Friday, October 03, 2008

US election outcome - definitive

Chatham House audience applauding end of Professor Green's perfomance presentation

"You know many people think Obama walks on water". That line yielded one of many hearty laughs.

But then the man standing up stage is probably one of few who's seen the long plank of wood Obama uses.

If Professor Paul Green, Director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University and a political analyst for WGN Radio in Chicago wants to leave academia full time, I'd wager he's got a guilt-edge career on the talk show circuit.

You couldn't laugh hard enough and in case you're wondering this was politics - a particle physics journey into the underbelly of US electioneering.

This was contemporary vaudeville politics delivered to a modern day audience. Superb!

Dim the lights and imagine you're live at the Apollo or the London Palladium, except we're at Chatham House, that august institution whose name is lent to the sonorous Chatham House Rule.

You know: the information you're hearing, you can't tell anyone where you got it from or reveal the speakers identity, except the wordings more taut, but stolid enough to scare anyone into thinking you're part of an exclusive club.

BBC Reporters often make good of Chatham House rules and speakers from attending closed talks. As a producer I know I have.

Professor Green's revelations.

The bullet points of Professor Green's delivery:

  • Obama will win the election, but disappoint afterwards. The US's problems are too huge.
  • Obama's fund raising machine is unprecedented and you ain't seen nothing yet. Come election day, the millions of volunteers, buses etc Obama has in what's referred to as Obama Camp will simply leave you breathless.
  • On television, commercials will be interspersed with programmes, there's a visual onslaught in the making.
Professor Green spoke about how Obama beat Clinton; how McCain doesn't have an in with value voters, a karl Rove manifestation of people who make decisions based on religion, abortion, capital punishment and same-sex marriage.

Shot on a Canon Ixus 70

And in case you might be thinking this was a partisan lecture, he criticised liberal women reporters for their snobbish approach to undermine Republican VP runner Sarah Palin. And that McCain had given good as he gets, just that he's not so zing in age.

"Attack her [Palin] for what she says, not for who she is", he said

This is what Chatham House does best, attracting the best minds to share an insight into their rarefied world. Professor Green's been to more political gatherings and party nominations than perhaps he can remember.

Chatham House

As a member of Chatham House, and I have been since 1994, I'm pleased to see how video has become a feature of their events.

In fact it's been one of the ongoing points I have had the pleasure of talking about to previous directors to the current one Dr. Robin Niblett:
  • Professor Victor Bulmer-Thomas, here being interviewed by me.
  • Dr Chris Gamble, who wanted to know how to promote Chatham House to a younger constituent, which led to a number of online promos.
  • Dr Jack Spence, my mentor who got me interested in Chatham House.

For the many years I was a news producer, Chatham House became a regular haunt, with a healthy number of speakers being invited onto Channel 4 News, a move guaranteed to earn me browny points.

Were I still in network TV broadcasting I'd surely be ringing up the news editor to suggest getting Prof Green on the programme.

I'm told the video of Professor Green's speech will be online soon, but I also feel speaking to Chatham House's events manager, the institute could increase its reach online by having some of its video downloadable, with a creative commons license [ link back to us] and the company logo.

Why because as a brand, Chatham House delivers undiluted news, indepth analyses, material untainted by personality reportage.

And truth we don't have much of that around, at least from what I saw today and believe me, you'll want to see this.

The press and boggers came in for a ticking off, but if you want to follow the campaign with real indepth articles Professor Green recommends a listing of the best articles around.

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