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Yasmin Alibhai-Brown  writes on the strange fascination the UK has for the US election:

The UK is mesmerised by the American presidential election. The result will affect all our futures. But is it too much already? Vast resources go into the coverage, leading to a fabricated, even forced, identification with the hyper-power; a euphoric mood is daily whipped up by fervently Atlanticist pundits.

Question the United States and you are slammed for "anti-Americanism". There are no equivalent sneers for those who, for example, criticise Russia or India. It is as if the UK is an extension of the US. It is defiantly, patently not. In fact, the more this drama unfolds, the more intensely aware we become of how different we are. Read more.

Question: Does the US see the UK as a partner of some kind? Will Americans watch our elections (in 18 months) with the same fervour? Or is the fascination entirely one-way (and unhealthy)?

Comments

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eldestmuse wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 10:08 am (UTC)
I have a basic understanding of UK politics, but it's very sketchy and more because I have friends over there than because of any cultural fascination with the country. I think we see the UK as a partner, yeah, but not so much so that we obsess over your politics. Sometimes it'll come up in conversation, if what's going on is particularly important, for instance I watched Tony Blair talk with Parliament once right after 9/11, but...

Of course, our media does have a weird thing for the Royal Family, so maybe it's expressed that way.
lifeismagic wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 10:16 am (UTC)
it is entirely one-way. most americans can't name your prime minister. pathetic, but true.
eldestmuse wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 10:18 am (UTC)
Well, I think most of us would be hard-pressed to name our own Majority and Minority leaders, etc., so I'm not sure that's indicative.

:/
(no subject) - lifeismagic - Oct. 13th, 2008 10:23 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - eldestmuse - Oct. 13th, 2008 10:26 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - lifeismagic - Oct. 13th, 2008 10:31 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - seneska - Oct. 13th, 2008 10:24 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - hoppytoad79 - Oct. 13th, 2008 10:57 am (UTC) Expand
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(no subject) - seneska - Oct. 13th, 2008 02:16 pm (UTC) Expand
woopflying wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 10:23 am (UTC)

I think most americans regard the UK as a very junior partner and expect it to do as it is told specialy after the love affair with poodle Blair.
As a member of LJ politicsforum I have been criticised for my style in expressing an opinion, is a cultural thing or a language?
hoppytoad79 wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 10:53 am (UTC)
The only way in which I think most of America would see the UK as a partner would be in providing a supporting role to American forces in Iraq. As for Americans caring about UK elections the way the UK pays attention to ours, I can assure you it's entirely one sided.
basilwhite wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 11:18 am (UTC)
The media could slam "Russia-bashers" for questioning Russian policy, but no one would care. Why does the UK media fear the label of America-bashing? Senator McCarthy's 50-year-old Un-American Activities Committee won't reconvene in the Hague.

Americans bash America all the time, but we don't call it "America-bashing," we call it "standup comedy." America is a social experiment, and it's fun to watch experiments fail. Someday political scientists will dissect the "Back to the Future" movies as praise of the merits of democratic social evolution.

The US absolutely views the UK as a critical partner, often our most important partner. But your election is your business. UK elections just don't have that fiery rhetoric born of desperation that feeds comedy sketch writing. Although seeing the London mayor accept the Olympic banner at the closing ceremonies was classic Dudley Moore.

When will this be printed? I'm an attention whore.

Edited at 2008-10-13 06:00 pm (UTC)
bossiballs wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC)
Hyperoccity judo.
Hiya Yasmin,

Have deeply enjoyed your as-it-isness for years.

We are Just british, being British.

The essence of which is.....Including that.

That, that,......that-that-that,.......that;

that that and that.

The as yet immature American culture, is currently discovering big time:
(yet again), that catastrophy follows hubris.

Over here we are the eastern end of the bridging of the part of being american that is much loved.

And firmly planted, sufficient to do the funky judo on the bollix.
renegade_blue wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 11:34 am (UTC)
Are you kidding? Does America even know it is part of the world? It treats the world as if it is an alien being.
(no subject) - ex_londonso - Oct. 13th, 2008 11:53 am (UTC) Expand
unmowngrass wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
I think you're right about that.
crazy_gabrielle wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC)
I think it's not necessarily about the UK, but more about the US: As we've seen with the crisis on Wall Street, US politics pretty much affect the whole world. Whereas, let's be honest, UK politics don't affect the world that much. Also, I think this particular election is interesting worldwide because it's such an important election for the US, with the war and after Bush.

Anyway, my point is, it's like this in Canada too. I don't know if that's the same, Canada being an extension of the US and all, but still.
valknott wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
Most Americans are myopic. They have little in the way of a worldview. Part of it can be traced to the fact that America has never had to endure a substantial invasion of its borders. If it had, people would pay more attention to the rest of the world.
unmowngrass wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)
That's a brilliant point, thanks for sharing it.
(no subject) - credendovides - Oct. 13th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC) Expand
sandykidd wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
I think it is largely a one-way fascination, but I don't think it should be. There's a fundamental problem in our education system that feeds this issue. World history and civics just don't get enough teaching. Neither does geography. But it's bigger than just education, there's also a lingering after-effect of that nightmare concept 'manifest destiny'. The idea that propelled us 'from sea to shining sea' has in the last century returned us to the very bad idea that we are the center of everything, and by extension of that logic, the most important (only) thing to pay attention to. It's pretty ridiculous, and it's not a universal sentiment in the U.S., but it is there in the noisy background.

I for one am very interested in the UK's coming elections. Among others.
joyitude wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
I pay some attention to UK politics, but I'm one of the few people I know who does.
(no subject) - post_position - Oct. 13th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
unmowngrass wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Being from Canada, I also feel the one sided thing. We have an election of our own right now that is equally important for our country, yet most people are more interested in the American one.

Being a British citesan, I apologise for not knowing this.
(no subject) - post_position - Oct. 13th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - unmowngrass - Oct. 13th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - castleclear - Oct. 13th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - post_position - Oct. 13th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - castleclear - Oct. 13th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - post_position - Oct. 13th, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - castleclear - Oct. 13th, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
allhatnocattle wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC)
I find American politics bizarre. The election seems to be a contest of celebrity, full of gossip and personal vetting. For this reason alone, the whole world follows this drama.

But the same level of political celebrity is absent in most democracies. I think the story is more important then the politics. We know of Sarkozy's love life. We know of the Aussie PM's death. But unless UK's PM has some scandal or flash, there's not a heck of a lot to interest the NationalEnquirer.
unmowngrass wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
That's a good point
(no subject) - credendovides - Oct. 13th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - castleclear - Oct. 13th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
beckyzoole wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
Americans have an intense fascination with the British royal family, but not with British politics.

Most Americans did eventually figure out that Tony Blair was the Prime Minister. Most Americans don't know who the PM is now. Most Americans don't know who the PM of Canada is, for that matter.

We do study World History and Geography in school -- but World History ends in the mid 17th century, when American History takes over. If it happened in Europe before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock, we may be familiar with it. If it happened later than that, forget about it. (Conversely, most Americans know almost nothing about the history of the Americas before the mid 17th century, and very little about any part of the American continents other than the United States.)

However, even though we don't understand its politics, we do see the UK as a partner. And we remain fascinated by the Queen.
unmowngrass wrote:
Oct. 13th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your reply
(no subject) - unmowngrass - Oct. 13th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - iliachenvaar - Oct. 14th, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC) Expand
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