The British prime minister, Tony Blair, who just won’t take the not-so-subtle hint and relinquish power, has defended Britain’s “special relationship” with the United States. Blair argued, “You only get the ability to use ‘soft’ power properly if you are prepared to do the other difficult things.”
Labour MPs reacted with disbelief to Mr Blair’s claims about what the relationship with America had achieved since 1997. Peter Kilfoyle, a former defence minister, said: “It is delusional. It could be self-justification. It is a special relationship in one sense – it is one-way traffic. In the depths of night, he must realise how very wrong he has judged where Britain’s national interests lie.”
Alan Simpson, the MP for Nottingham South, said: “This is the politics of dangerous self-delusion. Even the White House laughs at the notion that Britain has influence over American foreign policy. The only door Bush opens at the moment is the one marked ‘exit.’ He [Mr Blair] has clearly entered the David Icke phase of his political career.”
Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: “Tony Blair talks about his closeness with the United States with regards to climate change and poverty in Africa. But there is not much to show for it.” He questioned the value of the relationship when it had taken America so long to release the video tape of the “friendly-fire” incident in which L/Cpl Matty Hull was killed in Iraq in 2003.