Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The US Has Chosen

It was a long night for political pundits as the US election votes were, until around 3am, continually too close to call.

I feel asleep listening to Radio5 Live's commentary and wondering how many BBC staff were in the US covering the event.  It seems that BBC radio and television broadcasting staff work entirely separate and 'ne're the twain shall meet'.  An expensive business indeed.

JRB posted a comment on yesterday's post about the US election and just in case some missed it I'll repeat it today.

Am I alone in thinking that elections in America have descended to an obscene and grotesque level where the questionable power and influence of the mighty dollar far outweighs any sense of reason, let alone democracy?

The amount of money spent by both parties on this election campaign could have removed the debt of several third world countries, eradicated several killer diseases, lifted entire nations out of poverty - in short it could have done endless amount of good.
But no, the Americans prefer to squander such wealth on advertising and promotion so their man and their party can have its four years of power.

Such is not Democracy, such is Obscenity.

He's correct of course.  The money spent on this campaign is obscene and makes it even more important that Alex Salmond manages to restrict the independent referendum campaign spending.  I disagree with Magnus Gardham of the Herald, who suggests that a restriction on expenditure would limit debate.

Since when was debate so expensive?


pa_broon74 said...

Magnus Gardham is a stooge.

Spending limits for either side of the debate should be the same, party political policy isn't relevant for the referendum (and arguably not at all for Labour.) That is a matter for 2016.

They can divvy up the pot between all the various no supporters, the same thing is happening with the yes side under the umbrella of Yes Scotland.

I won't even start with the 'union dividend' in favour of the no side.

Brian said...

I beg to differ. People should be free to spend their money as they see fit, whether electing their preferred candidate, buying ice cream or donating it to good causes - nearly $300 billion by US individuals (88%) and corporations in 2011. And as the election expenditure was spent in America it boosted the economy.
Haven't the debts of most of the poorest countries been written off already and aren't state international development agencies and, eg, the Gates Foundation, funding research into disease control, education, agriculture, renewable energy?
Putting a cap on election spending is akin to moaning that Christmas has become too commercialised. The alternative, there is never a happy medium is Oliver Cromwell's banning Christmas.
I am sad that the electoral process in America succeeded in producing two mediocre candidates and policies that were tailored to the mythical middle, when Marmite politicians are needed.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Demetrius said...

Having worked out the timings I realised that bed would be better and probably about mid day today would be as good as any. So I was right about the election. The real winners were the techies who may well have done the trick for Obama.

JimS said...

All these 'could have been spent better' arguments are false.

Essentially this election spend has gone to fund American jobs in the American media and all that feeds back into the American economy.

It could have gone into foreign aid, straight into corrupt foreign politicians' bank accounts and helped out the Swiss banking industry and the German auto business. Is that better?

Ditto, nearer at home, 'Cut Trident', as if it is one block of money that can seamlessly be switched from one area to another, rather than a long drawn out programme that funds work in Barrow, Faslane and other parts of the UK. Again most of that spend will stay within these isles.

subrosa said...

I don't know anything about Mr Gardham pa_broon so accept your comment.

subrosa said...

I had a similar telephone conversation with a friend this afternoon. Her main remark was that we give away billions to 'third world' countries who could have been substantially more comfortable if their politicians and political system wasn't so corrupt. Yet we continue to feed the coffers of these thieves.

I'd agree with your last paragraph. Sadly I think better candidates perhaps ruled themselves out because of the cost.

subrosa said...

Yes indeed Demetrius. I can see many of them being employed here in 2015.

subrosa said...

Jim, I'm not too sure about the money involved with Trident. Whilst I appreciate some of it stays here I read somewhere (can't find it now) that the majority of the finance goes to the US. Will try to find the details - but don't hold your breath. :)

Joe Public said...

The US electioneering circuses leave me cold, its Preachers, preaching to the converted.

Brian @ 12:15 hits the nail on the head - I agree entirely with him.

JimS said...

Subrosa, bear in mind that 'Trident' is the common term for the Strategic System. The missile, Trident-D5, is part of the US/UK pool and essentially all spend is in the US. The warhead spend is mostly UK. The 'Trident' replacement is really a replacement for the Vanguard boat so most of that is UK-based, boat and power plant. The missile compartment is US-designed but the UK did build parts for Vanguard so might do so again. Defence contracts are horribly complex and political, money and logic don't rule all! They are also people heavy and material light: "We designed your boat, pay us for that, you don't want the boat? Well that's just 14,000 tonne of steel, cheap as chips!" Cancellation can cost as much as going ahead. Whatever the specifics my general point is that these big spends can't be re-directed without big consequences when the political will changes.

subrosa said...

It doesn't do much for me either Joe but it's being copied more and more here.

subrosa said...

I'd agree big expenditures are far more political than logical Jim and that there would be radical changes if Trident was removed. As yet I've heard little about the detail of the change other than more investment in renewables and I would like a much broader proposal of the future without Trident.

Jo G said...

I think politicians, if they are genuine in their commitment, should be willing to engage with the electorate. (I find the US system obscene but rather than focus on where that money could have gone I wouldn't focus on the foreign poor but the American poor because I'm sure there are plenty in that category.)

On the spend proposed for the Scottish Referendum I do not see why this vote should be linked, as is being proposed by Labour and others, to the "share of the vote" the Parties had last time around. The Parliamentary Elections last year are irrelevant. This is about one question and all Parties should be absolutely equal when it comes to the proposed spend.

I do not want all gloss and no substance brochures coming through my door in the lead up to the most important question we, in Scotland, are ever going to be asked. I want detail and I want politicians involved in the debate for real.

Sadly, what we see in reality right now, is a Scottish media which is hellbent on backing the pro-Union side. Even the so-called "quality" Herald is producing article after article of absolute trash journalism and Party-politics at its worst and it is difficult to distinguish it from the Daily Record these days. I would have expected better from the Herald.

Teh people of Scotland deserve better.

subrosa said...

Hi Jo. I don't see why it should be linked either and as you say it's not an election.

Had my first 'brochure' from the Yes campaign last week. Says nothing really.

The people of Scotland do deserve better. Until our political system has less of the 'them and us' attitude we won't see change.

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