UK v US elections

I read an interesting article by a US journalist in a UK newspaper.  He was contrasting the 4 week campaign in the UK with the 18 month effort in the US.

He found one key element in US campaigns, 30 second TV ads denigrating your opponents, was missing here.

He was also particularly startled to hear a leader of one of the parties publicly say he was "not a man of faith" and that he had a profound difference of view with his wife on religious issues.  Apparently neither comment would be made in public by a US citizen running for high political office.

He found the UK election rather refreshing.

Would you agree John?

David

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John Stokdyk's picture

Can I get back to you on this?

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

I'm really sorry I haven't responded to this sooner David. US elections were one of the topics I studied at university and provided me with one of my first journalistic commissions, so it's a subject very close to my heart. I had started typing out the beginnings of a philosophical essay on the subject last Friday evening when my partner appeared at the door and insisted it was time to leave the keyboard to go out.

It wasn't quite Xanadu, but there were lots of things I wanted to develop - the way US politics operates with a more professional "permanent campaign" approach. Leaving aside all the primaries and electoral colleges involved in the US, I find the UK approach to be faster and clearer, even if it ends up with some decidedly bizarre results (to me that's one of its quaint British charms).

Subsequent to the election, the total confusion and suspense of the coalition talks reflects the principles-based, unwritten conventions that govern UK politics as opposed to the rules-based, written constitution that the US enjoys. Does that remind you of anything else?

Must dash now, but I hope to be back soon to develop the debate - thanks for raising it. And who knows, it might not be that long before this group livens up again and we're chewing over the possibilities for a new general election. The "permanent campaign" might be arriving here sooner than we thought.

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