When Winston Churchill was at the nadir of his career, he wrote a biography of his ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough. In his wilderness years he needed to be reminded that even the greatest men of destiny go through periods when it all seems pretty hopeless. ‘Every taunt, however bitter; every tale, however petty; every charge, however shameful, for which the incidents of a long career could afford a pretext, has been levelled against him,’ Churchill wrote. Those Blenheim Palaces and Finest Hours: they don’t just give themselves away, you know.
I wish someone had told me this when I was younger. Unfortunately, like many of us, I suffered the misfortune of having parents who kept telling me how very special I was.
“If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail.”
That was, of course, Winston Churchill, talking about Britain and the US in his 1943 Harvard Speech. As so often, he was spot on.
Never in modern history have the prosperity, security and stability of the world been more assured than when the two greatest nations of the Anglosphere acted in concert. [I recommend Andrew Roberts’s book on this A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900]
We saw off the Kaiser in 1918; Hitler in 1945; the “Evil Empire” of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.
Now – after the triumphant meeting of Theresa May and Donald Trump – we are back together again in the greatest affirmation of the Special Relationship since the days of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
President Trump gets it. Prime Minister May gets it. The good guys are back in charge and the world is all the better for it.
I’m talking like this partly because it’s so absolutely guaranteed to annoy the hell out of grisly, unpatriotic lefties like Laura Kuenssberg, the bitter-lemon-tonselled BBC News political editor who tried to sour the mood of the May/Trump love-in with a typically chippy, snobby BBC question pouring scorn on President Trump.
Mr President, you’ve said before that torture works, you’ve praised Russia, you’ve said you want to ban some Muslims from coming to America, you’ve suggested there should be punishment for abortion.
“For many people in Britain those sound like alarming beliefs. What do you say to our viewers at home who are worried about some of your views and worried about you becoming the leader of the free world?”
If Trump thought this was representative of the way Britain really thinks, the Special Relationship would have died there and then. But he knows Britain well enough to realise that the BBC is not the voice of Britain, only the voice of a remote, unrepresentative metropolitan liberal-left elite which tried to stand in the way of Brexit and which would have much preferred the raddled, left-wing crook Hillary to have won the US presidential election.
In other words, Trump understands that the BBC is the voice of the losing minority not the winning majority.
Barack Obama came to Britain and, in the guise of lofty, statesman-like disinterested amity made a statement so outrageously provocative that he might just as well have said: “My historians tell me the reason you guys lost the War of Independence is because your penises were incredibly small.”
No really – his presumption in telling us which way to vote in the European Union debate was that arrogant and rude. The only people in Britain who welcomed Obama’s intervention were the ones already on board with the European Union project. For anyone else, it was a calculated insult from a meddling hypocrite interloper.
The Inevitable Reaction
That’s why, naturally enough, those on the opposing side of the argument – the ones advocating exit from the European Union – responded in kind. If Obama was going to behave like a bumptious prick, well, he deserved to be treated like a bumptious prick.
Hence the perfectly proportionate response by Boris Johnson (Mayor of London; leading light of the Brexit faction) making gentle reference to the President’s Kenyan, anti-British heritage, to Obama’s pointed return of the Winston Churchill bust, and to the meddling, anti-democratic, and thoroughly un-American nature of his suggestion that Britain should remain shackled to the kind of socialist superstate that no American would personally tolerate.
The Manufacture of the Outrage
If you understand how the modern left – especially its Praetorian Guard, the Social Justice Warriors (SJW) – operates, what you’ll realise is this: that the sole tactical purpose of the President’s visit was to generate a kind of “beneficial crisis” which could then be exploited for political ends.