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.

52 thoughts on “Election 2008.

  1. Richard says:

    I am reading this in the library and doing many Lols. Luckily it is the kind of library that encourages small children to riot so I’m able to do this without attracting attention.

  2. fumier says:

    Why does LTLP only want to go on the Council when she will be drunk?

  3. JonnyB says:

    Damn – I KNEW somebody would read it like that…

  4. What about the Monster Raving Loony Party? I would like to know their position on this.

  5. JonnyB says:

    Hm. To be quite honest, I couldn’t think of a single interesting or funny thing to say about the Monster Raving Loony Party. I think this is possibly a reflection of their own self-awareness as wacky, crazy guys.

    I also did not mention the Irish ones because I ran out of time, not because I was too scared.

  6. You also forgot the Have Your Say answer: “why do these foreigners come over here looking for handouts and if i gave them the sandwich theywould TAKE ME TO THE COURT OF HUMAN rights becos i violated threi human vegetatrian rights and i would be sued it’s PC gone mad; it’s all Tony Bliar’s fault for conning the sheeple. send him back to WHERE HE was when the aid convoy was handing out the rice that they love so much”

  7. JonnyB says:

    But it is important for people to contribute to the national debate, Shackleford.

    Also I couldn’t think of a UKIP one that wasn’t just a cliche. If any readers (UKIP members or otherwise) would care to contribute then please feel free.

  8. Ole Phat Stu says:

    Palin would give the man the ham sandwich, but only because he is a Muslim 😉

  9. Pat says:

    Would tofu be a safer bet?

  10. Bah! Humbug! They won’t let me vote, you know – just because I’m not a citizen yet. They take my money quick enough tho’. Whatever happened to “No taxation without representation”?

    The Obamabots had a thick sheaf of votes handy, and a bus to drive me around in to use them all, but they wouldn’t let me on. Apparently I’m “the wrong sort of immigrant”. Shouldn’t have asked them if they could drop me off at work after…

  11. Mind you, the Republicans just shoot at me, so swings and roundabouts really, isn’t it?

  12. spazmo says:

    I give you five minutes with Sky TV’s election coverage before you switch over to bowls.

  13. ganching says:

    The DUP would have given the man the ham sandwich but only after he had listened for half an hour to a sermon about the Our Lord Jesus Christ and how in Leviticus it tells us that gays and prawns are abominations.

  14. Megan says:

    Damn you Jonny – where were you last week when I was early voting? I could have preached the Way of the Ham Sandwich in the hour long line (and possibly drowned out the too-young-to-be-hippies who were singing folk songs). I could have been ENLIGHTENED for heaven’s sake instead of standing on one foot and looking down that long looooong ballot and thinking, “aw hell, where’s the one that promises the VP on the losing ticket has to return to their state of origin and never, ever speak again [at least until they can stand in their front yard in Wasilla and ACTUALLY SEE Russia with sober witnesses to verify].”

    And Ivan – join us in the Independent column. We give fuck all about swings OR roundabouts and would hand the man the ham sandwich because we don’t like ham.

  15. tillylil says:

    I don’t like ham sandwiches!

  16. JonnyB says:

    Sorry tillylil – no sympathy. If you do not bother to vote you have no right to complain about the ham sandwiches.

  17. em says:

    I’d vote for that ham sandwich before I voted republican. does that make me a ham sandwich democrat?

  18. Saltation says:

    there’s an election?!

    well it would have been nice if there could have been perhaps a little prior notice, say in the papers or even on tv.

  19. Z says:

    Now I feel guilty for eating a ham sandwich this evening. I may be responsible for that poor man starving to death.

    The LTLP is a bit barking, I think. Even I have never agreed to go on the Parish Council, when drunk or not. It’s probably only bearable when drunk.

  20. Handing out ham sandwiches is anti-semitic, Megan. I’m afraid I must stand with Israel on this one – tho’ not too close, obviously, in case some bearded nutjob with a jihadi jetpack turns up to earn his virgins…

  21. john cramer says:

    That man – if he was a real man – would have got a gang – pillaged the aid convey – given the females a good seeing to and shot you for being a capitalist exploiter of convoys.
    He would then demand another convoy sent as he had been oppressed.
    the government would , of course , send one.
    Soon the man would be seen to be a great protector of his peops/gang and be made king.

