What are the lessons Labour as a Party can learn from the Obama campaign?
I think Labour has a massive problem in that it’s turned off the bright young progressives who ought to be the heart and soul of their efforts going into the general election. The Obama campaign was all about recruiting and motivating activists, and frankly I think the fact that we had an intensely fought primary within the party was helpful for that – our activists genuinely had a say in the direction the party went in. So... try to do that.
To some extent, this is also about demonstrating sincere appreciation for your supporters, and also respect for the voters. Treat your activists like real partners, giving them lots ways to help you every single day (not just the occasional organised canvass) and treat the voters who aren’t currently supporters like thoughtful adults.
Apart from that, I also think it helped that Obama had a really clear vision from the beginning about what the race was all about – “changing the way Washington works” – and he stuck by it relentlessly through the storms and squalls of the campaign. I don’t think Labour (or the LibDems, or the Tories) have yet presented us with that overarching rationale about what the election means and why it matters. Maybe they don’t have one, but if they don’t then I fear nothing they can learn from the Obama campaign will be of any help to them.
Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
Oh everywhere! South America – Brazil especially, if I can ever persuade my husband to go with me. I’d like to see more of Scandinavia, having loved it when I visited for the Campaign. Especially the Fjords. (I like saying “fjords”.)
Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
I can’t imagine I would ever tire of Tuscany. And the Greek Islands. And the South of France. And Barcelona. And... hmmm... now I’m feeling seriously stir crazy. Must do some travelling.
Do you have a favourite political figure in history?
I’ve always had a thing for Elizabeth I – if she counts as a political figure. She’s fascinating in how she understood but surpassed the limits then imposed on women, and the cunning way she played the games of court to ensure a long a successful reign, but failed utterly to make provisions for her own succession. As I say, fascinating, powerful, flawed, and human.
Which figure has been your greatest inspiration?
Barack Obama, obviously. I just think he’s the exact right person for this exact moment in history.
Favourite Bond movie?
Goldeneye. I love the attempt to come to terms with a post-cold war world, and the introduction of Judi Dench as M., giving an elegiac feel to the dead old world of glamorous sexism and Boys Own Adventures.
As you can probably tell, I’m not normally a huge Bond fan.
Favourite Doctor Who?
I’ve hated Doctor Who my entire life until Russell T. Davies rescued it from tedium, and I’m now obsessed. And I’ve seen David Tennant play Hamlet, so he’s obviously my guy. I like him muchly. But I always did like men tall, pale and European. Yes, Scottish counts as European.
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Posted by Obama London at 15:14