Date: 25/09/2016
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Jolly hockey sticks

Hugh has described the United States as "that Thidwick-the-Big-Hearted-Moose of countries". If so, will Sarah Palin eat it for breakfast? Or will she take a back seat once McCain is elected, as now looks increasingly likely?

Apart from her "pro-life" stance - whose life, for God's sake? - Sarah Palin appears to be a good egg. And somebody needs to help keep out the suspiciously pro-Muslim Obama. But she is a little cheerleaderish for my taste. "Jolly hockey sticks", as we say over here. And over here, when we say hockey we mean hockey. Americans seem to mean ice hockey. Janice Turner in  The Times:

What exactly is a hockey mom? Despite my obsessive viewing of PalinTube clips, bingeing on Palin blogs and gazillions of Palin words, watching and rewinding the actual Palin speech for two hours just to see that cute bit again where PalinChild4 uses her spit to smooth down the hair of PalinBaby, I still require transatlantic clarification. “A pitbull with lipstick,” says Sarah Palin herself, which judging from the whooping and waving of carefully placed, faux-naïf placards in the convention hall is somehow an admirable type of woman to be.

An American friend tells me that the hockey moms of his youth were so loud, aggressive and partisan that his own mild-mannered mother rarely dared to enter the rink. I know who I'd back in a face-off between hockey moms and Britain's raucous, competitive, are-you-blind-ref, sporadically violent football dads.

Hockey moms don't sleep because most of the stadiums are half a state away and kick-off is at 5.30am. Hockey moms don't take holidays - certainly never lovely weekend mini-breaks - as their kids are welded year-long to the league. Hockey moms watch the soft, tender bodies of their tiniest darling children thumped with wood and pounded on ice without ever tearfully bundling them from the rink. Hockey moms certainly don't slope off to Starbucks for a shifty latte - as I would - but sit through every minute's practice in the miserable stadium half-light, clad in unflattering polar fleece.

Mrs Palin might seek to deny abortion even to a girl raped by a relative, but she has done one thing for women - she has unearthed a strong and powerful female archetype that wasn't immediately showered in misogyny and derision. Perhaps a hockey mom looks better placed for vice-presidential office than the big job, as she is essentially a helpmeet and enabler, cheerleader and washer of others' dirty linen. Then again, she sends the team into battle, rallying them through victory and defeat and, whatever the weather, is up front driving the bus.

Sarah Palin looks lively, which is more than can be said for the ghostly and desperately dull McCain. It is astonishing that, out of the 300 million plus people in America, its voters must choose between McCain and Obama. There must be somebody better. In the UK it's even worse - at least American politicians don't kowtow to masters in Brussels. Gordon "Islamic art enriches our lives" Brown is a dhimmi disgrace, and wasn't even elected. David Cameron shows no understanding of Islam. Even Boris Johnson, who understands it better than most, is playing the diversity game for now.

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