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Inevitably, politicians the world over have been rushing to ally themselves with Barack Obama, hoping some of his charismatic glamour will rub off on them. In the UK, Gordon Brown was quick to compare Mr Obama's progressive ideas with his own, whilst LibDem leader Nick Clegg identified a fellow liberal. What I found extraordinary, however, was David Cameron's allusions to the idea that both he and Obama are agents of change, breaking away from a tired, disliked government and offering something new and exciting.

Barack Obama is a black man, the son of an African immigrant, a product of modern, urban America. He is an unprecedented president, a truly new kind of leader for the US, a man whose closest, perhaps only, equivalent in modern politics is Nelson Mandela. David Cameron is a white Anglo-Saxon from the home counties, descended from royalty, an old Etonian, an Oxbridge graduate, yet another man of wealth and privilege on the march to success in Her Majesty's Government. The idea that he represents something novel is simply staggering. His policies are either vague or indistinguishable from those of countless centre-right predecessors. His nerve is extraordinary, which no doubt partly explains his rise, and he knows that the Middle English electorate are about as radical as a cheese sandwich and a cup of weak tea. He will soon be Prime Minister.