  22. Linda says:

    Palin would give the man a moose meat sandwich from the moose she had personally shot herself, but only if he were a maverick. She was so ridiculous that I was embarrassed to be an American. Anyway, yeah Obama! I hope he can make up for the damage Bush has been doing for these long eight years.

  23. jim cooke says:

    the words below are not those of jim cooke, but a wiser individual – i encouage your responses to me or to the aip news website at

    The 2008 Election: A Winnowing Season
    By Alan Keyes
    Nov. 3, 2008
    Regardless of the outcome of the Presidential election, the 2008 election cycle has been a winnowing season for all Americans who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. Both major parties nominated individuals whose views discard the nation’s founding principle of respect for the authority of the Creator God. Faced with this circumstance, those in full possession of the facts had to make a choice for or against telling the truth. Unfortunately, many so-called Christian leaders chose to act deceitfully and pretend that John McCain is pro-life. While his record includes some actions that appear to be pro-life, and others that could not be, these opinion-shapers opted to emphasize the first and ignore the second.

    Now if the pro-life position is just a matter of counting votes, these leaders could claim to be justified. But Christian conscience can never be satisfied with a result that accepts as righteous those who appear to do good, but turn their backs on the principle of all goodness, which is the will and Spirit of God. Such were the Scribes and Pharisees whom Christ harshly ridiculed and condemned, even though his uncompromising rejection of them led directly to his unjust arrest, torture and crucifixion. For Christian conscience, the core of the pro-life position is not a matter of numbers, but of wholesome respect for God’s authority. McCain’s consistent and repeated support for research that destroys embryonic human lives and his position that state governments have the right to disregard the God-given unalienable right to life prove that such respect is not the basis of his actions. As a matter of Christian conscience and American principle, he is not pro-life. Moreover, since McCain professes to accept the fact that humanity exists from the moment of physical conception, his willingness to support embryo-destroying research implies a conscious choice to go against God’s will when expediency requires. He knows what is right, but as a matter of deliberate calculation chooses to do otherwise. As a matter of conscience, this is exactly what Obama has done by supporting the murder of viable babies born into the world despite every effort to abort their lives. Obama’s position is an outrage, not just as a matter of feeling, but because it self-evidently violates God’s stand against the taking of innocent life. When he advocates the view that such murder is part of so-called “abortion rights,” he too consciously rejects God’s authority.

    As a matter of political expediency some leaders in the pro-life cause have been willing harshly to condemn Obama’s conscious choice against God, while consciously hiding McCain’s similar choice. They have produced deceptive voter guides that label McCain as pro-life. These same leaders quietly contradict themselves, however, by arguments that take the view that Christians have no choice but to support the lesser of two evils, thus tacitly acknowledging that McCain too stands for evil. Though some ignored the thorough arguments that I, and others, have made against the “choice of evils” position, others recognized their truth. But, instead of correcting their course, they merely adjusted their rhetoric and took the position that Christians had to vote effectively to limit evil, else they would be guilty of promoting it. Slyly, this argument implies that those who conscientiously seek to hear the word of God and keep it are in fact the evil ones.

    Yet the apostle says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21) We cannot limit something by extending it. The limit is established where it ends and something else begins. Christ suggested this when he responded to the unforgivable accusation of the Pharisees who said, “It is only by Beelzebub the prince of the demons that this man casts out demons.” Christ replied to them saying:
    Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand; and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matthew 12:25-28)
    Clearly, Christ ridicules the notion that evil can be divided against itself, that a line can be drawn that incidentally separates evil from evil when both arise from the same principle. Yet this is precisely what they seek to do who claim that we can limit one evil by supporting another. Christ understood that we must define good in terms of its source, not its circumstances. “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33) For Christian conscience, the difference between good and evil is a matter of principle. This is why Christians reject moral relativism and “situational ethics.” For Christian conscience, the moral nature of action lies in the relationship between the action and its source, which is to say, the principle that governs it. The will of God is the principle of good action.
    And behold, one came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments. .The young man said to him, “All these I have observed: what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:16, 20-22)
    The line between good and evil (the limit of evil) can only be established by action that focuses on God’s will. In his words to the young man, Christ points to God’s commandments as the indicators of his will. But he goes on to suggest that until we see as good only those things that correspond to God’s will, and wholeheartedly follow the one who embodies them, our observance of his will is not complete.

