COMMENT: We all have a part to play in this special relationship

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The visit to the Solent by the USS George HW Bush is emblematic of the special relationship between Britain and the USA.

At a time when the nation is preoccupied with Brexit and the nature of our future co-operation with the rest of Europe there is something both comforting and reassuring about knowing we have one of the world’s great superpowers as a staunch ally.

Portsmouth and Gosport have proud naval traditions and are used to welcoming sailors from all over the world.

But there is extra pride that we are today host to one of the greatest and most powerful ships in the world — along with her 5,680-strong crew.

Many of these young Americans are probably visiting the UK for the first time, and we all have a responsibility to ensure they leave with a good impression and only happy memories.

Men of war, they come in peace, and deserve a friendly welcome.

This is diplomacy at street level, and has the potential to be a great boost to the south’s economy and to future tourism.

Rear Admiral Kenneth Whitesell gave hint of the inter-dependence between our two navies yesterday when he told our defence correspondent Tom Cotterill he looked forward to the arrival of the UK’s new aircraft carriers.

With admirable US swagger he declared: ‘This is a world game-changer, it’s a good for the “good guys” and it’s not too good for the bad guys.’

Terrorism looms large in our world and we rely ever more on our armed forces and allies to keep the peace while always being prepared for war.

This weekend thousands will want to see the Stars and Stripes flying off Stokes Bay.

It is a noteworthy visit.

And it is good to know that in America’s eyes, we are still the good guys.