Although of course it is a joke, see the posting immediately below. As Jonathan has already noted, Guido Fawkes has had a lot of fun over the last few months noting that every time Gordon Brown comes out in support of anything, it immediately tanks. Andy Murray was Mr Brown’s latest victim, apparently. So when I read on the Coffee House blog this morning that Gordon Brown now supports Barack Obama, I knew that Guido would be crowing with laughter, if not now then very soon, and sure enough, he is. Obama, says a delighted Guido, is now officially doomed. Luckily, before posting this, I also checked out Samizdata to see if anyone else here was having a laugh about this, and of course, they are.
Apologies if you think I am duplicating here, but behind the hilarity of all this is to be observed an interesting re-arrangement of the political conventions, which is why I still put this thought up as a separate posting. More and more mere people, especially political people, like the ones who read Samizdata for example, have their particular preferences not just in their own countries and constituencies and districts and states and towns, but in ‘foreign’ parts also. The logic of the internet – even of instant electronic communication itself, which got started getting on for two hundred years ago – has always, to me, suggested global political affiliations, and in due course, global political parties. Certainly the Communist movement thought so. Maybe language remains a big barrier, but geography now matters less and less.
Remember that counter-productive attempt by the Guardian to swing the last (was it?) Presidential election against Bush? Many concluded that this proved the wisdom of political people staying out of foreign elections. To me it merely proved that if you want to help this or that side in foreign parts, make sure that you really are helping. Because attempts to help like this are absolutely not going to stop. As the very existence of Samizdata now nicely illustrates, this is all now one big Anglospherical conversation.
Obama’s idiotic campaign trip to Germany was, you might say, a self-inflicted version of that same Guardian blunder. But nor does that folly prove, to me, that campaigners should never go abroad and seek foreign support when campaigning, merely that they should choose their foreign supporters with more care than Obama did. Having the right sort of foreigners waving and cheering next to him can do a politician all kinds of good, now that the pictures can be flashed around the world in seconds.
Under pressure from the McCain camp, the Brown regime is conducting another of its hasty and shambolic retreats. All sorts of stuff gets read out by Mr Brown, or appears under his name in printed articles. But you don’t suppose that he actually reads it all beforehand, do you? Mr Brown’s people are now assuring us that it was one of them who inadvertently revealed this sentiment, rather than Mr Brown himself who actually said it. All Mr Brown did was allow his name to be attached to the bottom of a newspaper article. So once again, there is this pattern, of the political leader trying, but failing, to observe the old and obsolete conventions, against his natural instincts, but his mere people not being so inhibited about saying what they think. Sooner or later the world’s leaders will all follow their mere supporters, and stop pretending to be neutral in foreign elections. Their line should be, because this will be the truth: of course I’ll work with whoever wins, I’m a politician. But meanwhile, yes, I do most definitely have my preferences.
The particular awfulness and embarrassingness of Mr Brown’s particular expression of a preference in the US Presidential election should not detract from the more general interestingness of this little event. Inevitably, most of the commentary will be about how the Obama campaign may now have peaked (the comments on Jonathan’s previous posting are already saying yes it has), and about how the Brown regime is unravelling, definitely, again, some more. But I find the more general global political party angle at least as interesting.
After all, this is not now only Brown preferring Obama, which we all know he does despite any denials (does anybody at all in what is left of the Labour Party not prefer Obama to McCain?). This is also now the McCain team opposing Brown, and not caring who knows it. And by extension, and whatever Mr McCain may personally feel or even know about the man, helping David Cameron. After all, the heading at Coffee House says: “The McCain campaign mocks Gordon Brown”. So now Mr McCain is doing it too, whatever denials he may subsequently issue.