When Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke recently about his government's devotion to the United States, "founded on the values we share", he was echoing his Foreign Office minister Kim Howells, who was preparing to welcome the Saudi dictator to Britain with effusions of "shared values". The meaning was the same in both cases. The values shared are those of rapacious power and wealth, with democracy and human rights irrelevant, as the bloodbath in Iraq and the suffering of the Palestinians attest, to name only two examples.
The "values we share" are celebrated by a shadowy organisation that has just held its annual conference. This is the British-American Project for the Successor Generation (BAP), set up in 1985 with money from a Philadelphia trust with a long history of supporting right-wing causes. Although the BAP does not publicly acknowledge this origin, the source of its inspiration was a call by President Reagan in 1983 for "successor generations" on both sides of the Atlantic to "work together in the future on defence and security matters". He made numerous references to "shared values". Attending this ceremony in the White House Situation Room were the ideologues Rupert Murdoch and the late James Goldsmith.