Welcome to issue 8 of the Portland Quarterly.
As we come to the end of the party conference season here in the UK, attention will again turn to politics on the other side of the Atlantic. It may only be Americans who chose their President but their decision next month will have a profound effect on the entire world.
So this edition of the Quarterly – with its usual mix of distinguished outside and in-house writers – has an American theme.
If the campaign seems long to those of us watching, just imagine what it is like to be on the road with the candidates. Mark Mardell, the BBC’s North America Editor, gives us a taste of life on the campaign trail as well as the challenge of standing against the most powerful person – and one of the best known – on the planet.
Portland’s James O’Shaughnessy explains why the very unknown factor of a Romney Presidency could pose questions for the Special Relationship, while Idil Oyman and Charles McLean, two Portland staff who do have a vote on November 6, give their different perspective on the last weeks of the race.
A major feature of US campaigns is, of course, hard-hitting political advertising on TV and radio. Many here believe this is one American idea we should definitely not import but James Frayne, the former Director of Communications at Education, argues we should think again.
We have essays, too from Portland’s Susanna Rushton on the battle for women’s votes on both sides of the Atlantic and from Rob Watkinson on how American philanthropists are redefining the architecture of aid and development.
Finally, America, as you might expect from the home of innovation, has led the way in the use of the internet in politics. But Alberto Nardelli, CEO of Tweetminster, says that while twitter has come centre stage in this election, there has been a lack of imagination in how it has been used.
We hope you enjoy the read.