What is President Obama walking into?


Sometimes chaos reigns no matter what you do.

It was that butterfly somewhere across the seas fluttering its wings and setting all this into play that created the muddle which is my desk.

Now the question is not “To be or not to be” – there is no question there – but should I tidy my desk before writing this, should I just arms against a sea of troubles?

A mug of coffee and the writing of the blog, perchance to dream, oh yes, that beats enterprises of great pitch and they will soon lose the name of action.

So the muddle can wait. Thank you Prince Hamlet for making up my mind for me, you were always so much more decisive than me.

Maybe today is meant to be a day of chaos, of anarchy and of the peculiarly English version of that, muddle.

I know, of course, that in four years time we will probably all be saying what a shame about President Obama. How disappointing that he couldn’t achieve his dream and if only the Republicans, the French and those yet to be seen events hadn’t cramped his style.

I remain though a bright-eyed optimist here.

Seeing him descend from that aircraft in London yesterday, bright-eyed too, made me think how different the World seems since he won the presidency.

I know he has taken on a lot – maybe too much – but how different it felt to see him arriving for the G20 summit when I remember the last occasion.

Then we had the hopeless George Bush and his sycophantic side-kick, Tony Blair.

The World then seemed wracked with mistakes and compromises, cynicism and lies.

Quite right, it felt, for anyone of conscience to take to the streets and demonstrate against these leaders who were taking us, or so it seemed, nearer and nearer to chaos.

I know that we are now living with the consequences of that time – the war in Iraq, whether we admit it or not is still going on, the much too easy progress of those Masters of the Universe, the capitalist bosses of the banks and the other financial institutions is still to be controlled, too little has been done to preempt an environmental disaster and too much of the World is suffering from poverty and hardship, mostly caused by immoral or incompetent rulers.

So good on those demonstrators who will take to the streets of London today. Good on them to be concerned by these things and good on them for standing up to be counted.

Every crowd has its minority and it will be no surprize if a small minority does its worst by blackening what should be a peaceful protest with violence. The newspapers call them anarchists, giving an honourable tradition a bad name, but if there is trouble on the streets of London today, it will have been caused by the foolishness and over-excitability by people who enjoy a scrap, by what looks like it is going to be a massive over-employment of police and, of course, by the god of these moments, muddle

What do I know! I wouldn’t want to be responsible for either side. I find it difficult enough to keep my desk tidy.

For all of that though, the sight of Barack Obama and his smiling, open-faced wife, arriving here for the summit, made me think, I don’t want to demonstrate against him. I don’t want to make his job more difficult and I don’t want to pretend that he does not see all those problems facing the World.

If anyone has inspired me with the thought that someone in politics might just make a difference to the chaos around us, then it is the new American president and, somehow, so many of the slogans on the streets today read like they are teaching this impressive man how to suck eggs.

Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt because, if anyone is going to at least make a start in bringing about those changes that so many are crying out for, then it is the 44th. President of the United States of America.

Well, the coffee is drunk, the blog is writ, maybe I should start on my own personal chaos – it is a much easier job.

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