Thursday, 14 September 2017
New USA ambassador in London. Ready to turn on the jets for UK-USA trade?
With new USA ambassador Woody Johnson up and running in his second week in London, surely there are a few points he could consider in making the Special Relationship, well, more special?
Every American schoolchild will be familiar with East Kent's USA links, whether the Jamestown founders - and our Virginia sister state - or Margate and Sandwich weaver Tom Paine.
Just on that basis, East Kent can easily lay claim to creating the United States. No problem. Our pleasure. Have a nice day.
Did our American Cousins think we'd forgotten?
No sign yet though on Martin Luther King events in UK for the anniversary next year - he was certainly more popular on this little rock than in Alabama.
Carnegie Libraries as here in Ramsgate with Microsoft software is an iconic example of the special relationship made real beyond the ceremonial and hands across the ocean guff. And why shouldn't American schools have a slice of Raspberry Pii with their computer lessons too. And Free smartphones and Yingluck computers - former Mayor Bloomberg would have gotten onto it by now?
Here in Meiji Kent, there's also concern over Cambodia's rough treatment of the Seabees after all their efforts. And leaves on the line delays with the BKK-PP-HCMC rail link that would increase trade and tourism to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
And if Total petrol here in East Kent was banned due to USA war crimes legislation over Myanmar, the lack of UK effort in that nation is dismal. And shouldn't USA be more active in helping steer Cambodia to democracy.
But there are lesser-known USA-Kent links too whether General Patton's role in Operation Fortitude for D-Day, or Marlon Brando's love of the countryside threatened by Operation Stack and new town overbuild splodge. And POTUS Johnson issuing silver medals to the Broadstairs RNLI for rescuing the USA ship Northern Belle in 1857 – those medals the forerunner of the Medal of Honor?
Or St Augustine in Florida, the oldest Spanish settlement in USA, just up the road from Mar-a-Lago, and named after the founder of East Kent's Canterbury Cathedral, and the delayed Landings Jorvik-style attraction. East Kent busy founding not just USA but UK too, with the Julius Caesar landings- those even more overdue a bit of American pizzazz than the Mickey Mouse antics around the Paramount theme park.
But UK-USA trade all the worse if the Brexit silliness continues - the ambassador could well be advised to stuff his ears with Johnson and Johnson cotton wool whenever that subject crops up.
Britain's had over a year of such Brexit twaddle and tax-waste before it will eventually cancelled.
The UK's Zombie Parliament has returned replete with mono-issue guff on the maybes and might-be’s of Brexit making Britain a laughing stock even before Boris turns up.
The Scottish parliament zooming ahead in terms of competence: reflecting the auto industry ban on petrol cars by 2030, turbocharging electric car charging points, 100% broadband and free tampons in schools. With free university tuition already, a far more competent judicial system, no hereditary sinecures and remaining in the EU it's hard to see how Westminster is an improvement on Holyrood now.
While risking its European allies and 54% EU exports, would be as silly as UK neglecting its USA allies and 25% exports.
And if Texas isn't what it was at the moment with its ten gallon hat holding twenty gallons, then isn't NASA failing us too?
Mars 2030 will slip sideways without a more vigorous effort with the UK Space agency and European Space Agency? A few more weather satellites are needed given both Harvey and now Irma, and clearing up space junk with Japan's space agency for a start.
Kent's Ghurkas one of the few UK troops in Afghanistan - although not the Ghurka engineers or others yet. And why not forward-positioned in the Caribbean given the dismal response to Harvey and Irma?
Is it so outrageous for Ambassador Woody to have doubled UK and USA trade by the end of his tenure? It's a UK target anyway so he'd be pushing against an open door and a permanent UK red carpet.
He certainly shouldn't hesitate in turning on the jets to turbocharge both the New York Jets and NFL, and the UK-USA helicopter industry. And only 3 USA hurricane-chaser weather aircraft for Irma and none from UK?
Junk like the F35 could be easily replaced with upgrades the USMC Harrier or, as has begun, A-10 Warthog - and far more US Coastguard search and rescue and cargo helicopters. And even Hronn Barney Barges that could refloat UK and US shipbuilding.
While despite Silicon roundabout and Silicon Fen and Reading's Silicon Valley as smaller versions of California's Silicon Valley, there's concern over tech-giants such as Facebook and Apple and Google - even the good folks of Starbucks - and the minimal tax they pay in UK, Eire and EU.
And rather than just storms coming out of the Caribbean why aren't the good folks of Starbucks, not just opening more stores in UK (only one in Kent?) but also a more cohesive coffee and Climate Change strategy with say Guatemala and Nicaragua and the good folks of Cuba? America would be a bananas republic not to take a more serious overview of one of its root industries in the 21st century.
Virginia's dynamic Senator/Governor/VP Tim Kaine can't be the only one keen on the blues harp as well as Spanish?
Better late than never can't continue being the basis for the Special Relationship?
