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The narrative of the new political era

Nick Robinson | 18:57 UK time, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

President Obama - and doesn't it feel odd to write that? - has now defined the political narrative of the coming era.

Watch how our politicians will fall over themselves to show us that they too believe in the "new era of responsibility".

obama_cameron_brown.jpgThe phrase does of course have uncanny echoes of Gordon Brown's attacks on "the age of irresponsibility". The son of the manse's words this week - "I'm angry too. I am angry at irresponsible behaviour" - is part of his attempt to surf the wave of anger with those who produced what Obama called, with a tone of defiance, "the winter of our hardships".

David Cameron has repeatedly blamed Brown for presiding over this "age of irresponsibility" and the Tories' new poster is aimed at public anxiety over excessive irresponsible debt.

Both men will be quick, I suspect, to echo Obama's appeal to what he called "traditional virtues" and his insistence that the question is not whether government is too big or too small, but whether it works.

I will be watching for the first British politician to borrow from today's rhetoric in speeches, soundbites and broadcasts. A great deal now rests on who is most convincing when it comes from their lips.


Comments

Page 1 of 12

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Maybe they study the wordclouds from past speeches?

    You can use the 'Wordle' app to do this easily via the web or check out the Obama Inauguration WordCloud on flickr.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulhurst/3213331916/sizes/o/

  • Comment number 3.

    Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he is "angry" about irresponsible behaviour by bankers and has warned that "the days of big bonuses are over



    He cant even get the banks that we own to lend, the money that weve given then to each other.

    What on earth makes him think he can control bonuses.



    Oh yeah and Im angry that hes still here.

    Still theres good news in the latest Mori poll, thatll cheer him up.

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/torydiary/2009/01/ipsos-mori-poll.html



  • Comment number 4.

    Nick,

    funny I thought that the Kinnocks were at the inauguration, as was President Sarkozy of France. Interesting no faces shown of the foreign dignatories by the BBC in their comprehensive coverage. Bet that French media will have plenty of Sarkozy at the jamboree, poor old Gordon, got to wait 'til March!

  • Comment number 5.

    Nick,

    interesting that since your training session you should pick-up on Brown being 'angry'. What has he got to say, not about the bankers, but about the auditors and accountants who signed off the accounts of the banks. Come on Gordon be angry alright but at the right people.

    Just as there must be an immediate inquiry into the war and subsequent occupation of Iraq then there must be an inquiry into the whole system of finance in this country.

    Brown isn't angry about Israel and Hamas then, or doesn't he really care about dead women and children, especially if they are foreign.

  • Comment number 6.

    At least Obama has 4 years to sort this out with no previous. The US have kicked out their Mr Irresponsible.

    Brown's solutions are all short term with re-election as their sole goal. As for previous, as John Major said:

    You don't invite the man who just burgled your house round to fit new locks.

  • Comment number 7.

    It's OK for Obama to be angry. How come Gordon Brown can be angry too? Who with?

    Brown designed this disaster for the UK: fiscal incontinence (a 3% deficit at the boom pinnacle); a dysfunctional regulatory regime; the mother of all government-facilitated housing booms (so that everyone can get rich quick); flogging gold (that stuff that gives banknotes their value) at the bottom of the market.

    Gordon's angry? Demented more like.

  • Comment number 8.

    I thought Nick was supposed to be off being trained about terrorism?

    Maybe Voldemort asked him to pen this one before he went claiming Barack Obama as Crash Gordon's new best friend?

  • Comment number 9.

    Why?
    Do they imagine that Obama gives two hoots about Blighty? If they do, they're sadly mistaken. All Obama cares about is the electorate; his electorate and they're Americans.

  • Comment number 10.

    "This is no time for a novice"

    Remember that one Gordon?

  • Comment number 11.

    What is so starkly noticeable is that Obama has the overwhelming support of the American people and was voted in for his convictions and aspirations for that country and the world.

    Brown was, .....well we know the rest, it's been said so many times.

    Brown and Obama don't seem like good bedfellows to me. I have always thought Cameron and Obama are more in tune. We shall see! Obama has inherited the mother of all messes from Bush, and so will Cameron from Brown.

    I just want to reiterate what I heard on the wireless just now. People keep saying that Obama is great for the black people, and so he is. However, it must not be forgotten that he would not have achieved his high office if a huge amount of white people had not voted for him too.

    Now the emphasis should not be on his blackness. He had a white mother. He is going to have to be all things to all people. A very onerous task indeed. I am sure the Americans and the world will hope he makes it. I certainly do.

  • Comment number 12.

    Obama's appeal for traditional values, will be a cry in the wilderness of Nu Labour Britain. This government has deliberately ground down traditional family values. I doubt this will even be allowed to appear on the forum, because I'm stating that children being born out of wedlock bears no shame to the parents, same-sex marriage is practised by people in high public office, again without shame. It is technically an offence to criticise these practices, and may even break the House Rules if they are mentioned. The old virtues of living prudently and saving for a rainy day have been replaced with the call to "Spend! Spend!" even as the City collapses. Church attendance is regarded as quaint and may be mocked in comedy and theatre, whereas the alien religious practices introduced by newcomers must be shown respect.
    I really don't see how with this government in place, traditional values can have a place.

  • Comment number 13.

    I hope none our politicians bother with sound bites from Obama, because to be quite frank it would be a turn off to me. Im sick to death of the coverage from the media on every little thing he does or says I feel as though Im living in America.

    I really could not care less about him and a great many people I know feel the same way.

    I wonder if Browns words to Obama will be 'no time for a novice' or maybe 'how dare you say I presided over the age of irresponsibility' or even 'it started in America'.

    Let Brown surf what ever wave he wants, but in Britain the word is now out that his sound bites, 'no more boom and bust', and, 'every country is in the same position' or how about 'we are best placed to ride the storm' are just total fiction

  • Comment number 14.

    Typical of Brown to ride the wave of Obama-mania.

    The difference between them is that President Obama wasn't in power when things went tits up and so can speak with a clear conscience.

    But Gordon Brown was Chancellor when things started to go wrong. He was in involved up to his neck.
    He was responsible for deeper deregulation and setting up the regulatory system where neither the FSA nor the Bank of England had the power or responsibility to intervene and prevent the mess.

    I wonder if GB gets angry when he looks in the mirror, because he'd be staring at one of the main contributors to the financial meltdown.

  • Comment number 15.

