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UK 'may not be ready for black prime minister'

16th March 2010

The UK "may not be ready" for its first black prime minister despite the impact of Barack Obama's election in the US continuing to resonate around the globe.

According to a new book, The Age of Obama, which was created in a collaboration between political experts at the University of Manchester and Harvard University, racial prejudice in both the UK and US has been declining over the past 50 years.

Written by Harvard professor Robert Putnam, Manchester professor Ed Fieldhouse and Guardian journalist Tom Clark, The Age of Obama argues that people are more open minded about mixed marriages, working for a black employer and the election of non-white politicians than they were in the past.

However, according to Professor Putnam, while the election of a black president has made government more accessible to minorities in the US, there are still a number of obstacles in the UK.

'As we approach the UK General Election, the minimal representation of non-whites in the House of Commons and in local government will clearly continue to be a significant bar to the arrival of a British Obama,' he said.

Last year, political author Gore Vidal told playwright Johann Hari that while Obama's election brought a wave of optimism, he expects him to be defeated at the next election.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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