An open letter to Barack Obama
Dear Senator Obama
Welcome to notAmerica. On behalf of all notAmericans, I hope you enjoy your few days with us, but you do know, don't you, that we don't have a vote on 4 November?
We don't really mind too much being extras in your campaign ads, because we are, after all, curious about you. You're obviously a star (why else would all three network TV news anchors be travelling with you?), and you may well be the next US president. So yes, of course, we'll turn out to see you, if we can find you - just as we would for any other US super-star.
We know you'll have to be careful not to look too much at home among us foreigners ... apparently some of your potential supporters are already wondering if you're not too foreign, what with your Kenyan dad, and your Indonesian childhood and everything. So we'll understand if you don't want to be photographed eating sauerkraut in Berlin, drinking red wine in Paris or playing cricket in London.
But I'm sure our political leaders will be delighted to be photographed with you ... they're quite superstitious in some ways, and they think that if they get really close, even just for a few minutes, some of that Obama magic dust might rub off on them. Don't attach too much importance to it, though - they all know the game well enough to understand that what you say to them now ("historic ties, deep bonds of friendship, valued allies, shared ideals" - all that kind of stuff) won't necessarily mean much if/when you move into the White House.
You've probably heard that if we notAmericans did get to vote, you'd be a shoo-in. But I imagine that doesn't thrill you too much, because the more we say we support you, the more suspicious some of your American folk might be. So, as I say, we'll understand if you seem a bit stand-offish.
The truth is we tend not to fall in love with politicians here in notAmerica - so we'll probably reserve judgment on you till we see what you do, rather than what you say. But you're welcome anyway, and if you want a nice warm glass of beer during the few hours you're planning to be in London, just call. I'm sure your people will be able to find my number ...