The US electorate may be slow learners, but they’ve proved that they aren’t completely stupid. I’m delighted to see American voters punishing the incumbents for their venality and incompetence. Welcome to the reality-based community, guys!

It’s also renewed my faith that, despite all the gerrymandering, fraud allegations, dodgy partisan electronic voting machines, and Heath Robinson-esque card-punch contraptions that seem to be fundamental to the US electoral experience, it actually works (insofar as a democratic system, and especially a first-past-the-post system, does work, but that’s another discussion). I’m jealous, too, that they get a chance to express their intentions every two years, whilst we have the opportunity only twice a decade.

Out in the rest of the world, it’s a strange experience to watch the US elections. They matter. The US is a monstrously powerful superpower in a unipolar world, with demonstrably scant regard for the sovereignty of other nations. In effect, it’s like having a world government that we can’t vote for. And, realistically, I don’t imagine that many people in Europe would vote for Bush as their leader.

According to Thomas Paine’s maxim that ‘that government is best which governs least’, a principle with which I wholeheartedly agree, the inherent conflict that the election results will bring between Democrat legislative and Republican executive branches is a good thing. The stuff they’ve got up to in the past six years has been pretty disastrous: doing nothing would be infinitely preferable.

Thank you, America. You’ve gone some way towards redeeming yourself this week.