The Spectator

Letters | 28 November 2009

Spectator readers respond to recent articles

Not so special

Sir: The only ‘disrespect’ Obama can really be accused of is a degree of indifference to the British delusion of a ‘special relationship’ with the USA (‘A special form of disrespect’, 21 November). One would have thought that after the con-trick of Lend-lease, the wholesale vacuuming-up of British nuclear and aviation technology, Roosevelt’s barely concealed desire to see the British empire dismantled and the Suez fiasco, scales might have dropped from post-Churchillian Britain’s eyes.

Despite General McChrystal referring to two British Generals as ‘Jacko’ and ‘Lamby’, there is not and never has been a special relationship unless it suited Washington. Is it ineradicable Francophobia that prevents us recognising that de Gaulle had it right all along?

J.M. Hallinan
NSW, Australia

Readings of Eliot

Sir: Tom Adès is a good composer but a very coarse reader — of Eliot and of me (Letters, 21 November). The Nazis may have accused the Jews of Bolshevism. T.S. Eliot, though, attacked the Blackshirts in The Rock (1934), and isn’t a Nazi. In his letter, Eliot’s charge of Bolshevism isn’t purely political. It is broader. Eliot expands his ‘prejudice’ to the ‘not always political’. His definition of Bolshevism is ‘destructive instinct’. And Eliot cites Disraeli — an unlikely Bolshevik in the conventional sense — as an example of what he means. Adès seems to think I am responsible for these argumentative inflections in a desperate attempt to acquit Eliot of anti-Semitism. They are, in fact, Eliot’s refinements, not mine.

I haven’t worked for Faber & Faber since 1991.

Craig Raine

Supranational issues

Sir: Your cover story (‘How the Tories can win in Europe’, 14 November) quotes Liam Fox saying: ‘We can never allow defence procurement to be a supranational issue.’ If he really means this, he is 70, if not 93, years too late.

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