Britain has never had any great love for Donald Trump. His approval ratings among the public here rarely went above 25 per cent.
But one thing that everybody knew was that he was a great friend of the UK. Even if that feeling never was reciprocated.
And although opinion polls suggest that the British public will feel more comfortable with the Democrat alternative (as they always do), they should know one thing above all: Joe Biden and his party are no friends of this country. We might yet rue the day that Donald Trump leaves the White House.
The sheer madness of this country’s attitude needs to be spelt out – and now more than ever.
Four years ago, the British people made a big and bold leap in voting to quit the European Union. Since then, this country has struggled to leave, but finally we are out.
It is at exactly such a moment, when alliances are shifting and new trade deals are required, that older and closer friends need to step up.
To a great extent they have. Our allies in Australia, for instance, have not only been pushing forward an improved trading relationship but even sent a former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to help us as an unpaid trade envoy.
But the biggest prize is the trade deal we so badly need with the United States. America is this country’s largest export market and our second-largest import market. In the wake of our exit from the EU, it is no exaggeration to say that this relationship is crucial.
And Donald Trump was on our side. He made it clear from day one that he favoured a huge trade deal with Britain that would enrich both parties. The goodwill was there, and from the moment negotiations could start, they did.
Led by envoy Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s experienced trade team has been deeply friendly to the UK. They stressed from the beginning that the US would seek a generous deal with the UK.
Of course certain public figures over here did everything they could to try to poison that relationship. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, for instance, was so intent on insulting our most important trading partner that even while being Mayor of our capital city he tried to elevate himself on the international stage by repeatedly insulting the American President. The then Speaker of the House of Commons – John Bercow – did the same thing.
This is not a normal state of affairs. Yet Trump’s negotiating team rose above such pettiness. Throughout this year they have been working constructively towards a rapid conclusion.
As a party to the negotiations said to me recently, although a deal was never likely to be achieved before the election, it was certainly not due to any lack of goodwill, rather simply due to the number of formalities that have to be agreed before any deal of such a size can be completed.
So the Americans were ready to go. This country would have benefited enormously – in jobs and much more.
But unless President Trump can somehow push a deal through before he leaves office in January, there is something the British public should know. The situation with Trump’s successor will be very different.
Joe Biden and the Democrat high command loathe Brexit Britain. They believe that the Brexit movement had something to do with the election of Donald Trump – acting as some kind of forerunner. They instinctively connect the two.
And they also hold a contemptuous, furious and deeply anti-British attitude to everything to do with our future relationship.
In their extraordinary ignorance, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Joe Biden seem to believe Britain’s exit from the EU risks unravelling the Good Friday Peace Agreement on the island of Ireland.
In fact, it shows that they have spent zero time thinking about Northern Ireland or studying the detail of the EU withdrawal agreement.
But pushed by partisans in their own party, Pelosi and Biden have been persuaded to embrace this nonsense, and the effect could be enormously destructive to both our friendship with America and our prosperity.
The problem is summed up by a letter sent to Boris Johnson two months ago. It was signed by a number of US Congressmen, including some who had vocally supported the IRA during the heights of the Troubles. This included the appalling supporter of IRA terrorism, Congressman Peter King.
The letter claimed that any Free Trade Agreement with America and the Good Friday Agreement are ‘inextricably linked’ and that a No Deal Brexit would put the Good Friday Agreement at risk.
The Democrat Pelosi was eager to pick up this claim, however poisonous. At a news conference two months ago, she talked about Brexit Britain with such anger that you could see her trying to keep her teeth in her mouth.
If Britain thought we would be able to leave the EU without a deal and put the Good Friday Agreement ‘at risk’, the United Kingdom could forget about a trade deal with the US, she spat.
There was ‘absolutely no chance’ of a US-UK trade deal, she said, so long as Democrats had a say. For his part, Joe Biden – or whoever runs his Twitter account – was happy to repeat this claim, even retweeting the threatening letter from the pro-IRA Congressmen.
Mr Biden is proud of his own Irish roots, and you get a picture of where his sympathies lie in a photograph that emerged yesterday.
Taken three years ago, it shows Biden, beaming with pleasure, alongside former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and with his arm around former fugitive Rita O’Hare. She had been arrested in 1972 following the attempted murder of a British Army officer in Belfast, but she skipped bail and ended up in the US.
So people in Britain should know that this country is now in a very serious situation. We have leapt from the EU by popular consent to face a clean-break No Deal exit. That is fine, and there is a logic to it. But it is not at all fine if as a consequence we are simultaneously punished by an unsympathetic and anti-British Democrat-run US.
And I don’t mind saying that I am worried.
Pro-EU campaigners in the UK such as Sadiq Khan will be delighted, of course.
They have always wanted to punish the British people for voting the ‘wrong’ way in 2016 and are desperate that everyone learns the lesson ‘the hard way’ that they were right all along. Nothing could be more ignorant or wrong.
The Trump administration had many faults. But it also had many virtues. Trump himself has been the only prominent politician in the world to challenge the Chinese Communist Party’s appalling corruption and undermining of world trade. In Trump’s absence, the rise of China will go unchecked.
Just as Biden’s inevitable decision to take America back into the Iran nuclear deal will see Iran able to restart buying arms from Russia and China, unchallenged by anyone – including this country.
It is a tradition that Republican presidents are disdained in the UK. It was the case with Ronald Reagan, George Bush and many others.
Yes, Trump made it easier than most. But for all his flaws, the President has been a true supporter of this country.
He wanted Brexit Britain and the United States to work well together and to prosper together.
Much of the British public may be glad to see Trump leave the White House. But his exit will be a bad day. We will have lost a friend. At a time when we needed friends the most.
It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.