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The return of Barack Obama and when politics becomes a matter of right and wrong

It is simplistic, juvenile even, to talk about politics in terms of right and wrong. Just because we personally do not agree with the politics of one particular party does not mean they are misinformed. There will be plenty of other people who similarly think our own views are incorrect. That's the nature of politics in a democratic society. Opinion will always be polarised.

But when you are invited to compare a former President who genuinely cared about ensuring all Americans felt looked after and equal, with a current President who uses the tactics of bullying and segregation to get his own way, then you start questioning whether this is a matter of opposing political views – Democratic vs Republican – or a matter of right and wrong.

I am of course referring to the return of Barack Obama to the political stage yesterday (Thursday) when he talked about his great concern for the direction America was going in and condemnation in all but name of its current leader.

Obama called for Americans to reject the politics of division and fear. He said that was a style of politics which had been seen so many times before over the centuries and he thought had been 'put to bed'.

In a not so veiled swipe at Trump he continued: “We have got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonise people who have the wrong ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage.”

What we were also reminded of yesterday watching Obama was what makes a natural leader. An individual can have a great brain and a good nose for politics but if they cannot engender confidence and trust, even a spark of admiration, from the people they are meant to be leading then they will never succeed.

In this I am referring to our Prime Minister Theresa May. There is a reason why Bexit talks are not progressing, that there is discontent amongst her own party and the population at large.

It is because Theresa May is unable to draw up a single leadership plan and stick to it. She should be confidently decrying that this is the way that things should be done and taking everyone along with her, not scurrying back down her burrow at the first sign of dissent.

She also lacks the warmth and empathy of Obama. Obama feels like a man who walked along with us and was elevated up to lead. Theresa May looks like she wouldn't want to dirty her new Prada suit by associating with the masses.

She was able to cold-heartedly dismiss the suffering of thousands of British people over Universal Credit this week because the statistics pointed in the scheme's favour. Never mind the real life families who make up the other side of the figures. Surely if a policy is not fit for all then it should not be going ahead. Obama would have addressed that but not so Theresa May, too content to think with her head and never her heart.

The chants for Obama were as loud as ever yesterday, as his infamous 'yes we can' mantra was taken up by the crowd. It was as though Aslan had returned to Narnia to rid the country of its White Witch who made it 'always winter but never Christmas'.

Unfortunately Obama couldn't stay and breathe life back into the stone statues of Trump's regime or break down the Mexican wall but the comfort we can take is we are not mistaken in looking at America in particular, and Britain too, and thinking what we are seeing is not just a difference of political opinion but something that is just plain wrong.


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