Having lived in New York City, I'd say that London is very much like Manhattan but without the dreadful (Manha'an...um frum Brooklyn..lawn guy land) accents.
I have gotten into some conversations with people and there seems to be a positive reception toward the Obama presidency.
An interesting take on Barack Obama from black British Labour Party pol Trevor Phillips, who is head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, that ran in yesterday's Times.
Phillips is of the opinion that institutional racism would never allow a black candidate to become Prime Minister.
Britain, he believes, is less racially divided than America. “Here it’s more about class. It is about culture, a different way of life and speaking. The Muslim community occupies the space that black Americans have in the United States. If you asked British voters whether you could have a Muslim prime minister their mouths would drop open, but not with a black one.”Read more here
The public in this country would, he believes, embrace a black leader but the system would prevent it happening. “Here, the problem is not the electorate, the problem is the machine.” It was no coincidence that there were only 15 ethnic-minority MPs, he said. “The parties and the unions and the think-tanks are all very happy to sign up to the general idea of advancing the cause of minorities but in practice they would like somebody else to do the business. It’s institutional racism.”
The Conservatives had done better than Labour at increasing the number of black and Asian candidates. “They are less democratic. They are happier to impose candidates on the local parties.” Labour was too in hock to “the trade unions, the socialist societies, the left intelligentsia, and until you get them to accept that they have got a responsibility to do something it is almost impossible for the party leadership to make progress”.
I t would, he thinks, have been impossible for Mr Obama to become prime minister in this country. “If Barack Obama had lived here I would be very surprised if even somebody as brilliant as him would have been able to break through the institutional stranglehold on power within the Labour Party."