The US elections so far, and what they mean for British interests


For more info please contact the organiser, Dr Joel Faulkner Rogers

Chair: Jon Sopel, Senior Anchor for the BBC News Channel
Speakers:           Stephan Shakespeare, CEO and co-founder of YouGov
Carol Gould, Editor,
Bonnie Greer OBE, Author & Playwright
Dr Stefan Halper, Former White House & Presidential Campaign advisor, now Senior Fellow, Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge
Matthew Jamison, Consultant Fellow, Royal United Services Institute

Stephan Shakespeare, CEO and co-founder of YouGov, guided us through some of the latest polling figures. He argued that:

  • People don't vote on ethical issues; it is the economy that will drive the US election results
  • As the economy improves so does Obama’s outlook
  • The numbers suggest the Republicans will hold on to Congress and take the Senate but lose the Presidency

The so-called special relationship

The panel identified a cultural shift towards realism in the US. Stefan Halper said in the future it would work with its allies but require them to pay their own way.

Bonnie Greer cast doubt on the so-called special relationship between Britain and America, saying it does not extend to anything that goes against the US interests, such as the Falklands.

Matthew Jamison said we British tend to get neurotic about the relationship, looking for snubs, but at the end of the day it is a structural relationship that will transcend changes in government. However British defence cuts could challenge this.

Carol Gould argued that in a precarious situation of global financial turmoil, instability in Syria, Israel, Iran and the Eurozone and with the emergence of “strange bedfellows”, new global partnerships, it was more important than ever to preserve the US and UK relationship.

Robotic and out of touch

With regards to the candidates themselves, the panel were critical of Mitt Romney, saying he needs to put on a suit and stop exaggerating; he’s robotic and out of touch and needs to play up to wholesome America. Obama too could come across as aloof.

Bonnie Greer said frankly the choice was between two Harvard trained lawyers, highly intelligent, driven and focused.

She added: “Just because Romney isn’t human doesn’t mean he can’t be President of the United States”.

See the survey details and full results

View video highlights from the debate