A hopelessly short diary to celebrate having your President over at my place today. I’d write more, but I’ve been busy. Just see how many chairs I had to put out.
As you would expect, the speech was dignified, resonant and (as the Lady Speaker of the House of Lords said in her closing speech) added ‘poetry’ to politics, in the way that very few other statesmen can
If you listen to the speech, you’ll see it covers an awesome sweep of history, both with lightness of touch and gravitas. The infusion of Obama’s background, sensibility, his appreciation of the global aspect of civil rights, gives this a depth that no previous President has touched when it comes to foreign affairs and transatlantic relations.
Centuries ago, when kings, emperors, and warlords reigned over much of the world, it was the English who first spelled out the rights and liberties of man in the Magna Carta. It was here, in this very hall, where the rule of law first developed, courts were established, disputes were settled, and citizens came to petition their leaders.
Over time, the people of this nation waged a long and sometimes bloody struggle to expand and secure their freedom from the crown. Propelled by the ideals of the Enlightenment, they would ultimately forge an English Bill of Rights, and invest the power to govern in an elected parliament that’s gathered here today.
What began on this island would inspire millions throughout the continent of Europe and across the world. But perhaps no one drew greater inspiration from these notions of freedom than your rabble-rousing colonists on the other side of the Atlantic. As Winston Churchill said, the “…Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence.”
I was particularly impressed by the connections he made between the origin of the Bill or Rights and the rule of law, and the way these same clamour for these values were now being heard in in the Middle East.
I also loved his remark, towards the end, about his grandfather working as a cook for the British army, and the way both countries had welcomed and rewarded migration and mobility
My only regret?
Shame the the Birthers weren’t right. Had they been, Obama would have been British by his birth, and we could have him as our Prime Minister.
C4News poll 8 yrs ago found 22% of Brits had confidence in George Bush: Today we find 72% have confidence Barak Obama: surprise, surprise!!
Anyway, he made me proud of our long relationship as Brits and Americans, and grateful to be so welcomed so often on this blog.
Cheers Moosers. Love to you all.