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Seasonal Election Disorder

I couldn?t face contributing one of those angst-ridden blogs about my personal devastation over Tuesday?s result; about the opportunities Kerry’s campaign squandered and about the horrors that await us over next four years. So instead…

Yes, the election was disastrous. Yes, I wonder what on earth has possessed half the people of this country. Yes, I think the power that the President wields is frightening. But my real concern is:

Wouldn?t this all feel a little bit better if it wasn?t November?

I am being flippant, but only mildly. This collective sense gloom both here and at home seems to have been exacerbated by the fact that winter’s approaching. The clocks went back last weekend so it?s now darker, earlier. Having grown up in England, I know the effect this has on your mood. No, we’re not grumpy bastards, we’re all suffering Seasonal Affective Disorder. Plus the weather?s miserable in most of the country and will be for a while. Even Austin turned cold and rainy this week. Thirdly, or (c), there?s Christmas stuff in the stores. What?s more depressing than that? So what do we have to look forward to? Hey Bush is back, happy Thanksgiving.

In England, the election is held in the Spring. Generally around April or May. This makes a great deal of sense. For a start, people are willing to go out and vote. Of course it does help that in England your vote actually counts. One man, one vote, now there?s a novelty. It?s also getting lighter; you can step outside without a duffel coat, hat and thermal gloves; book your summer holiday; go to weddings; watch the FA Cup and kid yourself that it?s warm enough to sit outside the pub and drink, even though you know it?s still just a touch too chilly. No matter what the election result, you still have all that to comfort you. And lord knows we?ve needed it. We lived through 11 years of rule by Margaret Thatcher and another six in the fog of John Major, until the glorious election of 1997. May 1, a notably warm and sunny day, which was surely a comfort to Michael Portillo when he was so severely thrashed.

So put your angst aside. If you really want to make a difference in the next election, then start campaigning now. Scrap the electoral college system. Americans are about as clear on this as most Brits are about the off-side rule in soccer/football. And change the bloody date. Maybe if we?re all springing forward rather than falling backward then the destruction of the world won?t seem so bad.