David Blackburn

All for show?

All for show?
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Gordon Brown will be seething, and with some justification: he never got photo-ops like these with Barack Obama. Shots of a cosy chat in the Oval Office are usually reserved for Benjamin Netanyahu, following the latest impasse between Israel and America. The Obama administration has gone to great lengths to repair the damage it did to Anglo-American relations at the start of its term. The President was all sparkle and bonhomie during the joint press conference, and he was careful to name-check ‘The Truly Special Relationship’ twice.

Obama may be faking it but he looks comfortable with Cameron. He has always given the impression of being a cold fish, short on empathy, and I suspect he objects to leaders fawning at his throne. Cameron shares much of Obama’s foreign policy outlook, but he does not resort to simpering platitudes of adoration. When he agrees, he agrees; when he doesn’t, he doesn’t - staunch and self-confident, as Cameron put it in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.

It’s early days, but the two leaders seem at ease with each other's common ground and differences. The photo-calls never ceased and the good humour flowed. Britain is the junior partner but Obama gave its leader an equal footing; it was never so with Gordon.