There was a time not so long ago when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter, because we had a gift that no one else in the world shared: we’re Americans! - the souring patriotic rhetoric of an American presidential election: Mitt Romney here attempting to win over voters. An analyst says his trip to Britain is simply part of that campaign. Tim Stanley, a historian and a writer for the Daily Telegraph, says the visit is not about reaching agreements or even about policy.
"Nothing substitutive to come out of this. This is just about Romney sharing off his diplomatic credentials reminding people that he ran the Olympics and David Cameron being nice and polite. There’s nothing policy-wise to be gained from this for either country. It’s always good, because there’s a possibility that Romney will win. I think there’s a lot stronger possibility than most of the British media realize. It’s always good to see David Cameron laying down roots and relationships with Romney which in the future can have some benefit. Otherwise, no. This is just a tour. This is just about shaking hands, being as polite as it’s humanly possible and improving Romney’s image back home.
Well, Olympians and people at Salt Lake City, we did it!"
The Olympics have a special significance for Mitt Romney. He first came to national prominence before the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002 when he was giving responsibility for organizing the Games. Tim Stanley again:
"I think it’s less that he’s visiting the UK than it is that he’s visiting the Olympics. He wants to remind American voters that he’s the guy who’s saved the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics to prove that he can run something big, to prove that he can create jobs and that he is an efficient organizer. We, the British, tend to see this not as being all about us. But really I suspect the message here is: I’m the guy who saved the Olympics and it shows my leadership potential."
It’s a measure perhaps of how much Romney is focused on the presidential race at home. He’s being surprisingly undiplomatic about the 2012 Games. In an interview with American Network NBC he’s called some elements of London preparations ‘disconcerting’, in particular, the city’s problems with finding enough security guards and a possible strike by immigration officers. He’s even questioned whether the British people are behind the Games saying the country will only find that out when the event begins. At the meeting with Labor’s Head, Ed Miliband, Mr. Romney appeared to forget his name referring to Miliband as “Mr. Leader” –Like you, Mr. Leader, I look forward to our conversation this morning – So what the British politicians, especially the Prime Minister get from meeting the man who will challenge Obama in November?
"David Cameron is getting very little out of this actually, I suspect he’s just being polite by welcoming him which of course he has to do. The fact is that Romney is associated with a poisonous republican branch that the British do not like. They think that Republicans are far too extreme. So Cameron would ideally probably prefer to keep his distance from Mitt Romney. But he has to welcome him because he’s a foreign dignitary. I think Romney gets a lot more out of this visit than David Cameron does."
But at the very least British politicians do have to do a favor for a man who might be very important indeed very soon. At least one poll conducted in the US this week shows Mitt Romney was at six-point lead over President Obama.