Friday, 5 June 2009

Barack Hussein Obama II

I like to keep an eye on politics and whilst not being an expert on party politics, in my job you have to keep your ear to the ground for what's going on in politics with a small 'p'. The elections in the UK for some Members of the European Parliament have concluded although we haven't got the results yet and the council elections have sent an overwhelming message to the Labour Party.

"Governments are like underwear. They need to be changed - often - and for the same reason."
Italian Proverb

What makes all this small country politics pale into insignificance was the statesman-like performance of the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama II.

He made a groundbreaking speech of major significance this week in Cairo Eygpt with a view to reinvigorating the Middle East peace process and giving a strong message to the Muslim world.

Why does this affect me sat here in rural East Yorkshire on the other side of the world? Firstly Obama showed that he is a clever speech maker and although he tripped up a couple of times, his 55 minute speech was consummately delivered, with passion and with substance. Contrast that with our current political leaders who lack confidence and concentrate on preventing self-destruction rather than issues that are affecting our country.

Secondly he was clearly not afraid to tell some home truths to an audience of an Arab nation. Criticising the Israelis, traditional and cultural friends of the USA as well as criticising the Palestinians, he unswervingly stuck to his overtures of the need to work together to solve differences and perceptions of differences - he said he was not at war with Islam. This means that he starts a dialogue of peace and thinking which may mean that the threat of terrorism and the threat to my freedom and my children's future is a little less dangerous than it was - only by a wafer thin margin, but it's a start.

He used words like 'tolerance, justice and mutual respect.' He talked passionately about democracy and religious freedom. He warned about the threat of nuclear weapons and how violence never achieved its desired result. Finally he talked about the rights of women, economic development and opportunity.

It was all very high level and strategic, no detail to talk of, but the message was clear that this man wants peace but not at a price and he is clear that the USA will continue to confront extremism.

I like him. He appears straight forward, open, on an even keel and knowledgeable with desire to succeed while being realistic enough that things don't change overnight. He's not a rabble-rouser, but I suspect he is to be ignored at your peril. Good luck to him and for what he wants to achieve.

I'm sure that his parents are mistaken - he was clearly born a Yorkshireman, forthright, intelligent and a stylish dresser (not sure I can get away with that one!)

"Mr Speaker, I withdraw my statement that half the Cabinet are asses - half the Cabinet are not asses."
Benjamin Disraeli (British politician, 1804 - 1881)

Have a great weekend.

Chat soon


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