Big Mistake

It wouldn’t surprise me if Obama’s support for the Islamic Centre and Mosque near Ground Zero costs him the next election. I’m on holiday right now in California, which, despite its tendancy to elect Republican governors, is in tone and culture one of the more liberal centres of the US. Purely on the basis of the conversations I’ve had so far, there’s no doubt as to the discomfort the whole issue has caused.  

Nobody I have spoken to is in favour of the project (which is done and dusted and set to go ahead). My totally unscientific sample has ranged from the VP of a big entertainment company in LA through to an aircraft mechanic from Phoenix. I imagine most of them are Democrats, or at least originally enthusiasts for Obama. Without question there is a sense of disappointment in the President, and a bewilderment that he should have got this so badly wrong, in stating a high-minded legal principle in a condescending manner, while totally ignoring the widespread visceral sense that there is just something wrong about this. Economic circumstances might be dire but, to adapt Clinton’s old line, it’s the culture, stupid.     

Oh and what about awareness of us? Well, everybody seemed to know that Queen Elizabeth (as they call her here) recently spoke at the UN. Her name comes up a fair amount. Nobody, however, has heard of Cameron, or even that there was an election here.

I’m currently in the desert, Palm Springs to be precise, with temperatures set to reach 116 by Wednesday. I’ll post the occasional piece, at those times when it gets too hot even for mad dogs and Englishmen.

An autumn note

“For many, the end of this uneasy year cannot come quickly enough”

An ordinary killing

Ian Cobain’s book uses the killing of Millar McAllister to paint a meticulous portrait of the Troubles

Greater—not wiser

John Mullan elucidates the genius of Charles Dickens
Search