Will There Ever Be a British Obama? Barack Obama's Election in the US Has Led to Wide-Ranging Debate about the Possibility of Change in British Politics. Could There Be Change, and What Does This Say about the Current State of British Society?

By Enahoro, Alex | New African, January 2009 | Go to article overview

Will There Ever Be a British Obama? Barack Obama's Election in the US Has Led to Wide-Ranging Debate about the Possibility of Change in British Politics. Could There Be Change, and What Does This Say about the Current State of British Society?


Enahoro, Alex, New African


On 8 November, BBC Radio 4 broadcast an interview with the chairman of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips. His comments wove their way into many discussions, broadcasts, editorials and blogs. Just a few days later, the 22-year-old Lewis Iwu, who in June 2008 became the first black president of the Oxford University Student Union, addressed both Barack Obama's election and the prospect of a black prime minister in Britain raised by Phillips. British newspapers put these two men together, with the Daily Mail noting that: "Iwu was contradicting the head of the Equality Commission, Trevor Phillips, who believes institutionalised racism would not allow the rise of a British Barack Obama."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Phillips had said: "This is not just about race, this is a wider point that our leadership class is really basically white, male and professional." He believes that if Obama had been British, "I would be very surprised if even somebody as brilliant as him would have been able to break through the institutional stranglehold on power within the Labour Party."

For Phillips, this demonstrated that "the problem is not the electorate, [but] the machine". He said while he believed the British public would "embrace" a black prime minister, institutionalised racism within the political system would prevent a British contemporary emulating Obama. The Conservative MP for Windsor, Adam Afriyie, supported Phillips's views, and said he did not foresee a black premier in Britain in his lifetime. Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, commented chat the current British Parliament was "too white and male" to reflect the broad spectrum of issues and people within Britain.

Lewis Iwu disagreed. At the launch of a mentoring scheme called "Debate Mate", a programme recruiting university students to help inner-city school pupils develop their debating skills, Iwu responded to questions shaped around the comments of Trevor Phillips.

Iwu won his Oxford election by a majority of 39% against three other candidates. He said: "A black British prime minister would bridge a huge gap and help young people realise that they can achieve success in public life." His refreshingly hopeful response was balanced with reality, as he added: "There are barriers but that should not stop you from going for it."

Iwu commented on the emotional impact Obama's election had generated in the UK, and said such an election in Britain would "give the country a massive boost for generations to come". …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Will There Ever Be a British Obama? Barack Obama's Election in the US Has Led to Wide-Ranging Debate about the Possibility of Change in British Politics. Could There Be Change, and What Does This Say about the Current State of British Society?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.