06 November 2012

And 'Patronise Americans Month' comes to an end.

Now anyone who knows me, knows that I love America. During a recent business trip there, my four colleagues kept on comparing me to the Fast Show's Brilliant Kid (before asking me to shut up):

It's a great regret that I've never had the chance to live and work there properly. But 12 years ago, I have to admit that I indulged in an almighty bout of snark against the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

In the wake of the disputed 2000 Presidential election, and after an evening spent joking about it in the pub, I drafted up a spoof memorandum from HM Government to the American people, revoking their independence, and e-mailed it to 13 friends. It went viral and you've probably seen it a few times since in various expanded and elaborated forms (usually after each successive US election). 

(And, yes, you're probably thinking well who's this guy trying to kid, claiming he started it? Well, all these things start somewhere and I did write about it at the time on various communications and politics websites whose digital footprint has now been washed away (oh, how convenient, eh?). So you'll have to take my word for it. Some traces remain here and here).

Judging by some of the e-mails that came back my way, there were a whole load of people on the other side of The Pond taking it as intended and who gave as good as they had got ("...and regarding World War Two: you're welcome!"). Sadly, a few were also offended.

God knows what either of those groups makes of the attitudes directed towards US voters on social media in 2012.

The mass attempts at patronising them into voting the way that bien-pensant British citizens would vote (if only they could) began in earnest in 2004 when Guardian readers (that ever-reliable weather-vane of how the majority of the world thinks) wrote to the voters of swing-state Ohio in the appallingly misconceived Operation Clark County to urge them not to re-elect George W Bush. It successfully managed to increase Bush's vote in the county by five times the 2000 result.

This time, the Guardian's readers (both of them) are aching for Obama to win. Fine. But dear God, my fellow non-Americans, do you never learn?

Take this, for example, doing the rounds on Facebook today:

Or the endless, sanctimonious orders, disguised as pleas, on Twitter to vote the 'correct' way, because us clever people in the Old World know better than the reckless and ignorant populace of the New.

Now if I were an undecided 'Merican voter, in this election which could be the closest for 12 years, and the Rest of The World was trying to patronise me into supporting the incumbent, I wonder which way I'd go.

Perhaps I should write a memo about it.