High life

Snobbery, sneering and secret sniggers: the sad truth about the so-called 'special relationship'

Britain has never been the Greece to America's Rome

22 November 2014

9:00 AM

22 November 2014

9:00 AM

To the grand Herrera house on the upper east side of Manhattan for lunch in honour of Lord and Lady Linley. David Linley is over here to receive an award for his designs, which even a rube like myself where furniture is concerned finds wonderful. Princess Margaret’s son is talented, but he’s also a very nice man. His parents must have done something right, because he’s lived a scandal-free life (as has his sister) — something other British royals cannot claim. He also earns his own living, as rare among royals as a neoconservative marine.

Our hostess Carolina Herrera is the best fashion designer in America, by far. She and her husband were very close to Princess Margaret, and David and Serena stay with them whenever they’re in the Big Bagel. It was a fun lunch, with editors of glossy magazines, princes of no-longer-existing monarchies, a very pretty English lady assistant to Linley, and so on. She told me how Marie Christine of Kent once said of Linley, ‘Who cares what a carpenter thinks’, forgetting, as the fabulist who claims to be related to royals who are unaware of it tends to do when putting her ungainly foot in it, that Our Lord Jesus was a carpenter himself.

Looking around, it struck me that there were no Americans present. This was not by design, but in today’s money-comes-first society, some of our recently minted billionaires are not exactly house-trained, hence their absence. (They have little education, absolutely no taste and not the slightest perception of refinement or beauty.) Mind you, the English have always reserved their praise of Americans for dancing girls, blues singers and god-awful rappers, who offer British ‘artists’ no serious competition. I’m afraid this is true. There is a fundamental aversion in Britain to anything American, although the worse the product that comes out of the Home of the Depraved, the quicker the Brits adopt it. Our own Paul Johnson has often touched upon this. The sneering, the obnoxious condescension, the antipathy towards anything American reached its highest point during the Thatcher–Reagan years. The more the Iron Lady copied Reagan’s Cold War policies, the more the Left jeered and shouted. Which brings me to the special relationship, as it’s called — that between the UK and the USA.


I recently came across a book about the special relationship between JFK and Supermac titled Harold and Jack. The author, Christopher Sandford, called it a remarkable friendship, which I think is stretching it quite a lot. Sure, JFK liked old Harold, and was even related to him by marriage, but JFK was no fool. He knew that Britain was in decline and being strangled by the unions and hardly the world power that many still considered it to be. First and foremost, personal ties do not count when it comes to national interests. I remember Macmillan being interviewed (this was after JFK’s assassination) and recounting how JFK had told him in Nassau that if he didn’t make love daily he got terrible headaches. Macmillan thought that incredible, and, if memory serves, he even made fun of the way Kennedy pronounced schedule as ‘skedule’. See what I mean by condescension? I grew up with English toffs sometimes making fun of my Americanisms, something I wouldn’t give up for the world, as they say.

During the Cuban missile crisis, Macmillan’s role was totally passive, as a large arsenal of Soviet nukes was placed on the tight little island. JFK and his advisers knew and accepted that, so when things got really hot the White House dispatched the legendary ex-secretary of state Dean Acheson to brief de Gaulle, and assigned the American ambassador to London, David Bruce, to brief Mac. In fact, JFK had no contact with No. 10 for the first five days of the crisis. So much for the special relationship, a phrase first used by Winston Churchill in 1946.

The special relationship — if there ever was one, which I doubt — came to an end when Eisenhower made Eden eat humble pie and end his military operations at Suez in 1956. This was done overnight through a threat by the US government to sell Sterling Bond holdings. (The Chinese could do something similar to America today and make Uncle Sam scream.) Supermac became super because of the way he choreographed Britain’s post-empire decline. Being the great actor that he was, old Harold made it look as if John Bull were guiding Uncle Sam behind the scenes. The ‘people’ ate that up, and that was enough. But Washington never trusted Downing Street because of the EU contradiction. While de Gaulle preached independence from Washington, London was playing sur deux tableaux, not good enough for the Yankees.

Oh well, that was a long time ago, and Supermac fell from power after the Profumo affair in October 1963. One month later JFK was assassinated in Dallas. The bully LBJ was not about to play nice, as JFK had, with people who spoke without a Texas accent, and Lord Home did not. There was never ‘our Greece’, and ‘their Rome’ as Macmillan claimed. What I regret is how different our elected officials today are from those during my youth — in character, savoir-faire, personality, even dress. Would Supermac ever be elected today if he spoke now the way he did then? Perhaps he wouldn’t even be welcome on a grouse shoot, that’s how bad things have become.

