No need for a Plan B here either... No 10 rejoices as Mitt falls short
Cameron congratulates his 'friend' on election victory as he continues tour of the Middle East
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Thursday 08 November 2012
Although Downing Street kept out of the US election – in line with tradition – there was genuine relief at No 10 yesterday that David Cameron would not have to forge a relationship with Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate.
Cameron aides were privately scathing of Mr Romney when he visited Britain this summer and united the political class against him by suggesting London was not ready to host a successful Olympics. Relations would have been repaired if he had won, continuing the "special relationship" over which UK prime ministers obsess, much to the White House's bemusement. But Cameron aides were very happy that their US election Plan B remained in the bottom drawer.
Mr Romney has surrounded himself with neo-Conservative advisers from the George Bush era and had been expected to adopt a more aggressive foreign policy – including a tougher stance against Iran over its nuclear weapons programme.
The Iran issue has the potential to split the UK's Coalition Government, because the Conservatives would be likely to back US or Israeli air strikes and the Liberal Democrats likely to repeat their opposition to foreign intervention in Iraq.
Historically, the Democrat and Conservative parties have not been soulmates, but Mr Cameron has bonded with Barack Obama. They have worked hard to stay "on the same page" over tricky issues such as last year's intervention in Libya and the pullout from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
The other reason for No 10's relief is that Mr Obama has not joined the long list of 17 national leaders who have lost power since the global financial crisis began in 2008. "It shows that incumbents can win if people see the economy is going in the right direction," one Cameron ally said. "That gives us hope for 2015."
Mr Cameron was briefed on the Obama victory by officials when he woke up at 5am yesterday in Amman, Jordan, on the final day of a Middle East visit. He was quick to offer his congratulations and to hail his pal as "a very successful US President". The two leaders are expected to speak by telephone shortly. Mr Cameron said: "Here in Jordan I am hearing appalling stories about what has happened inside Syria so one of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis."
Labour dismissed Mr Cameron's tribute, claiming the Coalition Government had done the opposite of Mr Obama's huge fiscal stimulus by cutting spending "too far, too fast" and killing the growth seen in the US. Douglas Alexander, the shadow Foreign Secretary, said Mr Obama's victory address was "a speech of a centre-left politician", not a centre-right leader like Mr Cameron. "The difficulty for Downing Street is when Barack Obama says 'we're all in this together', the American people feel inspired; when David Cameron says 'we're all in this together', increasingly the British people snigger," Mr Alexander said.
The Liberal Democrats regard themselves as the most natural allies of the US Democratic Party.
Markets plunge as 'fiscal cliff' fears intensify
Barack Obama's honeymoon with the financial markets ended within hours yesterday as shares slumped amid fears over the impact of the $600bn (£375bn) "fiscal cliff" on the US economy.
London's FTSE 100 Index fell by more than one per cent, and stock markets across Europe also suffered.
The markets in Italy and Spain fell by more than two per cent. In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 300 points, or 2.4 per cent, last night.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...