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Potential outcomes

Justin Webb | 16:51 UK time, Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Too much verbiage already on potential Super Dooper Tuesday outcomes: if you have limited time or (like me) attention span this article is good.

And someone has drawn my attention to the fact that 'Republicans for Obama' already has a British outpost though I see more recently the Conservative leader has fallen in with the McCain march. I love the idea in this piece that Barack or Hillary will be miffed by the Cameron decision to go with McCain: oh dear, we Brits do attribute importance to our little island that I fear does not quite tally with reality this side of the pond.

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  • 1.
  • At 06:27 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Tony wrote:

Spot on, Justin. As an ex-pat living here in The US, I have to say that The importance of a British Politician allying himself with one or other of the candidates ranks somewhere between The Spice Girls reunion and Beckham's ankle...

Or maybe not.

  • 2.
  • At 06:55 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

"oh dear, we Brits do attribute importance to our little island that I fear does not quite tally with reality this side of the pond."

Funny how perspective can change the assessment of reality. What you know and understand often depends on where you stand. If men had been able to go just a few dozen miles above the earth, they would have seen its curvature and realized it was round but because they couldn't, for countless thousands of years they thought it was flat. BTW, the Flat Earth Society was in England, wasn't it? Does it still exist? From what I read on the internet, it still does and it may have a following in California. Having lived in California myself for awhile, I can understand that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth_Society

  • 3.
  • At 07:00 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • rj wrote:

When will foreign leaders learn that when it comes to American politics, it's best to keep your mouths shut on who you want to win? The candidate that was most helped four years ago by Chirac's public endorsement of Kerry was not Kerry, it was Bush.

  • 4.
  • At 07:07 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Justin wrote:

I don't even care what David Cameron thinks and I'm British!

  • 5.
  • At 07:15 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Crusko wrote:

You think the Brit's go over the top!! I'm Canadian, and around US election time, we all talk and act as though we actually have the ability to vote.

Mary,

I'm pretty sure (if not 100% sure) that Justin wasn't having a dig at US voters not caring about the rest of the world.

Rather, it was a dig at the self-important tone in the Telegraph article that suggested Obama and Hilary would be annoyed by the leader of a political party that's not even in power in Britain endorsing the wrong person. I suspect that they neither know nor care.

  • 7.
  • At 07:42 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Micaehl beckom wrote:

To think that Americans care anything about anywhere in the world outside of America, unless it involves their holiday plans, is laughable. Americans don't know there is a world outside their air conditioned nightmare.

  • 8.
  • At 07:45 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Matthew (Dallas, TX) wrote:

Oh a conservative brit is just as bad as a conservative yankee, so it's only natural they embrace.

If Obama is elected then the US will be closer to the EU, and this "special relationship" with the UK will end. Hopefully, the world can take a breather and relax for a few years if this happens.

  • 9.
  • At 07:46 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Brad Zimmerman wrote:

The very, VERY last thing that any serious politician running for the White House will say is "I'm an athiest". After that, they'll indicate which UK politician (whom 99% of the US has never heard of) supports them.

Last thing to do in that case would be to pound the nails into the coffin holding that politician's career.

  • 10.
  • At 08:07 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • liz wrote:

I do have to agree, that Americans don't care if a British politician endorses one of our candiates. As BBC World News America proved in a piece aired in 2007, most Americans don't even know the current PM's name! Heck, I can't remember it at the moment. Gordon something? Something Gordon? I'm an American, I read this site daily, I watch the BBC News morning addition while I eat breakfast, I watch BBC World News America every evening after dinner, I take world news seriously and I still don't know the man's name. I just know there's "Gordon" in it, or am I wrong. I don't know or care, really; and that sums up the American interest in UK politics at the moment.

Now if Beckham or one of the young Princes came out and supported any of the candidates, Americans would care. It would be seen as a novelty and the story would be carried by all of our news networks.

  • 11.
  • At 08:17 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

I agree with Justin and Tony. Cameron's endorsement of McCain won't cause any undue distress in either the Obama or the Clinton camp right now. Especially because they have more pressing matters right now.

Furthermore, aside from the odd timing of Cameron's declaration, it shouldn't be a huge surprise to either of the Democrats, as neither have very Conservative-leaning beliefs, and are members of a political party which aligns itself with the left and not the right of the political spectrum. The candidate who should be upset by the McCain endorsement is Mitt Romney.

