Saturday, 17 May 2008

The British Obama?

Fraser Nelson is a very talented commentator. I don't think that this line, good though it is as a journalistic construction, will be seen as his finest hour:

"Cameron has plenty heavyweight ideas, he just needs a good slogan. Obama has the reverse problem."

Hmmm. Let's compare. Here is the Conservatives' policy page:

http://www.conservatives.com/tile.do?def=people.opportunity.page

Three pages, three basic areas, not many actual policies and certainly very few costed policies.

Now compare Barack Obama's policy-rich agenda:

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/

There is no comparison. Just take one critical area, both America and Britain are both facing difficult economic times. Barack Obama's economic plan (notice the link), whatever you may think of its merits, is clearly something that is thought through and actionable. The Tories' economic plan (notice the absence of a link)? Do they have one apart from the usual platitudes? It's certainly not any of the 'policies' listed on their website.

It's interesting watching the US elections- the early attacks on Obama for lacking substance have completely disappeared from the terrain. Experience is now the dividing line. Clearly the collective conclusion of media commentators, political opponents and friends alike is that Obama is a candidate of substance.

The off-the-mark attacks on Obama's lack of substance of a few months ago still ricochet around the UK political landscape. It's time that the bullet hit the ground- how on earth could anyone get through the most gruelling political process in the world without having solid and defensible policies? It just doesn't make sense.

The suggestion that David Cameron has the substance where Barack Obama just has rhetoric is just a tad fanciful. OK, it's utterly ridiculous. David Cameron's challenge is to find the slogan AND the heavyweight ideas. We'll wait with bated breath.

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