Cameron’s visit to America: defending Britain or embarrassing Britain?

One of the major stories of this week has been David Cameron’s first visit to the United States as Prime Minister. The first official meeting of the two leaders has always been seen as essential to the future success of the ‘Special Relationship’ between the United States and the United Kingdom. Our friendship took a beating under Gordon Brown when his first visit to the US under Obama was soured by the Obama Administration’s poor choice of welcoming present; a selection of America film DVDs (which Mr Brown couldn’t even play back in the UK). On the final day of this visit what can be said, was this a success or failure for Mr Cameron?

Well firstly I am pleased to say that Mr Cameron is not a hypocrite when it comes to state visits, opting to travel via a scheduled flight rather than a charted one in order to save money and even slum it in business class! However, a good start has quickly dissolved into being a mixed trip for David with many confused as to whether this trip has asserted Cameron’s authority or left him being seen as just another British push over following in the steps of Brown and Blair.

Mr Cameron earned praise from his American counterparts in his quick action once taking office in attempting to cut the deficit. Furthermore, David proved that he is not content to being a mindless yes man by raising the difficult issue Gary McKinnon, only time will tell whether this was a success or not. Today the Prime Minister stood up for British business encouraging diplomats to secure as many orders for UK firms claiming that Britain is “open for business”, a welcome change from the apathetic attitude of the Labour Government towards business.

However, this visit has not been without its mistakes, one of them being the Prime Minister’s agreement to meet with Senators who are forming an anti-British rally in wake of the BP oil spill. In my opinion David Cameron should have refused this last-minute meeting, showing that the new government will not be bullied into submission by a group of xenophobic senators who should really be talking to the Scottish Government, afterall it was their decision not ours. Also there was the blunder of calling Britain the “junior partner” in WWII in 1940 (before America even joined the War) in this case I do believe this was a slip and hopefully Cameron will learn from his mistake.

Don’t get me wrong I am strong supporter of David Cameron and I do believe that this trip overall has been good for the new Prime Minister he has proven that he will be a cooperative but critical friend. It is too easy to criticise Mr Cameron for giving in too easily to certain American demands and not supporting British interests but we have to remember in many ways maintaining the Special Relationship is in Britain’s best interest.

Tim Hasker

Vice-President External

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