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Thursday, September 11, 2008


I am registered at my local town hall on the ‘padrón’ so am able to vote in Spanish local and European Parliament elections. However I cannot vote in Spanish or Andalucía general elections although as a resident of Spain what is decided in Madrid and Sevilla impacts directly on my life.

Only Spanish nationals can vote in general elections here. I am unhappy with not having a voice but the same situation exists in all EU countries so we all suffer from equal inequality. Likewise in the USA you have to be a national to vote in the presidential elections but should that be so?

Elect a government in Britain or Spain and it only really impacts within that nation as the EU now governs Europe and will increasingly set its foreign policy. However who is president of the USA affects the entire western world.

The saying goes that when America sneezes this side of the pond we catch a cold. Well right now the USA has the flu and hence we have caught pneumonia. In both domestic and international policy we can link the USA to our woes. Just two examples.

For years the USA has sold mortgages via the sub-prime market to people who could not afford to own a home. That bubble has now burst and not only are those folk defaulting on their loans but so too are people who previously were viewed as prime. This should have impacted only on the USA but because our banks and building societies fed at the sub-prime trough in search of profit they are now in crisis because the apples turned out to be bad. Hence the entire financial world is in chaos.

Both Britain and Spain participated in the Iraq war that was hugely unpopular with its citizens. Both nations also have armed forces in Afghanistan. However if the USA hadn’t decided to seek adventures in those countries we wouldn’t be there.

Now its US presidential election season. On one hand we have John McCain who is old for a candidate and a national hero plus Sarah Palin who is a hockey mom and wears cute glasses. On the other hand we have Barack Obama, who to quote a song is “young, gifted and black” and somebody else who nobody seems to mention.

Given McCain’s age Palin is literally just a heart beat away from the presidency and given the American habit of taking a pot shot at its leaders, the other guy may well have to step in to Obama’s highly polished shoes. Where does that leave us? Very worried I would say! Are these the potential presidents that we want?

If the USA wants to be the leader of the free world then the free world should have a say in who leads us. Give us a US vote I say!

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