Speaking at Davos last night, Conservative Party leader David Cameron warned against protectionist tendencies shown by India, China, and US presidential candidates on both sides:
"As politicians, our actions must match our rhetoric. No buying off domestic opinion with subsidies and barriers. At a time of global and economic uncertainty and of financial instability we must not pander to people's fears by peddling false hopes of protectionism.
In years to come, the world will look back at this period, and there will be heroes and there will be villains. The heroes will be those who held their nerve and stood up for free trade. The villains will be those who tried to push us over this tipping point and down the dangerous path of protectionism."
He singled out Republican candidate John McCain for praise in this respect, for arguing that protectionism would not bring back lost industrial jobs. The Telegraph's Rosa Prince, a former Daily Mirror journalist, seems to read too much into this by saying Cameron was breaking diplomatic convention and overtly backing McCain for president.
He may not be openly advocating his selection but he certainly seems to be the Republican of choice amongst Tories now, who are delighted that he has come full-circle in the polls since he spoke at their naitonal conference. The Independent's Pandora column wrote this on Tuesday:
"Quiet ripples of excitement among young turks at Conservative Central Office, as the Vietnam veteran John McCain edges into pole position to become the Republican Party's presidential candidate.
Junior aides have been informed that it is "taken as a given" that some of their number will be heading across the Atlantic should the Arizona senator get his name on November's ballot for the White House. Those selected will be able to cut their teeth in an election environment. The jostling for plane seats has started.
McCain and the Tories already enjoy a cosy relationship. The American visited Westminster in 2005 as a guest of Michael Gove, now shadow Schools Secretary, and spoke at the Tory conference in Bournemouth the following year, at the invitation of the shadow Chancellor, George Osborne."
Also worth noting is that whilst McCain spoke in glowing terms about Cameron in January 2006, by March 2007 he was saying that he felt decieved by Cameron about his stance on Iraq, after Cameron opposed more US troops in Iraq.
Our poll of thousands of Conservative Party members last June put McCain at a very distant second to Giuliani. We'll repeat the poll soon so it'll be interesting to see if they have switched places since then.