Within 12 hours of Democratic nominee-presumptive declaring himself the winner in his party's 2008 Presidential primaries, Barack Obama gave a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It was business as usual. For all the fanfare about 'change', the US Presidential election hangs on money and spin. Scanning this week's political weeklies, David Lammy writing in the New Statesman claims:
The reality is that a new way of doing politics is emerging. I draw three big lessons....First, 2008 has seen a decisive rejection of the "political class"...Second, both nominees refuse to be bound by artificial ideas...Third, we are seeing new ways of creating a political movement....Obama's campaign has at once lowered the barriers to entry into politics and consistently raised the expectations of what can be achieved when people are willing to take part. A far cry from our political parties' reliance on membership and rigid structures.
Mainstream US political parties are run by the political class for the political class. If Obama starts to rebuild the Democratic Party as a, erm...cough, cough...democratic party in which members or supporters have a say, then Mr Lammy's claim might begin to have some substance. As a member of the political class that has raised the barriers to entry into politics in the UK by denying members a say, Mr Lammy has some explaining to do first.