Six months ago, Britain's left had an enthusiasm gap too. Prior to the General Election of May 2010, a lot of progressives were disaffected with the Brown Premiership, jaded after 13 years of New Labour. However, despite the makeovers and compassionate conservatism, the Tory Party still wasn't detoxified from the days of Thatcher and Major. David Cameron hadn't sealed that deal. So many people I know decided to experiment with their votes. Our first ever Prime Ministerial TV Election Debates had a huge impact too. For the first time the leader of the smaller third party, the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg, got equal billing with major party leaders Gordon Brown and David Cameron. He looked plausible, articulate, and could throw his hands up in Ronald Reagan fashion ("there you go again") when the two big party leaders slugged it out.
Six months ago, <b>Britain's left had an enthusiasm gap too.</b>
Prior to the General Election of May 2010, a lot of progressives were disaffected with the Brown Premiership, jaded after 13 years of New Labour. However, despite the makeovers and compassionate conservatism, the Tory Party still wasn't detoxified from the days of Thatcher and Major. David Cameron hadn't sealed that deal. So many people I know decided to experiment with their votes.
Our first ever <a href=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8621119.stm>Prime Ministerial TV Election Debates</a> had a huge impact too. For the first time the leader of the smaller third party, the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg, got equal billing with major party leaders Gordon Brown and David Cameron. He looked plausible, articulate, and could throw his hands up in Ronald Reagan fashion ("there you go again") when the two big party leaders slugged it out.
It was unusually sunny this morning at the Central London polling station when I voted in the UK General Election. If the steady stream of voters I saw is anything to go by, turnout looks to be high - up to 70 per cent from the 60 per cent turnout in 2005. There are many reasons for this... and not of a few of them connected to Obama's campaign in 2008, which not only re-energised my interest in politics (and the left wing blogosphere) but captivated the country. But the kind of change the British General Election has ushered isn't that obvious, as can be seen from thee front page the Murdoch-owned best-selling conservative leaning Tabloid this morning.
By bizarre coincidence, a timely and provocative diary by Canadian Gal about Holocaust denial and Facebook, has raised issues of free speech in the US, which have become a hot button issue today in the UK.
BNP leader Nick Griffin has been pelted with eggs and forced to abandon a press conference outside Parliament.
Dozens of protesters disrupted the event, which follows the British National Party winning its first two seats in the European Parliament.
Chanting anti-Nazi slogans and holding placards they surrounded Mr Griffin as he was bundled into a car.
Mr Griffin was elected for the North West region - a result condemned by parties across the political spectrum.
Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's the debilitating trickle down of the credit crunch, or just the sudden retraction of Spring here in the UK, but tonight I'm depressed. Or maybe it's just this...
"I want to emphasize that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the images we remember from Abu Ghraib," the president said on the South Lawn of the White House. "But they do represent conduct that didn't conform with the Army manual."
Actually, it's a grey damp start to a new Era here in London. But despite sleeplessness and hangovers, the world seems a lot brighter today. People are walking with a spring in their step.
What happened last night? What happened over the last year? Did I dream all that? Did America, the country that gave George Bush two terms: whose voters were robbed in 2000, bamboozled in 2004: did that same country really elect this smart, dedicated, eloquent, passionate man called Barack Hussein Obama?
When our most read newspaper, a famously right wing tabloid, publishes a headline like this, then you know the world has changed, changed utterly...
"O My Prophetic Soul" Hamlet: Prince of Denmark, Scene 1, Act V
Words are all I have. As a British citizen I cannot vote in this election. I cannot phone canvass. I cannot donate. All I have are words. But after this amazing campaign and all the words we've all expended, I just want to release two more crucial words into the blogosphere: thank you.
Thank you for the flames and mojos, criticisms and kudos, thank you for the fail pictures and the polls, for the LOLZ cats and live blogging threads. But above all thank you for your tolerating me here. As a foreigner in these virtual forums I've experienced the best of American hospitality, just as my son has experienced it during the last few days in Pennsylvania, organising, canvassing, getting out the vote.
Thank you. These are just words. But I cannot vote or donate. Words are all I have.
Words are all I had four years ago when I first became actively engaged in your debates. I had my reasons for being so caught up in the last election, but I was mainly a lurker. But nearly exactly four years ago, on November the fourth 2004, just after the savage and dispiriting defeat, I wrote my first ever diary on a blog to thank Democrats, even in defeat, for providing such inspiration and passion and hard work.
On that terrible day in November 4th 2004, I also tried to write some words of consolation. I don't know how much they helped. I drew analogies from the Labour Party's three successive defeats and 18 years in the wilderness, to encourage you all to rebuild and regroup.
A few days ago I took a look at that diary for the first time in four years and I was stunned to find this:
"She's Dynamite!" Or so thought Morton C. Blackwell, President Ronald Reagan's liaison to the conservative movement, even though he couldn't get closer than four feet from Sarah Palin at a Virginia fundraising dinner. Whatever has got into the right wing base of the Republican party, it's pretty fundamental, and they are not alone in seeing Palin as the future of the party, win or lose
Governor Palin sees herself this way too.
The shocked silence of the McCain spokesman was a result of this segment of an interview recorded on ABC.
VARGAS: But the point being that you haven't been so bruised by some of the double standard, the sexism on the campaign trail, to say, "I've had it. I'm going back to Alaska."
PALIN: Absolutely not. I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we've taken, that ... that would ... bring this whole ... I'm not doin' this for naught.
As far as I know this is unprecedented - an et tu Brute moment as the VP choice stabs the man who chose her in the back.
Palin is explosive all right. For the Republican party she's a volatile mixture of glitz, folksy charm, utter ruthlessness and willing ignorance.
But it's the 'sexism' part of that exchange I want to focus on, and what this means for the prematurely announced death of identity politics.
Isn't it strange. Here we are, two weeks away from a historic General Election, and because of the sad news about the parlous state of health of Barack Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, our thoughts turn to matters beyond the reach of campaigns and the ballot box.
Or perhaps it's not so strange - it's salutary. For a moment, there is a hiatus to think about deeper things.
I've been touched by how many diaries (like Beltway Dem's here) and comments this moment has triggered. And though wary of sentimentality, these personal accounts of grandmothers have got me thinking about why Obama's character and story appeals to so many people across the world.
I probably don't need to tell many readers here that there's a new and potentially divisive argument being mooted - that Obama is underachieving, and that ANY democratic candidate would be doing as well as him at this stage, if not better.
So you've heard this meme here? It was actually first mooted by none other than Karl Rove on Face the Nation in early August:
With a restive electorate, with an economy that's sort of chugging around, with a war in the background, at the end of eight years of Republican rule in the White House, Obama should be way ahead.
Well, people can have their motives to agree or disagree with the statement. But let's not just rely on partisan pundits on the blogosphere. What does a noted polling expert have to say...