    A good action is one that arises from this single-minded and wholehearted focus on God. The aim and objective of the action is God, so that no preoccupation with evil plays any part in it whatsoever. This is entirely incompatible with action that aims at “limiting evil” which, by focusing upon evil, loses sight of the root and source of all good. Good action may in effect limit evil, but it does so by making way for good, as John the Baptist made way for Jesus Christ.

    Now those who say that we are morally obliged to support evil in order to limit it suggest that people who fail to do so are somehow responsible for the evil that results. They contend that people who single-mindedly seek out and support a candidate for President whose views and actions consistently align with the commandments are morally culpable. Anyone therefore who does not vote for the evil they prefer (in this case John McCain) is casting a vote for the evil they oppose (in this case Barack Obama). This comes close to the unforgivable stance of the Pharisees, who ascribed evil to one whose only crime was to follow the will of his Father God. Yet, though Jesus could know with certainty and from within the exact substance of his Father’s will, we rely upon faculties of perception and reasoning that leave us with no source of certainty except by faith. We want to do what is right, but we cannot know that what we do will in fact produce results more good than evil. Therefore our choices are almost always approximations, best guesses about a future whose contents, as Shakespeare said, “must be acted ‘ere they may be scanned.” As beings finite and limited, we can only have a finite and limited impact upon the future. If we take stands that seem to correspond to God’s will, but produce results that move the situation farther away from his will, do we not promote evil in fact for the sake of an unreal and unattainable perfection?

    If we walked only by sight, this argument might be decisive. But on numerous occasions Christ demanded that his disciples trust in him, rather than in the results of their own rational calculations. They did so when he twice fed the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes, though their rational calculations told them so little food could not possibly feed so many. Peter did so when he stepped out of the boat with nothing but his trust in Christ to keep him from being swallowed by the sea. This reliance upon the Lord was in and of itself enough to secure salvation for people as disparate as the woman healed by a touch of his garment, and a crucified thief saved by his simple recognition that what seemed the culmination of Christ’s failure and defeat was in truth the seal and emblem of his triumphant victory. Such as these trusted before what Christ called “the sign of Jonah” had been revealed. As Christians for whom that sign is like the rock of ages, what faith are we called to by our certainty of its truth?

    The key flaw in all the arguments that call us in this election to embrace evil in order to fight or limit evil is that to do so we must surrender our single-minded reliance upon God. But once we let go of that reliance, what good is left to us? Once we take up the sword of evil to fend off or defend ourselves against it, what becomes of the faith whereby Christ fed the multitudes and which alone opens the way to life, and hope, and a future? These questions reveal the true import of this flawed moral reasoning. It seems to offer us a better hope for victory as the world understands the term, but only if we surrender the faith that alone leads to the victory that lies beyond the world’s understanding. That faith is proved especially in those circumstances when we trust in God as the standard of truth though the whole light and reason of the world decries our trust as folly.

    Who is responsible for evil? Is it those who persevere in faith despite the world’s reproof, or those who say we must surrender perfect trust in God in order to limit evil? I believe that the latter claim lures us into a place that is beyond redemption precisely because to reach it we must surrender our hold upon the key that opens the floodgates of God’s saving grace. And so, on the day when evil seems to triumph over us, let us hold fast and say, though it be with our last breath, as Jesus did, “Father into thy hands I commit my spirit,” and there leave will and choice, conscience and vote and all.

    if you or anyone you know want to join a conference call on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays with people of the same like faith of yours and Dr. Alan Keyes, please e-mail me @

    please keep the hope that we have in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior, sincerely, and God Bless, Jim Cooke

  24. WTF? I like JonnyB’s comments section cos it’s short, pithy and to the point. Is there anyone out there more learned than me who can sum up the above in 30 words (preferably less).

  25. spazmo says:

    Not me, Stroppy.
    I checked out after the Pharisees got dragged into it.

  26. Megan says:

    Dang. There were pharisees? And I missed ’em? What about scribes? Those pharisees were always skipping about town with scribes and getting up to no good. Woe unto ’em I say, WOE!!

