Tired of American politics? Then why not look overseas and take solace that it's not quite as insane as the London Mayoral election taking place today? Some limey named Rich Johnston remains our intrepid guide:
The morning sun sparkles across the Thames River, twisting and turning, bisecting the city, dividing it as much as the London Mayoral election has. On one bank, the twice incumbent Labour candidate Ken. On the other, the buffoonishly Conservative candidate Boris. Surnames are unnecessary now.
And today is Election Day! And the result is too close to call. Indeed, it may be an election not so much about candidates but polling companies — online pollster YouGov giving Boris consistent leads while dead-tree press pollsters make it a much closer fight with Ken. There'll be blood on the questionnaires come morning.
Boris has charged his opponents with hacking his website, push polling, lying about his attitude to the Koran and about abolishing free over-60s to travel on public transport. Yet Boris' promises to reform the monstrously long and unwieldy "bendy buses" that traverse London hit the skids when he priced it at £8 million — before conceding it might be more like £100 million. In London, it always comes down to transport.
Ken admitted to openly deceiving the British government over the now-successful Olympic bid for 2012. He claimed he didn't care for sport. It was a ruse to trick the government into spending billions to renovate London's East End — an act of deceit he's very proud of. But it makes his protestations over claims no one trusts him seem like the boy who cried urban fox.
Boris has proved very Internet-friendly, as befits a figure of fun. From an acoustic parody of Obama Girl, the YouTube hit "I Think I Fancy You Boris", to the odd attack site, comedy show appearances, children's TV parodies, dream diaries and German tackling, he does seem an amorphous nexus of creative energies.
But he does play into Ken's last-minute advertising lurch. "Don't Vote For a Joke" scream the new posters – "Imagine Boris dealing with London's 40 billion transport budget. Suddenly he's not so funny."
There are already reports of senior Conservative members discussing how to deal with a rogue gaffe-prone Boris if he wins, with further allegations that he will surround himself with shadowy stooges to do the real work and is only using the Mayor of London as a stepping stone to becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Ken hasn't got Madonna's vote. But in an increasingly cynical London, that very fact might win him thousands more. Ken's banking on that cynicism to get Londoners to vote for the devil they know, and not for a guy with a silly haircut.
Next on Indecision Internationale –the results for an election that most other American news sources will lump with the soccer scores.
Tags: Boris Johnson, Indecision Internationale, Ken Livingstone