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  • Tilly

    Oh there is no special relationship between the UK and big ole
    Uncle Sam.Quite honestly it should have been left undiscovered,
    out of all the countries within the New World the US believes its self
    to be superior. And its shallow influence and uncouth people have
    dumbed down the world.
    And Thatcher never copied that ‘actor’ president Reagan oh thank
    goodness this cultured and ancient land has our royal family they’re worth every penny.

    • jjjj

      Utter rot. Some of the best artists, writers, actors and actresses, playwrights etc. are American. What an incredible snob you are. Inverted snobbism, that’s what Perfidious Albion has given to the world. And you have a lot to thank Reagan for.

      • Malus Pudor

        More sublimely pretentious c..p from the sage of the Levant…

        • jjjj

          You have a long way to get to my level of knowledge, sonny.

          PS unlike you, I don’t live in some cave in whichever Islamist hellhole you live in, or in some neo-nazi commune.

          • Malus Pudor

            Golders Green or Islington, I’d Imagine… or some other left-wing or ethnic cesspit, where you can dream up new methods of persecuting or exterminating Palestinians…

          • jjjj

            Your Third Reich heros only made friends with the Mufti because he wanted to exterminate the Jews. So your faux care for the Palestinians fools no one.

          • Malus Pudor

            Your comment is incoherent and nonsensical… I was born and brought up a Roman Catholic and educated by the Jesuits… a harsh experience but at least it gave me a perspective and ability to spot racially motivated pseuds, like you.

            I despise your Levantine origins and the blind hatred and prejudice from all quarters of that Middle Eastern cesspit that causes so much brutality and prejudice.

            You are one very nasty, unpleasant bigot !

          • jjjj

            You need to stop stalking me.

          • Malus Pudor

            See above….

          • Malus Pudor

            Come on… let’s hear about your academic and professional qualifications and status…

            I bet it’s not Eton and Christchurch… maybe the LSE… via Golders Green Primary….

          • Malus Pudor

            Neat correction to your original gibberish !

          • jjjj

            I aim to please you Malus but honestly, I don’t know what you are talking about here.

          • jjjj

            If I lived in a ‘left-wing cesspit…’, why would I be dreaming up new methods etc. etc. (see your post)?
            Says a lot for your education doesn’t it?

      • Richard Baranov

        I know, pretty sad isn’t it? Washed out country pretending its superior like some impoverished old aunt who was someone and still pretends to be someone. Britain, brought so low that it can’t even rule itself, apparently Europeans have to do that for them. Pity the long term residents of this country can’t see how others see them, they would blush with embarrassment over their own behavior.

        • Malus Pudor

          With your name, where do you originate…. Latvia, or somewhere similar…

          Sure, America has produced some fine writers, artists and poets… Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Frost and O’Neil spring to mind… it must also accept the blame for Warhol, Ginsberg, Kerouak and all the other garbage that America claims as culture.

          As a great American philosopher once reflected…. America is what the rest of the world spewed out….

          • jjjj

            Why does his name matter? At least he puts his name on here. Unlike you (and me). Intellectual honesty not your strong point, eh?

        • mickc

          Yes, regrettably you are partly right!

          The pretensions of our ruling elite, of whatever party, are indeed a total embarrassment to the ruled, who do actually understand the real position of the UK.

          I particularly remember the dinner held for Obama, when it was quite obvious his smile barely concealed his amusement at the Ruritanian ceremonial, supported by soldiers in fancy dress uniforms. And at the time when our army was struggling in the “Third Afghan War”.

  • Dennis Jarvis

    I think it was MacMillan that said of Kennedy; “the chap does not have an original idea of his own.”

    • Fritz123

      A nicenst yellow pollover in a amateur movie on a boat. Maybe some people dont need ideas.

      • davidofkent

        Eh?

        • Fritz123

          In his earlier life. What is a POTUS?

  • Malus Pudor

    Mind boggling to think that Pincess M and Armstrong-J could have given their children a decent upbringing…. they were both fruitcakes with delusions of grandeur…

    • jjjj

      Just like you, then!

      • Malus Pudor

        Puerile… as usual ….

        • jjjj

          Stop stalking me.

          • Malus Pudor

            Hang on…. I commented on this article before you decided to start your inane onslaught… just look at your blog record… any comment you make is a piece of vitriol, worthy of Shylock..

          • jjjj

            Counting, not your strong point? I commented second on this thread and you responded to me see above.
            No, will you stop stalking me on every single thread? in any case you make yourself look stupider with every post. I piss on your references to ‘Levant’ and Shylock’. Perhaps the Jesuits flagellated you a bit too much…

          • Malus Pudor

            They certainly did their best…. but in your case, perhaps the mohel threw away the wrong bit of you at your circumcision….

