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Obama's Victory Greeted with Unprecedented Merriment in the UK

Nov 10, 2008, 4:55 AM

Barack Obama's victory sparked scenes of unprecedented merriment and joy in the United Kingdom as big and small cities around the country came out in great numbers to show and demonstrate their support and admiration for the first black President of the United States more than forty years after the late Martin Luther King made his legendary speech called  '' I have a dream''.

Similar scenes were reported in other parts of Europe specially France and Germany. However in London, people packed in bars and restaurants while others took to the streets to mark Barack Obama's triumph.

The extraordinary display of bliss and celebration described in the UK as the ''Obama Fever'' swept through the capital city of London as thousands of ex-pat Americans and Londoners gathered out to witness history being made as the first African American ready to take charge of the highest  office in the United States.

Flashy and bold-headlines of both broadsheets and tabloids dominated newspapers and magazines while television screens continued broadcasting the results and the endless celebration.   According to The Independent one of the most respected newspapers in the country it was the ''Day of Days as proud African Americans see their dream fulfilled''. Another reputable broadsheet-The Guardian reported picture of Obama's mother carrying him as a baby stressing ''the improbable journey undertaken by Obama''. The Daily Mirror also printed that ''Barack Obama's victory changes the world'' and further revealed the name of Roy Cortain who was arrested and reportedly '' jailed by police in Grenada in the Caribbean for disturbing the peace while celebrating in his car with US flags flying and shouting loudly Obama! Obama!''.   

Quoting Obama's wife Michelle, the Daily Mail one of the oldest newspapers in the country many seen as conservative cited that ''Obama is who America needs''.  Similar reports conquered the headlines in almost all the media house highlighting the popularity of the new President.

Even the American Embassy held an election party where hundreds of people continued their celebration and expressing their support for the new United States President. The invitation to the Embassy was extended to the public prompting many to congratulate embassy officials for their ''neutrality and non-judgmental attitude''.

Speaking to the press from No 10, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: ''I have just sent my warmest congratulations to Senator Obama on his election as President of the United of the States. This is a moment that will live in history as long as history books are written''.

Brown who was earlier teased by some section of the media for ''quietly supporting Obama'', had publicly refused to single out any candidate for endorsement during the campaign. However he added: ''I know Barack Obama and we share many values. We both have a determination to show that government can act to help people fairly through these difficult times facing the global economy''.

Politically the United States democrats are seen as ''sister party'' to the current Labour government and there is no doubt that many in government circles are happy that the democrats won the presidential election. However Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave credit to Obama's rival Republican John McCain noting that he has shown ''characteristic dignity in defeat, the same dignity which marked a lifetime of service to the public".  A senior Member of Parliament told The Point: ''Of course we like him so much, you must remember that the two countries have a lot in common and we hope to work with Obama's new administration smoothly as mentioned by the Prime Minister''.

The Conservatives leader David Cameron also hailed Obama as soon as he learnt about his victory. The leader of the Tories told the press that: ''Obama is the first of a new generation of world leaders''.  The opposition leader added: "In electing Barack Obama, America has made history and proved to the world that it is a nation eager for change.this has been an exciting and inspirational contest with two great candidates.  According to David Cameron, ''in these difficult times people everywhere are crying out for change. Barack Obama is the first of a new generation of leaders who will deliver it - he has my whole-hearted congratulations.  He added: "This is an important moment not just for America but for the world. Barack Obama's victory will give people a new opportunity to look at the United States and see her for what I believe she is - a beacon of opportunity, freedom and democracy."

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader also congratulated Barack Obama and welcomed the result. Clegg said: "British voters may not have been able to vote in this election, but its outcome is vital to our future''.  He mentioned other  important international issues and noted that: "Climate change, the global economy, and threats to our collective security now demand a radical new approach by Barack Obama, leaving the Bush era firmly behind. The Liberal Democrat leader added: "The world will not succeed in this era of globalisation without the leadership of the new American President and the weight of peoples' hopes and expectations on Barack Obama is immense."

President elect Obama had already signalled his desire to continue and reinforce the historical relationship between Britain and the United States and revealed his admiration to Britain. In his memoir called ''Dreams from my father'' he spoke of his personal ties with the UK. Both his half sister Auma and step mother Kezia are based in the country. Obama had also visited his relatives and attended his brother-in-law's party in Wokingham, Berkshire and discussed with the Prime Minister the importance of the so-called transatlantic relationship.

Albert Warnock, an activist and businessman in London who had predicted that Barack Obama will win called this correspondent in the early hours shortly after the announcement of the election result screaming  aloud:  ''I told you Obama will make it. he is rewarded with his party for the hard work in the midst of all the criticisms.he deserve it''.

Meanwhile George W Bush will continue to officially steer the country, while the new President elect Obama quickly assembles his team and will take him few more weeks  before he can get his hand  to hold on to real power. However  fervent or eager anyone is, George W Bush will still continue to lead the United States until  next year when he is expected to hand over to the incumbent.  Therefore Obama's supporters in the UK are keenly waiting for their great day to come.

Author:  Alhagie Mbye, The Point's UK correspondent.