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America’s hope and change

We’re about to be deluged with US lessons for Britain. Three lessons stand out.

First, it was the global economy, stupid. This was a race that was transformed by the hits to the US economy, and Obama’s message that governments needed to act to help families and small businesses – not just stand there doing nothing or letting the market run rip.Interestingly, Obama never talked the economy down, just his opponent’s plans.

Second, Americans looked hard at who they thought was going to deliver change, not just talk about it. Obama’s steady, consistent judgement – no flip flops – won out over short term, media-hungry tactics designed to win headlines.

Third, Obama built a new coalition, reaching out to new voters with a kind of grass-roots organisation well recognised by leading campaign organisations.

None of this is good news for David Cameron. He has neither a plan for the economy or the consistency to inspire confidence. Over the last six months he started publishing policy. The result? Flip flops, misfires and misjudgements.

Gordon Brown’s alliance with Barack Obama will be crucial in delivering a new settlement for this new global age.

Both suffered – and triumphed over – adversity in childhood. What’s exciting is that both bring the right kind of values and instincts to work with them each morning.


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