Sunday, March 28, 2010

The "special" one

A group of MPs have questioned Britain's "special relationship" with the USA and some parts of the media have suggested that this means the relationship is over.

In truth, all they have actually done is attempt to restate what the "special relationship" is - and they got it more or less right. Over the last twenty years or so - and the last decade in particular - the general assumption has been that the "special relationship" consists of some sort of unwritten reciprocal arrangement to scratch one another's back.

This is mostly a media driven assumption - because the media today is extremely lazy and largely ignorant - but it is fairly easy to understand given the lengths Tony Blair went to ingratiate himself with the US authorities and public. But Blair wasn't doing that for Britain's benefit - because Blair is no fool.

Blair knew that he wasn't going to be PM for ever and he knows that most ex-Prime Ministers end up comparatively scratching an obscure living once they depart office. That was never going to be enough for the vain Blair and his crone wife. They wanted fame and money and they knew where that money was and where the pursuit of fame is rewarded - so Blair manipulated that "special relationship" for his own ends.

Personally speaking, that is enough to condemn Blair as a person and a politician - that he put his personal goals before those of the country he was supposed to be leading - but most people still don't understand that about Blair. I don't blame them - after all, we've become used to our politicians putting personal ambition before national interest ever since we joined the EU and the lines are now so blurred that few people recognise this when it happens.

Blair manipulated the "special relationship" to serve his own ends in the same way that many politicians on both sides of the House of Commons manipulate our relationship with the EU for their own ends. The difference is that the relationship with the EU is an enforced and uncomfortable one which is causing considerable damage to our national status and culture.

The "special relationship" with the US was not a political one. Instead it was about two distinct and separate nations who happened to have a lot in common - shared values, culture and even history. It was never about what we could do for each other except incidentally - it was about what we had in common with each other.

What ruined that relationship was not anything that happened in the last twenty years - it is what happened in 1973 when Heath took us into an alliance with a bunch of countries with whom we had little in common and nothing to learn from.

Our "special relationship" with the USA is the same now as it was in 1940 - and the same as it is with Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It's never had an official name, but generally it is known as the Anglosphere. The Anglosphere consists of other nations who, mainly due to our imperial past, have a lot in common with British values and culture and it is an accident of history that one of those happened to be the most powerful nation of the 20th century.

That's all the "special relationship" ever was and will be. The only way it can be changed is if something happens to change the values and culture of one of those nations. Well, something is happening that is changing the values and culture of one of those nations, but it is not in America, or in Canada or in Australia - it is happening here and it is called the EU.

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