John Kerry, the newly appointed US secretary of state, has arrived in London, making us the first stop on his first international tour.
Everyone seems surprisingly excited about this.
John Kerry’s first foreign stop as secretary of state: London
John Kerry drops by at No 10 to back “special relationship”
(Has anybody actually asked him? Are we sure he hasn’t come all this way to break up with us in person?)
What is clear is that Kerry is not one to hold a grudge. During his 2004 run at the White House, the Guardian launched ’Operation Clark County’, mobilising letter writers around the world to ask swing voters in a swing county in a swing state to vote George Bush out of office. More than 11,000 Guardianistas duly suggested to Ohioans that they should be ashamed of their President, and asked them to vote for Kerry instead.
The results were not encouraging (“KEEP YOUR FUCKING LIMEY HANDS OFF OUR ELECTION,” replied one proud American suffering from a defective caps lock. “HEY, SHITHEADS, REMEMBER THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR?”). In fact, the most visible result of the campaign was a backlash, as right-wing US media organisations stirred up outrage about the notion that foreigners would try to interfere in a US election.
In the end, Ohio voted for Bush – and Clark County was the only county in the state that Bush lost in 2000, but won four years later. Kerry would almost certainly have lost the election anyway – but the concerned letter writers of North London didn’t help.