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The friend of my enemy is my enemy

I recall, shortly after I first got myself on-line, frequently seeing the phrase ‘ROFLMAO’ appear on various chat rooms and fora. I had not a clue what this term meant but, after a little judicious detective work, I discovered that is was an acronym for the phrase ‘Rolling On the Floor Laughing My Arse Off’.

Well, I was ROFLMAO when I read this:

TORY leader Michael Howard has been barred from the White House and told he will never meet President George Bush, it emerged last night.

The bombshell ban was slapped on Mr Howard after he called for Tony Blair to quit over the Iraq War….

What particularly upset the White House was Mr Howard’s comment: “If I were Prime Minister I would seriously be considering my position.”

They were also angered when the Tory leader accused the PM of “serious dereliction of duty”.

Mr Rove, who speaks with the President’s full authority, said: “You can forget about meeting the President full stop. Don’t bother coming, you are not meeting him….”

And it has deeply damaged the decades-long alliance between the Republicans and the Conservative Party.

Senior US Right-wingers blame Mr Howard for undermining the coalition in Iraq and say they are privately rooting for a Labour victory in the next election.

A Tory source said: “They see Tony Blair as a true ally against terror and the Tories as a bunch of w*****s.”

Wherever would they get that idea??!!

Although the cause of this spat is laid at the door of Mr Howard’s apparent equivocation over Iraq, I get the feeling that the real friction lies elsewhere. Strange as it may sound, I have been reading what sound like reasonably reliable reports in the UK press about squadrons of young British Conservative activists hot-footing it off to the USA to work in the Presidential election campaign…for the Democrats!.

In the interests of accuracy, I think it ought to be said that this is far more about the Tories trying to pull some sort of rug from under ‘Teflon Tony’ than establishing any sort of link with either the US Democrat Party or Mr Kerry. But in any event, it is still a deeply ill-judged political blunder. The article alludes to an ‘alliance’ between US Republicans and British Conservatives and while I think that ‘alliance’ is too strong a term, there certainly has been a traditional affinity between these two centre-right Anglo-Saxon political tribes.

That being the case, one wonders what these jet-setting young Tories were hoping to achieve by throwing their lot in with Mr Kerry? There is nothing to suggest that a President Kerry would somehow undermine Tony Blair. If the Tories cannot make a dent in him at home, then how are they going to land any meaningful punches on him via Washington? And if they imagine that they are going to be the subject of any outreach by either the US Democrats of the Guardian-reading classes at home then all I can say is that they are even stupider than they look (and they look fairly stupid).

In short, the British Tories have managed to alienate one of their few powerful friends for no gain whatsoever and, since I assume that the leadership either gave their blessing to these transatlantic jaunts or, at the very least, turned a blind eye, then it merely reinforces my view that the British Conservatve Party is in the hands of buffoons and political pygmies.

I understand that the streets of New York will be plagues this week by throngs of the Great American Unwashed wearing ‘George Bush=Hitler’ T-shirts. I do not imagine that any such items of radical apparel will be making an appearance at the next Tory Party convention. However, I do wonder if would get any sales with a ‘Michael Howard = Chief Wiggum’ version?

38 comments to The friend of my enemy is my enemy

  • BigFire

    That is truely a piece of political stupidity. You DO NOT try to anger your biggest foreign supporter just to put a dent into your local opponent. Unless Michael Howard can somehow defeat Tony Blair on his own, he’ll probably never set foot inside the White House, except as a tourist.

  • I hope you will forgive my ignorance… what is are “w*****s”?

  • Dave

    I wonder if the source was taking liberties with Rove’s statement. Americans usually say “period” for emphasis, and not “full stop.” Maybe Karl was being cute in consciously using this briticism, but Republicans aren’t known for that variety of wit.

    Even taken with that grain of salt, it is still quite funny.

  • A.M

    Howard should try to take advantage of this to show that a Tory government won’t be anyone’s lapdog: Not Washington’s and not the EU’s. That combined with opposition to PC laws and mass immigration could win them the next election. There was nothing conservative about the Iraq War anyway and it’s been a boon to Leftists and other statists the world over.

    I also wouldn’t be too afraid of offending the US. Spain did it publicly and dramatically and yet earlier this month the Americans were caving in to them over US participation in the Gibraltar tercentenary. Tiny Israel slaps them around all the time and faces no consequences.

  • Verity

    If George Bush wins the election, look for T Blair to be offered a job in the White House. Bush thinks Toneboy’s a sincere ally of America. I have said before that I believe Donald Rumsfeld has his number.