And I think that reading "we Brits do attribute importance to our little island that I fear does not quite tally with reality this side of the pond" as meaning "the voters don't/won't give a damn" is a clear exaggeration. Regardless of whether the Iraq War is right or wrong, most Americans do value the alliance with Britain. But the majority of Americans have a very independent and confident attitude, which sometimes leads its populace to underestimate its allies.

Lastly, most people over here don't really know who Cameron is. Almost as many don't know who Gordon Brown is! So Cameron's comments will not make too many waves. Now if Tony Blair had endorsed any candidate things would be different!

  • 12.
  • At 08:32 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Mike L. wrote:

As a lifelong US citizen who has also done business worldwide, speaks a second language and is learning a third...

I am always tickled when Europeans, or Canadians for that matter, think Americans should care more about opinions outside the U.S.. Frankly why should we? The United States is huge. Its geography, demographics, languages, foods and diverse subcultures within it are so vast as to make Europeans' heads spin.

  • 13.
  • At 08:44 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • William Whatley wrote:

We don't hear about it too much here in Norway,though, I'm sure there's something about Super Tuesday on the news today.

You may think us foolish for not being overwhelmed by this obvious milestone in world history, but then again most American politicians could care less about our little country in the north. For which we can be glad; who knows what might happen if they caught a scent of our oil...

  • 14.
  • At 08:45 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Cameron is a total waste of space. Along with Osbourne and Davies...
3 Old Etonians who are long past their sell past dates - the English Tories NEVER change their spots.

Nobody in the UK thinks their views count for anything, so the notion that they can influence attitudes in the US of A is a total nonsense.

Can anyone really imagine these 3 running the UK? Well I suppose a couple of ne'er-do-wells in Tunbridge Wells. Osbourne as Chancellor - get real - bring back Norman Lamont - he is an intellectual genius compared to Cameron/ Osbourne/ Davies

  • 15.
  • At 08:52 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Brett wrote:

If you're reading the odious Weekly Standard or anything remotely associated with it then your attention span is too long. It was the weekly standard crowd that was pushing harder than anyone for the invasion of Iraq and is spoiling to do it again with Iran. If that's still anyone's idea of "good", heaven help us all. The Weekly Standard stable is the Kristol's Likudnik cabal that are intent on pushing America off a cliff to suit the soulmates in Israel. Unfortunately, that won't be at all displesed with any of the duopoly party candidates still on offer. All four are falling all over themselves to please AIPAC and that can only spell more trouble ahead in the next four years. SuperTuesday or ScrewTuesday?

  • 16.
  • At 09:01 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Mary wrote:

Alastir: I see your point, but even if that is true, don't you think that it should be the case that Obama and Clinton should know the leaders of the major parties in Britain? Even if a particular party isn't currently in power at the moment, the least we can expect of the next leader of the (temperarily) most powerful country in the world should be that they know the leaders and opposition leaders of our closest allies in the world.

In my opinion, I don't think it was the wisest thing for the author of the article to suggest they know what Obama and Clinton's thoughts are, but you can't blame someone for speculating (especially when it comes to US-UK relations). From seminars to blogs to movies, it seems to be everywhere; unstoppable, with an endless line of people expressing their opinions. If I were Clinton or Obama, I would certainly care!

  • 17.
  • At 09:29 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Tim (Oklahoma, USA) wrote:

I think that the political relationship between the United States and Britain is less important than the relationship between the American and British people.

Time and again when our individual governments fail us with half-hearted foreign relations, the burden falls on the average Americans and Brits to support each other, or complain about each other, and help develop a consensus between our great nations.

Who cares what the Prime Minister thinks of the U.S. President? And who cares what the U.S. President thinks of the Prime Minister?

We should all be striving to do what needs to be done... let the citizens decide amongst each other what's right, and make the politicians act based on what we want.

Let's tell our politicians whom to support, not follow whom they tell us to. Isn't that the way that government is supposed to work, anyway?

Tim – Oklahoma City, OK USA

  • 18.
  • At 09:30 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Mary wrote:

O, one more thing: with all of everyone's belly acheing about how insulting and unfair it is that our candidates don't care whatsoever about what a (British) politicion may say/think of them, lets just hope that, aside from these accusations not being true of course, that when it comes time for your general election (presumably in the early part of 2009), that your politicions will care about what our leaders may say/think.

