I watched Obama’s inauguration yesterday with interest, but considerable detachment. American politics always seem so different from our own- the hype, the necessity of huge financial resources and all sorts of power-brokeridge that we can only just guess at. Americans seem to have a reverence and deference for (and towards) whoever hold the office of President that British people never feel for their rulers.
I am also scarred by 1997, when the incoming Labour government promised so much in the UK, after so many damaging years of Tory government. I remember the hope for something new and genuinely different. And the creeping realisation that Blair’s government seemed unable to ever elevate principle over popularism and the manipulation of image.
But Obama made a good start. I enjoyed the moment when his jaw set a little firmer and he began to talk about how his government would have a totally different human rights agenda. The Camera cut to a close up of out-going president Bush.
Then today, I heard that one of the Obama’s first acts as President- on his first day in Office, was to suspend all the ‘trials’ of inmates currently contained in the infamous Guantanamo bay (Here is what the Guardian had to say.)
He had promised as much- so it should not have been a surprise
I have posted some thought previously on Guantanamo bay- here.
In particular, some thoughts about Omar Khadir, the 15 year old boy abducted and held in Guantanamo bay ‘interrogation centre’ . It is his trial that has been suspended today following the Presidents intervention. Here is footage from his interrogation, released by his defence team-
A good start Mr President.