    Let Tone, having realised at last that Gerhardt and Jacques are never going to let him be (unelected) president of Yurrop, go out of Britain. Britain was always too small for Tone ‘n’ Cherie.

  • Former CNN Watcher

    An American would say “wussies” not “wankers”.

    And Americans don’t say “full stop”. Most don’t know what it means. That sounds like a made-up quote to me.

  • Guy Herbert

    It will probably do Howard some good in Britain, and Bush yet more damage overseas (not that he cares).

    While it may be that Howard has little chance of power and therefore isn’t in himself important enough to merit Whitehouse attention, meeting him would show respect for an important ally’s parliamentary system and the legitimacy of opposition even when you think it is wrong. This looks to foreigners like the version of “democracy” Washington wants to spread to the rest of the world is electorally-legitimated-dictators-who-agree-with us. Again.

    It’s undoubtably hard to run a foreign policy of universal moral struggle, but having declared that as its aim, the Bush administration so often doesn’t even look as if it is trying. I suspect its ostensible foreign policy isn’t one. It is a carelessly constructed fantasy about the unrestrained use of power by Good against Evil (which the constitution largely prohibits at home) for domestic consumption. Blair operates on a similar basis, but does take care to fake well for selected overseas audiences, which is how he’s maintained such a US fan-club.

  • Guy Herbert

    PS –

    For “largely prohibits” above, read “restricts”. I regret writing it. The US penal systems are but one one example of how the constitution fails to restrain limitless mistreatment of those marked down as Evil.

    On the central point of the article, A.M. is right. This is an opportunity for Howard, and he is correct to play it up.

  • AynFolk

    Editors note: Comment deleted, you have already been banned previously so please take the hint and stop posting comments.

  • Shawn

    “Further, the upper echelons of the party have never been more Jewish-oriented. Howard and Letwin are both Jews (as is Kerry)”

    Jewish oriented???

    And Kerry is Irish Catholic.

    “Howard knows how disliked Bush and the neocons”

    Once again, we do not have a neocon administration. At most only Paul Wolfowitz could reasonably be considered such (assuming the name has any objective meaning at all which I doubt).

    The admin is largely a mixture of centrists (Powell), realist-hawks (Rumsfeld and Rice) and Christian Rightists (Ashcroft and Bush).

    This is not a neocon administration, either in terms of people or policy.

  • Julian Taylor

    I would imagine that The Sun would have substituted “Full Stop” for “Period” here – just so that their readers would know what that meant.

    And if you read the article, as David quoted it and as The Sun reproduced it on their website, its a TORY source saying “They see Tony Blair as a true ally against terror and the Tories as a bunch of wankers.”.

  • Verity

    It’s a bizarre story, nevertheless. Bush has to know that Blair is a committed tranzi.

    I’ve said before that I am looking forward to the day when the current White House start writing their books, because I am absolutely convinced that Donald Rumsfeld has Blair’s number.

  • The words “no hopers” really do say it all. The Tory party has to be the most politically inept organisation of recent years and whilst their antics are laughable, they have effectively left us with a one party state. Much as I dislike Blair, I shudder to think where we would be if he stood down.
    We are in a serious state of disarray.

  • Mr. Carr, you ask what these ‘jet-setting young Tories’ hope to achieve by openly supporting Kerry and, in some cases, going so far as to travel to the US to actively participate in the Kerry campaign – I propose that one of the primary reasons young Conservatives have been backing Kerry over Bush is that it is somehow ‘trendy’ – it adds ‘street cred’.

    The ‘Young Conservatives for Kerry’ simply put their image amongst their leftist peers ahead of political principles and the traditional affinity between the Conservatives and the Republicans because there’s nothing ‘uncooler’ than backing Bush as far as many young British political types are concerned.

  • ernest young


    Kerry is Jewish, he changed to Catholiscism later in life when it became convenient to do so. It appears to be a character trait. His family name was Kohn: Don’t believe me? go read…

    Kerry bio

  • Jacob

    ernest young,
    Was that “Kerry bio” some joke ? I didn’t get it.

    About Howard and some young tories being anti Iraq and anti Bush:

    Surprise ! Surprise !

    Seems a great majority of British voters are oposed to the Iraq war, and hate Bush. So Howard says what he beleives will get him elected. That’s what politicos do. Maybe the Bush boycott will help him too, that’s why they went and told the press about it.

