Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Obama becomes President

There is a real sense of possibility now that Obama is in the White House. Driving home in the car listening to him speak you could not fail to be moved by his oratory and his sense of purpose. He is quite clearly the man we need for these difficult times. As a would be politician I am fascinated by the way he crafts his speeches - they have amazing structure, and an almost lyrical feel. It is wonderful what he is doing.
Just two quotes from the speech resonated above all:

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics."We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less.
It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.
Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom."
and on the role of government in the days that lie ahead:
"The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end."
Comment: The last quote will, I hope, be adopted by the next Conservative Government: the test for government institutions in the UK in the days, months and years that lie ahead is surely whether they are helping people in a real and cost effective way ... some call it the Cuprinol test - are they doing what it say on the tin?