Monday, 5 April 2010

UK Elections Will be on May 6th...

Gordon Brown meets with the Queen tomorrow to ask for a general election to be called. Yes, that's really how this works, the mad compromise with history that is political life in Britain remains as entertaining as it is, oddly, more or less effective.

As a non voter, with friends in all three British parties (and some Green party-ites as well, now I think of it), I'll largely be watching these elections as a keen and interested observer. Good luck to all of you who will be hitting the campaign trail for one

But in the competition to determine who our next Prime Minister will be, may I only issue a fervent and heartfelt: May the best man win.

In terms of our relationship with America, I feel confident in saying that Obama's relationship with a future PM will be the same as his dealings with the current one; a warm and close association in which we don't always agree but most often find ourselves on the same side. Call it a Special Relationship if you like - and the British Media love to check the pulse and temperature of the Specialness in our relationship, viewing it apparently as a very poorly patient. For me the point is that in the BEST of all possible ways America doesn't usually need to worry about Britain. We rarely worry that they will stockpile nuclear weapons, or crack down in totalitarian oppression against their own people. We don't worry that they'll mass troops against their neighbours, or intentionally destabilize global currencies. If Obama often doesn't spend as much time on the relationship with Britain as the British press would like, it's because there are a lot of countries out there for whom one or more of those descriptions apply.

That the UK is so often proudly unproblematic is something that (fortunately) is unlikely to change no matter which of the candidates becomes our next PM. So I don't expect Barack will be rushing to endorse any of them, whereas I do expect he'll be quick to congratulate whoever should come out ahead.

Which doesn't mean there won't be offices in the White House - including the Oval one - watching the forthcoming show with great interest.

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