Monday, 19 January 2009

Drama, tension, anxiety, nerves - stage fright?

Blimey, things are moving fast.

Just a couple of quick links to offer you: Peston and the offical Beeb report .

RBS, the largest company in the world by assets, has fallen over 60% in value in one day. And RBS is not alone - the whole of the sector has been shaken.

Whether this is 'nationalisation under duress' or 'by the back door' is largely immaterial, but the fissures between the words of the politicians and the actions of real world decision-makers are opening wider and wider.

The consequences are becoming plainer and the choices are becoming starker.

If the right balance is struck ordinary people will feel a little discomfort, maybe 4m Britons will be unemployed by the end of the year and the moment will pass, but if not...

...well, if not the consequences could be far-reaching and devastating.

There are many severe tensions which have long remained unresolved and will combine into something truly unholy unless... unless...

I am very anxious about the content of Obama's inauguration speech. It comes at a precise moment in history and could have a massive impact if it resounds around the world. Obama has a reputation as an outstanding orator, so this is already shaping up to be what may be with hindsight the biggest test of his whole presidency.

With all the eyes of the world on him, he will in that speech set the tone for his presidency and for the whole of the next generation - we can forget the Bush years because the challenges are before us - the environment, the economy, Gaza.

For any potential politician this moment is what you would live for, but nonetheless you'd approach it with trepidation. It is uncharted territory. He will need some strong sceptical realism to temper his audacious optimism.

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