Thankfully there’s only another month or so to go before the US goes out to vote for its president and all this politicall wrangling will be over. Unless of course these new electronic voting machines fail and we end up woth Florida 2000 all over again, but I digress.
The real reason why I’m posting this is that despite the fact that the elections are happening in another country, over here in Blighty we’ve heard an awful lot about it. The debates between Bush and Kerry and Cheney and Edwards were both broadcast live on BBC1, our main TV channel, although due to time differences this meant that they were on at 2am when there isn’t much else on anyway. They were also repeated on the digital channel BBC Parliament a number of times.
The main news has also had a lot of coverage, including some quite lengthy analysis of the latest twists and turns in the campaigns. And this has been going on for months. I think there are two reasons for this:
- The President of the United States is arguably one of the most important people in the world. Who gets elected may well impact our lives over here – it’s certainly true for the families of soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example – and so it’s important for us to know.
- Your elections are far more interesting than ours. No, really. The nearest thing we have are general elections where we elect a representitive to the House of Commons, with the leader of the party with the most seats becoming Prime Minister. The date of the election is usually only announced a month in advance and the campaigns are far less grand – none of these flashy conventions. We have party conferences but they’re usually quite sombre affairs.
American politics is quite fascinating, maybe because it is quite different to how things happen over here. Whether that’s a good thing, I don’t know, but it sure makes interesting viewing.