    The only politicians who can claim to be part of the 'new era of responsibility' are the US Democrats, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems so if you hear Cameron and Clegg echoing Obama rhetoric, it's because they can with a straight face (and they are all of the same generation).

    The only politicians who have presided over the 'age of irresponsibility' are the US Republicans and the Labour Party; whilst they both deliberately looked the other way, their failed financial regulators also turned a blind eye to the rich tax harvest brought in by reckless bankers. All three bodies benefited at the expense (literally) of the electorate.

    And another thing and it's probably no coincidence, Gordon and George are of the same generation. Old is being replaced by new, has-beens are being replaced by wannabes. It's all change, not the regurgitated tosh that is so 60's, 70's, 80's even.

    Of course Brown is angry; he's not of the new generation but more than that he's finally been shown up as a charlatan of prudence and financial competence. After all, any old fool can spend the country's money when there is no upside to the credit limit (as indeed he announced yesterday).

    However there comes a time when we have to return to 'traditional virtues' and common sense.

    We're not there yet but that time is coming closer.

    Dubya left town today.

    And it won't be long before Gordon ( and his Brown Noses do the same although not before they have brought this once fine country to its knees.

    It's time to call an an election so we can start a new beginning.....now!

  • Comment number 16.

    Good luck to the US and President Obama.

    For us and our children in the UK, saddled with Gordon and his debts, there is only woe, woe, and thrice woe.

    Gordon may be the son of the manse, but he's actually the godfather of the age of irresponsibility. No more boom and bust, excessive borrowing in the good times, knighthoods and tax breaks for the rich, benefits for the feckless and idle, tax rises and social contempt for the middle-classes, spin over substance, foreign military adventures, the degradation of society, the dumbing down of education, these will be judged by history to be the true achievements of this profoundly evil politician.

    For me, Gordon's decision to raid pension funds of 5 billion a year to finance current expenditure (and how that was wasted) will be the enduring symbol of the age of irresponsibility.

    Together we can rid the nation of this Government. For now, and until the election, we can only show fortitude in the face of adversity, heads bent in the wind, as we face the bitter blasts of Brown's contempt for the British people.

  • Comment number 17.

    # 1

    Those inauguration speeches are made for rhetoric, not sure what else you would expect.

    It always starts with rhetoric and end in a legacy of some description, only time will tell.

    There is no doubt that Obama is an orator of great skill, unseen for quite some time. I think it is a bit unrealistic to expect anyone to compete with his raw talent in that department, but he is more than that, he is mixed race, he is 'of the modern world' as well, fresh as a new penny, away from the old establishment. That is very appealing right now.

    The closest to obama we have visible at the moment is Cameron! He is only a decent orator in comparison but is most definately old establishment.

    That sort of thing arguable should not matter, but it does, he will not be able to get an 80% approval rating because of it, and that matters in the hard times ahead.

    I would like to think that we may be able to come up with our own 'Obama', hard to see it though.

    One interesting thought though. It may give a bit more impetus to moving towards a presidential system here. You can not put a cigarette paper between the main parties on policy broadly so elections are increasingly 'presidential' here anyway.

    Many respect the queen but dont see any relevence in Prince Charles and I would guess there would be ground to be gained for anyone brave enough to suggest a fundamental constitutional change here, but only upon the natural termination of what we have now I hasten to add.

    the queen certainly deserves that respect but it is the 21st century now and politics here seems entrenched in the middle ground at the moment.


    Jericoa


  • Comment number 18.

    We may need to print money, says Bank chief

    BANK of England boss Mervyn King has dropped his clearest hint yet that more money may have to be printed to help the UK economy overcome its credit crisis.
    Speaking to a business audience in Nottingham on Tuesday night, Mr King admitted that the scale of the UK's banking problems meant interest rate cuts were ceasing to having an effect.
    He said the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee must therefore be ready to use "unconventional measures" to get credit flowing again.
    Speaking the day after the Government said the Bank would be allowed to put money directly into big businesses through a £50 billion asset purchase programme, Mr King said it might also buy bank assets.
    This would be done by printing more money and using it help the banks expand their reserves – a process known as monetary or quantitative easing.

  • Comment number 19.

    If we're talking a new era of responsibility - a little off topic but http://www.mysociety.org/2009/01/17/6-days-to-stop-mps-concealing-their-expenses/

  • Comment number 20.

    I feel that many of the comments I have read here, and on other sites, are missing the point. Here are my thoughts:

    It's strange to think that today I witnessed a piece of history.

    Throughout my childhood my father always recounted his memories of the moment man first stepped on the moon, told me exactly what he was doing the day Kennedy was shot, and instilled in me a love for Martin Luther King, the words of whose famous speech have resonated through time and generations and did, and still do, stand for something. Freedom.

    Martin Luther King had a dream.

    He had a dream that 'one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

    He had a dream that 'one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood'.

    And he had a dream that his four little children would 'one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character'.

    And oh how proud he would be now. Now I have something to tell my children and grand-children.

    Today I witnessed the inauguration of the 44th American President. He is just like others who have gone before him. He is a man of smart appearance, who has strong words and a winning smile. He is confident speaking to the millions of people who gathered outside the steps of the White House to see him become, arguably one of the most powerful men in the world.

    But there is one huge difference. Barack Obama is America's first African American President.

    Now my upbringing tells me that under normal circumstances there is no difference between this man and the next. In my eyes and in the eyes of many people across the world, black people are equals, there was never any question about that.

    History tells us something different. The horrific tales of the slavery suffered by African Americans, the vicious racism they faced and the strength and courage of those who fought for their freedom, these are tales that will stay with me forever.

    And so will watching Barack Obama's landmark speech outside the White House today. It was astounding, and I was overcome with a deep burning emotion when he said: 'This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.'

    Those words will stay with me forever too.

    This is not to say that there isn't a long way to go. There is a long, long way.

    But watching Barack Obama standing before his people, before the world today gave me faith and hope.

    Yes we can.

    Yes we can.

    Yes we can.

    "With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."
    - Martin Luther King

  • Comment number 21.

    #4 - T A Griffin (TAG)

    Not the BBC this time. I watched CNN and no foreign dignitaries there either. Possibly the American producers decided it was their day. And why not?

  • Comment number 22.

    #6-#20

    I imagine my comment #12 will be banned, but surely all these other ones cannot be 'shockers' too. Oh well, unbiased, free-speech promoting BBC.

  • Comment number 23.

