A very special relationship?

Maybe it won’t be as bad as we fear.

That, it seems, the is the diplomatic best case scenario for a Trump presidency that no-one at the top of Britain’s government saw coming.

The UK’s ambassador to the US was even told, by Trump supporters on election night, that their candidate was bound to lose.

But he didn’t, and now Britain’s diplomats are rushing to wrap their arms around the novice in the White House, however dubious his charms may be.

While EU foreign ministers gathered for a mutual moaning session on the “crisis” triggered by Mr Trump’s victory, Boris Johnson grabbed the nearest loudhailer to make sure everyone in Washington knew he was staying away.

Indeed, Mr Johnson made clear where his priorities lie, reportedly walking out of a dinner with Serbia’s prime minister to take a phone call from Mr Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence.

The Foreign Office insisted the election was not a catastrophe, but an “act of democracy” — the kind of language likely to be welcomed by a Trump transitional team with few friends.

The President-elect has already invited Theresa May to Washington, and referred warmly to the relationship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

As Britain faces up to its post-Brexit future, it’s going to need to cosy up to the new US administration, however much that might dismay some voters at home, or infuriate EU leaders horrified at America’s lurch to the right.

The more bullish Brexiteers insist President Trump will be keep sign a mutually beneficial trade deal — priceless in demonstrating the UK can thrive outside the EU.

But warming up relations with a Trump White House might not be easy. While Theresa May stayed largely silent on the US election, she did condemn Donald Trump’s claim that there were Muslim no-go areas in London.

Meanwhile, Mr Brexit himself — Nigel Farage — has already been to the Trump Tower, and posed for his congratulatory photo in a suitably understated room.

Vice-President-elect Mike Pence pointedly referred to a “close” relationship with Britain - not a “special” one - in conversations with Boris Johnson. It’s the kind of semantic point poured over in Whitehall, but largely ignored in Washington.

Remember when Gordon Brown handed carefully-chosen gifts to Barack Obama, only to be given a box set of DVDs? American officials were genuinely perplexed why that so offended Britain.

But London knows it’s the junior partner, and constantly looks for evidence it’s valued, that the relationship really is special. 

Donald Trump has been described by some as the first Eurosceptic president. As Theresa May plots Britain’s route out of the EU, she may see a valuable kindred spirit. But she may want to tread carefully.

The last Prime Minister to tie himself to a US president was Tony Blair — and that didn’t end terribly well…