THEY are the words that strike fear into the heart of any TV viewer: "And now a party political broadcast by the ..."

I've already switched off by then so it could be for any political party.

Thankfully they are few and far between. During the last general election in the UK the two main parties were allowed four or five party political broadcasts each in England, and six between Scotland and Wales.

Now have a guess how many ads have been aired in the recent US election.

No, higher.


Last guess - and think higher again.

Close but not quite - the actual answer is in the period between June 1 and the start of November - ie not even up until the polls opened - there had been, brace yourself, a startling 1,015,615 pieces of party political propaganda poured into the eyes and ears of any hapless American viewer who had the misfortune to switch on the TV at an inopportune moment.

Which, judging by the number, is any moment.

Or to put it another way if you put the ads on one TV channel and each ad lasted just 30 seconds, you would have enough footage to fill more than 8,463 hours of TV.

That'd even make New Tricks look interesting.

If we crunch that number down again it, and if my maths is correct, means that you could spend 352.6 days of your life watching the ads.

That'd leave you 12.4 days for going to the toilet and finding the remote down the back of the settee to stare at it forlornly.

Now these adverts done come cheap. Estimations to cost vary but it appears that winner and still undefeated President of the USA Barack Obama spent about $250,000,000 on half a million adverts.

By comparison his opponent, the man named after a glove, Mitt Romney, had spent only a scant $100,000,000 on telly himself - but in the US Republican lobbying groups had helped him out so it all worked out about equal in the end.

I bet they're thanking their lucky stars (and stripes) that they don't have a three party system. There would never be anything on telly. You know, like only having ITV.

Anyway it turns out that for 60% of Americans, the main issue at this election was the economy.

Obviously as the home of sub-prime mortgages the USA has been suffering tough times in our recent global economic travails.

So, as over here we (quite rightly) lambast George Osbourne for trying to sit in first class for nothing, pore over who's spending our money, call people posh boys and generally frown on any sort of gratuitous spending it's good to see in America they have chucked any sense of frugality into the bin.

This year's bunfight has cost a staggering £6bn. Or if you like numbers written out in longhand, a staggering $6,000,000,000.00.

My eyes got tired reading all the 0s so I knew it was a big number. Compare that with the absurdly paltry $49m (or £31m) that was spent in total by all parties at the last general election here.

I know they say everything in America is bigger, but that’s ridiculous.

After winning the election Obama said: “While our road has been hard, though our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come,”

I just wonder who pays the bill?