Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Cameron does Kennedy

I was on the mainland today, and had a call in mid-afternoon from Lynn to say that the generator appeared to be seized. She needed it - island life - to charge her phone. Well, I didn't get to the island until 8.30 and went straight to the shed at the back, when after some pretend mechanics I did actually get the generator to start.

In the cabin, Lynn got the phone on charge and we both sat down to watch the News at Ten, keen to see what, if anything, the Conservatives and Lib Dems had managed to stitch together during the day; and there was David Cameron, fresh from Buckingham Place, making his first speech as PM to the world's press, outside 10 Downing Street.

Now, I don't mean to compare Cameron the man with Kennedy, but listening to his without-notes remarks (I assume he was describing his Big Society idea though I don't think he actually mentioned it), it was hard not to be struck by the echoes of JFK's inaugural in January 1960:-

JFK: "Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."
Cameron: '..we don't just ask what are our entitlements but what are our responsibilities...what we are owed, but what we can give..'

JFK: "..those people..struggling to break the bonds of mass misery"
Cameron: "..the poor, the old, the needy.."

I can't find a transcript, but I'm sure there were other Kennedyisms in there: certainly the general feel, as in 1961, was of a (relatively) young man talking to a new generation.
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