    #12

    I am sure this will be banned as I have written about "traditional values" which is not off-topic by any means. The reason my posting, I'm sure, will be censured, will be because it will be considered to have broken House Rules. This NuLabour government supports all those life styles which are not "traditional values" in the Great Britain we once knew. Read through House Rules, and you will see how restricted traditional viewpoints have become. We do not have the liberty to express them in this dictatorship of "anything goes".

  • Comment number 24.

    We do not have an Obama or in my opinion, any recognised political figure even remotely near.

    According to the political journalist Andrew Sullivan (Sunday Times) who is based in the USA, the closest we have is ... David Cameron.

    So, we wait to see if 'Dave' forms a national government, when the time comes, as Obama has attempted to do.

    Certainly the age of political hatchet men such as Karl Rove and (here) Alistair Campbell cannot come to an end soon enough.

    As President Obama recognises, we can not longer afford the luxury of being 'tribal' in our politics.

  • Comment number 25.

    Watching the Obama In-Awe-Giration and being in the Uk stuck with gambling Gordo and Daffy Darling, I can't help lamenting that the it must be our time too, our time to be given a chance for freedom from this disgracefully inept governance.

    If Labour really wanted the best for us then they would let us choose who to lead us through this very bad and worsening times.

  • Comment number 26.

    Something funny going on. Postings not being moderated in order, in fact some just remaining in line since 8.34 (it is now 10.42). Are all these comments breaking House Rules, or have the Moderators gone on strike? Come on, lads and lassies, us poor souls look forward to having a good debate.

  • Comment number 27.

    Nick says "A great deal now rests on who is most convincing when it comes from their lips"

    Realy ? Actions speak louder than words.

    With Obama. we listen to his words and look to see how his future actions compare

    With Brown, we listen to his current words and contrast these not only with his past words but with the results of his past actions.

    I fear that, like the pound, Gordon's words are a devalued currency. The source from which they are plaigerised will not improve the image of the lips from which they spill.

  • Comment number 28.

    Right now President Obama has an 83% approval rating amongst the American people.

    I wanted him to win this race and did my tiny bit, as a citizen of the virtual world, to help make that happen.

    Hopefully there will be a positive return on the investment that people all over the globe have made in this individual.

    The weight of expectation is crushing really.

    A secular person told me, half-joking, I think, maybe this is the Second Coming.

    Poor Obama, in that sense, he has no chance, but we hope anyway that he and his team can deliver us from evil.

  • Comment number 29.

    Every time I see this amazing man on television I have a lump in my throat. When I saw him visit Gordon Brownieold my husband he was looking at the next US president.

    He is humble and with a quiet inner strength. No sign of arrogance and a genuine love of people. His country obviously means a huge amount to him.

    A normal down to earth man with integrity.

    It's not the words that matter, nor how hard they are shouted.

    It's the warmth, feeling and honesty with which they are delivered.

    How I'd love to see similar here.

    He's not my President, but it seems as though he was addressing the entire world, including little 'ole me.

    He really is a truly global statesman.

    Good luck to him! Our politicians take note.

  • Comment number 30.

    #14 delphius1

    Another big difference beween Brown and Obama is that Obama put his case to the people and was elected!

    We just inherited Brown because it was his turn to be in charge.

  • Comment number 31.

    Good luck to Obama - I'm withholding judgement on his competence in the job until I've seen him in action for a while but I'm optimistic nonetheless. It was hard not to be moved by the millions attending, all glowing with national pride, something this country has systematically destroyed over the last decade or so.

    Novice or not, if we can learn anything from today's events in Washington it's that sometimes a change is necessary in order to bring back hope and optimism.

    I look forward to that same change here when we finally get our own chance to exercise democracy.

  • Comment number 32.

    Poor Gordon.

    After spending a decade in the shadow of Blair, he now gets to spend the remainder of his decaying premiership in the shadow of the American version.

    But then some are born mediocre, some achieve mediocrity and others have mediocrity thrust upon them.

    And in Brown we have all three.

  • Comment number 33.

    "those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day."

    If he is sincere, then I hope Obama achieves all his aims and hopes in glory. But watch those lobbyists.

    Is it likely to happen here? Rhetoric, of course; commands to sacrifice, plenty. But that's about it. We follow neither a wolf, nor foxes, nor sheep, nor mice, nor snakes.



  • Comment number 34.

    I sincerely hope he has more than rhetoric.

    Feted as the most powerful man in the world, he needs to hit the ground sprinting.

    Meanwhile Jack Straw starts to discuss the bill of rights whilst everyone's gaze is elsewhere.

    At what stage can we call for a change?

  • Comment number 35.

    Far as I'm concerned, Cameron got in first on the 'responsibility' issue. It was the central message of his Conference speech last year. Furthermore it has been a long held central tenet of Conservatism, the responsibility of the individual and families, without reliance on the State, to make his/her/their own way in the world.

    Whereas this government, and the PM in particular, seem to spend all their days denying they are responsible for any part in the mess - "global banking crisis; the 'downturn' [for recession]; this started in America; the banks' fault".

    Somebody should point out that as they've been in power for 12 years, if running the country hasn't been their responsibility, whose was it?

  • Comment number 36.

    I’m finding it quite amusing reading Tory supporters trying to catch the coat tails of Obamamania. The Tories backed McCain, McCain spoke at the last Tory Conference, and their party endorsed his presidential campaign.

    Back in Sept 2008 when the prime minister appeared to endorse Barack Obama in an article in the Parliamentary Monitor magazine, the Conservative party went bonkers. In fact Browns endorsement of Obama lead William Hague to comment that “The prime minister was out of order"

  • Comment number 37.

    Whilst watching President Obama address the US and the world I realised many people would be crying watching him talk.

    I felt that here was an opportunity for the US to get a new leader in to take this current storm by the scruff of the neck and deal with the issues with leadership, courage and strength..

    Then I thought of Gordon, his dithering and lack of leadership. His inability to change anything other than his ability to waste our money.

    And then I thought - we've potentially got another 16 months of this.

    And then a tear rolled down my cheek.

  • Comment number 38.

    Nick,

    I think that the American people have set themselves up to yet again let down the very people who have been fighting for 'Freedom, namely the military.

    What will happen when they start coming home, no more do we see the dead soldiers being 'welcomed' back. They are now beginning to be emabarrassed by the activities of their military.

    This will end just as it did for their heroes when coming home from Vietnam, they did it the name of America and America didn't want to know. The same again. They will be worried about thier jobs, their homes, but their soldiers, hey you just killed a few terrorists.

