FTI Consulting Public Affairs Snapshot – Still Special? Why UK eyes are focused on Washington ahead of November’s Presidential ElectionDownload a PDF of this article
Originally coined by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1946, the United Kingdom has shared a symbolic bond, a so-called ‘Special Relationship’, with the United States for decades. Throughout modern history, our nations have been strong allies and cooperated in international diplomacy, military activity and intelligence sharing. Our shared beliefs in democracy and free speech embody the cornerstones of Western ideals – or so that’s what we like to think. As the US Presidential election approaches, it is worth examining what the outcome might mean for the UK and the relationship with its closest ally.
Strong partnerships between Prime Ministers and Presidents have been important components of the ‘Special Relationship’, such as the shared ideological outlook of Thatcher and Reagan, or the less predictable but no less amicable bond between Blair and Bush Jr. Such ties have been important in cementing the geopolitical importance of the partnership. President Trump has presented a new, challenging style of leadership for UK Prime Ministers to navigate; one characterised by an abrasive personality, an apparently inward-looking ‘America First’ strategy and an abrupt change to the status quo.