Two countries separated by a common language have apparently been brought together by the affinity of their leaders. There is no denying that the president of the United States of America, Mr George W. Bush, and the prime minister of Great Britain, Mr Tony Blair, speak the same language. This has taken what is known as the special relationship to a new level. It is worth remembering that the phrase “special relationship” was first used by Winston Churchill to describe the British-American relationship. This relationship, since the time it was first formed in the immediate aftermath of World War II, has never floundered except in the early Fifties, following the scandal regarding the Cambridge spies. The highwater mark of the relationship was the joint Anglo-American offensive against Iraq. Mr Blair can justly claim that he has been through fire for Mr Bush. The latter’s visit to Britain showed the level of hostility that exists against the Iraq war and against the policies of Messrs Bush and Blair. The ceremony and the pageantry surrounding Mr Bush’s visit was typical of the British love of pomp and circumstance. But it could not deflect attention from the intensity of popular anger against Mr Bush which forced the cancellation of the ceremonial cavalcade. This protest cannot be written off as a piece of exhibitionism on the part of Britain’s loony fringe. Middle England was also out on the streets in Trafalgar Square to show their anger.
Mr Bush, even before his arrival in London, had spoken of the right of his opponents to protest against him. In his speech, he reminded listeners of certain hard realities of the 21st century. He argued that sometimes the measured use of force was the only way to stop the world from being enveloped by chaos and violence. There was more than a hint of self-righteousness in what Mr Bush had to say. But this is only to be expected since he has been forced on the defensive for an act which he carried out to eradicate one of the greatest threats to modern civilization. The protests only showed that the freedom Mr Bush wants to defend is something that people still cherish and value.