Saturday, 24 January 2009
Obama and the Skinhead
On Tuesday 20th January 2009 I was rushing to a meeting in central London when I suddenly realised the time. I called my business partner and said we needed to hold the meeting somewhere near a television screen. I then dived into The Globe pub on the Marylebone Road and texted him. I found somewhere. And they served alcohol. Bonus. I ordered a white wine.
As the crowds in the pub clapped and cheered in a most un-British fashion at first Aretha Franklin taking stage then the great man himself, I noticed a solitary silent man avoiding the screen. A young skinhead stood at the bar looking more than unmoved - he was angry and was refusing to look at the screen.
The image of this boy will stay with me longer than the emotional hopes and outpourings of the day. We are many of us working towards a better world - but let's not get carried away. We need to listen wide to every man, woman and child. We need to tackle ignorance, isolation, marginalisation, pain and anguish - whatever it's root.