as at least complicit in an atrocious miscarriage of justice and breach of faith? That will be up to the Brits, but on this side of the Atlantic Ocean it is inconceivable that an elected official would have a snowball’s chance after sanctioning an oil-for-terrorist deal’
So reads the New York Daily under the headline ‘Brown the Betrayer’. It seems that the ‘special relationship’ isn’t that special at all these days following the election in November last year of Barack Obama who has taken at best a laissez-faire attitude to the transatlantic partnership and as the Americans continue to bemoan the release of convicted murderer Al Megrahi. As you will all be aware by now I believe that Megrahi’s release under the guise of ‘compassion’ is not only an insult to the families of those whose recieved no such compassion from the convicted terrorist, but it also flies in the face of a previous pledge by the British government to the Americans that he would serve out his full sentence in Scotland. It is his release and the duplicitous actions of the British government that have proven to be the straw the broke the camels back. Who can blame the Americans for being livid with the limey’s? After all it is impossible to sustain a relationship, let alone a special one, if one partner can no longer believe what the other one says. However the truth is this relationship hasn’t been all that special for a long time and there are those who would legitimately question whether such a relationship ever existed. I however believe one does or did exist and it is the actions of this government that have compromised it.
So why and how have we come to this impasse? That is what I am asking you and hope you will respond with suggestions. For my part I believe that in a country like America ‘personality politics’ is everything. John ‘Jack’ Kennedy had it, Ronnie ‘The Gipper’ Reagan had it, William ‘Relations’ Clinton had it, George ‘Dubya’ Bush had it (believe it or not) and Barack ‘Messiah’ Obama has it by the bucket load. So what of their British counterparts? Do they have that same style and flair for leadership? Well I’d say its a safe bet that barely 10% of the American population would be able to identify Brown as the British Prime Minister today despite the fact hes made several visits and is the ‘leader’ of their principal ally in the War on Terror. Those in the minority that do recognise him will see him as little more than Tony Blair’s uncharismatic sidekick, one who is ‘always the bridesmaid and never the bride’. This American indifference to Gordon ‘Bumbler’ Brown stands in stark contrast to British political titans like Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill who are instantly recognised and respected by the Yanks. Even Tony Blair gets a positive reception state side which must really be a smack in the face to Brown.
So what do all these leaders; Thatcher, Blair, Churchill have in common? Well aside from the fact that their respective tenures are seen as ‘golden ages’ for the ‘Special Relationship’, the fact they all share some form of ‘conservative’ philosophy and a flair for personality politics; all of them were convincing leaders of Britain and commanding figures on the world stage. Americans respond to charismatic ‘conviction’ politicians like them and therefore it is no suprise that the relationship is at its strongest when politicians of their mould stride the world stage on Britains behalf. Brown and Britain as a whole however are seen as a bit of a world joke today and therefore it is my belief that the ‘special relationship’ will only remain strong so long as we have a leader and not a lame duck in Downing Street. Someone who champions our interests with charisma and conviction.
Thatcher handbagged her way in to the heart and minds of the American people, Churchill commanded their respect with his British bulldog attitude and Blair won their praise for his strength and support in the wake of attrocity and terrror. Brown however at best has won their sympathy and at worst their ridicule as much as John Major did following Thatcher. However unlike Major the American’s ridicule and bewliderment at how such a ‘vanilla figure’ can follow someone like Blair, has now turned to fury and anger as the assumption that Megrahi’s release was linked to a trade deal with Britain takes hold in Washington. Therefore with the release of Megrahi in the name of trade, the collapse of the reputation of the City of London in the wake of the economic crisis, Britains increasingly subservient attitude toward the encroaching EU and its gradually reducing role in the War on Terror, one has to ask what Britain has to offer the Americans other than rain and royalty? Speaking as a British citizen and a fierce advocate of the transatlantic alliance I believe its high time Britain pulled its socks up and elected a leader with whom the Americans ‘can do business’. I sincerely hope and believe Cameron is that leader.
So what do you think? Why has the relationship failed is it salavagable? Is Cameron the man to salvage it?