Many Britons think Bush is stupid

More than one in three Britons think George Bush is stupid and a majority branded the US president a threat to world peace, opinion poll results showed.

    UK visit is seen as 'propaganda' to help Bush's re-election

    The results were published on Sunday.

    With widespread demonstrations being planned by protesters, British Prime Minister Tony Blair conceded that some opponents of US policy in Iraq "are rubbing their hands at the scope for embarrassing him".

    "But I believe passionately there could not be a better moment for him to come to the UK than now," he wrote in Britain's leading Sunday tabloid, The News of the World.

    "Despite the doubters, I am convinced the visit of President Bush this week is in the best interests of this country and the world."
     
    Protests

    Bush is due to arrive in London on Tuesday and start his three-day state visit the next day. It will be the first state visit by an American president since Ronald Reagan in 1982.

    Blair's ratings have plunged over the war in Iraq, which most Britons opposed. Bush fared no better in a poll conducted by the Britain's Sunday Times which cast a harsh spotlight on
    the special relationship between London and Washington.

    Thirty-seven percent of those questioned thought Bush was "stupid", while a clear majority of 60% called him a threat to world peace.

    Criticism

    Members of Blair's ruling Labour Party were equally blunt.

    Lord Hattersley, once deputy leader of the party, said the state visit was propaganda to help Bush be re-elected.

    "I resent the United Kingdom and its people being used as part of the Republican election campaign," he said. 
     

    Protesters are gearing up for huge
    demos against Bush's visit 

    Robin Cook, a former foreign secretary who resigned over Blair's decision to join forces with Bush in Iraq, said: "It has become very much a one-way street where it is perfectly plain what we have delivered to the Bush administration."

    But Blair's finance minister, Gordon Brown, will be keen to prove it is a two-way street, officials said.

    With his American counterpart John Snow beside him, Brown is to announce a 100 billion pound ($170 billion) plan to create a single market between Europe and the United States which could help to defuse a transatlantic trade row over US steel tariffs.

    Lucrative contracts
     
    Bush is also set to give British companies the right to bid for lucrative reconstruction contracts in Iraq as a reward to Blair for his staunch support.

    Britain's Sunday newspapers were full of tales of frenzied security concerns.

    "I resent the United Kingdom and its people being used as part of the Republican election campaign"

    Lord Hattersley,
    former deputy leader, 

    Labour Party

    Britain was reported to have moved its security to a heightened state of alert, following warnings of a possible al-Qaida attack received just days before Bush's arrival.
     
    "We have received information that suggests some terrorist suspects are on the move," one senior official told The Sunday Times.

    Security fears

    Bush is to stay at Buckingham Palace during his three-day state visit and one of Queen Elizabeth's courtiers, quoted by the Sunday Telegraph, said she rejected a request from Bush's security advisers to bolster palace defences.
     
    "The President's security men seem obsessed with the idea of an airborne attack on the Palace," the unnamed courtier said.

    A study released last Tuesday said London was at greater risk of a terror attack than any other major city in the US or Western Europe.

    The Control Risks Group business consultancy said Blair's support for the US-led war in Iraq as well as Britain's large Muslim population meant there was a serious possibility of a bombing.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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