â€˘ A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.
LONDON â€“ Americans wandering around the center of this city often bump into some familiar faces in the form of US presidents â€“ Lincoln and FDR are just two of a handful immortalized in statues. Now itâ€™s the turn of a much more recent incumbent of the Oval Office, Ronald Reagan.
A change in Westminster Councilâ€™s policy of only allowing memorials to people who have passed away 10 or more years ago cleared the way for a planning application to get the green light after its submission by the Reagan Memorial Fund Trust, which includes figures associated with Britainâ€™s Conservative Party.
The news hasnâ€™t exactly gone down well with everyone â€“ much of the British left were sternly opposed to Mr. Reaganâ€™s foreign policies. But Andrew Roberts, a British academic described by some as President George W. Bushâ€™s favorite historian, welcomed the planned statue, adding that Reagan â€śpersonifiedâ€ť the special relationship between Britain and the US when it was working at its best.
â€śHis communication skills may not have been appreciated here quite as much as elsewhere. The reason we love him is because his policies led to a disillusionment of communism, and of course he was close to Margaret Thatcher, being ideologically at one with her,â€ť says Mr. Roberts.
â€śGrosvenor Square is a good place for it also because it is a hallowed place for Americans, having been the location for Eisenhowerâ€™s headquarters during the Second World War.â€ť