    And Ivan – you forget this is AMERICA. We hand out the ham sandwich because it makes us feel good and if you won’t eat it because of some obscure cultural fol-de-rol then obviously you simply aren’t that hungry, are you? Now sit the hell down while we force this Barbie Princess T-shirt over your head and force you to smile unconvincingly while one of our plastic-clone Hollyrodents tries to cuddle you.

  27. Lisa says:

    Megan–in the second paragraph there are pharisees AND scribes! I also discovered that “Obama made a conscious choice against God.” But I thought he was the Second Coming, so I am confused, but then again, I’m not American.

  28. Pat says:

    Ivan: ham schamm – that’s why I suggested tofu.
    BTW Sam’s a citizen now – perhaps she could have a word?

  29. Sewmouse says:

    The Pharisees were PALLING AROUND with scribes – this can only come to no good end.

    Short version of #24:

    Nobody wants to do things MY WAY”

    The author sounds suspiciously like my brother, SPTLM

  30. Pat says:

    Stroppy Rachel: just the one word: spam – not to be confused with ham.

  31. Aaah, spam. I don’t like it straight out of the tin, but put me down for a battered spam fritter anyday.

  32. Saltation says:

    handing out spam sandwiches is anti-spemitic

  33. tillylil says:

    I don’t like spam sandwiches either!

  34. zed says:

    Far too political for me.

    And where on earth did this spam-puke-stuff come into it? Spam is to be deleted from the face of this earth.

  35. Indigo says:

    jimcooke – there was rejoicing around the world when Obama won – so, eat his shorts.

    Ivan the Terrible – the US has plenty of home-grown nutjobs, so just lay off the cheap shot anti-Muslim garbage.

  36. Pat says:

    Zed: where would we have been without it in WW2?

  37. Peter says:

    Not born, most of us.

    This is a great story. I should steal it and use it for today’s by-election in Glenrothes. Possibly changed to something more Scottish.

  38. hfactor says:

    can I get a bit more info on the ham sandwich please jonny? Such as whether it is free range ham from happy piggies,and also what type of bread is used, and whether there is butter or mayo or whatever.

    All these things are as important to me as Jesus is to Jim. I just didn’t feel the need to bang on about it for 500 words.

  39. hfactor says:

    sorry, and another thing. I have just taken a few precious minutes out of ny highly extended lunchbreak to read jim’s spam (I made it all the way to the end of paragraph 3), and I am FURIOUS. How dare you spam your pro-life bullshit here, this is a happy place. May you rot in hell. Oh, hang on. IT DOESN’T EXIST.

  40. Anna says:

    Of course, these are all theoretical stances. In actuality there is no ham sandwich, and we’re suffering from ham shortage all over the world. I think most of these parties plan on keeping their ham sandwiches at home.

  41. Nick C says:

    “ actuality there is no ham sandwich..”
    And there was me thinking that JonnyB had just made politics somewhat less about the bribery & corruption and a bit more about the bakery & consumption… what a shame to discover it was all theoretical!

    So anyway – what is the budding polical animal that is the LTLP’s position on pork-based consumables?

  42. Nick C says:

    Doh! (political)

  43. Saltation says:

    didn’t i see that in The Matrix?

    “There is no spam”

  44. Hi Indigo! Little early to be censoring people, isn’t it? The inauguration isn’t until January, after all. Until then, I shall treat that contempt with the remark it deserves…

  45. Vulpine says:

    Scribes were never too malicious, unless they wrote for the Daily Mail. Pharisees just looked after their own. Apart from their own who didn’t agree with them.

    It’s the Maccabees you need to watch out for. What were Scotsmen doing in Ancient Judea anyway? And don’t get me started on the Sadducees. Cheer up, FFS. Call yourselves Happycees. It’ll do wonders for your membership.

  46. Pat says:

    #47: couldn’t you make the voting a little easier? A simple cross?

  47. Mac says:

    This blog used to be a happy, witty and friendly place. Where have all the angry insults sprung up from on this and the more recent posts?

    Have a bunch of miserable trolls googled ‘US Election’ or ‘Canada?

    BTW Jim, I translated the first few lines as ‘nutter’and didn’t read any further. (Damn, now I’m at it!)

  48. guyana gyal says:

    it’s the third world and we have a %$#@ powercut…i will be back…………

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