22 NOVEMBER 2003, Page 40

Bush blunder

From Peter P. Witonski Sir: Peter Oborne's assertion that President Bush needs to visit the Queen to aid him in the forthcoming American presidential election is outrageous ('Hail to the Chief, 15 November). It reveals at best a great ignorance of American politics and history.

The Queen is known and respected in the United States, but her celebrity is the result of having been in the public view for nearly 60 years as princess and monarch.

Many presidents have been photographed with the Queen. Several of them — most notably President Eisenhower — had close and cordial relations with her. But no American president ever derived any political benefits from either visiting or being photographed with Elizabeth II.

The major political result of the Bush visit — especially if the anti-Bush demonstrations get out of hand —will be to damage Prime Minister Blair. The damage will be done not by Bush's large entourage, but by the left wing of the Labour party and by the numerous rent-acrowd extreme leftist groups who have moved to the forefront of these planned demonstrations. In America the visit will receive five minutes on the prime-time network news.

Peter P. Witonski

New York