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Many British Conservative members are closer to the Republican Party. I am one of them.

I happen to find myself closer to the Democrats as they were the last administration to balance the budget(as opposed to a substantial increase in federal spending by Bush)The Patriot Act, wiretapping and various other freedom restricting acts by the GOP have caused me to further distance myself from them.

Ron Paul for President! He is the only genuine conservative who is running for the Republican nomination.

*Should* Mr Cameron spend his political capital on this? Probably not, because I don't think he'd be very succesful and there are more pressing concerns elsewhere.

It is very difficult for the public to see what we get out of this "special relationship". As far as we can see, we are completely ignored - perhaps we pass some useful intelligence onto them. The special relationship seems to amount only to theoretical military defence, which is in any case in the US interest as enemy bases on the British Isles are hardly desireable for the US. There was a contract the US military had with us that got cancelled not so long ago, I believe. That's the sort of thing which make a lot of Tories grumble about the US. I don't trust Blair so I don't trust him if he says there are benefits. I can't say I trust Cameron or Hague or Fox either. People want to know far more clearly what we're getting out of all this and I would like evidence really. When Churchill said the Americans were our friends, people would believe him, but who believes Blair or Cameron, spin magicians?

Moreover - even with the slight distancing in position of Howard/Hague etc, the Tories in government would still be one of the most pro-American governments around. I don't think there's a concern here in terms of alliance with America.

With the Republican party specifically - I believe they've bungled on their budgets, made mistakes in their defence department and given the world a bad picture of not just the US but conservative ideology. As far as I can see they have not done well and the Democrats aren't particularly left wing by UK, let alone European, standards.

What there is - is an unwillingness on the part of the Conservative leadership to combat the anti-Americanism that is rampant across Europe. David Cameron is reluctant to spent his political capital on making the case for co-operation with the USA on missile defence or any other controversial venture.

In this life you have to stand for something or you'll fall for anything. DC isn't standing for anything meaningful right now. What's worse he's sending negative messages to the UK's natural ally, the USA.

DC doesn't stop there. He's left the grassroots Conservatives, who are mainly and crucially eurosceptic, wondering where he actually stands on the EU. Does he know where he stands on this major issue that affects life here in the UK and also impacts on our relationship with our American cousins? Sadly, I think not.

It is more than 30 years since we last had a referendum on what is now called the European Union. Back then people thought they were voting to stay in a common market. In fact, they had signed up to the creation of a common country. That country is called Europe, and its capital is Brussels.

If Dave were to state unequivocally that the next Conservative Government will hold a referendum on the UK's continued membership of the EU he would romp home with a huge majority. This would also lead to the resolution of the current concerns articulated by Atlanicists here in the UK and in the USA.

Michael Howard never made "if I knew then remarks etc". In fact one of the criticisms of him could be that he didn't when that was clearly the case for any sane person.

Unfortunately he was saddled by IDS's dogmatic and unthinking and unquestioning position at the start of the war. For instance IDS asked no questions (ZERO) in response when Blair made a parliamentary statement at the time of the publication of the September dossier. That is astounding and unfortunately became the poisoned chalice he passed on to his successors.

The White house remarks you are referring to were actually in response the Howard's critical response to the Hutton inquiry evidence. The irony is that IDS remarks at the Blackpool party Conference actually went much further than Howard ever did.

Cameron's role if any was as a neo Con adviser. Thankfully he has now changed position.

Of course the conservatives are much closer to the GOP, even if there is a temporary break in foreign policy. Remember, conservatives put the national interest first. When our national interest coincides with the American one, of course we should be pro-American. When it doesn't, we can disagree but not let something that's temporarary get in the way of our shared values and lead to something as destructive as vicious anti-americanism. Promoting the free market, traditional values and a strong state unite, and have united, conservatives on both sides of the atlantic for a very long time, and will continue to do so, if we stay confident in our traditionalism and conservatism.

God forbid we ever get closer to the Democrats, a party I will remind you all is for racist affirmative action, abortion on demand, higher taxes, amnesty for illegal immigrants and every other anti-conservative policy out there.

"spoke of a "solid but not slavish" alliance, and called for "the effective management of the relationship with the United States of America."
Blair has never had the equal relationship with the US that Mrs Thatcher enjoyed, in fact I would say part of the strength of the Reagan/Thatcher years was the fact that both leaders put their OWN countries first. They discussed/debated issues but were both strong enough to go it alone/stand up for the benefit of their own national interests.
I do not believe that the Americans deserve a slavish adherence to their foreign policy when the partnership has been so unequal, and that alone has contributed to many of the mistakes we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I am not anti American and have relatives (republican) who are also questioning what has happened under Bush and Blair's watch.

