THANK goodness it’s finally over. During periods over the last year it seemed like it was never going to end.
Several miles of newspaper column inches have been devoted to it, we have been bombarded nightly with every twist and turn on our domestic news bulletins and commentators have worked themselves up into a fever pitch of excitement, especially over the last few days.
Meanwhile the subject has left the majority of the British public detached and disinterested.
I refer, of course, to the American Presidential election. Congratulations to President Barack Obama for winning a second term and making it slightly less likely that we Brits will get dragged two steps behind the USA into another war in some hot and inhospitable land thousands of miles away.
The British Press insists on calling the US election a contest for The Most Important Job in the World.
Surely their information is out of date. Shouldn’t this title should go to Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China, leader of the most populous country and, despite a recent slowdown, still the fastest growing economy on the planet?
I don’t remember seeing endless hours of news coverage even though they are in the process of changing president.
For months our TV screens have been full of the razzmatazz of American politics. Their glitzy rallies are more akin to a mass cult gathering with legions of brainwashed acolytes gazing starry-eyed at their Messiah.
Superstar disciples like Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry and rapper Jay-Z turn up on stage to serenade the faithful and to add celebrity sparkle.
We have been subjected to images of (usually attractive blonde) zealots shedding tears – of either joy or despair, depending on how their candidate is faring. It’s just not the British way.
Unfettered by financial restrictions, the two camps have spent a total of $3billion – yes, that’s BILLION – on the campaign. That’s an extra dollar for every person in the world who survives on less than $2 a day.
Despite all the pundits trying to whip up excitement by saying it was neck-and-neck, Barack Obama won comfortably in the end.
But why do Britain’s programme schedulers and newspaper editors think that we are so interested in the American election? Everyone I’ve spoken to is fed up of it.
We’re not even interested in our own elections, let alone those over the Pond.
Talking of being detached and disinterested, we have our own elections coming up this week. I don’t know how much has been spent on Thursday’s vote for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), it won’t be $3 billion, but whatever the figure, it is a complete waste of money.
To use an adage which is topical locally – particularly in the Shelley area – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Apparently these elections are all about making the police chiefs more democratic and accountable.
One definition of democracy is ‘the rule of the majority’.
But with the turnout expected to be less than 20 per cent, and 51% of the vote securing a candidate’s victory, the new incumbent could grab power with 90% of the electorate NOT having voted for him or her. That doesn’t sound very democratic.
Normally a strong advocate of using our vote, I am thinking of taking a stand on this one and abstaining.
Not out of any laziness on my part, but because I believe we are following the Americans down the slippery slope of politicising the police force.
Almost all of the candidates are aligned to a political party. In many rural areas, for example in south west England, independents have withdrawn as they don’t have the funds to mount an election campaign covering such a large area.
In West Yorkshire we four candidates: Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Independent.
They are supposedly to have the power to sack the Chief Constable if they don't think he’s up to the mark, a topical issue in our county. But even that proposal is being weathered down now.
I can’t see the point in casting my vote for a system I think is fundamentally flawed, so I don’t think I will be visiting my local polling station.
Not, that is, unless we can inject some razzmatazz and someone can persuade Bruce Springsteen to appear with his guitar and belt out Born to Run at Wellhouse Village Club.
Now that would be worth turning out for.