Is the “special relationship” coming to an end?
News broadcaster Justin Webb and cross-bench peer Lord Renwick of Clifton are among the speakers examining the “special relationship” between the UK and the United States at a University of Sussex symposium.
The event on 7 March 2016 marks the 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s speech in Fulton, Missouri, during which he highlighted how mutual assistance and collaboration with the US was an effective deterrent against future wars and tyranny.
Webb, former North American editor for the BBC and now a presenter on Radio 4’s 'Today' programme, will be reading from and discussing his book, Notes on Them and Us, in which he charts the transatlantic relationship since the voyage of the Mayflower.
He said: “The relationship, however it is described, is going to change hugely as a result of the demographic changes in the USA. I think that is probably a good thing - freeing them and us from a lot of fuss about each other we do not really need to make.”
The keynote address will be given by Lord Renwick, former British ambassador to Washington, who will also examine the Anglo-American bond.
The day-long seminar includes presentations from academics from six other universities, covering issues such as the economic and political backdrop to Churchill’s speech, and the religious dimension of US and UK relations.
Professor Clive Webb, University of Sussex’s head of the School of History, Art History and Philosophy, and organiser of the symposium, said: “Churchill proclaimed that this relationship was based on the shared history and culture of the two nations.
“Yet behind the rhetoric is another story. What has bound the two countries together has in truth been pragmatism and mutual self-interest. And in the last decade this marriage of convenience has come under increasing strain. With a new president soon to be elected, it is timely to look again at this relationship.”
Justin Webb will be talking from 12.30pm-1.15pm in Arts A108. Lord Renwick’s address will be in Jubilee Building 144 from 6-7pm. For more information about how to attend the event, see here.