The current hoo-ha over the Brown article in the little-known Parliamentary Monitor is much ado about nothing. Of course any centre left politician would want the Democrats to win. In fact some on the centre right are rooting for him. Remember this from Boris Johnson? He said in an interview reported last month “I was looking at him [Obama] on the news and just thinking what an amazing moment this is… watching his speech in Berlin and thinking what a critical moment this is for America and for attitudes towards what they can achieve amongst the black community… a Barack Obama victory would do fantastic things for the confidence and the feelings of black people around the world – that they can win.”
David Cameron too was keen to be photographed with Obama when he was last in London and apparently presented him a box of CDs of some of his favourite British musicians. He has being doing a “me too” on Obama’s views on absentee fathers and his claim to the mantle of “change” in US politics. In January he told Five Live: “I’m enjoying watching Barack Obama. I think he’s a brilliant speaker, I think his optimism and sense of hope for the future is inspiring a lot of people. It’s great to see. Too often [politics] gets down to hope and fear and I think it’s wonderful when hope wins. I’m enjoying watching him, I must say. I think he’s compelling,”. Even though McCain hasspoken at Tory conference under Cameron, Dave reckoned in January: “What people like is the sense that Obama generates, that we don’t have to be like this, we can do better… I think we need that same sense of possibility here.”
The American party system is much more Pepsi v Coke than our own despite the rightward/centrist shift of new Labour and George Osborne’s attempt to show the Conservatives are inhabiting the same ground, so it’s not too much of a shocker really. William Hague hasn’t wasted time in attempting to utilise the Brown so-called endoresement for his own political gain – despite Cameron and Johnson getting in there way before.
As Luke Akehurst points out Brown shouldn’t be embarassed by this episode but should come clean. Luke’s suggestion is a statement along the lines of “In my capacity as Prime Minister of the UK I have to stay neutral and of course I’ll work closely with whoever the people of country X choose as their leader. But as Leader of the British Labour Party I hold a partisan position and I have a duty to call for the election of the candidate from our sister party.”
I can’t see it happening now but (a) Brown hinting that he didn’t write prose put out in his name just makes it worse and (b) the support for Obama uniting Boris, Cam the Sham and Brown just lends weight to claims that global opinion is steadfastly for Obama, outside America. Let’s hope the Americans are not misguided enough to vote to instead inflict four more Republican years on the free world from January.