Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.
The theme of this week’s newsletter really writes itself this time round: the US Presidential election on Tuesday. Another potential cliff-hanger, with everyone waiting to see what would happen in Ohio. In the end, though, it all petered out into nothing, with John Kerry conceding defeat at lunchtime the day after the election.
Having said that, there’s a lot of blood on the carpet. On some of the multinational fora I hang out on there have been some ding-dong arguments going on between Republicans and Democrats, including their non-American sympathisers (of whom there have been plenty on both sides, which some may find surprising). The Democrats (or those who voted against Bush, in any case) have been quick to blame the electorate’s folly, and the lack of a truly credible Democratic candidate; and the Republicans have indulged in a good share of crowing at the expense of the anti-Bush camp. Not much of it has been very edifying. But there’s also been a good deal of discussion of the negative consequences for the rest of the world, and of the democratic deficit in the US electoral process. Hardly surprisingly, US citizens’ responses have been pretty defensive.
Plenty of people in the past have accused the Americans of taking criticism poorly. But as far as their electoral process goes, I have some sympathy with them. Sure, the US Presidential election system is ramshackle and archaic. But when the UK’s electoral system enables only 43% of those voting (and only 25% of the electorate!) to give a government a thumping majority of 167, can we truly claim democratic legitimacy for our government?
Just a couple of suggestions if you have a little time to spare:
If you’re hacked off with Bush’s victory, why not vent your spleen by dressing him up in silly clothes?
Dress up Dubya
Or if you’d rather have something rather more British, there’s The Animated Adventures of Tony Blair:
[Obsolete link removed]
Some strange search terms which led people to visit British Expat recently:
Till next time…
British Expat Magazine
“Inside me there’s a thin woman trying to get out… but I can usually shut the bitch up with chocolate.”
– Anonymous (it featured among our search terms last month, but we thought it was too good for the bizarre searches)
No need for a joke this week – we’ll have a few more quotations instead:
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we should allow the world’s worst leaders to hold America hostage.”
“I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future. The future will be better tomorrow.”
“There’s no question that the minute I got elected, the stormclouds on the horizon were getting nearly directly overhead.”
“I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy – but that could change.”
“Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.”
“We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.”
“I’m the master of low expectations.”
“People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.”