The special relationship has been upgraded. It is now “extraordinary”, “truly special” and “absolutely essential”.

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, both repeatedly calling each other by their first names, were at pains today to demonstrate the warmth of ties between their two nations, despite an embarrassing row about BP, the oil spill and Lockerbie.

Joking about the temperature beer should be served and the tidiness of their children’s bedrooms, the two men, both left-handers we now realize, clearly wanted to show they enjoyed a personal rapport. A deliberate contrast to the businesslike tone of the relationship with Gordon Brown?

In the substance too, there was no argument that BP needs to pay for the oil spill but should not be forced out of business, and “violent agreement” that the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi from a Scottish prison last year was plain wrong.

Elsewhere today, evidence that getting involved in legislation to curb Wall Street excesses might not be a huge vote winner come November.