Obama and McCain stylishly display their belief in democracy

Congratulations to Mr Obama. It is a great achievement. He has reached a new level in organising a grass roots campaign, in raising money from the many and articulating the message for change. Change is much needed on both sides of the Atlantic.

John Mc Cain was right to hail his opponents achievement. I am glad he did not make race an ugly issue in the election, and trust that now Mr Obama has been elected the USA can put the long and divisive issue of race behind it. Mc Cain showed a grace and fluency in defeat which was becoming. When you lose an election you need to show it is still your country and that you understand that the wishes of the majority prevail.

Mr Obama was right to reach out well beyond his jubilant supporters, It was good to hear him say that Republicans, in seeking freedom and responsibility for more people, were seeking something worthwhile and patriotic. He was right to say he would need their support for many of the things he has to do, and wise to say he woudl listen to them when they disagree with him. If he lives up to those fine words in office he could become a successful President.

The natural instincts of partisans after a scrap is to continue the battle after the hustings has been dismounted. Party activitists on the winning side want to revel in their triumph over the opponent. Activists on the losing side want to be told they were right all along and will get their revenge. Such instincts have to be discouraged by their leaders. Both last night rose magnficently to that challenge.

There is a tendency of the left in Brtain not to accept that those of us who usually speak for more freedom and less government do so for the best of motives. We believe that will improve the lot of the people. If Mr Obama continues to remember that such a position is honourable, and deserves at least to be considered on any issue where government is thinking of intervening, he will make better decisions and have more chance of uniting his country.

The Republicans now need to become a loyal opposition. They should not oppose for its own sake, or try to make it more difficult to mend the mess. They should be strong and clear in their remedies, and in their criticisms when they think their new President elect is taking a wrong turning for their great nation.

Democracy is the stronger for yesterday’s events. For those of us who believe in it, our faith is renewed. For those who are uncertain or cycnical, they may be more persuaded to vote and participate in future.

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8 Comments

  1. Stuart Fairney
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I do not share your optimistic views. Mr Obama has four major challenges. First Iraq disengagement. This will prove way more difficult than the left imagines. The US cannot simply leave and see the Iraqi government taken over by an energised Shia Mullah ~ this would be the ultimate foreign policy failure. I think they will be there for some time to come. This may anger his core supporters but you can't simply yo-yo deploy/withdraw troops willy-nilly.

    Second, the promised universal healthcare model is a millstone. If he is smart, he will realise the cupboard is bare and pass peripheral legislation to great fanfare. If he is not so smart, he will try to socialise medicine. Even if this makes it out of the senate, it will be destroyed by fiscal pressures and lawsuits.

    Third the economy. If he is smart, he will keep the pledges to cut taxes which will necessitate a cut in spending. I find this unlikely to put it mildly. Instead I fear, like Clinton before him, the tax-cut pledge wil be discarded more or less straight away. The government will increase still further in scope, scale and nasty authoritarianism. Taxpayers will be raped as never before. This will prolong the recession.

    Last, if he actually lives up to any of the green nonsense spouted, we can expect energy tax increases and stupid restrictions of various trade at exactly the time the US economy does not need them.

    I hope I am wrong. Anyone care to bet?

  2. Jabba the Cat
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    The turkeys have voted for Christmas whilst in a state of divine rapture, with the green saving of the planet substituting for cranberry sauce.

    That was the immediate thought that went through Jabba's head as he listened to the Anointed One as he spoke and mesmerized the masses after John McCain conceded defeat in the early hours of this morning.

    Reality will click into focus sooner rather than later, and the American electorate will see that they have traded in their freedoms and the contents of their wallets, on an unprecedented scale, with long term detrimental consequences that will take years to put right.

  3. Derek W. Buxton
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Stuart

    No, I do not think you are wrong, get just one of those wrong and there will be trouble.

    However, it was good to see democracy in action, the winner voted in by the populace can do something, good or bad. We do not have that chance. Apart from the lack of different ideas from each party, we are governed by Brussels, Westminster just does as it is told. Strange idea of democracy!

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted November 6, 2008 at 12:35 am | Permalink

      I have to agree, I admire the idea of primaries even if you do get odd choices like Obama, Hilary Clinton, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney? Personally, I'd love to vote for a British Ron Paul not just Cameron or Brown

  4. mikestallard
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I want to address the race issue.
    When I was 18, I went out to newly independent Ghana and fell in love with Africa, especially the West African negro race, which embodied, I felt, the excellence of Africa.
    Since then a lot has happened.
    Nelson Mandela – Thabo Mbeki – OK now name me any five more African political leaders who come up to their knee caps.
    Fast forward to Mugabe who embodies all the spite, filthy tricks, corruption, racial hatred and religious bigotry that so many African leaders have demonstrated. Name me five more like him without any difficulty at all!
    I must admit I was beginning to lose faith in any African person assuming power successfully and graciously.
    And now, Obama's – and McCain's – behaviour over the election has been exemplary.
    After the chaotic shambles that is Africa today (look at the ANC for heaven's sake!), it is so good to see a black man who is cultured, educated, civilized, at the helm of modern Rome.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted November 6, 2008 at 12:34 am | Permalink

      Would that be the Mandela and Mbeki that have delivered South Africa unto Jacob Zuma and power cuts?

      How much melanin a man has in his body is for me as relevant as his eye colour and thus I find the whole "first black president" stuff an absurd distraction

    • Rose
      Posted November 6, 2008 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      I would put President Senghor of Senegal above the two you name.

  5. adam
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    I dont know what Barack will do.
    I think much of what he stands for he has already achieved
    simply by being elected.

    I enjoyed watching both the speeches

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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