The Conservatives need to build an new relationship with the American Republican party, but it has to be an equal partnership and it has to be on the understanding that we are not a satellite state which will blindly follow their lead. We have our own domestic considerations to take into account and although I recognise that we have in the past been a bridge to Europe, we are not responsible for being the apologists for American mistakes which might have damaged their relationship with certain European nations.
With the presidential elections in the horizon we cannot allow ourselves to be used by individual candidates for their own ambitions.
Bridges need to built on both sides of the Atlantic and that takes a real commitment from all concerned.

"Ron Paul for President! He is the only genuine conservative who is running for the Republican nomination."

I was under the impression he was a libertarian. Libertarian conservative perhaps?

What the devil did I say in my first post? I meant to say the Democrats!!!!

Holmes/Gardiner:"Standing shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. may not be the most popular policy in Britain, with few votes to be gained, but it is fundamentally in Britain's interest"
Certainly - but no need to bang on about it to the electorate.

Cllr Keith Standring "If Dave were to state unequivocally that the next Conservative Government will hold a referendum on the UK's continued membership of the EU he would romp home with a huge majority."
Certainly - so bang on about it to the electorate!

"Certainly - but no need to bang on about it to the electorate."

Exactly. It's like with tax cuts and Europe and immigration. We know very well where the Tory party stands, why broadcast these unpopular policies unnecessarily?

I want the UK government to follow a foreign poliy that is in the UK's interest. For the most part, this will include working together with the US, but this does not equate to slavish devotion and a policy of no criticism, whihc the Editor appears to be campaigning for.

BBC have just published this analyisis of the runners and riders if anyones interested. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/5006788.stm

Interestingly you have a Republican pushing for minimum wage rises and another promsing a national insurance scheme for health.

"spoke of a "solid but not slavish" alliance, and called for "the effective management of the relationship with the United States of America." These controversial words caused significant political damage here."

That such words could be 'controversial' shows just how subservient we have become.

I don't understand how you can write these pro-GOP editorials, imbued as they are with this sort of "Of course Tories are natural Republicans, why on earth is the party leadership not banging on about it" feeling.

1. Why would a Tory necessarily support a neocon foreign policy? Michael Gove is great and he convinces me in his writings, but it's not clear to me why that means that Malcolm Rifkind (for example) isn't a conservative, while this liberal interventionist doctrine - which began life on the left - is. (Please note, I'm not saying I don't support such a policy, only that I don't understand what is intrinsically Tory about it).

2. What does "conservative" mean to a GOP person and how necessarily does that translate to a UK reader?

I think you have a very particular strand of Republicanism in mind when you write these articles which you don't articulate in their writing -- I suspect (but don't know for sure) that you are a supporter of what we call "the religious right" in media shorthand. That is a completely fine school of conservatism, but it is not ALL conservatism, and therefore it doesn't follow that Cameron is being a Bad Tory by not jumping up and down in support of it.

I know next to nothing about US politics other than what one reads in the newspapers, from which limited understanding it is at least clear to me that I could easily campaign enthusiastically for a GOP president (Go Rudi) but just as easily vote against one (I was so glad that your favourite Philadelphian senator lost his seat). The only thing I know is that I'm definitely a Tory and that therefore, there is NOT a one-to-one mapping between UK Toryism and US Republicanism.

The Republican Party is a much broader church than the Tories give it credit for. It wouldn't have been so successful if its support were restricted to the religious right. Yet it has a much clearer sense than the Tories of what a centre-right agenda should be and hence a much better killer instinct when it comes to winning elections. Any Tory supporting the Democrats is essentially supporting the isolationist American version of the Lib Dems.

It is all very well striking attitudes about "equal partnerships" but the SR simply isn't: we don't have a lot of financial or military clout and never have done. Churchill knew that better than anyone. Eden lost sight of it and paid the price. If the roles were reversed, we would take the US as much for granted as they do us so stop whinging. And what's the alternative: limp-wristed and ineffective isolationism or further integration into a militarily-impotent and americophobic EU?

