Denise Robertson: Obama's failure to make change is disappointing

If you're a columnist for any length of time there will come a moment when you have to eat your words. In 2009 I wrote that there was a new President in the White House and his name was HOPE

Alex Wong/Getty Images U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama

If you're a columnist for any length of time there will come a moment when you have to eat your words. In 2009 I wrote that there was a new President in the White House and his name was HOPE.

I had followed Barack Obama’s career and saw him as a man who could change not only his country but the world. I was wrong.

Most presidents tread softly in their first term in the hope of securing a second in which they can make changes because the need to curry favour is gone.

But he is in his second term and still nothing is happening.

The Israeli-Palestinian “peace” effort has collapsed again and what does Obama say? It’s time for a “pause”.

I grieve both for the Palestinians, living in misery, and the Israelis, living under a hail of rockets.

But what else but rockets can be expected from people seeing their territory gobbled up by Israeli settlements?

The Palestinian Authority is utterly undemocratic and corrupt and suppresses dissent, but as long as Israel continues to occupy and colonise Palestinian land they will retain office.

Israel has a right to live in peace but that will not come until things change.

And instead of using his influence to bring peace to that unhappy area Obama is going to “re-evaluate” America’s role. Which is a polite way of saying he is going to do nothing.

The United States has repeatedly vetoed UN resolutions which might have brought about change.

The threat of a US veto stops many serious resolutions from even getting to a vote. Obama could have changed that policy but he has not.

Nor has he given support to the many Jews inside and outside Israel who are striving for a fair settlement.

In his own country he has done nothing about a system of justice which disgraces a great country and which, last week, sickened the world.

I listened to a commentator recounting how an inmate of death row took 49 minutes to die in a botched execution.

He was a bad man but the manner of his death was unforgiveable.

Why isn’t Obama sorting America’s flawed justice system? Is it that, like his promise to close down Guantanamo Bay, it’s just too difficult?

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Half a dozen versions of why Harry and Cressy are no longer an item have appeared, all vouched for by “close friends”.

In fact, only two people know what’s really going on and they’re not telling.

I wish we could be adult enough to leave them alone to carve out their destiny, a privilege the rest of us have, but not allowed to those in the shadow of the crown.

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Kim Walmsley is born a girl in 1965. Her parents register her birth and receive a female birth certificate but the registrar, by mistake, ticks the box marked male in his records.

Kim grows up, marries and gets a passport. No problems because she has that vital female birth certificate. She gives birth to five children but a bomb is ticking away in the registrar’s office.

Her passport enables her to move with her husband and children to a new life in Australia, where they set up a successful business.

When she applies for her temporary visa to be made permanent the bomb explodes.

The visa application reveals that she is officially a man. You’d think that someone would have the auth­ority to correct the mistake.

But no, that would be sensible and bureaucracy doesn’t do sensible. She is told she can’t have a visa and must therefore pack up and move back to Britain.

Furthermore, her marriage is illegal because it precedes gay marriage and she is a man who married a man.

The General Registry accepts it was an error but says it would be unlawful to change it.

She said: “All of a sudden my whole life fell apart. We had a big white wedding in a church and spent a fortune and it was all for nothing.

“We are a Christian family and it’s a massive problem to me that my marriage is illegal.”

A letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury last June apparently confirms that the marriage is invalid in the eyes of the Church.

Kim says the move back to the UK and the unsuccessful legal fight has cost £150,000.

The family have even been victims of homophobic abuse. Kim said: “There was a period of about two weeks when our home was vandalised and the word ‘queers’ was painted all over the garage and garden wall.

“I’m worried about the stigma this is giving my kids and I don’t want people thinking I’ve had a sex change.”

Now Kim’s local MP has written to David Cameron asking for her birth entry to be corrected.

If the Prime Minister can’t restore reality to this farce then he should be ashamed.

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