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Gordon supporting Obama is more than a joke

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.

12 comments to Gordon supporting Obama is more than a joke

  • Mean, nasty, tricksy, Republicans, they stole our precious! I hates ’em. I hates ’em forever.

  • I definitely would not welcome the President of the USA offering his opinion as to how UK citizens should vote. Likewise, I would expect USA citizens to feel exactly the same way.

    It may well be obvious that, in each country, political parties and their members would have some favouritism, obviously related to relative position on the left/right political scale (and perhaps otherwise). However, such views should not need stating and, with democratic elections in view, certainly should not be stated by ministers of any current government. In practical reciprocity, it would also be appropriate for members of opposition and other party front benches to keep their mouths zipped on the issue.

    If non-front bench people in a foreign political party wishes to say anything on the subject, it should be only in the most general terms, very muted, and set about with caveats acknowledging that it really is none of their business.

    Is it not obvious that the above is how friendly democracies should respect each other?

    Best regards

  • OK, I blog with a fella who lives in Brisbane. And we both have strong opinions on the US election and express them. Secretly, I think Cats fancies Sarah Palin. Who doesn’t? Is that shallow?

    Not really. Barack Obama looks like he was injection moulded to be the First Black President(TM) and Hillary looks like a complete bitch on wheels (because she is) and the reaction to Sarah Palin is, well, natural and that’s the weird thing. Such a prosaic, normal thing as sexual attraction or even wanting to have a beer with or play pool or anything normal attached to a politico is weird. It’s just not the right way of thinking now is it? Politicians must exist on a different plane.

    Put simply. If I was in a diner and the Palin family got the next table I wouldn’t ask the waitress to be moved and that is the difference she makes.

  • igivup

    A third of Tory MP’s support Obama, too!


    What a desperate bunch of politicians we now have in this country.

  • llamas

    I know this is a recurring theme with me, but for as long as I can remember (how long is that, llamas? Too long!) including all the time I lived there, Briitons have always assigned themselves the prerogative of telling America what to do, when to do it, and how to do it better. This has gradually evolved from a sort of smug paternalism to a sort of all-encompassing, holier-than-thou hatred. Reflexive, bile-spattered denunciation of America and/or its people is now so common as to be unremarked in the UK – it’s the last acceptable racism. Much of it is based in a deep and profound ignorance of the country and its people – most Britons either do not know or cannot grasp even the most basic differences between the UK and the US, although of course that never stops them from lecturing the US and its people about what they should be doing.

    Mr Brown’s ‘endorsement’ of Senator Obama for President is totally meaningless as far as the US elections go. It’s nothing more than a publicity stunt for domestic consumption, an attempt to ingratiate himself with his own electorate. He’s merely using the xenophobia and ignornace of his countrymen for a brief and transitory political advantage.

    Hmm – and he supports Senator Obama . . . .? I see it now . . . .



  • M

    It is a shame that George Bush didn’t openly endorse Blair in 2005. We all know how badly that would have gone down.

  • Kim du Toit


    Let us discussionate this further…

  • Robert Speirs

    The last thing Obama needs in the eyes of most Americans is to be endorsed by someone in the “Labour” party – the unnecessary “u” is an added annoyance – with its clear connotations of Bolshyness. Any of us who didn’t think he was a collectivist before would not be able to deny this clear evidence of his Socialist leanings.
    I believe Mencken deplored the influence of British culture over American ways. If the likes of Brown continue their dunderheaded ways, that meme is history.

  • Paul Marks

    Well I can not attack anyone for sticking their noses into American politics – as I have been doing this myself since 1980 (and I was only 15 at the time).

    As for Mr Brown antics (and the rest of Brian’s post), I am happy with it all.

    I like it when the left (including stupid Conservative party Members of Parliament) make fools of themselves and fall apart.

    I will not be content till McCain/Pallin win the election (so many things can go wrong – the debates, McCain working himself till he drops dead as his grandfather did, the left rigging the vote, or …..)

    But, for the moment, things are going O.K.

    And even a gloomy guts like me would be a liar if I said they were not.

  • Boris Johnson endorsed Obama a few weeks ago. I chided him by email. I don’t know whether Boris reads Canadian emails but I suspect he’ll regret his hasty pick.

  • nick g.

    I wonder who tricked Gordo into publicly barracking for Obama? Nobody likes interference in their internal affairs- I remember being irritated ten years ago when Bill Bryson urged us to become a Republic here in Australia. When the British press called for us to also be a republic, we voted against it!

  • Reflexology London

    Gordon’s brown support for Obama is ironic.

    It works both ways. One one level as you describe very well Brian, Gordon knows his support is meaningless. His support is late and inappropriate. Right.
    However when you know your voice does not count much, when you know people forget, you can simply be free to say and do more, i.e you’re free. After all maybe’s gordon Brown’s endorsement is purely emotional, he got caught in the massive emotional wave for Obama ?

    Lol who knows where this will get us