Brown and Bush hold first face-to-face meeting

Brownandbush Tony Blair is expected to announce his departure timetable on 4th May – hours after his party is expected to do very badly in elections to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and English local councils.  Although there is considerable speculation that Gordon Brown may face a leadership challenge from David Miliband, a favourite of Tony Blair’s circle, most money is still on Britain’s Chancellor becoming Britain’s next Prime Minister.

We learnt overnight that Mr Brown had his first serious meeting with President Bush.  In what – slightly unconvincingly – has been described as an "unplanned" 45 minute meeting (When does the President ever have 45 minutes just spare in his diary?) the two men reportedly discussed Iraq, Afghanistan and trade liberalisation.

There are high hopes in parts of the Labour Party that a Brown premiership will mark an end to the closeness of the Labour Government to the White House.  BritainAndAmerica.com does not expect significant shifts from existing policy.  In contrast to the USA’s surge of troops into Baghdad, Britain, for example, is already withdrawing troops from Iraq while Tony Blair is still in Downing Street.  Key Brown supporters, including the Defence Secretary, Des Browne, were leading advocates of Britain’s current troop deployments in Afghanistan.  Gordon Brown’s own inner circle includes key supporters of Israel and there is unlikely to be a major reassessment of the Labour Government’s support for the Middle East’s most besieged nation.

There may be gestures from an incoming Brown government.  Tony Blair has never directly attacked the Bush White House on any policy, for example.  With Brown there might, however, be public criticism of the situation at Guantanamo Bay or of the administration’s approach to climate change.

The greatest room for a different approach will probably come with looming foreign policy decisions and, in particular, what to do with Iran.  It is conceivable that Tony Blair may have been willing to sanction a hawkish approach to dealing with Tehran although he would not have been able to do so without risking the unity of the Labour party.  It is almost impossible to imagine Gordon Brown adopting a hawkish approach to Iran unless the Ahmadinejad regime initiated overtly hostile actions rather than acting through Hezbollah and its other surrogates. 

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11 Responses to Brown and Bush hold first face-to-face meeting

  1. TomTom says:

    Brown has fewer problems with the USA than with the EU and that will be fun.

    The EU is to introduce Educational Testing with effect 2009 thus bringing Education within its scope. That will be interesting since only Health costs more to run and that no doubt will be harmonised now that the European Court of Justice is involved in private companies tendering for PFI and other contracts in the NHS

  2. Kevin says:

    This is a perfect chance to say “What can Brown do for you?” without making a scatalogical reference!

  3. I think that, with the possible exception of poverty in Africa, Brown has little interest in foreign affairs.

    Brown’s only real focus is undermining the conservatives (he is 100% pathalogically driven against us). There is no limit to what he will do to try and break consevatism in Britain.

  4. TomTom says:

    There is no limit to what he will do to try and break consevatism in Britain.

    Self-Destruct hopefully

  5. Tim Montgomerie says:

    Oberon makes an important point. American readers of this site should know that Gordon Brown has presided over a massive increase in the size of the British state and in the level of UK taxation.

  6. K. Hardy says:

    “American readers of this site should know that Gordon Brown has presided over a massive increase in the size of the British state and in the level of UK taxation.”

    Tim, you make that sound like a bad thing.

  7. Steevo says:

    I’m wondering if he appeals more to a specific group(s) likely to give the strongest support?

    Our Democrat candidates for president are basically socialists and will increase taxes to absurd levels establishing near complete government control from cradle to grave. Young adults can take advantage working their way up, and old folks can in retirement. Of course it will be off the backs of middle America. The problems intrinsic to sustaining a strong economy, individual responsibility, and inept and corrupt control from big daddy bureaucracy are plenty.

  8. Andrew says:

    Two big government authoritarians in the same place – what a horrible thought.

  9. JF says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but the Conservative Party, living under years of attack from the left for being “nasty,” (whatever that means), has forsaken the goal of lower taxation. I read ConservativeHome now and then, and I glanced at conservatives.com, but there’s little or no mention of lowering taxes. How can the Conservatives differentiate themselves from Brown if this isn’t front and center? The voting population no longer responds to that message?

  10. JF, you haven’t looked at the Conservative perties performance in elections for the last ten years.

  11. Teddy Bear says:

    With the exception of the extreme political +parties, there is very little difference between any of the mainstream ones. Basically their strategy is to appease the media line while extorting as much money as possible from the public but giving little of substance in return.

    Labour uses stealth taxes (and some not so) to bolster their government wealth and power. The Tories managed the same by selling off the utility and transport systems that previous taxes had paid for.

    Instead of providing real service in return they ‘cook the books’ by giving spin and doctored statistics to make it look as though they’re doing something.

    There used to be a pun that asked “What’s the difference between a Hungarian and a Roumanian?” The answer was “They both will sell you their mother, but the Hungarian will deliver”.

    This pun can be applied to the present political parties, though I’m not sure either will deliver.

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