Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A modest proposal

Not that anyone will pay any attention – after all, there are plenty of other blogs more widely read than mine. But since it’s Election Day across the pond, I thought I’d add my penny’s worth as well.

It’s frustrating that what happens in this poll will affect us all, even though none of us here have a say in the final choice. It got me thinking of an ironic piece I read in The Guardian around the time of Clinton’s second election win. Then, as now, the same point was made: we would be affected no matter what. So the journalist suggested that the solution for Britain was to join the US as the 51st state.

That way we would have direct influence over the presidential election, especially because the distribution of votes in the Electoral College would mean that we would be crucial. Look at this way: California is the biggest state in the Union, with 35m people. This is around 12% of the national population of approximately 291m. It has 54 votes in the College, which is 10% of the total 538.

Now assume Britain was a state. Our 59m would increase the size of the United States population to 350m. We would be more than one-and-a-half times the size of California and correspond to nearly 17% of the total population. And although I don’t know exactly how the Electoral College divides up its votes, assuming the same proportion as California’s would mean Britain emerged with up to 90 votes.

Which would mean that we wouldn’t be worrying about how Americans in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida will vote. Instead the only state which would matter would be us.

When you look at it that way, we should make an application to join as quickly as possible…

…Wait. Oh. It would also mean Bush spending more time in the country, seeking my vote. Hmm, maybe not. Forget I ever said anything…

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