Counterpoint by Scott Freeman Please spare us from the US Primaries


Can anyone explain to me why the evening news bulletin is dominated by men with names like Newt, Mitt and Rick?

I know that America is still the world’s greatest super power, but do we have to follow their electoral process with such slavish devotion? Gingrich, Romney and Santorum after all are only fighting over which of them will stand against Barack Obama, who by all accounts is going to walk it anyway.

I can’t raise much excitement about the leadership of the Labour Party in the UK, so following every cough and spit as the Republicans’ battle buses criss-cross the plains of the US is about as riveting and relevant as the machinations of the Lib Dems in the run up to conference season.

The only diversion I can find from the unremitting seriousness of our news is to let my mind wander and imagine the leading contenders as characters from the cartoon American Dad – a sort of subversive version of The Simpsons. Mitt is surely an all-American caricature and Newt’s hair so silver and bouffant it can only be drawn that way.

To be honest if the news channels want to educate us – which is presumably the reason they insist on following American politics they could try some basic north American history or geography on their audience.

I have to confess that if asked to accurately place South Carolina on a map I would probably be hundreds if not thousands if miles out. Maine, Minnesota and Idaho would stump me too. I’ve done a straw poll around the room and I’m not alone.

I realize that this sets me out as a Little Englander, but I suspect if you took a map of our country out onto the average High Street, with county boundaries marked, most people would find it difficult to name and locate them all correctly. I would lay money none would be able to complete the task if asked to include Wales and Scotland in this little geography test.

So spare us the US Primaries and spend more energy on UK Primaries instead.