There was a great article yesterday by Stephen Glover, analysing post-war British prime ministers, with the conclusion that only two – Clement Atlee and Maggie Thatcher – had “left a worthwhile enduring legacy”.
These two, by an unsurprising coincidence are the two who adhered to, and expressed effectively, an identifiable ideology. History consequently rewards them. Even though The Knife supported Dave at the last election, and virtually whatever he does – or doesn’t do – would prefer him to the appalling Blair/Brown axis, I can’t pretend that Dave is an ideologue. Far from it.
Likewise, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney seem to have a coherent overarching philosophy. Obama is in full Blair mode, reactive and gimmicky, his number one gimmick being his race.
Which brings us to Paul Ryan. Romney’s running mate is an intellectually assured, polished politician. He wrote his economic treatise when he was nowhere near real power, and he wrote it with the belief that increasing the national debt, high taxes and a government obsessed with interfering in everything we do are all bad. Very bad. Living in a country where all three of these curses continue to wreak havoc, The Knife naturally agrees with him.
Just under a year ago, I flagged him up as one to watch, noting the added bonus that he upsets Obama’s useful idiots, like Paul Krugman. Yesterday’s speech confirmed this impression, with this excellent summary providing a nuanced analysis.
Ryan has turned the election into something unpredictable at this early stage, confounding all the Obama fans in the process. Obama is in real trouble, having successfully alienated many of his “natural” supporters, and Ryan’s presence isn’t helping him one bit. As the slightly nutty, but smart pundit Wayne Allyn Root pointed out:
Is there one major group where Obama has gained since 2008? Will anyone in America wake up on election day saying “I didn’t vote for Obama 4 years ago. But he’s done such a fantastic job, I can’t wait to vote for him today.”
Despite their common language and heritage, two of the “most foreign” countries that I’ve visited are the US and Ireland, much more so than, say, Germany. The fact that America is now galvanised by a genuine battle between competing economic ideologies – now a distant memory in Britain – shows just how different we are.