Thursday, June 12, 2008
The race for the White House is glamorous in Scotland
It may seem a bit strange, but the race for the White House is proving to be of more interest to many folk here in Scotland and the rest of the UK than our own home-grown political circus.
American presidential contests always seem more glamorous and exciting, the current one even more than most as it heads for a down-to-the-wire nailbiter of a finish.
Compared to the flash-bulb-popping antics of Senators Obama, Clinton and McCain, the activities of Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the rest seem a tad dull and uninteresting.
If it’s Obama that turns out to be the winner, then America has its first African-American president. If it’s Clinton - and analysts say that is still not impossible if Obama falters against McCain - you guys have your first woman commander-in-chief.
And if it’s McCain, then you have a genuine American war hero in the White House.
Each would bring their own unique set of talents and experience to the job.
Over here in Scotland, I suppose our First Minister Alex Salmond could be called charismatic, but that isn’t a difficult thing to achieve when compared to some of the other politicians who occupy seats in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
And once you guys elect a president, you generally stick with him.
Yes, I know Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, but were acquitted by the Senate.
Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.
But look at us here in the UK. In the last 20 years alone, Conservative MPs (Members of Parliament) got rid of one of their most successful ever prime ministers in the shape of Margaret Thatcher, quickly followed a couple of years later by her replacement, John Major.
Even Tony Blair ended up being pushed out last year to make way for current prime minister, Gordon Brown, as our ruling Labour Government panicked over plummeting poll ratings.
However, Blair must be laughing up his sleeve at all those who plotted against him, because Brown’s popularity is now in freefall after presiding over a series of blunders.
Our political system, however, has many good points and the Palace of Westminster is not for nothing called ‘The Mother of Parliaments.’
At the end of the day, whether we’re being ruled by the politicans on Capitol Hill, those at Westminster in London or our own Scottish leaders in Edinburgh, it is still way much better than what they’re stuck with in places like North Korea, Zimbabwe and Iran.
For all the faults of our respective systems, free speech remains the bedrock on which they are founded. Let’s never lose sight of that fact.
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