Another week, another blow to the so-called Special Relationship. The latest sorry news is that Number 10 has been trying to orchestrate a meeting with President Donald Trump at Davos — but President Donald Trump reportedly isn’t interested. He’d rather hang out with President Macron of France instead. Oh dear. It looks as if the President wants us to grovel, and we probably will in the end.
It’s hard not to feel for May. She spent a lot of political capital in being friendly to Trump in the early weeks of his presidency. While Macron got elected essentially by posing as ;’anti-Trump, she tried to present herself as a sort of middle ground between Trump’s populist nationalism and Davos’s neoliberalism. But then Macron, almost because he seemed to be l’anti-Trump, was able to welcome the American President to Paris and treat him like a king. The French public barely protested, perhaps because they were, as the former ambassador to Washington Christopher Meyer neatly put it, ‘just pleased to score one over the rosbifs and get Trump to Paris before London and to do it in style.’
The British have not welcomed the President of our most powerful ally, and, never mind what you think of Trump, it’s a glaring diplomatic failure.
Suddenly, the special relationship doesn’t look very special at all. How is it that a handful of Labour politicians and the self-righteous Stop Trump UK mob have influenced international relations? Professional populism haters are enjoying the fall out between Trump and May and even perversely willing on the alliance of Macron and Trump. Who cares about the national interest?