David Maddox: Pair are united by a common foe - Scotland

REPORTS of the death of the special relationship looked premature when Mr Obama and Mr Cameron walked out for their post-meeting press conference.

It may not have had the lovestruck atmosphere of Mr Cameron's Rose Garden press call with Nick Clegg, when the two launched their coalition government back home, but yesterday he and the president looked relaxed and happy in each other's company.

Any notion that Mr Obama was looking elsewhere for special chums and had an innate dislike of Britain vanished in his opening statement.

"This is a truly special relationship," he said, before heaping praise on his "friend" Mr Cameron's handling of the economy and decisiveness.

The two told the world of their shared love of beer, even though it appears the president likes to drink traditional English ale cold. The brewers of 312 beer had a great day as the Prime Minister suggested it had even helped him to support Germany in the World Cup.

At moments it sounded like a schoolgate chat as the two men in their forties discussed the merits of their children having tidy bedrooms.

Could this really be the same two administrations which moments before appeared to be at each other's throats over Libya and BP?

"We can never say it enough," said the president. "The US and UK enjoy a truly special relationship with common heritage, common values and even a common language most of the time."

So was the Prime Minister, who had earlier muttered something about not being a poodle to the US, as enthused?

Well, yes, it seems he was.

"This is an extortionately special relationship," he said, telling the audience that where the UK and US came together it made the world a better place.

So what had united these two men in friendship? The answer appeared to be Scotland and their shared anger over "a bad decision" by the Scottish Government to let loose a mass murderer and send him home to Libya.

It was the Scottish Government's fault, Mr Cameron noted several times, bringing to mind his previous utterances on the respect agenda with Scotland and the SNP.

It seems that when it came to a choice between Scottish respect and US special relationships, there was no choice. The two men were keen to dwell on the major international issues which they discussed in their three-hour meeting where there was "total" agreement.

They both agreed over the strategy on Afghanistan and shared a determination to stop Iran becoming a nuclear power.

They want to press for a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians. They also appeared to lay to rest any idea they disagreed with the way the downturn should be handled.

Last month, it seemed the UK's slashing of public expenditure and enthusiasm for other countries to follow suit was not Mr Obama's glass of beer, as such.

But yesterday the president praised Mr Cameron's "courage" for making severe cuts. When it was over, the two did not walk off hand in hand, but the special relationship has been rekindled..

Back to the top of the page