Helping Bush with UK troops

Alarming press speculation that the UK will agree to US request to send troops north from Basra to help out the US. Aside from putting UK troops in danger, and drawing them deeper into a war, this would be an enormous boost to Bush's re-election campaign.

It may come as a surprise to those who are not in the US at the moment to discover that the willingness, or otherwise, of the rest of the world to stand alongside the US has been an important electoral issue here, in effect dominating the first two Presidential debates. A key part of Kerry's platform is that he could, and Bush cannot, alleviate the pressure on the US by building a stronger world coalition.

If Bush is able to persuade the UK to come to his aid, this will shoot Kerry's fox. ("Dead", as Mr Letwin would say.) If the UK is to make a decision about this, it must be after 2 November.

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