Ambassador Woody must wake up every morning already thinking how can Brand USA achieve more American tourists to India without UK and Commonwealth helping ratchet it upwards from London? And more Americans in Eire and Scotland, is no bad thing either. UK and Eire tourism must surely want to ensure the flight across the pond is maximised more than it is?
And if UK business guru, and UK Business Council chair Luke Johnson has drained his cup in Patisserie Valerie or ICE cancer hospice canteen, where is the refill - coffee not cancer drugs - across Central Mexico and the Caribbean Commonwealth? Certainly ageing ASEAN societies such as Thailand and Vietnam could do with a topup - coffee and cancer drugs - from ChiangMai to DaNang.
While colleague Paul Polman at Unilever and Procter and Gamble are finishing off publishing all their cosmetic and household products surely J&J will be too? And even pushing for a global ban on animal testing - an astonishing oversight and failure in the 21st century given the efforts of UK retailers such as The Body Shop and Boots?
The always-interesting New European newspaper highlighting the Brexit shambles but extraordinary UK-USA links with the quintessential Americana of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and Tortilla Flat and The Grapes of Wrath, the author so fascinated with the quintessential Englishness of King Arthur and the knights of the round table he spent months in UK on research.
And dynamic Steve Ballmer of Microsoft looking glum and sleepless in Seattle in his empty philanthropy skyscraper. He can't watch basketball all day why doesn't fly over to little old Englandshire as a roving envoy on UK and EU trade with USA - a sort of Red Adair of business?
Project Huckleberry Friend as a sub-strategy of Meiji Kent and Farm to Pharma would encourage more Americans to visit East Kent.
Kent University's excellent American Studies dept must surely want to link in with USA universities on that as a minimum? Kent's Charles Dickens also not averse to visiting and writing about USA.
A revitalised Ford in UK would help soak up some of Thailand's rubber glut, with more tyres and bumpers, and Doitung planning with UK jobs at Unipart autoparts too. As well as kickstarting the English and Welsh steel industries from Chinese steel dumping.
And crazy golf is no vast sport as yet compared to East Kent's 2020 Golf Open - where are the US Masters activity?
Isaan and Lao silk long overdue as a presence on the UK High St and in USA malls.
Kent supermarkets clearing their shelves of NZ lamb and wine from the Manston-Infratil scandal would open more space for USA's products - another glass of Californian wine or a Pepsi Max?
Some of Thailand’s dynamic Senator Duckworth's wheat’n'meat consituents would surely appreciate more support for Illinois in UK and East Kent - a gourmet ham sandwich sounds tailor-made for them - and Springfield's Lincoln as well as the good folks at Ramsgate Asda-Walmart.
Hospitals surrounded by barbed wire with the public having to throw in penicillin and Elastoplast shouldn't be the American Way - nor the British Way. Where are the UK and USA hospital exchange programmes on cancer and dementia? Certainly they could easily clear out most of the junk food from hospital and sports hall vending machines and cafes.
The UK as a nation of shopkeepers wouldn't want to be selling supersize portions of unhealthy food whether chlorinated or not.
Surely Cuban healthcare would be better for USA with or without the Castros or the stain of Guantanamo on Old Glory - whether the prison or the colony. UK has nothing to be proud of with its tax haven and drugs colonies in the Caribbean but could be a more palatable gringo on Cuban trade and reforms. Sugar cane is hardly a growth industry once Coca-Cola or Oreo's has gone sugar-free.
And if UK and Canadian tourists tremble with excitement at visiting the Big Apple, or with fear at USA's medieval healthcare system, surely the US Army Medicine Corps can't be sat in barracks folding and refolding bandages. Or just coping with GI trenchfoot in Latvia and Lithuania - why aren't these Florence Nightingales in camouflage more visibly interlinked with UK NHS and the Mediterranean boat people refugees?
Otherwise they must be more bored than UK troops counting sheep on the rates in the Falklands. The Chile-Argentina railroad a far more relevant strategic importance to those nations and UK and USA trade.
And with NFL and baseball, why not some ice hockey along with Kent's efforts on a wave of Olympic swimming pools across UK as we Follow The Sun for LA 2028?
And surely Unilever and Proctor and Gamble and Johnson and Johnson could toss a coin over who goes first, or a joint venture, on increasing their UNSG30 HIV efforts with new condom factories and production, as well as the excellent Lifebuoy soap handwashing efforts in Kenya.
And if the good folks of Coca-Cola are having a refreshing pause in Atlanta on their lunchbreak, surely they'll be more active in UK on recycling packaging and bottle return. Perhaps Atlanta's parks removing their Confederate statues to the museums, so why not UK-USA artistry developed as the Trafalgar Square empty plinth?
Ambassador Woody could easily take a step back from the Brexit waffle and carve out a few more slices of bilateral trade with UK.
He’s touched down in London now let’s see him ramp up UK-USA trade in East Kent and beyond.
Time for Change