    As fro Guatanamo Bay, in Cuba, how on earth are they going to end this shameful episode. Extra-ordinary rendition, weapons of mass destruction, the lies, the deceits, it will require one hell of a brave President to tell the Americans that crimes and misdemanours have been committed, and we have committed these crimes.

    Take for example Germany after WWII. Now, the leaders were tried for crimes against humanity, they pleaded we followed orders. Well the orders from Obama must be given now, and he must, I repeat must, denounce Bush, just as Kruschev did Stalin. He must give new orders, otherwise he will be just as guilty, he will have perpetuated the crimes of his former President, no matter how painful it will be for the American people.

  • Comment number 39.

    #17

    Your analysis is absolutely correct. The way in which Brown took power, without any mandate, as a result of a coup, gives your suggestion as to have a Presidential election real validity.

    Currently I do not vote for a Prime Minister, it is time for change. There must also be a fully elected second chamber, finally abolish the House of Lords, let's follow America in that respect, there are some good things that can from the country which is our child.

  • Comment number 40.

    Nick

    any thoughts on this passage from Obama's speach

    Obama

    We reject as false the choice between safety and our ideals.

    Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine,
    drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a
    charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light
    the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake.

    Blair Brown

    90 days detention without trial to defend our way of life. But tearing up Magna Carta

    This blows a massive hole through all of their we are defending the UK against terrorisim rubbbish?

  • Comment number 41.

    Nick


    I heard David Millibrand saying that the media will get very excited over the next few months as other leaders go to see Obama first but we have a good working relationship with the US

    Does this mean Brown is being snubbed by Obama?
    And is it due to his constant it?s all Americas fault mantra?
    If so WOW backfire.
    Gordon is betting his shirt on rubbing up close to Obama over the next few weeks. He hopes this will change his fortunes.
    Are chicken coming home to roost?


  • Comment number 42.

    150 minutes and counting for moderation, is this a record?

    What a joke, BBC!

  • Comment number 43.

    It appears we have an army of 1 on each blog site sporting large amounts of traffic. The alternative may be that they hope we'll all be distracted by Obama Fever tonight, and go to bed without blogging!

    Now it's all over, perhaps the moderators will reappear to help their beleagured colleagues!

    Night all!

    Tigs

  • Comment number 44.

    You must be looking for your first trip to the US, eh Nick? At least this President won't hate you from the outset!

    In all seriousness, what do you think this will mean for the "special relationship"?

  • Comment number 45.

    #25 doctor breezy

    You say: "If Labour really wanted the best for us then they would let us choose who to lead us through this very bad and worsening times"

    This Labour government doesn't believe in letting us choose anything. They foisted Gordon Brown on us as PM, didn't call an election, then refused us a referendum on the Euro Constitutional Treaty (even though it had been promised in their manifesto). Then to cap it all, this government even denies MPs a vote on the new
    bin stealth tax.

    Decent labour backbenchers need to wake up to see how undemocratic this government has become.

    Captain Bligh has steered us onto the rocks. It's time the crew put him off the ship and cast him adrift in a small dinghy.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hi Nick,

    Of course, "no time for a novice" will always hurt GB (even though it was a cracking line, it was always going to have a temporary shelf life and be potentially damaging - as it is turning out). Odd you didn't mention it, though.

    But GB's latest ploy of being angry vicariously is a real wing and a prayer. The Public is angry at *him* and his government. Yes, people think bankers are greedy and, say some, should not be bailed out - but that is nothing compared to what they feel about him (and the approval ratings show this).

    So this strategy of trying to deflect peoples' anger in a spirit of transference will have a negative effect. Watch for the gap in the polls to widen further.

    Just goes to show that when you are truly lost, you cannot do *anything* right.


    Nice day, today, wasn't it? See you in the diner.

  • Comment number 47.

    Nick:
    It is very new, to write and say: President Obama....

    It is a very excellent narrative of the story regarding Mr. President Obama...


    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 48.

    Nick:
    [I will be watching for the first British politician to borrow from today's rhetoric in speeches, soundbites and broadcasts. A great deal now rests on who is most convincing when it comes from their lips.]

    I hope that you will be watching for the UK Political figure to used the speeches that President Obama gave...

    ~Dennis Junior~

  • Comment number 49.

    Listening to Obama today, I couldn't help but be jealous of their new beginnings. Not once did I think "Wow, a black man has become president of the USA, isn't that grand, haven't they come far?" Regardless of his colour he appears to be a person of conviction, of passion, of vision and above all of principle. Sure he's a fine orator and his words have yet to be backed up with action, but I couldn't detect any spin. He acknowledged America's past errors humbly and without looking to blame external influences. He promises hard work and lots of it and he urges his fellow citizens to let him help them rebuild their country on a rediscovered foundation of RESPONSIBILITY.

    Everything he said applies to us here. But we can't have a such a new beginning. Even if our government could articulate such a message of hope, we'd never believe them. They are utterly discredited. They are the same sources of irresponsibility that Obama seeks to sweep away. While these liars, cheats and self-serving excuses for public servants remain in office, there can be no trust and without trust there can be little hope.

    Of leadership it is often said "Lead, follow or get out of the way".

    Well, when we needed leadership they, by their own admission, followed global forces down a path of wantonness and irresponsibility. When we needed them to follow prudence and restrain the excesses of the finance system they removed the brakes and stood aside allowing market forces to let rip. And now we need them to stand aside and make way for a new beginning, they block us, lie to us and offer false hope of imminent recovery, clinging desperately to power at any cost.

    If Gordon thinks he is doing such a fine job then he should trust the people and ask for their approval. Gordon, if you love your country, indeed if you have ever loved your country then you must: Call an Election.

  • Comment number 50.

    I for one thougt that he came across as extremely caring and honest. America truly believes that can it start again - wipe the slate clean and pick up from the start

    It must be good to feel like that? When was the last time we British truly felt that we had voted for something that would really change the world? I'm glad that Obama won. He has given every American a reason to hope; and a reason to change their way of life for the better

    And you know what - I think they will listen and change for the better. America may have many faults but they are never scared to drop old ways and start again if it's not working. They are not scared to follow a new path and take on new ideas

    It's a shame we cannot say the same

    What chance do we have of being involved in such an important choice? Our next election will be an angry one. People will want to hit out a useless government and teach them a lesson for not listening to the people of the country

    We will not be given the chance to vote for a leader who can really change Britain. Who could really make our lives better and instill responsibility back into our lives. Who will be prepared to do whatever it takes to redress our crippling legislation; our outdated laws; our ridiculous political system

    We will get the choice of more of the same. More spin and deceit, and more dishonesty. We just don't have anyone of the same calibre in politics at the moment

    Labour will lose. The Conservatives will most likely win and then what? Does Mr. Cameron really have what it takes to push through the changes required? Can he be strong enough? I hope so; but doubt it

    I wish President Obama all the best in his and Americas new journey. At least they start it on a massive wave of feeling good (for now at least)

  • Comment number 51.