  • Julian Taylor

    Do people posting here really believe there is some problem with politicians being Jewish? I doubt very much that even Karl Rove would draw a parallel between Michael Howard’s and Oliver Letwin’s ancestry and some of the Democrat Party’s supporters. I feel it’s rather more likely that Rove et al would prefer to have someone in Number 10 who is willing to carry out US policy without asking questions, and that they don’t want to lose that person.

    Lets have less Jew baiting and more anti Tony, Cherie and their little blind rottweiler baiting please.

  • ed


    1. “And Kerry is Irish Catholic.”

    Actually Kerry is Catholic, but not Irish. Though Kerry did claim to be Irish for nearly 40 years. If you want to be a successful politician in Boston you need to be Irish. So Kerry claimed to be Irish until his claim was debunked. Pretty embarassing.

    In terms of his Catholicism Kerry’s grandfather was originally jewish but renounced his faith and adopted Catholicism instead,

    2. The article frankly is bunk. Karl Rove, and the Bush administration, is far too smart to do something like this. This is just some made up nonsense.

  • Hank Scorpio

    “Lets have less Jew baiting and more anti Tony, Cherie and their little blind rottweiler baiting please.”

    This is a topic that scares the holy hell out of me. Never in my life have I seen the “shadowy Jewish/Rothschild cabal control the world” fantasy given so much credence with so many people, including normally intelligent folks.

    We have an enemy right now that wants to see all of us “Jews and crusaders” (ie, westerners) die in mass numbers, and yet some assholes continue to push this bullshit Protocols of the Elders of Zion nonsense around as if that’s our greatest problem. Get your heads out of your asses, people, Jews are not the problem.

  • ernest young


    Just replying to Shawn, who queried someone else’s remark re Kerry’s background.

    I offered no comment other than to remark that he seems to ‘change with the wind’, and that it appears to be one of his characteristics. Just like many politicians…

  • This article is true, senior Republicans have been warned by me (as former YR Chairman for Maine) and several others that their “allies” the Tories are actively backing Bush. In a piece of absolute and utter stupidity, one of Nigel Evans MPs researchers publically came out in support of Kerry on the CF website. Why should the Republicans have anything to do with the Tories when senior Tories and their youth group are actively supporting their opponents.

    It is entirely in keeping with Rove’s reputation that he would have said and done this.

    What exactly do you expect the reaction to be?

    I agree with Julian that the judenhaas jew-baiting from some here is getting out of hand. Maybe William Hague, who is well respect by many Republicans, can repair the damage done by Howard and Co’s assinine behaviour.

  • Earnest Young and Jacob:

    FYI Kerry’s paternal grandparents were jewish. Technically, therefore, so was his father. However, his mother has no jewish roots (she is a descendant of two wealthy Massachusetts families). Kerry, therefore, is not (even) technically jewish.

  • AID: I agree with Julian that the judenhaas jew-baiting from some here is getting out of hand. Maybe William Hague, who is well respect by many Republicans, can repair the damage done by Howard and Co’s assinine behaviour.

    Actually, it’s really a faux kind of Jew-baiting. Conservative Jews in America are being attacked for going off the reservation. The stateside Jewish establishment seems to take it for granted that Jews should be either be liberal or keep quiet (80% of Jews vote Democratic). Note that liberal Jews are not being attacked for dominating the liberal establishment – it’s conservative Jews who are being criticized for being a small part of the conservative establishment. It is not being noted that most of the large contributors to 527 organizations are wealthy Jewish liberals, but the one conservative Jew on that list comes in for a bashing.

  • The other issue here is that conservatives who are not Pat Buchanan conservatives are being branded neo-conservatives. But the reality is that conservatives are pretty much who they’ve been since Barry Goldwater, who said extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, forty years ago. Pat Buchanan and his ilk are John Birch Society conservatives, and could never have formed the basis of an electoral majority, given the white supremacist views that make many white conservatives uncomfortable. What really makes liberals nervous is the idea that the conservative movement can be inclusive as well, meaning that the various races and ethnic groups currently on the liberal reservation may well be persuaded to bolt.

  • Shawn

    “The other issue here is that conservatives who are not Pat Buchanan conservatives are being branded neo-conservatives. But the reality is that conservatives are pretty much who they’ve been since Barry Goldwater,”

    Exactly right.

    As I said I doubt the name neocon has any objective meaning anymore. The anti-Jewish far right uses it to describe any post war mainstream conservative.

    The anti-Jewish attitude, which pops up from time to time here is both brainless and morally repugnant.

