The Spectator

Letters: Biden is alienating Britain

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Joe Shmoe

Sir: Your piece ‘Not so special’ (Leading article, 8 July) was right. Joe Biden doesn’t like us and a brief 45 minutes with Rishi Sunak last week doesn’t change that. In Saudi Arabia last year, Biden compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians with Britain’s past in Ireland. This was outrageous – what about the US historical treatment of Mexicans, Cubans and Filipinos, and Biden’s friendliness towards IRA terrorists? Britain enjoyed excellent relations with the US under Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton, all of whom had Irish ancestry, and it is self-indulgent and a dereliction for this President to make his chosen personal background an issue, as he does.

Britain stood shoulder to shoulder with the US through all the major conflicts of the 20th century, save Vietnam, and has long been the US’s most reliable ally. In Ukraine, it is Britain that the US has been able to rely on, not the EU or Germany or France, and certainly not Ireland, which is ‘neutral’. Biden’s stance over British policy in Ireland has been misguided and ignorant – and he is testing the lifelong Atlanticism of Britons like me. The EU’s customs border in the Irish Sea breaks the Good Friday Agreement as much as any Irish land border would.

Gregory Shenkman

London SW7

Serving notice

Sir: In an otherwise most interesting article on the game of padel, your correspondent William Skidelsky is incorrect in saying that the game was invented in 1969 (‘Anyone for padel?’, 8 July). Although certain modifications may have taken place in the intervening period, my partner and I won the padel mixed doubles title on board the Holland-Afrika Line ship Bloemfontein on a voyage from Southampton to Cape Town in September 1957. The prizes, I recall, were a small Holland-Afrika inscribed plaque to each of us and a bottle of champagne, available at that time in the first-class saloon bar at a cost of six shillings per bottle.

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