A colleague has passed me a recent article by Matthew Parris in the 'Spectator' which is worth reading (online here). Parris uses the texts of two speeches from presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama to muse on the state of US and British politics - or, more accurately, politicians. Both McCain and Obama, in their different ways, provide depth, intelligence, elegance and an awareness of the complex ambiguity of politics to make their persuasive arguments and, says Parris, they come out at the end of the process as manifestly admirable men. When did you last hear a British politician, he asks, give a speech that suggested he was more than an interminable political cipher reading drivel set out for him by a spinmeister?
Obama, incidentally, has been defending his friendship with his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, but I must confess as I hear Wright's comments and his clarifications I find that they are informed by a passionate and perfectly credible worldview of America and its problems. If Obama has been listening to this man, and been influenced by him, he goes up in my estimation.