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Obama aftershocks

Justin Webb | 18:00 UK time, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Sorry to have become suddenly episodic - normal service resumes next week. On a trip back to London, the aftershocks of the Obama victory are still incredibly evident, even in a nation with plenty of its own politics with which to be consumed right now.

But nothing can compare with the glamour of the US. At one south London school, the children have set up what amounts to a shrine for Barack Obama - a table festooned with memorabilia and newspaper headlines from the day after. Even the Yorkshire Post is running erudite pieces on transitions past.

At dinner with a group of British MPs, one revealed that his teenage son - who had never shown the slightest interest in British politics in spite of his dad's profession - had texted him on the night of the election with the words "WE WON!" Galling, though dad took it in good part.

There is no doubt that the internet savvy of the Obama people will be studied by brighter British pols: the idea that American ideas and practices can be exported to the UK, boxed and ready for use as it were, is foolish and most people realise that. But the baby should not be thrown out with the bath water, and the baby is the enthusiasm, the involvement, the sense of attachment to a cause that the Obama team created.

It has to start with an appealing message and candidate, of course, but the building of the campaign is highly relevant to the UK.

This blog meanwhile asks a reasonable question (in the last sentence) - W is not going to resign but, given the gravity of the situation, perhaps it should be he (referring back to the Yorkshire Post piece) who goes fly fishing...

I keep being asked in Britain how close Obama and Brown will be. On the face of it, they share a similar outlook and a similar approach to the economic crisis - though this piece is an important reminder of why Obama will keep his distance. He does not own this crisis. He was not there when it was creeping up on us. He will be wary.

A good example is his obvious intention to rough up the big three US carmakers before (surely) giving them the cash they are asking for.

As for further clues to the Obama style and substance - this is the best overview I have seen of how it is already manifesting itself on Capitol Hill.


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