I agree with you Michael about the Republicans being a broad church but I don't agree that the Democrats are necessarily isolationist. FDR,Truman and Johnson certainly weren't and in the end neither was Clinton (Daytona Accords?)odious though he may have been in other ways.
Personally I've always thought that Mrs Thatcher and Churchill played the special relationship reasonably well and Blair most certainly hasn't.Not all of it is Blairs' fault though, he has been unfortunate enough to have an incompetent as American President during his term of office.
I feel sure that whether McCain, Guilliani or Romney wins the nomination and then the Presidency they will prove to be able to manage American diplomacy more skilfully than Bush. At the moment from what I know of him Guilliani would be my preferred choice.

I agree, Malcolm, on the whole although I would say that since the sixties, the Democrats have become more isolationist: those were definitely the instincts of McGovern, Carter and Clinton although events forced the last two to be more active in the foreign policy arena.

Wow Malcolm - we have the same choice for next US President!

LOL, Malcolm, I think you might mean the Dayton Accords. Daytona has connections with motorsport rather than former Yugoslavia.

Agreed on Giuliani though.

I have no doubt that when the present numbskull vacates the Oval Office (Oh happy day), the anti-American our revered Editor so fears, will quickly recede.

Sorry, that should have been 'anti-Americanism'.

Delighted to agree with you Tim! I have to confess, I need to find out a lot more about each of the candidates. Well spotted Areistedes!I would love to say it was a deliberate mistake,sadly I can't!

feel sure that whether McCain, Guilliani or Romney wins the nomination and then the Presidency

Three Republicans. Are you saying the Democrats stand no chance here? Obrama is doing well, from what little I know.

I do not know whether the Republicans will win or not,I hope they will, particularly if Hillary Clinton is the democratic candidate.

Am I reading this right? My brain is functioning at particularly low gear I admit through somewhat lovely but irrelevant circumstances, but I think I'm reading that we all want Guilliani to be the R candidate and for him to defeat Mrs Hilary? We agree!

There is much less congruence - and I'm not refer to whatever it is Graeme is up to right now - between the GOP and the Conservatives than imagined.

Apart from a strong internationalist and free trading outlook, (when it suits), even the Reagan administrations were less "liberal" than we Tories.

Of course "liberal" in the US means pinko lefty, yet here it still carries the weight of the politics of the early Churchill, the last ever person from that party to hold the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer. As such it is associated more with the laissez faire ideology now more associated with Thatcher.

Both Bush presidencies, (Snr & Jnr), saw a strange mix of high federal spending and centralisation of social issues - W's Education legislation has challenged mainly on the grounds it was unconstitutional because education was not a function over which the Federal Govt had locus - and militaristic adventures which were started well and prosecuted successfully by the military, then screwed up by the politicians afterwards - Iraq x 2.

In this sense, they are discovering, as Thatcher to some extent, but especially Major and now Blair, have discovered, that if local authorities are left to their own devices, they tend to be captured by socialist activism, unions and politicians both.

That is why the new "Liberal Right", both in the US and here is neither particularly "Tory" or "Republican".

We - and I very definitely place myself on this territory - believe the way to carry through the responsibility revolution which Thatcher started in the UK economy, but which never even started to address the problems of dependency created by the Welfare State, is to bypass local elected authorities and empower the citizen wherever possible through vouchers, insurance etc. Only where there is no feasible way to do this do we then resort to the next best thing, namely locally accountable elected officials, then finally to national government.

The Democrats - Justin, please note - are the party of socialism in the US. It never caught on, which is why the dreadful Beverly Malone emigrated so she could revel in her role as the nurses champion in the NHS, but they still harbour hopes it will and steadily they advance their plans, like Blair's and Brown's, for sham devolution to local authorities based on them being able to do what they want, bot only if they do what they are told.

It is an absolute tenet of the socialist faith that people are not to be trusted, they must have their behaviour directed and controlled and that can only be done by "wise" people, preferably selected, not elected. That holds true as much in the Democrats as in New Labour and the Lib-Dems over here.

They claim to be liberals and progressives, yet their policies reduce freedom, restrict choice and slow progress. They should be prosecuted under Trading Standards legislation for misrepresentation!

"U.S. intelligence, after all, helped thwart a series of large-scale al Qaeda attacks on British targets, including Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf, which had been planned by 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."

So the US would have withheld this intelligence if we hadn't joined in in the war in Iraq? And let thousands of their own citizens die? Come off it.

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