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Four conclusions about Cameron's 48 hours in Washington

By Tim Montgomerie
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The images below have kindly been supplied by Andrew Parsons/i-Images and must not be produced without permission.

Camerons Obamas Balcony


Political boost for Cameron: Remember all that talk that Barack Obama and David Cameron wouldn't get on? It seems a long, long time ago. Last week's visit to Washington by David Cameron (and most of his key advisers) couldn't have gone much better from a presentational point of view. Cameron was seen eating hot dogs with the Commander-in-Chief who - outside of America - is still a global pin up. Britain's PM got a ride on Air Force One. Most voters will have welcomed the two leaders' modesty on foreign policy compared to the boldness of the Bush/Blair years. We all got the opportunity to admire the very beautiful Samantha and Michelle. The visit reinforced the correct idea that only one party leader in British politics has a prime ministerial aura.

Cameron At Lecturn


A still special relationship: A lot of nonsense is spoken about the UK-US relationship but whether it's special or essential it's certainly important and after last week it is confirmed to be in robust health. We share so much culturally. Many British jobs depend upon US trade and investment (and vice versa). We co-operate militarily, diplomatically and on intelligence matters. One of the reason Britain matters in the world is that we are seen as the nation closest to Washington. The transatlantic relationship stands alongside our membership of the UN Security Council; membership of the EU; our place at the heart of the Commonwealth; a leading role in NATO; the world's fifth largest military power and, arguably, the best special forces as reasons why Britain still matters in the world... and why we matter to America. Whether America matters to the world in quite the way it did is another matter. Britain and France couldn't have fought the Libya campaign without US assistance but under America's 44th president there have been many photo opportunities but no progress on global warming, free trade or the nuclearisation of Iran.



Rupert Harrison (the advisor to George Osborne identified by Fraser Nelson as the real Chancellor); Gabby Bertin, Craig Oliver, Kate Fall, Ed Llewellyn, George Osborne and William Hague) all accompanied the PM on his visit. Steve Hilton was also on the visit but is not pictured.

Cameron Obama Dinner


A Conservative endorses Obama: If the visit was politically good for Cameron it was far from unhelpful to Barack Obama. Dana Milibank set out the reasons in the Washington Post, noting how the visit "produced some impossibly good press for the president". He continued: "Finally, a conservative who likes President Obama. And he’s not just any conservative, mind you. He’s a capital-C Conservative, British Prime Minister David Cameron. On his official visit to Washington, the Briton could not say enough good things about his American host... Cameron seems to be serving as Obama’s guard dog, defending his American master against the Mitt Romneys and the Rick Santora."

Cameron Obama White House


Cameron the Obamacon: David Cameron will probably get away with his gushing words about Barack Obama because it's looking less and less likely that Obama will lose the White House. Cameron has gambled on Obama getting a second term and the two enjoying a long and trusting relationship as a result. But Obama's political fortunes could still go south if the economic recovery is derailed or, for example, the Iran situation explodes. Cameron probably didn't need to be quite so warm about the Democrat. One member of the Bush White House sent me a one word email: Ugh. Cameron did meet the Republican Governor of Ohio on the margins of that basketball game and Senator Richard Lugar at the White House Dinner. William Hague met John McCain. But the lavish praise of Obama shows the growing distance between British and American Conservatives. Toby Harnden of the Daily Mail commented: "For a British prime minister to align himself with one side in American politics is a rookie error. To do it with the party on the opposite side (supposedly) of the political spectrum is pure folly."

But are the Cameroons in a different place on the political spectrum? Cameron is (a little) keener to control immigration and begin deficit reduction but both have essentially the same positions on future deficit reduction, increasing taxes, climate change, abortion, gay marriage, overseas intervention, defence cuts and Israel. Former Thatcher speechwriter John O'Sullivan wrote an interesting essay this week urging US Republicans to look to Canada's Harper or Australia's Abbott as better political role models. You can read John's piece here.

From Behind



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