The status of the “special relationship” between the U.S. and U.K. has of late been on the rocks, and was demonstrated when President Obama returned to the British Embassy the bronze bust of Churchill that had sat opposite Lincoln’s in the Oval Office. The valuable bronze, a gift to the U.S. after the attacks of September 11, served as a reminder of the alliance of the two countries in their common fight against tyranny. But while the relationship between the nation’s leaders has of late been rocky, perhaps the relationship between its peoples is at a high point and as such reveals the supreme disconnect of both nation’s leaders from their respective subjects.
The recent parliamentary elections in the U.K. and the primary elections held in several states here in the U.S. are a clear indication that both the British and American peoples are vexed with their respective political establishments. Within days of each other, the British threw out the Labor government on its ear, but also sent an indictment to parliament by refusing to elect a clear alternative. For the first time in almost 30 years, Britain has a “hung parliament” where political parties now have to govern together for the good for the country – what a concept! Similarly in the U.S., the recent primaries sent a chilling message to Washington: it doesn’t matter who or what you are, Democrat, Republican, Conservative or Liberal – we the people are vexed and are reminding you that you serve at the consent of the governed. The post-election newspaper headlines reflected sentiment of the people: “Americans are mad” – New York Times, “Voters buck establishment” – Washington Time, “Growing anti-Washington fervor” – ABC News.
What has always united both the Brits and the Americans is their shared history of bucking tyrannical rule – part of their legacy that flows from their common reformation heritage. Both disdain the rule of the elite who attempt to push their grand strategy of state dominance. During such political and financial crisis it’s time that we demonstrate that the “special relationship” is as firm and resilient to the degree we commit to uphold the legacy of liberty that flows from the Reformation.