Monday, 23 January 2017
Mrs May's embarrassing relationship
Even when the US president was a relatively decent chap, such as Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter, Clinton (in public) and Obama, the British establishment's desperate attempts to claim a "special relationship" with the US was a humiliating embarrassment. Our pretence was successfully mocked as far back as the 1960s by Peter Cook in his wonderful "Beyond the Fringe" take-off of Harold Macmillan. I can't remember the exact words but, referring, Britain's attempts to retain relevance by offering to be an "honest broker" between the US and the then USSR it went something like:
"I chaffed him by saying that no nation could be more honest and he chaffed me by saying that no nation could be broker."
Now that the US president's publicly expressed attitudes are the polar opposite of "decent" it is even more humiliating that our prime minister is so desperate to be seen to claim pre-eminence in our relationship by being the first foreign leader to meet him. Of course we have to maintain a professional diplomatic relationship with the most powerful country in the world, however dubious the legitimacy and morals of its leader. But surely national self-respect requires that this should be in a lower key. Normally I would suggest the foreign secretary but, given that this is Boris Johnson, perhaps it would be best to keep it at the relative anonymity of ambassador level