Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
28 June 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:18am

As Candidate Nick Clegg asked: “What special relationship?”

After David Cameron exchanged beers with Barack Obama, does Clegg still think the special relationsh

By John Guenther

It seems that pre-election Nick Clegg keeps on adding to the list of things to answer for after making his Faustian bargain with David Cameron.

Clegg in April declared the special relationship between the UK and US was “over”. The Lib Dem leader was speaking in front of the Foreign Press Association in London before his tie-up with the Cameron clan. He was clearly concerned that other parties were overly devoted to the relationship while the US wasn’t even giving the same amount of attention.

“I think it’s sometimes rather embarrassing the way Conservative and Labour politicians talk in this kind of slavish way about the special relationship,” said Clegg.

It would be interesting to see how embarrassed Clegg was to hear his political bedfellow speak about the US over this past weekend. Despite a cooling of the relationship over the BP oil spill and the continuing war in Afghanistan, David Cameron exchanged niceties and beers with Barack Obama and mentioned that he believed the special relationship “is incredibly strong, but as you say, I think can get stronger in the years ahead”.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Has anyone recently gently nudged Cameron and asked about Clegg’s claim before the election that the US is growing out of the special relationship?

“If they are moving on, why on earth don’t we?” Clegg asked in April. “If Obama understands that the world has changed, why don’t Labour and the Conservatives? That is why I will continue to ask . . . difficult questions about foreign policy assumptions the other parties don’t want to question at all.”

Upon entering 10 Downing Street, Cameron was told by Obama that the US “has no closer friend and ally than the United Kingdom”. And during the YouTube/Facebook Digital Debate, Clegg looked into the camera and said it is “a special relationship”. He then forcefully added that it should not be a “one-way street”.

Did Clegg happen to give the same speech to Cameron on his way out the door, before he went off on his helicopter flight with Obama?

Content from our partners
<strong>What you need to know about private markets </strong>
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action