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Question Of The Day

Should the UK Care About the US Election?

"I'm into that chick who was talking about legalising weed."

Besides sharing a bunch of great TV shows, a language and the joy of slaughtering thousands of innocent people in unfounded wars, the US and the UK also share a very "special relationship". That term was meant to describe the exceptionally close economic, political, diplomatic and cultural ties we've had for the last however many years, but always comes off sounding a bit like something an old president said to make us all feel like we have some kind of worth, leaving the States free to use us as they will.


A thought that's only accentuated by the fact that any time something happens in American politics, the British media are all over it faster than Blair to a privately-funded Oasis reunion. Sure, American politics has that exciting, soap opera thing going for it that British politics and its bureaucratic wasteland of dullness will never, ever have, but does that mean anyone other than the media really care about it?

There's no better example of this than the ongoing Presidential elections; it's inescapable in the papers, but does anyone really talk about IRL? London, should the UK care about the US election?

Shaun, 20, chef: No, they shouldn’t. It doesn’t matter. Plus, America is fucked.

VICE: Why is America fucked?
Well, Mitt Romney and Obama aren’t very good presidents. A lot of people don’t like Obama because of the welfare thing – he's giving everybody welfare checks, so lots of people are just sitting on their couch smoking while other people are out working. Mitt Romney is just so rich. He said on TV that he didn’t care about the middle classes, he just wanted their votes. Fuck you, Romney!

Who would you pick for the job if you could pick anyone?
I’d choose that chick who was talking about legalising marijuana. I don’t know if she got nominated, though.

You're from the US, though. You could have your voice heard, no?
Yeah, I'm from America, but there's no way I'm going to vote, man.


Okay. There's no better way of making change than doing absolutely nothing about it, I suppose.

Mike, 23, office assistant: Yes, because, in the grand scheme of things, it's going to affect us. We seem to be their lapdog a little bit.

Isn't that a bad thing, though? Shouldn’t we break free from America?
I’d like to think we could, but it’s going to start getting more and more impossible. They’re starting to get twitchy with powers like China and they’re going to try to push to still be a big player in industry and finance.

Are you talking about the US?
Well, the Western world, generally. So they’re going to push for a better relationship.

Would you be upset if England gave America the finger and broke free?
No, I don’t think so – not personally. This year has shown that we’ve still got a fair bit of patriotic spirit in us, is so I think it would be nice if we could go off on our own.

Who should win the election?
Obama. He’s a cool dude and his policies are better, from what I know. I don’t trust Republicans at all.

Harriet, 17, student: Yes.

I just think it’s important that they’re connected in some kind of way.

Do you think US politics have a bearing on us in the UK?
In a way, yeah, because the Prime Minister and President are connected. I believe in the special relationship between the US and the UK.

That's good. Who's your favourite of the two?
Well, I think Obama is doing a good job at the moment because he’s got control of the US.


That he does, Harriet. That he does.

Christina, 24, fashion: I have no idea about American politics, to be honest, but I think people in the UK should still care. It’s somehow going to influence the UK, so I think it's important.

How are they going to influence the UK?
I don’t know what kind of relationship they have in terms of importation, but depending on who's elected, it could change everything. I’m from Spain, though, and Spanish people don’t have time to think about the rest of the world.

What’s the Spanish opinion of America?
Most Spanish people think that the USA is the main superpower, but personally, I don’t think so. I think China is getting really powerful. I think we should take care of ourselves and then care about America.

Wow, I'm just so mesmerised by your face right now.

Katherine, 26, marketing: No – why should we? The media cares about it, unfortunately, so it's everywhere, but whether the actual people should care? I don’t think so.

Don't you think it'll affect us here?
It'll affect us to a certain degree because there’s a solid, long-standing trading relationship. But do we care who's the president of a country like Nigeria? No. We don’t care about the results. So it should be the same for the US.

Fair enough. I know you don't care, but if someone was holding a gun to your head, who would you vote for?
Well, Obama has the charisma and personality, which makes him easy to relate to, but it's been made pretty obvious throughout the last four years that it's really difficult to improve the situation over there. I'd love for him to be reelected, though.

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