A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

That result

That was worth staying up for - though I slept through the first few hours of the results programme recovering from yesterday evening's very jolly Hackney North Labour Party fundraising dinner with Ken Livingstone, who was on good form (before the dinner he told me how his political career was shaped by beating the then John Smith-Special Adviser Vince Cable 24-20 for the parliamentary selection in Tory Hampstead, which meant he was unavailable to run for MP in Hackney North, the seat he had already been selected for for the GLC, when David Weitzman unexpectedly resigned in 1979. Ken told me he had been so miserable and felt his time so wasted by the 14 years he did spend as an MP he was grateful to have avoided getting a safe seat 8 years earlier).

Back to Obama though, I wasn't a fan during the primary season but I freely admit to being choked up during his acceptance speech this morning.

There are clearly a lot of practical lessons Labour here in the UK needs to learn from the Obama campaign about mobilisation of campaigners and voters - but I hope we don't get too carried away as the paradigm is a lot different - in our next election we will be the incumbents, not the insurgents, we don't have any politicians here with the capacity to generate the personal fan base Obama has, and here the demographic trends resemble those of 20 years ago in the US - the continued growth of suburbia and the conservative south, not the more recent changes in demography (and voter registration) in the US that helped make Obama competitive in a number of southern and western states.

I hope that the usual suspects will understand that like other leaders - Blair and Clinton - elected on a wave of hope, Obama is inevitably going to have to take tough decisions that will disappoint his more idealistic supporters - maybe even go to war - and that the left's favourite narrative of "betrayal" doesn't get rehearsed too quickly.

One final note - the CNN coverage was brilliant (web version here: http://edition.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/president/) - serious, authoritative and fact based - and avoided the BBC's absurd and childish Jeremy Vine graphical gimmickry we have seen in recent UK elections in favour of graphics that just clearly illustrated the results. BBC please note for future UK elections.


Anonymous Arnold said...

If I were David Cameron I'd be worried today. He embodies the very failed policies U.S. voters have just soundly rejected. Michael Gove even describes himself as a 'neocon'. What a tragedy it would be for Britain to retreat into the past by bringing the Tories back to power just as the U.S.A. makes a daring leap into the future by electing Obama!

11:29 am, November 05, 2008

Anonymous peezedtee said...

I agree about Jeremy Vine. All those gizmos are a complete waste of time. Sad to report, Sky News' coverage was mostly better than the BBC's. ITV was terrible.

4:27 pm, November 05, 2008

Anonymous Warren said...

Watched BBC coverage at our Labour election night party here in Brighton & Hove before returning to follow the conclusion on CNN (have been watching the Situation Room for two years). CNN far superior but to say they didn't use gimmicks when they had people appearing as holograms in the studio...!

5:42 pm, November 05, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

I think both MCain and Obama had a clean campaign. I wish I could say the same thing about the people around them. The best man won and he rightly deserves the victory.

I really hope Obama offers America something different. I think a priority is giving Americans access to FREE health care is a good start and a move in the right direction.

I think America has to reflect. They have to realise that there is a world outside the union.

I think Obama is sincere and just his smile tells me that he is someone who is relaxed and honest. He is hiding nothing. Good luck to the man.

10:07 pm, November 05, 2008


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