Obama needs to realise he needs Britain
Posted by Fraser at 9 57 PM on Saturday, June 12
WHEN David Cameron phoned Barack Obama yesterday, he didn’t have to shout. He just had to say where he’d been.
Visiting British troops, soon to be under US command in Afghanistan. A reminder that Britain is America’s most dependable ally.
I’m starting to wonder if Obama cares. Because to listen to his anti-British language, it seems the “special relationship” is dead.
The way Obama has behaved — threatening “kick ass” at BP over the oil spill — simply disgraces the office of president.
Sure, disaster has struck. An oil rig leased by BP blew up, sending up to 40,000 barrels of oil a day spewing into American waters.
It’s been going on for weeks, and Obama’s response had been confused and lethargic. So he and his Cabinet lash out at Britain.
They vow to do things like “keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum”. But there’s no such company.
BP changed its name a decade ago. But Obama is good at language (if little else).
The president knows he’s blowing an anti-British dog whistle, and stirring up a little bit of hatred. And it’s working a treat.
British visitors in America, and UK firms trying to do business, report how the mood has hardened.
The blown-up oil rig was built in South Korea, owned by a Geneva-based company and operated by an American company owned by BP.
But BP, 39 per cent owned by Americans, is led by a British plonker named Tony Hayward. Calamitously, the public face of the disaster has an English accent.
Gaffe-prone Hayward whines: “I’d like my life back.” Americans think: “Sure. Life plus 20 — and no parole.”
BP should rename itself Amoco — the US company it bought 12 years ago. That should shut Obama up.
We can have no idea exactly what Cameron and Obama said yesterday. But Cam is clearly confident Obama will now pipe down.
Specifically, we are told, Obama has agreed never to use the phrase “British Petroleum” again.
Cam is right not to pick a fight with Obama over a multinational company. As PM, he defends Britain. And that means gently pointing out the harm Obama’s words do to British interests in America. If Cam wanted to lower himself to Obama’s level, he could point out how Britain was hit by fraud at US investment banks.
FRASER Nelson is Editor of The Spectator.