American claptrap, Expat Guide

American politics: more awesomer than British politics

Every Wednesday while Parliament is in session, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is subjected to a merciless grilling by opposition minsters. Known as “Prime Minister’s Question Time,” this verbal jousting session reveals a significant difference between American and British politicians: In the UK, you learn how to argue and debate or you risk facing a weekly public humiliation.

British journalists are also known for asking tough questions of elected officials. The BBC’s Jeremy Paxman once famously repeated a question twelve times to an elusive politician.

These kinds of confrontations just don’t happen in America. 

In the USA politicians instead surround themselves with like-minded cronies, sometimes removing by force, or putting into cages those likely to publicly disagree with them. And American journalists are  enablers: they engage in puffball questions, meaningless “gotcha” politics and  idiotic and irrelevant speculation. As a result, US politicians are never really put in the position where they have to learn how to defend their positions or ideas.

And the result is kind of awesome.

Unchallenged by, and ultimately perhaps even unaware of contrary points of view, American leaders often become more and more unhinged in their beliefs as they rise through the ranks. The British system, where constituents vote for a party rather than an individual, means that UK politicos apply pressure to their errant peers, for the collective good. But US politicians have no such collectivist obligations and are unhindered in their journey towards extremism. And that is wrong… but it’s also, well, entertaining.

Who cares if UK Labour Party leader Ed Miliband looks awkward eating a sandwich?  US Vice President Dick Cheney once shot a man in the face, then refused to apologise. In fact the man he shot apologised to Mr Cheney, for causing him “trouble.”

So what if Boris Johnson once got stuck on a zipwire? Bill Clinton had sexual relations with an intern in the Oval Office, lied about it, and then in his defense, engaged in a debate about what the word “is” means.

But it’s not just that American politicians get entangled in juicier scandals. It’s that their core beliefs are so much more extreme, and watching them stick up for these principles often resembles watching wrestlers hit each other over the head with steel chairs while a referee looks on helplessly. It makes for amazing spectacle:

So by comparison, British politics really is a dull affair. But it needn’t be.

George Galloway is one UK politician who provides some much-needed comic relief. When he’s not denying that the Tianamen Square massacre ever took place, or pretending that gay people aren’t persecuted in Iran, he can sometimes be found lapping milk from a saucer like a cat. Bravo!

But for my money, if you really want to invest in Britain turning into an American-style idiocracy, there’s really only one choice – vote UKIP.

Sadly, I’m not a British citizen, so I can’t vote. But if I could- I’d punch my ballot for the anti-foreigner UKIP party. Maybe they’d run immigrants like me out of the country, but it might be worth it to see some Brits finally give the Yanks a run for their money in the “crazy politician” sweepstakes. 

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3 thoughts on “American politics: more awesomer than British politics

  1. This would be a good article and you have alot of good facts to promote your point. But if you actually presented an argument instead of mindlessly bashing the U.S. I would have respect for you as a journalist instead keeping a mind of contempt throughout your shitty article. BTW You come off as an Anglophile douche. Bitch.

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