General Election 2015: Do other countries actually care about the UK election?

Joe Hall
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Paying attention, Barack? Has the rest of the world been watching the UK election progress? (Source: Getty)

It’s become impossible to avoid coverage of this week’s general election here in the UK. Switch on the TV, and you're greeted with ceaseless rolling news coverage. Buy a paper, and there's an open letter from 100 people (no more, no less) telling you who to vote for. Try to escape it all by relocating under a particularly big rock - and you find it could fall under the Mansion Tax bracket.

Your only chance to avoid it all before the crucial day? Hop on a plane and leave. Beyond Britain’s borders, the rest of the world is getting on as normal.

Across the pond, interest is more focused on the US presidential election over a year away, than it is on our little contest in two days's time. The “special relationship” between the two nations has cooled ever so slightly in recent months, most notably when the UK irked Washington with its decision to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

So perhaps it’s no surprise interest among the wider American populace appears to remain ambivalent. Coverage across newspapers and websites remains scarce and rarely features in lists of the “most read” content. Yet according to Chronicle, which measures how often a word or phrase appears in the New York Times (arguably the nation’s paper of record), the UK election’s minute share of news coverage is actually up on previous years.

Read more: Are the warnings of a Brexit overdone?
Read more: Washington isn't happy about the UK joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

In 2010, incumbent Prime Minister Gordon Brown was mentioned in just 0.16 per cent of the paper’s articles, while Cameron’s name appears in 0.33 per cent of those published so far this year. However, there is not as much interest in the opposition this time around: Ed Miliband appears in 0.07 per cent of articles and Nick Clegg 0.03 per cent, whereas in 2010 Cameron appeared in 0.2 per cent, while the Lib Dem leader was included in 0.07 per cent.

American political consultants David Axelrod and Jim Messina, hired by Labour and the Conservatives respectively, generate just as much interest as some of the leaders themselves (although, admittedly, both have also been involved in domestic issues too).

Elsewhere, there's more interest in Europe - as you’d expect, with the outcome of this election potentially altering the UK’s relationship with the continent for good. Yet that doesn’t mean screenshots from Russell Brand’s kitchen have made the front page (or anywhere else for that matter). Any success for Ukip and further details on an in/out EU referendum will likely divert more eyes to our shores.

The UK election receives coverage on China Daily...but readers are more interested in the Royal Baby. (Source:

In India, the fact Labour failed to mention the country once in its manifesto has made headlines, while on Chinese news websites such as China Daily, Royal Baby news trumps any polling updates.

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