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Thursday, 7 June, 2001, 00:30 GMT 01:30 UK

Electioneering - as others see it

BBC Scotland's David Allison takes to an open-top bus to find out what tourists visiting Scotland make of the UK election.

The parties fighting the general election may be targeting a domestic audience, but interest in the spectacle stretches far beyond Britain's shores.

Overseas visitors on holiday in the UK have found themselves right in the middle of the campaign.

And there is no shortage of opinions - although those watching with an impartial eye have differing views on the spectacle.


" I wish American politics was more like what we've seen over here "
US tourist

A visitor from the US offered one of the more positive reactions to the campaign.

"I think the most surprising thing about Britain and Scotland, especially watching the news shows, is how very decent the politicians are in their discussions," he said.

"America is much more brutal. I've enjoyed the more respectful manner in putting their debates on the table.

"I wish American politics was more like what we've seen over here. I hope you don't come too close to our way because it does get too personal."

But one Dutch visitor was less complimentary about the campaign.


" How can you convince people by going to their door and then turning your back on them for the next four years? "
Dutch tourist

"We've been following it on television in Holland and I think it's a shambles," he said.

"The outcome is known before it ever starts. I don't know why they are bothering."

So what was the main difference between the way the campaign was conducted here and in Holland?

"People would laugh at politicians coming to your door with their beautiful rosettes.

"They would just laugh at them and shut the door.


" They respect each other a little more than what we are used to seeing in South America "
Brazilian tourist

"How can you convince people by going to their door and then turning your back on them for the next four years?"

Compared with the fireworks which surround politics in South America, a couple from Brazil found the British contest amazingly polite.

"We saw the advertisement with Hague and Margaret Thatcher's hair and that got us a little bit interested to see what was going on," one told BBC Scotland.

They thought the behaviour of politicians was "more civilised and more polite" than that back home.

"I guess they respect each other a little more than what we are used to seeing in South America."



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