Barack Obama

What is a liberal intellectual anyway?

The Guardian (12 December 2008), has a profile of the Candian MP and academic, Michaell Ignatieff, better known on this side of the Atlantic as a former columnist with the Observer and broadcaster in the 1990s. Currently leader of the Canadian Liberal Party Ignatieff is hotly tipped by certain quarters to be Canada’s next prime minister.

The piece ends with an observation from editor of Prospect magazine David Goodhart:

“If he does make it to the premiership,as Goodhart points out, he will become the fourth leader of a major English-speaking country, after Barack Obama, Gordon Brown and Australia’s Kevin Rudd, who could be classified as a liberal intellectual.”

An intersesting (even if meaningless) point. What exactly constitutes a liberal intellectual is unclear though. However the changes of government in the US and Australia certainly bear testament to this. Obama’s predecessor could not by any stretch of the imagination be described as liberal or intellectual in any sense of either word. Rudd’s predecessor John Howard, although a member of the Liberal party could hardly be described as “liberal” with a small L, and certainly not an intellectual.

Apart from the four countries mentioned there are few others in the English-speaking world which could be called “major”. It’s fairly safe to assume to Goodhart would not list Brian Cowen’s 26 county republic as a major English-speaking country. In any case there would no doubt be howls of laughter in the Dail and beyond if Biffo, or his predecessor Bertie were to be classified as liberal intellectuals..


America Awaits…While the World lives in Hope

With just over a week to go before America decides on the next occupant of the White House, it looks like Obama’s victory is in the bag.  After the unmitigated disaster in Iraq and the financial crisis in full swing the country is ready for change.

It seems that Citizen McCain’s biggest mistake has been his choice of running mate.  Palin, despite her obvious appeal to the ordinary worker and moose hunter is – it’s fair to say – not the sharpest tool in the box.  What was little more than an attempt to win over disenfranchised Hillary Clinton supporters is backfiring on the Republicans.

Meanwhile, on the subject of Republicans and Obama’s alleged connections with terrorists, the PSNI should note that he seems to have inside knowledge of the Belfast Northern Bank robbery:
“let’s help families right away by providing them a tax cut — a middle-class tax cut for people making less than $200,000, and let’s allow them to access their IRA accounts without penalty if they’re experiencing a crisis.”

Cue eerie, deathly silence punctuated by the swoosh of tumble weeds in the whistling wind and the distant clanging of a funeral bell…I’ll get my coat.  Not even Joe the plumber would find that one funny.  Still, better than your average Dylan Moran gag.
With the economic gloom engulfing the world like 1992 all over again, (when significantly a Democratic, with a first name beginning with B was elected to replace an outgoing president called Bush – deja-vu perhaps?) the presidential elections have taken something of a backseat on this side of the Atlantic. 
Still, whatever critiscisms can be levelled at Obama, at least he’s interesting and intelligent – and after eight long years of its outgoing occupant the world needs someone interesting and intelligent in the White House...


Sarah Palin - has this vice presidential campaign ceased to be?

Sarah Palin - has this vice presidential campaign ceased to be?

 Or better still – Palin to insignificance?  A whiter shade of Palin?  Cue eerie silence, etc, etc…