Friday, February 17, 2006


Tories Washington trip ticks few boxes

Was slightly amused by the treatment meted out to Hague, Fox and Osbourne in Washington. They arrived, to some extent, still in the doghouse after being excommunicated by Karl Rove following Howard's criticism of Blair's defence of invading Iraq. After meeting Bush's eminence gris they declared the rift healed but we learn from reports that:

a) their hope that they could use the main front entrance of the White House was denied them; they had to enter via anopher building- effectively the back door. These things really do matter in the world of diplomacy.

b) their hope that there would be cameras and press to greet them after their audience with Rove was denied them: the media over there were still too embroiled with Dick Cheney's markmanship. They had to be satisfied, in the end with two British reporters and one photographer.

c) their hope-if they had any- that their party could win some brand recognition was denied: journalist Julian Borger even suggested that most Americans would assume Blair was Conservative anyway.

d) Grover Norquist, the prominent conservative Washingtonian aimed a cruel shot across the new Tory establishment's bows: 'No, we don't intend to close down our economy to make the Europeans feel good about global warming. The view here was that the Tories should stop playing musical chairs and pick somebody as a leader; and now they've picked someone who wants to move left. I don't think that's going to work.'

More evidence, if it were needed, that most Americans have little understanding of British politics and society; the reality being that had they not moved to the left, the Conservatives could only have moved off the political stage altogether.

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