    "I will be watching for the first British politician to borrow from today's rhetoric in speeches, soundbites and broadcasts."

    Don't be silly, the government would never copy anyone else - at least not without taking the credit for it.

  • Comment number 52.

    Dear Nick,

    Is it me or are there very odd similarities between yesterday in the USA and 1997 here in the UK?

    Unpopular Government, mass turn out and vote, charismatic personality, hope?

    Me thinks TB is behind the scenes or what?

    Xxxx

  • Comment number 53.

    The new beginning in America is a breath of fresh air mixed in with a sense of reality. I hope our two leaders don't engage in the undignified spectacle of elbowing each other out of the way in order to gain some cudos from the optimistic glow emitted by the new President. Certainly Obama is a great speech writer and orator but his address yesterday was more sombre and down to earth recognising the problems he will have to face. What a contrast to the dour Gordon Brown in whom the majority of people in The UK have now lost complete faith. David Cameron may not be able to compete with Obama's charisma but I hope he embraces the desire for change which is also prevalent here and doesn't disappoint when his chance to make a real difference comes along.

  • Comment number 54.

    First, why is Brown so keen to meet Obama since he and Mandy always claim that all the economic mess orginated in the US. The US made Brown run a budget deficit in 2005/6 and the US made UK banks sell 100%-plus mortgages. So why would Brown want to meet this novice who runs the country that caused sterling to decline 25% against the dollar?

    Seriously now:

    Superficially the UK and the US are facing a similar economic challenge. But the US makes a lot more stuff the world wants to buy and its clearing banks (moneycenter banks in US lingo) are better captalised than the UK's, believe it or not. And then we have not touched upon productivity differences.

    Back to the similarities: too much debt and high budget deficits. Let's just hope for all of us that Obama is not going to try and borrow himself much more than he has to anyway out of this problem of too much debt. The household savings ratio of both countries should rcover to say 10%. That will take some time. Consumers are retrenching but unemployment is going up.

    Scary stuff, at least Brown and BBC reporters, with their indexed pensions, do not have to worry that much about the hyperinflatoin we will get when governments try to reduce the debt to GDP ratio (maybe in 10 to 15 years from now).

  • Comment number 55.

    Browns decision to demand Labour MPs to vote block disclosure of their Expenses is the best example that he has no wish to adopt a "new era of responsibility".

    come on Nick -- when are we having a "Should MPs be forced to adopt transparency with their expenses" blog or have you also been instructed by Brown to keep off the subject.

    Time to be brave -- because their number is up.

  • Comment number 56.

    To add to #27

    Before "No boom and bust"

    Now "No blooming trust"

  • Comment number 57.

    Nick

    There will be no new 'politicial era' until brown goes.

    Those in the public sector may be feeling smug that they are insulated from the real world, but their children and grandchildren are going to be in the same boat as everyone elses.

    The BBC broadcast an analysis of Brown saying that when under pressure he was irrational, spending money that he doesn't have http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/the_daily_politics/7663563.stm - the warning was there - why wasn't more notice taken?

    The money for your pay, and all money collected for the public sector is extracted from the wealth generating private sector under threats to our property and personal liberty - it isn't sustainable.

  • Comment number 58.

    What narrative?

    Can anyone actually remember anything this man has said other than yes we can and change?

    There is no narative; that in itself is the narrative.

    As for Gordon Brown - hs narative is no time for a novice which will paly really well with the leader of the largest democracy in the world.

    The media have got exactly what they deserve, a vacuous President who will soothe us with soundbites and warm words but is powerless to stop the financial meltdown.

    And talking of narrative; where is the man who supplied Gordon Brown;s narrative for a decade while he was chancellor? Alan Greenpsan, the man knighted by Gordon Brown, was behind the credit bubble that Gordon Brown decided to emulate to such spectacular effect. I didn't see Alan Greenspan in Downing Street on Monday while Grodon Brown tried to rescue the world again. Where wa he while Grodon brown played the blame game?

    Call an election

  • Comment number 59.

    I have mixed feelings this morning on all this. Firstly I'm bored rigid with the endless fawning coverage by all the UK media which has been going on for what seems like years since Obama first surfaced....but mainly I do actually feel quite optimistic.

    If just a modicom of the attitude of optimism and confidence (which everyone from Robinson and Peston to the Archbishop of Wherever keeps telling us it's all about) rubs off on us here in the UK, then we might just get through this 'downturn'. (Downturn - there's a word. Nosedive more like).

    Even more, if the optimism that has swept someone with no experience, and hence no baggage into power can be repeated here sooner rather than later...I might actually feel like smiling again.

  • Comment number 60.

    If I was Gordon Brown, I would not be in such a hurry to meet Obama. When people compare the young fresh faced Obama, to the worn out, unpresentable, unelected Scot, they will think we could do with a bit of that. Also Brown like Bush was part of th age of irresponsibility, so it will highlight that as well.

    Have to admit Mervyn King is annoying me at the moment, he's another man trying to save his own skin. He's trying to cover up his own failings over not regulating the banks properly. His speech 'the public are hostage to the banks,' how dangerous a comment is that? 'We need unconventional methods to deal with this crisis,' printing money is what he means, why does he not come clean and say what a mess this is, instead of doing what Brown tells him.

  • Comment number 61.

    Skimming through these posts there is a constant theme of wishing Obama well and praying that his and the American people's hopes for that country are realised, but also a huge focus on the stark contrast between his election by the people and our own shabby Brown who definitely is NOT fulfilling the hopes for the British people.

  • Comment number 62.


    Sorry to throw a spanner into the "group think" going on here but a few weeks ago Obama started to get on my nerves. Not sure why - perhaps a suspicion of a gap between rhetoric and reality. However, I hope I am wrong and wish him and my American friends well.

    Nevertheless, the BBC's fawning towards him has been completely over the top and ties in with the left-wing bias that so often emerges in broadcasts.

