In 1997 — before I got the job back in Cambridge — I was travelling up and down to lecture: and I happened to be here the morning after the Blair victory. And, a bit bleary-eyed from a late night in front of the election results show, I bumped into a friend in town on a lovely morning and we sat outside a café drinking coffee and thinking how much better the world seemed. We knew Blair was an unprincipled opportunist, but he was — so to speak — our unprincipled opportunist, and there were, we hoped, enough decent people around him to keep things on track. That was, it turned out, wildly over-optimistic.
It is easy to lose heart. And perhaps (I wish I could say “unbelievably”) 56 million Americans did just vote to try to put an egregious cartoon character within a heartbeart of the presidency. But, at least for today, let’s be a bit optimistic again.