Confessions of a Political Animal

November 7, 2008

Long to reign over US?

obama2The Animal is slowly emerging from 48 hours or so of suffering from mild sleep deprivation (“I’ll go to bed when they call Pensylvania…oh, alright, I’ll wait for Ohio…wooh! He won Ohio! I wonder if he’ll get Florida?…better just wait on California, can’t be too complacent…Well, I might as well stay up for Glenrothes, really…). Firstly, a few observations on the really key issues of this election:

  • Why doesn’t the defeated VP nominee have to make a concession speech? That would have been fun, doggone it. Would she even have accepted that they’d lost? (In fact, the New York Times says that she wanted to make a speech, but McCain’s aides refused to let her do so)
  • Not often I agree with the Evening Standard, but when your all-night election show host sounds like they should have been in bed with cocoa by nine, it probably really is time to draw the curtain on a glittering career of election night presenting before it turns really embarrassing. Oh, and note to Mr Dimbleby, the ‘N’ in ‘N Hampshire’ is for ‘New’, not ‘North’, however many times you say it.
  • I think anyone who watched the BBC’s coverage must have shared my thought of “whatever made John Bolton choose diplomacy as a career path?” I’ve always thought it was generally accepted that tact, humility and an ability to accept others’ cultural norms as being key parts of a successful diplomat’s baggage. Mr Bolton appeared to have forgotten to pack them.

Anyway, a fun night and a great result all round – and to think I could make common cause with Boris Johnson in celebrating the end, if not in the justification for the end. And I hereby promise not to (more…)

October 22, 2008

Boris: Racism ends in 13 days, official

Apologies for the Boris-centered nature of this blog at the moment – but the man keeps on delivering the goods, so to speak, and it would be rude to ignore him.

The news following the mayoral election that Mr Johnson would be keeping on writing his column for the Daily Telegraph, at a rate of a cool quarter of a million per anum, was met with a mixture of surprise and outrage. Now the outrage is reasonably understandable, but the surprise really shouldn’t be. The problem is that many of the Mayor’s critics fall into the trap of dismissing him as a bumbling fool: but the truth of the matter is that he is a highly skilled political operator, and the retention of the column is a crucial part of his operations.

Johnson is clever enough to work out that the day-to-day routines of running London are not, in themselves, going to be enough to keep the Mayor in the national media eye. In fact, it won’t even necessarily keep you in the Evening Standard. This problem becomes all the more acute when your conception of the job of Mayor seems to boil down to running bus design competitions for 11 year olds and passing off your predecessor’s achievements as your own. So what’s a Mayor with greater political ambitions to do? The answer is quite simply: keep on with your previous career as a professional controversalist – especially when past experience shows that you can shrug off any ensuing criticism through your ‘loveable’ bumbling persona. So over the (more…)

September 5, 2008

Should Gordon take his cue from the GOP?

By which I don’t mean the Prime Minister should become a minimal-government, liberal-bashing, gun-totting, wilderness-drilling right winger.

Nor am I proposing that he adopts Senator McCain’s less than overwhelming oratory style. And I can’t see Brown quite pulling off a Palin…

However, one of the most intriguing aspects of the Republican National Convention has been the manner in which the party has positioned itself as one of opposition. An observer arriving in Minneapolis-St Paul without the most basic political knowledge would, by all accounts, had been hard pressed to know that this was the party of the current President.

In his speech to the Convention, for example, McCain laid into those currently in power:  (more…)

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