Thursday, 24 January 2008

Janet Daley on the UK's obsession with the US election

This was a very funny piece on NPR's On the Media this week. The Daily Telegraph's Janet Daley gives her take on why the UK has been obsessed with this presidential election. You can listen to it here:

But there's three important things I think Daley didn't mention:

1) The UK isn't alone in its fascination with this election cycle, this has been a world-wide phenomenon and especially true in Europe.

2) The UK's foreign policy is inextricably linked to that of the US, insofar as the UK has to do whatever the US tells it to. So Brits have a huge stake in this election.

3) The US election result in 2004 was a complete shock in the UK. For whatever reason, all of the media coverage here in the runup to the vote was saying that Bush was finished. I remember all my British friends talking at the time as if it was a sure thing Bush would be voted out, when the reality was it was anything but certain. So this time around, the Brits are making an effort to pay closer attention so they don't have the rug pulled out from under them again.

I wonder if the inordinate amount of US election coverage here will make some Brits think about how unfortunate it is that the outcome of an election in which they are not allowed to participate will have a huge effect on their lives. Or, perhaps it will result in a hunger for a new kind of politics in Westminster, as Daley seems to be suggesting here.

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