Following the US elections from the UK

I’ve never paid anything like this kind of attention to US politics before, and I’m most certainly not alone. Everyone here in the UK is talking about it. It’s not just the hatred engendered across the world as a result of the Bush years that’s causing this though. I think it’s mostly a combination of the huge gulf between the presidential candidates this time around, plus the pantomime nature of the Palin-McCain campaign.

Last time the UK faced a choice as stark as the US faces, I was a toddler, and not quite precocious enough to have an opinion. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that everyone in the UK are Obama supporters - we’ve decided already to vote for Obama come November, and technicalities be damned.

Watching the debates and news clips of the candidates has been completely unreal, from both sides. It’s bizarre seeing Obama talking about “crushing” and “killing” terrorists as if it’s perfectly normal liberal terminology. Over here that kind of language belongs to the far right. Compare it with Blair (who need I remind you is rather hawkish): "There is no meeting of minds, no point of understanding with such terror. Just a choice: Defeat it or be defeated by it. And defeat it we must."

It’s also been entertaining watching Palin stumble along in her attempt to pretend she has any idea what’s going on. “First Dude” is an amusing phrase, but it’s still amazing she actually uses it herself. Her “expertise” on energy appears to amount to saying “drill baby drill” a lot. Somehow her ridiculous attempt to debate via the language of winking is considered a success. Whuh?

God knows the level of debate in UK politics is woeful, but you’d never get anything like this kind of pantomime. You’d never get ridiculous smears like the Ayers thing, Brown’s wife’s speech or not.

The UK did elect a London mayor entirely on the basis of his hair, though. Maybe that’s the real problem with the US election at the moment: it really can’t be decided easily on haircut.