There's no doubt that American politics (and foreign policy) generates a disproportionate interest in the UK when compared to our much closer, continental European politics ... a continent (and political unit) that now unquestionably defies the size and economic (if not military) might of America.
The European Union (EU) now contains some 500million people compared to America's some 300million, making it the third largest population block in the world after the People's Republic of China and India. The EU also now has the world's highest overall GDP (Gross Domestic Product) - an oft-overlooked fact - with GDP here being close to $14,000billion per year compared to America's $13,000billion per year.
Yet, despite my frequent frustration at the blatant 'overlooking' of the economic and political might of the modern EU, I have to admit to finding myself completely and totally engrossed in the upcoming US Presidential Election in a way that EU politics just never 'grabs me' :-(
And last night's first round of nominating caucuses for the Democrats and Republicans in Iowa has only deepened my fascination :-((
And as with the recent Australian election, the BBC's chief US-reporter blog does seem to be shaping up to be a fascinating read over the coming months.
Now, it won't come as a shock to you that I'm principally interested in the Democratic race - I don't have a firm favourite! - and am amazed at the size of last night's Democratic turnout ... some 240,000 Iowans packed into (no doubt) cold, drafty halls and living rooms to choose a Presidential hopeful. That contrasts to some 120,000 in 2004!
Iowa (population wise) is about the size of Wales ... I just could not see 240,000 Welsh (or Scottish or English or Irish for that matter!) voters packing town halls and living rooms on a cold January night to discuss their preferred candidates?
I know the electoral, and nominating, processes aren't really directly comparable ... but what happened last night in Iowa must surely lift the spirits of depressed democrats (small d!) across the world?
If that's not exciting enough for all you political anoraks, I reckon that ... and here's my only New Year's prediction! ... if Clinton loses New Hampshire on 'Tuesday night/Wednesday morning' the first black President of the US will be elected in November of this year.
And he's a Democrat (capital D!) :-))