It is the US election!!!
I have received hundreds of messages and emails frantic to know which candidate I endorse. But I do not think it right to unfairly influence the outcome of a foreign election. I am sorry – you must choose the candidate that you think is right for you without any specific direction from me.
It used to be easy to recognise politicians, via the ham sandwich system. This puts you in a village in the third world, after a horrible disaster. Miraculously, an aid convoy has distributed food and water to all – apart from to one man, who missed out. He struggles towards you, desperate for food. All you have on you is a ham sandwich, the difference – for this man – between life and death.
A right-winger would not give the man his ham sandwich. To give him his ham sandwich would force him to become dependent on aid, this removing his chance to better himself out of poverty. You may as well be killing him.
A left-winger would not give the man his ham sandwich. Instead, he would cut the ham sandwich into tiny fragments, distributing them equally between the man, everybody else in the village, the Land Rover driver and the BBC’s Orla Guerin. That is fair, and to do it any other way would be back to the bad old days of means testing.
I am not sure how this helps in the current US election. As far as I can work out, the difference between the candidates’ policies is subtle, and would involve, before any ham sandwich is handed over, ascertaining the starving man’s position on gay marriage and arguing over exactly how much of the bread to return to hardworking Joe the Baker.
In Britain it is even more complicated, as we have so many options to choose from.
The Labours would give the man the ham sandwich, whilst introducing a new ham sandwich tax and then subtly briefing the newspapers that it is cheese.
The Conservatives would generously give the man the ham sandwich, and a hug, because it might get them elected. After which they would take the ham sandwich back, beat him up and close down the ham sandwich industry.
The Libdems would promise the man the ham sandwich, and promise everybody else in the village one as well, and some pickle.
The Liberals would request a vegetarian option; the BNP would not give the foreigner the ham sandwich, as then they would be able to give every indigenous Briton a free ham sandwich each; the Socialist Workers would set a date to pass a resolution applauding the rights of the man to his ham sandwich; the Greens would be concerned with the rights of the ham sandwich itself; the Scottish Nationalists would give the man two ham sandwiches if only it wasn’t for the English; the Scottish Socialists ditto, deep-fried; the Welsh Nationalists would be able to talk about giving the man a ham sandwich but have no powers to actually do so; the English Nationalists would not hand over the ham sandwich when there are so many more important things to discuss like unsightly wind farms; the Libertarians would do what they liked, but want to know what little overpaid fuck from the state dictated that the filling must be ham; the MEP’s from any party would gladly hand over the ham sandwich, only for it to be subsequently discovered that the sandwich had been paid for five times over and three-quarters of the ham had been eaten.
I do not know what to make of it all. What I DO know is that the LTLP agreed to go on the Parish Council, when drunk. She was a bit mortified the next day, and there is not yet a vacancy – but posters have already started appearing in Short Tony’s window.
I do not know yet whether she will be our Obama or our McCain; our Palin or our other one. But whatever happens, it is exciting to see the great democracies at work. I will be getting up early to watch the results on my Sky TV. To all our American readers – I wish you all the very best for this momentous day.