The quest for ratings (also known as the hearts and minds of the people, in politics) is on. Two titans in the global game have touched down on US soil and been busy on various charm offensives.
Well, actually, they’re both in a rather unfortunate position. If popularity is the measuring stick for success, they’ve both succeeded hugely successful figures. Benedict XVI has replaced the most popular head of the Roman Catholic Church in the modern era, and considering the limitations of mass communications during the Holy Roman Empire period, probably ever. Brown has taken over from a man who had a gift for making people like him despite that uneasy feeling he gives all of us, a disastrous venture into Iraq, and the fact that he’s a pod person.
Neither really measure up. Brown is doing his best, including a rather bizarre video appeal to American Idol viewers recently, but his decision to more or less continue the middle way of the Blair route in England has disappointed a lot of people. On the other hand, he is having difficulty appealing on a superficial level to a lot of ‘middle England’. Mind you, I’d rather be ignored by someone willing to vote for David Cameron.
Benedict XVI, meanwhile, is doing quite well. This is mainly because a lot of critics seemed to expect him to celebrate his appointment as Pope by breathing fire and rounding up divorcees into labour camps.
So who wins? Well, it’s no contest really. God is a big deal in America. Brown, as a European politician, is correctly a little embarrassed by public discussion of religion. So, while poor Gordon has to stand outside the Whitehouse and be seen to be jovial with one of the most unpopular men in America, Benedict XVI is rapping with the Almighty in a baseball stadium.
I’m sorry Gordon.