Believe it or not, there is a world outside Liverpool this year, & it's important to remember that.
The US primaries leave me both intrigued & baffled. Intrigued because of the detail & shameless chicanery of each campaign, & baffled due to the complete absence of policy; whether it's Republican or Democrat, there is a vacuum when it comes to issues. Candidates are paraded like catwalk models, but without the originality. Vacuous phrases which could mean anything to anyone are met with appreciative whoops from handpicked audiences ("change for our future", "we can do better", that sort of guff). There are many political commentators on this side of the Atlantic, of course, who say that the UK is heading pellmell down the same highway. Which is true: what do you expect when the mainstream parties battle for the "centre" & pay obeisance to free market capitalism?
I've already expressed my views on Hillary Clinton's "progressivism". As for Barak Obama, he looks good, speaks well & gives the impression that he represents a change, not just in US politics, but the Democrat party. However, close examination of his speeches reveals a penchant for glib soundbites, feel-good generalities & content-lite rhetoric.
As for John Edwards, he's certainly made the right noises about the obscene excesses of Wall Street while Main Street suffers in the sub-prime fallout. However, lectures about the iniquities of the market from a millionaire lawyer sound a little strange. It's like listening to Madonna criticise celebrity culture.
Be that as it may, a novel take on the Republican side of the fence was provided by Sasha Abramsky yesterday:
The electoral coalition that the Republicans have succesfully built up over the last 30 years or so is appearing to unravel. The economic conservatives' uneasy alliance with the social conservatives is beginning to buckle partly because of the alliance's obvious fault lines, & partly due to the economic crisis facing the US (& the rest of us).
Abramsky is the first political observer I've come across who cites the concerns of sex workers at a Nevada brothel as a barometer of the changing situation. Somehow, I can't see Toynbee, Kettle, Ashley, et al following suit in a Soho clip joint.