  • 19.
  • At 09:33 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Mary wrote:

O, one more thing: with all of everyone's belly acheing about how insulting and unfair it is that our candidates don't care whatsoever about what a (British) politicion may say/think of them, lets just hope that, aside from these accusations not being true of course, that when it comes time for your general election (presumably in the early part of 2009), that your politicions will care about what our leaders may say/think.

  • 20.
  • At 10:36 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Jim in Maryland wrote:

Actually, I've found the British press coverage of Brown quite interesting. The fact that the press dwell endlessly on the "Scottish question" makes Obama's candidacy seem a little less shrill (Newsflash! Did we mention he's black?). I'd love to see a comparison of the two figures over the past year to find out how "Scottish" compares with "race" as a topic of "news." I haven't figured out what it says about the UK, but it strikes me as a key to large sociological issues in the mythology of union behind the UK as an historical entity.

  • 21.
  • At 10:46 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Mike Dixon wrote:

Having seen the mess British politians, of verying parties, have made of the land of my birth over the last 100 years I would suggest a good policy for any American leader would to be to see where the British are going and smartly go the opposite direction.

Today the U.K. has little importance within Europe and as far as I can see, none outside.

  • 22.
  • At 10:46 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Kathy wrote:

"To think that Americans care anything about anywhere in the world outside of America, unless it involves their holiday plans, is laughable. Americans don't know there is a world outside their air conditioned nightmare."

Michael, why such a mean-spirited post? Are you just an unhappy person? People say that Americans are ignorant, but frankly, many in Europe are ignorant about us! The post quoted above is a prime example.

  • 23.
  • At 10:47 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • K Monaghan , Surrey wrote:

Justin, can you tell me why you and the BBC are obsessed with these primaries? I know for many of you at the BBC the prospect of a black or a female President is a liberal's wet dream come true (like your very own little epsiode of the West Wing!). But really, the vast majority of the UK are simply not interested. What makes you think we are, I am genuinely interested to know. And why does the BBC need you , Gavin Hewitt and Huw Edwards to report for the 10 O'Clock news. Plus countless others from BBC's ssiter TV channels and radio stations. Channel 4 news seem to be able to do it all with Jon Snow and Sarah Smith. As a license fee payer I'd like to know.

  • 24.
  • At 10:59 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • James E Pennington wrote:

Justin is right of course that American voters won't really care who David Cameron (who?) supports. Then again, would British voters care if an American politician supported them? The only exception at the moment would be GW Bush.. his support for a candidate would be a sure fire disaster in any British election..

  • 25.
  • At 11:11 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • John Kecsmar wrote:

With a near blanket coverage of this current US election by the beeb, i'm sure mrs miggins down the road will have heard of McCain or Edwards at one time or another.
But is the same reciprocated, no. So i doubt mrs jane doe (can't think of a 'typical' american surname) will have heard of many if any of the UK politicians.
Cameron who, Brown..isn't that a colour??...but as #11 points out Blair, that's different. But only because of his exposure in in US media!

  • 26.
  • At 11:14 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Catriona wrote:

Mary,

In the UK, as in the US, a major issue for politicians is foreign policy and since in recent years UK foreign policy has been linked to America's foreign policy, you can be certain that all major British politicians will have a view on the American president, whoever that may be. It seems clear that an endorsement by a major American political figure would be reported in the UK, though this may not do the politician in question any good. I suspect, for example, that an endorsement by George W Bush would do more for the politician's opposition than for the politician him (or her) self.

I'm not saying this to criticise the American attitude. America can act unilaterally if it so chooses, whereas Britain cannot, but rather to point out that whilst the views of British politicians may be of no interest to those in America, the outcome of Super Tuesday will be headline news across the rest of the world tomorrow.

Jim in Maryland:

The parallel you've drawn there isn't quite right. The reason that there is a "Scottish question" about Brown is nothing (or little) to do with him being Scottish, and far more to do with Scotland's position within the UK.

Without going into detail (there's plenty on the BBC site!) Scotland is in a process of "devolution" that allows them greater autonomy and separation from the rest of the UK, particularly England. Thus, having a Scottish PM is a big deal if this process continues.

I'm assuming that there are no plans to form a separate parliament for black people in the US, so the issue is more than a little different!

  • 28.
  • At 10:25 PM on 06 Feb 2008,
  • nigel howse wrote:

Discuss this..McCain Is not a war hero. He was shot down on his first mission and was immediately captured, spent the war as a prisoner .. This is not my definition of a war hero.

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