The wonders of electronic communication allowed me to view, almost as if I were in the same room, the debate that pitted Mr Barak Obama against Mr John McCain in the United States. It is indeed a moderate improvement on the marvel of the electronic telegraph which, it should be noted, allowed people even in my time to read the full text of events and discussions of such import in newspapers delivered to their homes within but a few days.
I would make two observations: one is in respect of a rather curious phrasing used repeatedly by Mr McCain and containing the words "spread the wealth around". Indeed Mr McCain seemed to have borrowed the words from Mr Obama; as I had heard the Republican was a humane individual, an opponent of corruption and greed, I assumed with a naivety that must stem from being the European side of the ocean, that he was discussing how the nation's wealth could be share with its poor, how tax burdens could be lifted from those who are struggling to maintain home and hearth in difficult times.
Understanding then dawned upon me; and with comprehension, some sense of the distance that remains between Great Britain and the United States. For the admirable Senator was, it seems, merely seeking to recite his opponent's words as if they were an indictment of guilt, of closet socialism. It is not in my nature to welcome the raising of rates of taxation nor to penalise those whose endeavour brings them success in life. Yet it is a disgrace to a nation when its poor beg on the streets and die penniless, evicted from their homes and herded into workhouses. There was never any doubt that extending the franchise to ordinary working people would lead to the development of policies to alleviate poverty, to enable all those of good will to earn a living and live in their own homes. It is apparent to me that our cousins across the ocean have many admirable virtues; yet they remain ignorant of the progress of politics, of policies that were so admirably developed by my successors and implemented, not by socialists but by Liberals, a little over 100 years ago in this nation.
It may be the American people are at last coming to understand the power of the ballot box; for Mr McCain's pejorative use of this admirable concept appears to have gained little credence in the brave hearts of the American people.
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