  • Colonel Bogey

    Odd that Mac should have objected to ‘skedule’. Down to about 1800, the word was pronounced ‘cedule’ (as it was spelt in Chaucer’s time). ‘Schism’ was spelt ‘cisme’. The spelling changed in the 16th century, when some classicists decided to prove they knew that the words were of Greek derivation, even though they had come into the language via Old French. The new spelling eventually reacted on the pronunciation of ‘schedule’, but differently on the two sides of the Atlantic. The American one at least reflects Greek; do the British think ‘schedule’ comes from German?

  • Wusker

    There was curious relationship however, between a one Anthony Blair and George W Bush…..

    • CortexUK

      Stockholm Syndrome.

  • edithgrove

    David Linley, whatever else he may be, makes dreadful furniture and would be unnoticed if it weren’t for his lineage and the fawning that comes with it. Might that be the reason for the lack of American guests at your fancy dinner (although Americans are as happy to fawn as anyone)? Their absence only suggests they aren’t buying the schlock.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    The idea that there is a ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the US has long been derided by realist politicians and commentators. Enoch Powell was probably the most eminent of them. More recently, Peter Hitchens had a go on Radio 4. Books have been written about the real nature of US/UK alliance; Guy Arnold’s ‘America and Britain’ was published recently.

    No doubt the alleged SR will continue to crop up in speeches made on state visits etc, just as the term ‘Oldest ally’ always comes in useful on Anglo-Portuguese occasions.

    • davidofkent

      ‘Oldest Ally’ maybe, but surely ‘Oldest Enemy’ would be more appropriate considering the events of the mid to late 1770s.

  • John Carins

    In today’s context the US would like the UK to remain in the EU. The reason no doubt is that we are expected to operate within the EU an an instrument of US foreign policy. It is time for the UK to defy this US and EU role and begin to plough our own furrow once again. After all, what are they going to do about it?

    • Bill_der_Berg

      I believe that the US secretly provided funding for groups campaigning for the UK to join the EU.

      • John Carins

        Interesting. It wouldn’t surprise me.

        • Bill_der_Berg

          This is from the Telegraph (19 September 2000).

          • Gerschwin

            Five years after the USA spent several thousand lives defeating the Nazis – as they say in America, go figure. Can you really blame them?

          • Bill_der_Berg

            There’s no point in blaming them, but it’s best not to be blind to what went on.

            Fear of former ally, the USSR, was behind America’s machinations.

          • John Carins

            Thanks. Gives credence to the suspicion.

  • CortexUK

    Of course JFK knew Britain was in decline. Bringing us down was official US policy since then end of WWI, and was one of the reasons Capitol Hill agreed to enter WWII. And no sooner had the guns fallen silent in 1945, the White House turned its attention to us.

    And let’s not forget JFKs dad, who wanted the Nazis to overrun Britain.

    • Bill_der_Berg

      “..was one of the reasons Capitol Hill agreed to enter WWII….”

      The decision was taken for them by the Japanese and the Nazis, although the US government had breached the rules of neutrality (with Hitler) before the formal declaration of war.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    The ‘sad truth’ is not really sad. It is just that alliances are not based on sentiment but on national interest. This was true of the UK when it was a world power as it is of the US today.

  • globalspectator

    The realist case for the UK + US special relationship is quite simple:

    1. Both are seafaring civilizations who use naval power to protect their interests. The US took over this role from the UK — but regardless of EU membership UK security interests are global in nature and the US quite nicely fits as a partner from a realist perspective.

    2. Many Brits have gotten a seat at the table in American media, music and culture to this very day.

    3. The Five Eyes intelligence sharing between the Anglosphere — is the document that has kept your empire semi-intact.

    4. The UK could have much larger influence in the US if it tried — instead of being so disdainful and focused on the past.

  • colchar

    Anyone who believes in the alleged ‘Special Relationship’ is a fool.

  • bengeo

    The US only has a “special relationship” with China, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Ireland.

    • Malus Pudor

      Absolutely…. the Bog-Irish Kennedys, led by their patriarch, Joe Senior were Nazi sympathisers and humongous womanisers… not averse to murdering Hollywood actresses and leaving their scubbers to drown in their cars…

      Camelot, my arse… this is the most disgraceful family to have ever tainted America…

      There was nothing of Washington, Jefferson or Lincoln in this family of Irish, bootlegging and brothel-owning scumbags ….

  • AJAX

    Sheltering behind the military strategic aegis our USA colony provided from 1950- 1990 is of the 20th Century past now, England needs to rebuild herself to assume the leadership of the Anglosphere in the 21st Century as America crumbles away before our eyes.

    SUPPORT & VOTE UKIP to commence this great work in the London Parliament.

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