    As for Brown saying "I'm angry too. I am angry at irresponsible behaviour" does he include himself in that? Surely the really irresponsible behaviour has been from him in turning a blind eye to the excesses of the banking community. But, of course, he needed the corporation tax those excesses were generating didn't he? How else could he afford to pour all the money he did into public services, generating an explosion of jobs and thereby trying to buy votes.

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    The one difference between the UK and the US:

    Their election cycle landed at a time of critical economic downturn.

    The US has the opportunity to begin again with new policies to restructure from the ground up, and there will be few people who will not stop the new broom sweeping clean.

    In the UK we have Crash and Bankrupt Aly who do not have that kind of political room to manoeuvre. If they change tack there will be great howling from the press and the opposition about U-Turns. They are now in a no-win situation, but don't appear to have the wit to recognise that the game is up.

  • Comment number 65.

    Brown has wrecked the nations financial system and stability. It doesn't matter a jot if he cuddles up to Obama.

    Once the IMF are called in - Brown will be booted out. End of.

  • Comment number 66.

    Very interesting fact. Obama is left handed. Other left handed American Presidents were:



    James A. Garfield (1831-1881) 20th
    Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) 31st
    Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) 33rd
    Gerald Ford (1913- ) 38th
    Ronald Reagan (1911 - ) 40th
    George H.W. Bush (1924- ) 41st
    Bill Clinton (1946- ) 42nd




  • Comment number 67.

    #36

    Brown, as our PM is not allowed to endorse or support any other political party.

    His support for Obama should have been kept quiet. The moment he actively and openly supports one side, he opens himself up for possible trouble in the future. Say for example McCain had won, how would our "special" relationship have been then ?? Hague was right to point this out.

    I feel that our political leaders should all have kept quiet on the US Elections; you know you’re in trouble when you’re riding rough shot on someone else's coattails. I also believe that Clinton speaking at Labour conference and McCain at the Conservatives is unwise and should be ruled out, makes use fawn and pander, we should be so much stronger and our own nation. And as for Bono, well that was just blind stupid.

  • Comment number 68.

    That's the problem with our politicians.... it's just NARRATIVE and RHETORIC and it's copied from someone else!

    Why do they want to copy/emulate Obama? Well, he's got an approval rating of slightly below 80% in a country with a population of 304 million diverse people in an area, well, bigger than the UK.

    Unfortunately, Obama is more than just rhetoric leading to results. He's inspirational, inspiring hope, unity, justice, etc. More than anything he inspires community and community that crosses borders.

    Can you think of any of our present MPs that do this? No, nor can I, they should just stop now and get on with the jobs they're supposed to do.

    You never know, we may get another Churchill one day, let's just hope it doesn't take a world war to get one.

  • Comment number 69.

    In contrast the left handed American presidents I mentioned above, the only two British post war Prime Ministers who were left handed were:

    Churchill and
    Callaghan

    Bit of useless information for anybody interested!

    What is often said is that left handed people have an inate ability to think outside the box. Again, we shall see.....

    Our next PM should be ambidextrous!

  • Comment number 70.

    In the words of the Who

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!

  • Comment number 71.

    67 JREN

    You are right, the most odious one for me was when Clinton was in the schock with the Lewinski debacle, and evidence and allegation was all over the place. Did Blair keep his mouth shout? Nope, even before it was investigated, Blair came out with.

    I support the President 100%, and then took him in on his tour of the UK & Ireland to give a bit of support...poor Bill.

    Nice and when proved guilty Tony?

    Nothing like a bit of integrity.

  • Comment number 72.

    Good for them! I hope what he said isn't just words and the US has finally let go of the Cold War. Unlike this publicly funded tory Rant site banging on about Rapid Rebuttal Unit(RRU) meetings. Did GROTT(Grumpy Ranting Old Tory Trolls)! have a meeting and decide that now is a good time for an attack because Americans 'might' be reading this? I'm sure Obama will be able to survive without Dave fawning over him and creeping him out. Did someone say that Obama thought Dave was a lightweight.

  • Comment number 73.

    @50 Mighty
    "It must be good to feel like that? When was the last time we British truly felt that we had voted for something that would really change the world?"

    Many felt it 1997, but it proved to be a sham.

    Actually no, It did change our world, For the worse

  • Comment number 74.

    Rather than getting in bed with Obama, Brown should focus on getting in bed with Sarkozy and Barroso, since international investors will soon stop buying gilts denominated in the not-so-sound pound. The UK will have to adopt the euro, which also will help moderate some of the inflation the UK is bound to suffer a few years from now.

    Brown may even want to get in bed with Merkel and Steinbruck despite all the Germany bashing by the North-West London intelligentsia (i.e. Brown + Mandy, the BBC and The Guardian).

    The German 10 year yield has increased 4 basis points in the last week, compared to 26 points for 10 year gilts. Looks a tiny difference but surely a sign of things to come.

    The upshot for Brown is that really strange things can happen if he would make euro entry the central issue of the election campaign. It could-be-his-get-of-jail card (or rather his get-out-of-the-electric-chair card), while it would also be in the interest of the British public and put the conservatives in an awkward position. However, the conservatives could then argue that if it weren't for Brown, euro entry wouldn't have been necessary.

    For me, I hope the UK won't become part of the euro area because I'm from a euro country with a relatively sound budget and a not completely overheated property market (don't be too envious: we have our problems too).

  • Comment number 75.

    I have to agree with those who found the BBC coverage of this poor man ,tedious from the start.

    Just how many BBC reporters does it take to change a light bulb?

    How many ,did we the punters , pay for to indulge in this trans atlantic jolly?

    Poor Mr Obama ! He has inherited a dodgy(at best) chalice and at worst a toxic one!
    Good luck to the good looking pair, I think they'll need it.

    Now, how about those MPs expenses?

  • Comment number 76.

    Gordon Brown is finished, never mind the narrative. Even the newlabour apologists have given up on him and his daft rescue packages for irresponsible bankers who were merely carrying out his wishes to inflate the economy:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/21/treasury-banking-keynes-demand

    The knives are out at the Guardian. All can see how desoearte these relaunches have becime and what shame they are bringing on our country, our economy and our currency.

    Call an election

  • Comment number 77.

    There is no doubt that there are echoes of JFK in Obama.Perhaps for different reasons,but nevertheless,the similarities are there.

    Perhaps Brown can take some advice from JFK at this time...

    "A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."

    or...

    "Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."

    and finally..

    "The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by sceptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were."

