British media have their say on Obama: special relationship a one-way street

GMT 01:58 2016 Sunday ,24 April

Arab Today, arab today British media have their say on Obama: special relationship a one-way street

President Barack Obama
London - Arab Today

As US President Barack Obama continued what is likely to be his swan song visit to Britain, the fall out from his dramatic EU referendum intervention spilled over Saturday with the British media giving its verdict.

Obama's warning that America's so-called "special friend" will go to the back of the queue for a trade deal if Britain votes to quit Europe, came under fierce attack.

While the Brexit lobby would be expected to attack Obama's stark warning, the media launched a full frontal attack on Obama, as he held talks with British opposition leader, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn.

Though as a backbencher Corbyn was anti-EU, he is now spearheading Labour's support for Britain to stay.

The red top tabloid, Sun, in its editorial, under the headline "Some friend" said "what a vicious yet revealing threat he made to Britain yesterday as Project Fear's new poster boy".

The Sun continued: "Leave the EU and you can forget about a trade deal with the U.S. ... so much for the special relationship he and David Cameron spent yesterday talking about. Turns out we are only special to Obama's America as their usual go-betweens with the EU. At least we now know."

The Daily Mail carried a lengthy editorial headlined "This President is last man we should heed".

The Mail described Obama's tone as patronising, the language menacing, and the message not only hypocritical, but insulting.

Obama has every right to say he thinks it is in America's best interests for Britain to remain in the EU. But, says the Mail, he has no business to come here and preach that submission to Brussels is good for the people of the UK.

Obama, the paper said, displayed contempt for voters and left little doubt that he sees the special relationship as a one way street.

"Why does he abuse the UK's hospitality by urging Britons to remain in a relationship his own people would never countenance?" asks the Mail.

The London Times, in a leading article says the American president is free to state his views on Britain's place in Europe and British voters are free to ignore him.

The special relationship appears to be in rude health, says the Times, yet the president's farewell tour has also put it under strain.

The paper said his intervention debate infuriated Eurosceptics, and he knew it would but went ahead with it anyway.

"Obama should not be surprised if large numbers of voters choose to tune him out, or even vote to leave (Europe) to register their indignation," added the commentary.

The leader of the free world, says the Times, would do well to pay more than passing attention to the EU's critics. They claim the mantle of freedom, too, the Times concludes.

In the weekend edition of the i newspaper, an analysis said Obama's intervention was more spectacular than many in the remain campaign dared to hope. They will now dare to dream that it might prove a game-changer in the tight referendum race.

He could have said his message more diplomatically, said the i newspaper, but he chose to be remarkably direct. From David Cameron's point if view, said the paper, Downing Street could not have written a better script.

The Labour-supporting Daily Mirror said Obama made the case for Britain remaining in Europe better than anybody before him as he destroyed the case for leaving.

His was a masterclass in political communication, stating simple truths with a crushing stature, said the Mirror, adding "nobody in British politics comes anywhere near his stature".

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