How much is Romney backed in Britain?
Most of the British public and political class – including many Tories – prefer President Obama to his Republican challenger, but Mitt Romney is not without fans among the British government.
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Other sore points include the removal of a Churchill bust from the Oval Office, the president’s emphasis during a tour of West Africa on the “independence struggle” from Britain but lack of recognition for Britain’s role in ending the slave trade, the “invention of an imaginary company called British Petroleum, which hasn’t existed for 10 years,” and the way in which Hannan says the US has repeatedly backed the Argentine position on the Falklands Islands.Skip to next paragraph
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“Pile these things together and you think this is an administration that has a different attitude towards us than all the others going back a century,” he says.
Another vocal Romney supporter is the MP Liam Fox, Britain’s defense minister until he quit last October over his friendship with a businessman who posed as his adviser. He remains a major force on the party’s right, where he has been touted as a potential challenger to Cameron.
Mr. Fox, a staunch fiscal Conservative and his party’s preeminent "Atlanticist" told the Daily Telegraph in August that he has been able to pass in his ideas on economics and defense on to Romney’s core of policy advisers through the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank based in Washington DC.
"There is a willingness to deal with the debt issue, and people in Europe don't quite understand the difficulties that will be posed later in the decade if the American debt is not dealt with," said the MP, who met with several of the Romney campaign’s policy inner circle during the candidate’s visit to London.
"There's a great deal that Mitt Romney can offer in terms of economic management and there's a strong overlap in how we would see the strategic importance of reducing America's debt."
While Romney and Britain’s Conservatives are, mostly, at one on fiscal policy, there is nervousness among some Tories about the consequences of a Romney win after the "political crush" that Cameron is perceived to have had on Obama, the prime minister’s failure to meet Republican leaders during a US visit in March, and his attempts to rebrand of his party as one that embraced gay rights and loved Britain’s National Health Service.
Such concerns may well prove unfounded, all the more so with senior Conservatives recently reiterating firm right-wing positions on issues such as crime and abortion.
In addition, they may be a fairly unusual political species but, according to the chair of Republicans Abroad UK, Romney supporters do exist in other British parties.
“In the last month I have spoken at fringe events on the US election at all three party conferences – Liberal Democrat, Labour, and Conservative – and at each one I have met people who [favor] Mitt Romney to the incumbent,” says Thomas Grant, a senior research fellow of Wolfson College in the University of Cambridge. “You would not necessarily expect to find that in all three parties, but there it is.”
In the meantime, Hannan envisions “another happy consequence” of a Romney White House.
“Never before have all the main English-speaking democracies been run by people who recognize that there is merit in having some kind of community among those countries,” he says.
“So if, as seems overwhelmingly likely, Tony Abbott is elected at some stage in Australia and if Romney were to win next month in the US, you would have something that you never had before, which is that in the core Anglospherist countries, all of the governments would be center-right and Anglospherist.”