    ..or perhaps Obama himself could remind Brown of such words if,and when, they eventually meet.

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    Great news to see a fresh start in America, only wish we had the same opportunity.

    Come on Nick, ask your bosses to allow you to start a new topic ie Gordon Brown imposing a three-line whip on the vote to back a controversial plan to exempt details of MPs' expenses from the Freedom of Information Act.

  • Comment number 80.

    Mr Robinson,

    Obviously you will keep that BBC job for again somewhat longer after plugging the supposed similarity between some of Brown's and Obama's words (lucky you, that Mandy did not instruct you to tell us that Obama and his aides had been reading up on Brown's recent statements and then decided to say something equal).

    But regarding IRRESPONSIBILITY:

    BROWN RAN A BUDGET DEFICIT OF ALMOST 3% PRIOR TO THE COLLAPSE OF NORTHERN ROCK, I.E. PRIOR TO THE WAKE-UP CALL.

    WHICH OTHER CHANCELLOR WOULD YOU DEEM RESPONSIBLE AFTER RUNNING A DEFICIT WHEN THE ECONOMY IS GROWING ABOVE TREND?

    Do you know what happens to a budget already in deficit when the going is good when the going gets bad. The so-called automatic stabilisers such as lower taxes and higher unemployment benefits, which provide a fiscal stimulus, will cause the budget to get even more out of balance.

    Brown had this rule that the budget needed to be in balance over the cycle. Apart from the ridiculous set-up that Brown could decide when the cycle started and ended, there was something even worse baked into the process. The "in-balance" rule applied to percentages and not amounts. And this is very relevant because Brown inherited a budget in surplus and he used those surplus percentage numbers in later years when the budget was in deficit but the ECONOMY, i.e. the denominator in the percentage calculation, was BIGGER in absolute amounts. Hence, in pounds, the deficits were larger than the surpluses. Amazing he got away with this. It says something about the quality of both the UK media and UK education.

    1950: 13.2 Swiss francs to the pound. Now 1.6 francs. Well done!

  • Comment number 81.

    Nick

    Something occurred to me this morning.

    We are living through historic times. Future students of economic, media, social history and politics will research through the blogs and web page of the BBC (If the BBC archives them) and elsewhere to get a handle on what the people of the time thought of events and politicians.

    This is a time when the worst president of the USA has just left office. And the incoming president Obama will focus future generations on this time in history. If he is successful this focus with be even more magnified.

    It also coincides with the economic story of the century. A disaster that will double the focus caused by Obama.

    This for my part will make me try to be a little more responsible in what I post.

    It should make the mod’s more aware of what they are censoring.
    But the ones who will be judged more than anyone is the BBC and their editorial decisions.
    Nick, when future generations scrutinise your blog topics through this tumultuous time will you be happy with the picture they paint of insightful topics that investigated the major issues of the age?

    Over the years and viewed from the other end of the telescope of history. What would you write of the Post Hutton BBC and it output? How would you view your catalogue of work for the way it has educated and informed the public through the only (none bias) public service broadcaster paid for by a tax?

    How will it be compared with the pre Hutton BBC were the government of the day was scrutinised held to account so affectively that it had to neutered?

    My view of yesterday? I saw the political tectonic plates shift in this country.
    That view of that helicopter taking the man who destroyed the: economy, reputation. Civil liberties, financial system, banks and economy of his country was leaving. Was epoch making.

    I think we all looked on with envy and wished we could have our new beginning and fresh start even though it will be a very hard road. But we then realised that we are still stuck fast in our mire and are currently being dragged further down.

    I also saw a straw in the wind on Brown and Obama I have a sneaking suspicion that Obama’s view of Brown is lined with how he views Bush and he sees that a new leader in this country will allow him to draw a complete line under the past mistakes of the relationship with his major ally and move on.

  • Comment number 82.

    http://www.lettersfromatory.com/2009/01/17/keeping-mps-expenses-secret-the-true-extent-of-this-weeks-scandal-revealed/

    Seems its just NuLabour being whipped to vote FOR this, both Lib Dems and Conservatives are being whipped to vote AGAINST.

    This is looking worse and worse for the government.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jan/21/mps-expenses

  • Comment number 83.

    Nick. Instead of covering glitzy American politics, perhaps you would do the decent thing by us, we who pay your wages, and pen a piece on the scandalous affront to democracy that is the obfuscation of MPs' expenses?

    Or have you been ordered to stay clear of that one? It is an outrage. If they have nothing to hide, then surely they have nothing to fear....

  • Comment number 84.

    I cannot possibly see how Obama's Presidency can be in any way good for Brown.

    When compared, Obama is elected to the highest office on a massive tide of goodwill, he is new, optimistic, charismatic, and most importantly, completely untouched by the mistakes of the last decade.

    Brown is an unelected, dull, failure generating an overwhelming tide of cynicism and who is largely responsible for the massive mistakes of this last decade.

  • Comment number 85.

    Instead of gallavanting, at my taxpapayer expense, in the US sickly fawning over a Democrat (Socialist) President. You as the Political corrspondent for the UK public service broadaster should be making comments upon Jimmy Brown's latest decision to 3 line whip his own Party to conceal MP's expenses even after a Court ruling to be more open. This it a totalitarian government which after the intrusion upon Magna Carta and launching wars based on lies should, by now, have stirred you into some sort of joined up political focus to express the public concerns about this ongoing lurch into becoming a closed State.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    I forgot.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 88.

    dhwilkinson 72

    And your point is what, other than your rant, Im afraid it was incoherent. I object to being called a Tory troll by the way. Most of the media think Brown and Obama have nothing in common actually.

    Why on earth would we care if Americans are reading this, it makes no sense.

    Personally I hope the so called 'special alliance ' is dead then we will not be pulled into any more wars which have cost so much. Maybe our troops who have suffered so much can come home, and maybe we can build some standing in the world.

  • Comment number 89.

    Is it just me fed up with the Obama love-in from many media commentators?

    I'm fully aware of the historical context of Obama's election - and would have voted for him myself given the alternative - but can we please judge the man on his actions not his nice speeches.

    In the UK we had a leader in Tony Blair who wowed the media with his soundbites and rhetoric but I think history will judge him as achieving little of lasting consequence other than presiding over the economy whilst it led us to the current problems.

    Oh and leading us into Iraq.

  • Comment number 90.

