The British electorate is preparing to go to the polls on May 6 for a general election, with polls predicting a tight race between incumbent Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Conservative Party rival David Cameron. But American observers will find more parallels with the US Presidential race than ever before, writes Ben Quinn in the Christian Science Monitor. Both leaders' wives have joined the campaign, just as Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain did in 2008; and both sides have hired American political consultants who worked on the successful Obama campaign. But the similarities don't end there:
"Michelle Obama’s popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed by British political spin-doctors.
"Well before Prime Minister Gordon Brown fired the starting gun Tuesday for the Britain general election campaign, the wives of both the Labour and Conservative leaders had been playing increasingly important roles designed to enhance their partners’ appeal to voters.
"The unprecedented importance of political spouses – Tory leader David Cameron calls his wife Samantha his 'secret weapon' – is just one of the ways in which the campaign resembles a US presidential election like none before.
"Like a political version of the WWII film The Americanization of Emily, in which a roguish James Garner plies English rose Julie Andrews with pilfered US chocolate and nylons, Britain's politicians are reaching across the Atlantic to woo voters."