Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Musings On the Obama train


On a chilly January day a triumphal procession takes place. At its centre is a gifted orator and skilled politician who inspires the crowds with well-chosen phrases at the various halts arranged along the way. As well as the insiders in attendance, there are also ordinary people, carefully picked to show the universal appeal of this new regime.

Washington 2009? No, dear reader, you are 450 years too late. The year is 1559 and the city is London, England. Queen Elizabeth I, like Barack Obama, is a master of spin and the art of public performance and her coronation procession is choreographed to the last detail, every element calculated for maximum political impact.

American presidential set-up has more than a touch of the renaissance court at any time but this seems to have reached its apotheosis in Obama’s inauguration. A cult of personality is emerging which could be disastrous if he fails to live up to expectations.

The USA may be the land of the free, but this is starting to look a lot like a coronation.

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