    Quote: "The Tories backed McCain, McCain spoke at the last Tory Conference,"

    Actually it was the conference before that (2007) and that was before Obama had even thrown his hat into the ring

    Actually I was frankly embarrassed that the Tories had supported McCain at all. They (and America) should have put their full weight behind Ron Paul.

    Whilst I also am amazed and delighted at the election of America's first mixed race, African/American President and I am delighted that this sends a clear message of renewal of Americas founding principles that ALL men are created equal and the hope and optimism this brings to international diplomacy, I have NOT seen any evidence that Obama has the correct medicine for their economic ills.

    Ron Paul ALONE was in favour of abolishing the unconstitutional and non-federal Federal Reserve and returning to sound and responsible money.

    Barak Obama is merely going to get the Fed to speed up the printing presses.

  • Comment number 91.

    Quote: "Back in Sept 2008 when the prime minister appeared to endorse Barack Obama in an article in the Parliamentary Monitor magazine, the Conservative party went bonkers. In fact Browns endorsement of Obama lead William Hague to comment that ?The prime minister was out of order""

    William was correct to assert that. Gordon Brown should NOT have endorsed Obama.

    Why? Well, it is a long held tradition that Governments NEVER endorse ANY candidate in a foreign election and then they welcome and work with whichever person wins.

  • Comment number 92.

    To all those rightly complaining about the exclusion of MP expenses from the freedom of info act:

    To be fair to the BBC, they are carrying this news on the website (not sure whether it's on the tele news).

    But it would also be fair from the BBC to explain those house value guarantees that the BBC allegedly provides to staff that move. This is especially interesting in case movers buy a new property that has obviously gone down in price recently (will they get the high value for the London expensive property whilst paying the lower price in whichever Labour marginal).

    It's sickening that I used to pay tax in the UK. The MP expenses and their employment of relatives, you couln't make it up (Beckett employing the hubby and making us pay for expensice curtains in the constituency home).

    It's the symbol of an ending era, when people scramble to divide what's left of the cake rather than grow it.

    -Milliband 2x
    -Alexander 2x
    -Mr Speaker and his son
    -Dunwood and daughter
    -Benn and son
    -Kinnock and his MEP wife and his British Council son
    -Balls and Cooper
    And the list is much longer but I find this already pretty impressive for a non-Brit (sincere apologies for my arrogance).

    The UK is doomed. No point working in the private sector. Sterling-Swiss franc parity maybe before January 2011. At least it will be cheap for me to go to the 2012 Olympics.

  • Comment number 93.

    @CockedDice (89)

    A telling difference between Blair's and Obama's popularity is that spin doctor Campbell arranged busses with people to wave flags outside Nr 10 when Blair moved in, but that the ordinary people in Washington yesterday most likely arranged and paid everything themselves.

    That Campbell trick gives away perhaps a little too much about Labour's spin ethics.

  • Comment number 94.

    MP's expenses
    Mandy's yachting holiday
    Mandy's Home loan discrepancy
    PortcullisGate House of Commons raid on the opposition.
    Politicization of the Police
    No enquiry into Iraq
    Post Hutton BBC political control
    No enquiry into financial disaster
    Disastrous devaluation of the pound
    Quantitive Easing
    BBC License fee being paid the support stupid mortgage

    What would Obama say?

    I could go on. When will it end?

  • Comment number 95.

    Obama's speech must surely rank as one of the great political speeches of all time.

    I was struck by the similarity between:

    In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.

    and Churchill's Finest Hour speech of 18 June 1940 (let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties).

    Of course rhetoric alone does not solve an economic crisis, but it does prepare people to support whatever hard measures governments must take. This is a fine speech, and one which all people, and not just Americans, can rally around.

    Gordon's tractor production figures and Mandelson's nasty little soundbites will have no such traction with the British people.

  • Comment number 96.

    #40 PortcullisGate

    You are quite right to point out the huge difference between Obama, who values personal freedom, and Comrade Brown who apparently does not.

    You compare Obama saying: "We reject as false the choice between safety and our ideals..... Those ideals still light
    the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake"

    with Brown, who has torn up Magna Carta, introduced 42 days detention without charge and wants a database of all citizens.

    But you forget to mention RIPA snooping powers now used by local authorities.

    In my view, local authorities should have no snooping powers. If a crime is suspected, that is a matter for the police, not some town hall official!

  • Comment number 97.

    @69 Careful there flame, you'll be having phoenix getting all in a froth about more deviency in high office.

    phoenix for the record,

    1) Homosexuality is perfectly fine. And if consenting adults of whatever sex want to get down and do the dirty, its none of your bloody business. And before you say it, homosexuality and paedaphillia are 2 completely separate things;

    2) the mods were probably to busy laughing at you to get around to approving your post; and

    3) Christianity is protected in this country considerably more than all other faiths (or belivers in superstitious hokum as they should be known) or does having the head of state the head of the church and the bishops in the house of lords mean nothing?

    back to Obama vs britain's politicians - Obama signifies hope and change for the better, and boy can he deliver a speech. Three things that Gordon can't.

    Plus Obama can do a niffty water to wine trick as well.

    Nick does your course mean you're off to pastues new, or have you upset Mandy?

  • Comment number 98.

    Talking about Olympics and spin:

    I remember that when the international olympic committee members visited London they were taken for a ride on the Jubilee line to demonstrate that London's transport infrastrucuture was world class. The London 2012 organisers must have provided taxis for the ride back to Heathrow, because if those international committee members had seen the wiring along the Piccadlly line they probably would have been scared and wondered if they were still in the same city.

    The UK needs a lot of refurbishment: politics, infrastructure, education, health care (4 out of 5 expats that I knew in London went to see the dentist in their home country) and banking (come on, some european countries have stopped using cheques years ago).


  • Comment number 99.

    This ministers' expenses thing:

    "Following the ruling, it was revealed that former Prime Minister Tony Blair had claimed £10,000 refitting a kitchen in his second home - including a new dishwasher.

    Stevenage MP Barbara Follett billed the taxpayer more than £1,600 for window cleaning at her London home and Liberal Democrat MP Mark Oaten claimed £245 for a new bed and mattress. "

    £245 for bed AND mattress??? That is a huge bargain, where did he get that? Someone get him into the treasury they could use someone with his nouse.

    On the other side - £10,000 for a kitchen??? Did it include an escape pod or something?




    call an election, by the way.

  • Comment number 100.

    #93 Econoce

    I agree - but where was the media denouncement of such tactics at the time and why are some journalists (are you reading Mr Robinson) still reluctant to question current Government pronouncements?

 

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