This week the Prime Minister David Cameron of Great Britain and Northern Ireland came to the US and to watch basketball and learn the phrase alley-oop. Today, he visited the White House.
Hilary Clinton, noted at a luncheon today, that not all visits by the British to the White House have gone well.
And I was pleased to tell my counterpart and friend, the Foreign Secretary…that it was my predecessor in one of my other lives, Dolly Madison, who actually saved the extraordinary portraits of George and Martha Washington. Having received word from her husband, who was truly been a commander-in-chief in the field, that unfortunately the British truly were coming. And – (laughter) – so she rushed from the White House, taking some treasures with her, leaving behind the meal that she had prepared for her husband and his officers. And the British officers ate the meal before they burned the White House…
(B)ut I must tell you Mr. Prime Minister…the Secretary (Clinton) knows this, and a few of my good friend like John Kerry know it, my family…it wasn’t the war of 1812 that bothered us about the British. The Bidens immigrated from Liverpool in 1825, but the other side of the family, the Finnegan side of the Family (laughter) they had a different problem and it wasn’t the war of 1812. So my grandfather Ambrose Finnegan (looks up to heaven) things have changed.
I just want you to know Mr. Prime Minister we are truly deeply honored that you are here.
That’s pretty solid Irish humor there by the Vice President. Humor that helps signify how close the countries have become. The relationship has not always been 100% amicable, but it’s going about as well as any relationship can.
Somebodyisfromhere.com, despite having relatives that came from the same portion of the world as the Biden’s Finnegans, has always had a soft spot for England.* He really had the time of his life Studying Abroad in London.
Still, the Special Relationship is pretty fascinating to read about. The phrase was used by Winston Churchill to describe the combo after the big war.
Anybody who is interested in this pairing of these two great nations, or the role of journalism during World War II, is encouraged to read Citizens of London. The book gives an insightful view of Americans, including Edward R. Murrow, who live in London as World War II heats up. It also includes the desperation Churchill had for needing America to enter the War and really save his country. Finally, it points out the perspective of the rest of the world’s take on America as it got more powerful (essentially the US learns to fight on the fly).
Or, if you like, there is adultery and violence.
The relationship continues today. And will continue tomorrow according to President Obama.
As we go forward, we want to honor our fallen warriors with the respect and gratitude that they deserve —- whether it’s here at Dover, or in the small British town of Wootton Bassett, where people line the streets in a solemn tribute that represents the best of the British character. With pride in their service and determination to carry on their work for a safer world, I am confident that we can be worthy of their sacrifice. And I am confident that with my partner and friend, David Cameron, the special relationship between our countries will only grow stronger in the years to come.
And Cameron’s thoughts on the future.
So, yes, the world is changing at a faster rate than ever before, and the ways we will influence events are changing with it. But one thing remains unchanged — the ceaseless back-and-forth between our two nations through ideas, friendship, business, and shared endeavor. And that’s why I believe that we can be sure that in 50 years’ time, an American President and a British Prime Minister will stand on this very spot, just as we do now; they will stand here, as we do, for freedom and for enterprise: our two countries — the united states of liberty and enterprise.
*Education note: Somebodyisfromhere.com once had a teacher tell him the following: England is England. Add Wales and Scotland and you have Britain. Add Northern Ireland and you have The United Kingdom. Add Southern Ireland and you have a war.