Now that the UK government has changed hands from a Labour to a Liberal Conservative coalition, one thing that has remained the same is the importance to the UK of it's "Special Relationship" with America. Understandably the relationship being always more special when underpinned by a shared political ideology of the party in power and a certain chemistry between key individuals in the respective governments.
There were definitely signs of "chemistry " when Hillary Clinton met her UK equivalent the 44 years young Foreign Secretary David Miliband who she complimented as "vibrant, vital, attractive and smart" in an interview for Vogue last year, glowing adjectives that we haven't heard her use for Bill in years. David in turn reciprocated by describing her as delightful to deal with "one on one". Unfortunately for Miliband their "special relationship" was cut short this month when David Cameron after unpacking his bags in 10 Downing Street quickly appointed a new Foreign Secretary. If Mrs Clinton had caught cougar fever she may have been slightly disappointed by David Miliband's replacement when he visited her last week. William Hague the new British Foreign Secretary has few years plus on his predecessor and a lot less hair!
Mrs Clinton was first on Mr Hague's list of people to see which reinforces Prime Minister Cameron's view that a strong bilateral relationship with the US is a cornerstone of Britain's foreign policy and Conservative Prime Ministers have traditionally been closely aligned with their American counterparts. Winston Churchill and FDR and of course Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were in power when the relationship seemed strongest, not forgetting Tony Blair's close relationship with Bill Clinton which has recently been turned into an HBO movie.
David Cameron leads a coalition government of Liberal Democrats as well as Conservatives although he is leader of the Conservative Party. The Liberal Democrats were the only major UK party to oppose the invasion of Iraq and have criticized the former Labour government's strategy in Afghanistan and support the of America's war effort. Will the Lib Dem influence in the government lead to a cooling in relations between Britain and America?
William Hague seemed to express the feelings of Lib Dems and much of the UK public when he stated that the relationship would be a more of a partnership rather than "slavish devotion". Former Prime Minister Tony Blair had this criticism levied at him for his staunch support of President Bush's "War on Terror" and all that followed. I personally am not worried about the prospect of the special relationship becoming less "special". In fact I look forward to a maturity of America's relationship with Britain where there is both constructive engagement and dialogue, where advice is sought and heeded and where together we tackle the fundamental issue of keeping both our citizens safe in a unpredictable world, it's time to redefine the relationship without losing the chemistry, as with any "special" relationship it has to evolve in order grow and therefore last.