  • The CF daftness gets even better. A commenter on Dodgeblogium describes some more young Tory idiocy. And they shut down the YCs for its bad reputation (which meant we knew how to have a good time).

  • Verity

    Shawn, maybe I’m insensitive, but I have never detected an anti-Jewish attitude among commenters on Samizdata. The general tenor of most posts where Judaism is mentioned is warm regard for Jews as a race, and almost all of us seem to be broadly pro-Israel.

    Not that I’m suggesting that Jews or Israel are beyond criticism. I don’t like Oliver Letwin, but not because he’s Jewish. I don’t like him on his own account. But I’m a big fan of Michael Howard – not just for his awesome intelligence, but because he has patience and tenacity. I would be thrilled to see him as PM and I think it could happen.

  • I have a great admiration for Howard, despite some of the daft things he has done of late. I do, however, worry that the changes he promised would be made to the party apparatus have not been made and that CCO continues to be a party within a party. Activists and MPs staff still get treated badly by CCO employees.

    Alas, he hasn’t got much time to get it sorted. Britain needs a strong party of the right (whether it is called the Conservatives or not is irrelevant) and currently they don’t have it.

  • Verity

    Andrew Ian Dodge. Agreed. Howard’s instincts are in the right place, but he cannot allow any more squabbling and ferrets in a sack, so he’s had to soft pedal to tamp down the cannibalistic tendencies of the deeply stupid. The minute he tries to impose real discipline, the newspapers (including, sadly, The Telegraph), will take their cue from Phony Bliar and say he’s lurching to the right and the Tories are tearing themselves apart. I think withdrawing the whip from three or four of them might shut them up.

    This surely would be a salutary move, because he would fear the opinion of his constituents. He also needs to fire some people, just for the hell of it. Trying to be a conciliator with these people only hands control to them. The electorate wants a strong leader.

    He shouldn’t be having to be distracted by all these fleas, because he is brilliant and can trash Tony Blair and make him look like the opportunistic fool that he is. If some of these Tories who will do anything to get a soundbite on the news want to commit suicide, Howard may just as well murder them and get them out of the way.

  • I think any CF member who publically comes out in support of Kerry who is a staff member of CCO or any Tory MP should be sacked. Simple as that.

    As far as I can tell, and from what I have been told, Howard does want to put the smack down on the fools in all parts of the part apparatus. He is being held back by someone or a group of people. One sometimes wonder whether they actually want the Tory Party to cease to be.

    Another defeat like the last G.E. and I am not sure the Tory Party will survive.

  • Verity

    Why doesn’t he want to sack them? He should also sack the people who are holding him back. You are right. If they squabble and vendetta themselves into another defeat, they are finished as a party.

    Being placatory and conciliatory didn’t get John Major anywhere. Given that he is vastly more intelligent, and a vastly more wily politician, than John Major, why is he going the John Major route?

  • Andrew Ian Dodge: I think any CF member who publically comes out in support of Kerry who is a staff member of CCO or any Tory MP should be sacked. Simple as that.

    I completely agree. I wonder if any attempts have been made to sack CF members who are employed by CCO or by MPs and who have shown nonsensical dissent by openly backing Kerry and, in some cases, actively campaigning against Bush.

  • M. Simon

    To show support for the British system Bush is going to send campaign workers to help out old Tone.

    Sound logic that.

  • M. Simon

    I’m Jewish. And long time poster here.

    I have never seen anything anti-Jewish here. (aside from the occasional moonbat). And my antenna are always up.

    Tory policy seems incoherent.

    Evidently the Jews are not in charge 🙂

    OTOH considering the incoherent American Democrats are the “Jewish” party perhaps I will have to re-evaluate. 🙂

    In any case it is policy not religion that is the problem.

  • Verity

    M. Simon – I didn’t know Bush was sending over strategists to help Tone. I am absolutely astounded. My respect for him has plummetted so fast I went giddy at the ride.

  • M. Simon


    Sarcasm impaired? Or perhaps you have not read the whole thread.


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    George Bush never called me “baby killer”.

    There is a big difference between William Calley and John Kerry. William Calley is a proven war criminal. For John Kerry we only have his word as an officer and a gentleman.

    What is the War Hero Afraid of?
    Form 180. Release ALL the records.

    The Ads: Video links

  • Verity

    M. Simon – of course I’ve read the whole thread before commenting on it. Was it sarcasm that Bush is to send strategists to help Blair blag his way into office, or the real thing? I don’t get your comment.