The ‘Alliance Re-launch’ was at the Barbican centre in London, I was 16 and I had recently become a member of the SDP.
Roy Jenkins was greeted with rapture by the assembled throng, and before he could speak, Jenkins was subjected to a lengthy, and I felt genuinely affectionate, standing ovation.
He responded in his usual avuncular and patrician manner, saying, ‘I say it’s always best to have the standing ovation before the speech, but you don’t know what I am going to say yet…’
I can’t help but feel this is how President Obama must have felt this morning as he woke up to the news that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, and uttered ‘no pressure then,’ under his breath. This is a statement by the Nobel Committee as much as upon what went before as on Obama, and importantly what pressure they can bring to bear on the President to follow through on his promise.
It has been clear that many of the liberal intelligentsia who lauded him before, during, and since, the election for US President have convinced the Nobel Committee that the President is already doing more for world peace than anyone else. If this is true then it is an extremely disappointing indictment and says very little for the chances of world peace ever being achieved.
This standing ovation, delivered to the President, before he has even spoken, is extremely generous and may fairly reflect global opinion that all our hopes rest with him if there is to be any prospect of preventing North Korean and Iranian military aspirations and for one I say good luck to him.
It may, on the other hand, represent another counter-intuitive act by the Nobel Committee as it has regularly awarded the prize to the equally, if for different reasons, surprising recipients such as Henry Kissinger, Yasser Arafat and Theodore Roosevelt. Let’s be honest if the Henry Kissinger can win it anyone can!