Trevor Phillips would have made a more useful intervention into the discussion of barriers to a British Obama if he had tried to keep apart two quite separate issues, which he seemed to conflate in his Times interview: the institutional cultures of British politics (which are more to do with a Parliamentary system than internal party cultures) and the issue of disadvantage on grounds of race, and "institutional racism". (He is quoted in The Times using that phrase, but said on the Today programme that he does not use it).
A bit of number-crunching exemplifies the point I made earlier about how the British Parliamentary system presents barriers to a new candidate bursting through.
Taking our thirteen post-war Prime Ministers, on average they first entered Parliament 26 years before becoming Prime Minister.. This falls to an average of 17 years and 3 months for Prime Ministers since 1979. (We have had only four PMs in almost 30 years, though Obama will only be the fifth US President since 1980).
The PM with the shortest Parliamentary apprenticeship is John Major's - at eleven years. David Cameron would beat that if he could win the next election - though he would have been an MP for nine years by 2010. (For a full breakdown of when each British PM entered Parliament, see this earlier post).
This could be the point Trevor Phillips was heading towards. And there is a difference here with the US system's openness to insurgent candidates, and less emphasis on experience.
But it is possible to underestimate the emphasis the US also places on experience. However, Obama's election is also very unusual in US political history. On average, American Presidents since FDR first held elected office (of some kind) over 16 years before they were elected to the Presidency. (And Obama was first elected to the state Senate 12 years ago, though only to the national Senate in 2006).
There are two examples of electoral careers of less than a decade prior to the White House: Eisenhower (with no electoral experience at all) and Bush junior (Governor for six years). Eisenhower is a unique case given his role in World War Two.
But there are both pros and well as cons to a situation which makes it harder for a Dubya or an Obama to come through so quickly.
Here is the US data. The figures in brackets are the time between that election and the Presidency, not the time spent in that role.
State Senate 1996 (12 years)
National office, US Senate 2006 (2 years)
George W Bush
State Executive Office (Governor), 1994 (6 years)
(Defeated state legislative candidate 1978)
Executive State Office (Governor), 1978 (14 years)
George HW Bush
House of Representatives 1966 (22 years)
Vice-President 1980 (8 years)
State Executive Office (Governor) 1967 (13 years)
State Executive Office Governor 1971 (5 years)
Georgia State Senate 1962 (14 years)
House of Representatives 1949 (25 years)
House of Representatives 1949 (20 years)
State House of Representatives 1937 (26 years)
National Senate 1948 (15 years)
House of Representatives 1946 (14 years)
No experience in elected politics
US Senate 1934 (11 years)
State Senator 1910 (22 years)
State Governor 1929 (3 years)