Sunday, May 02, 2010

How the eyes of the world see a very British contest.

It's funny, but you rarely wonder what your country looks like from abroad or how they are following an event like a UK election.

For instance, I have been following Andrew Sullivan's coverage of the UK election and he sees things completely differently than I do, I suppose because he is viewing the election from the States.

Eduardo Suárez is covering the UK election for the Spanish paper he begins by lamenting the fact that Tony Blair is no longer the British Prime Minister.

"We all miss him. All the foreign correspondents." In what way? "Oh, in all ways. He's such a greedy guy! And a liar. You know he was just a real politician, an actor, a multimillionaire. He was just such fun."
Gordon is, of course, dull by comparison. But the Spaniards have sat up and taken notice since Nick Clegg and the very first election debate, but not for the reasons that you might imagine.

Overnight Spain was galvanised not by a sudden interest in the Liberal Democrats' domestic policy, nor the prospect of electoral reform, but by the vision that is Miriam González Durántez, Nick Clegg's Spanish wife.

"Thank God!" he says. "Really. She has been like a gift from God for me. There was no interest in the election before, none. But now Mr and Mrs Clegg are on the front page, not every day, but a lot. People fantasise that 500 years after the Armada we are finally going to put a Spanish Catholic woman in No 10. It's made it very easy for me to sell stories to the paper – I'm doing two or three every day now."

I think that's hysterical. That thought wouldn't even occur to the average British voter. I wasn't even aware of Clegg's wife religion, and yet in Spain it has put on her on the front page of every newspaper because they dream of revenge for the fate of the Armada.

But Suárez also highlights the fact that Britain, although a leading member of the European Union, rarely considers how the rest of Europe views us.
The fact that "you are only interested in yourself. You don't care about anyone else, any other county, you just spend all your time looking at yourself, this is very funny".
And he loves our political stars:
"Well Clegg, of course. But my favourite is Mr Mandelson. He's the most grotesque character. I absolutely adore him. He's so funny. And he's such a drama queen. He exaggerates everything. But he's very intelligent – he's the first one to come up with a new catchphrase. And he's always in tune with the mood. He smells the mood around him. Yesterday he said: 'Flirt with Nick Clegg and you'll end up married to Cameron.' Which is brilliant, isn't it? He's just so funny. Funnier even than Lembit Öpik."
As Burns said, "If God had had the gift to gie us, to see ourselves as others see us."

Click here for full article.

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