Peter Hitchens writes:
For those of you who say I never have a good word for David Cameron, here’s one. He’s pretty much right about 1940, even if it was by accident.
When a politician is accused of committing a ‘gaffe’, it almost always means he has told the truth.
And 1940 was in fact the year that Britain became America’s very junior partner, a sad role we have followed ever since. I know, I know, the USA didn’t enter the war against Germany until 1941 (and then only when Hitler declared war on them).
But Franklin Roosevelt took great advantage of our desperate position in 1940. As the Germans advanced through France in early summer that year, he offered one of the most unfair bargains in the history of diplomacy – 50 worn-out, ancient destroyers in return for nine rent-free US military bases in British colonies.
He had already insisted on hard cash for war supplies, which rapidly depleted Britain’s gold and currency reserves. And Britain only finished paying for ‘lend-lease’ wartime aid – down to the uttermost ?farthing, plus interest charged for late payment – on December 29, 2006.
Post-war loans and Marshall Aid came at the cost of pledges to relinquish what remained of the empire, not least the bits we had just fought so hard to get back from the Japanese, and to open up colonial markets to U.S. competition – plus unrelenting pressure to join the European Union, which still goes on.
These weren’t the acts of besotted friends, but of a hard, wise, calculating politician who wanted the best for his own country, not for ours.
It seems to me that we have sentimentalised this for far too long. I don’t blame the Americans for using our weakness and desperation to displace us as Top Nation. This is how great powers behave (and how we used to behave ourselves when we still could). And I think that, when China becomes the supreme world power, many people who now sneer at America will yearn for the happy days when the globe was run from Washington.
But every time I hear the words ‘Special Relationship’, I feel faintly sick. And I yearn for a British Prime Minister with the self-confidence of Charles de Gaulle, who could tell the Americans to get lost from time to time, especially when they want us to join in their crazier military ventures.
They would respect us more, and treat us better, if we weren’t constantly snuffling round their shoes with our tongues lolling out, like a pack of servile spaniels.
Although I disagree with him about whether the undoubted innocence in this case should have had any bearing on this executive decision (where would that end?), he goes on:
Can those who fuss about the release of alleged Pan-Am bomber Abdelbaset Al Megrahi at least mention the fact there is no evidence that he committed this crime?
Also that the U.S. government has been sucking up to Libya for years, in gratitude to Colonel Gaddafi for getting rid of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that he never in fact had.
Anyone who actually knows what is going on in the world must find the current dim, sheep-like credulity of most of the Western media almost unbearable.
Still, as one of the last right-wing commentators, possibly the last of all, to be a thoroughgoing Unionist rather than an English nationalist, he will be pleased to see that this whole Lockerbie business has killed off once and for all any prospect of the slightest further concession to Scottish separatism. Even with what that tendency has already managed to obtain, it has turned David Cameron's ancestral home, and his actual home since he has a house there, into the world's most corrupt petro-statelet, where the man who is legally its worst ever mass murderer is released on wholly specious grounds because a multinational oil company commands it.
Now we just need to do something about Cameron's strange, repeatedly stated indifference as to the constitutional status of Wales, where his party has long commanded a much higher share of the vote than in Scotland, and where it is doing rather well at the moment, though with a credible UKIP threat to its natural core support. Whereas perhaps half of the Labour No vote to devolution in 1997 has since come round to it (though by no means necessarily to anything further), the almost entirely No-voting Conservative base from that year remains almost entirely as opposed as ever even to what there already is. With a UKIP MEP from Wales, something that the Lib Dems have never managed, it is not as if there is nowhere else for them to go. But Cameron seems not to notice any of this. Why not?