Canadians worry about who will be in the White House next year. If affects them in all sorts of ways. Militarily, another Canadian soldier has just been brought back from Afghanistan in a body bag; economically, the "loonie" the Canadian dollar is very strong, and shoppers are pouring across the border to buy cars, groceries, clothes and guns. Since over 90 per cent of the population lives within an hour of the US border this isn't too difficult, but it can get awful lonely up here when the sales are on in Buffalo.
I watched the Iowa caucus at my in-laws' house on CNN. The gloriously named Wolf Blitzer, a short, bespectacled man who looks more like a college professor than an important anchor, fronted their coverage with Anderson Cooper, the current star of US political TV. Hillary Clinton came third but waffled on as though she had won. She's a very dull speaker, and you could see Bill Clinton smiling away next to her but secretly longing to push her off the stage and take the audience by the scruff of the neck. Then came John Edwards, a man so smooth that glue wouldn't stick to him. He looked to me like something of a Southern huckster but he'll probably have to pull out soon anyway as he simply can't match Clinton and Barack Obama for cash. Obama's speech was something else charismatic, hopeful, exciting. The moment I finished watching it I knew that I was looking at the next president of the United States, if he lives. I have a terrible feeling that something awful will happen to him. I hope I'm wrong.
On the Republican side I watched the curiously named Mike Huckabee win, buoyed up by the rather frightening-sounding Evangelical vote. It must be good to have God voting for you; very reassuring. Mind you, he didn't just have God on his side right behind him on the tight TV three-shot of his victory speech was... Chuck Norris, the all-American movie action hero.
It's such a feature of American politics the celebrity endorsement. Obama really got a boost from Oprah Winfrey's endorsement, and I wonder why we don't have more of this sort of thing. I remember the last Tory government got a whole load of people to promise that they would leave the country if Labour won. There was Phil Collins, Jim Davidson, Paul Daniels, Frank Bruno... The shame is that nobody insisted that they go through with their promise when Blair got in. I'm thinking of making a TV programme called 'The Enforcer', where I physically remove them from the UK.
The tall one from the boy-band Busted came out as a Tory about three years ago but, apart from that, there hasn't been much political celebrity action since the infamous New Labour No 10 drinks party. I think we're really missing a trick. Matthew Wright, the influential and popular presenter of a Channel Five daytime talk show, could come out in support of Dave Cameron and this might just open the floodgates. Suddenly Dido and Joss Stone are standing on a Wembley stage raising Dave's hands up in the air as they belt out a rousing chorus of "Simply the Best". Then Ricky Gervais could do his amusing dance what could go wrong?
It shouldn't just be the Tories either Gordon Brown could really turn his dour public image around by getting some high-energy supporters on board. Chico-Disco of 'X Factor' fame has just become my friend on Facebook and seems a little desperate. A combination of his insane energy and a cheeky party political broadcast hosted by Ant or Dec or Phillip Schofield could really turn things round for him.
The Lib Dems... well who cares about the Lib Dems? I have absolutely no idea what they're about... mind you, they do have a Cheeky Girl. "Touch my bum, this is life" could be a fabulous campaign slogan. I'd vote for it, but what do I know?
When I get home there will probably be some request from the Green Party for me to don my 'Trigger Happy' squirrel suit and get out on the campaigning road. I'm off to Iran at the end of next week. I'm bound to pick up some useful democratic tips out there. Wish me luck.Reuse content