The Florida Page – October 2012
BRITISH-AMERICANS in FLORIDA: A Call to Arms! FACT: There are now several thousands of you longtime Sunshine State resident expats reading this column who can vote. I wouldn’t be writing it otherwise. It’s to emphasise the power you have. Our state is accepted by both parties as the one their man must take. Remember the 2000 Gore/Bush hanging chads fiasco deciding the national election by 500+ Florida votes? That resulted in the winner or “winner” taking us into two wars and therefore the deaths of 5,000+ Americans and British soldiers. SO OUR VOTE COUNTS. I took American citizenship 14 years ago, vote every time, worked in my local polling station and encourage every Green card holder friend or client to take US citizenship (Email me for details on how it’s done, to ready yourself for post 2012 elections).
Alas, the US electoral system (due to the way 50 states evolved) is the most cumbersome, bloated, long-winded, commercialized system in the world, and since last year the country can be bought by anonymous PACS throwing obscene sums to elect their choice. We Floridians, due to our swing state importance, are bombarded non-stop on all main TV networks, in every commercial break, 24/7. It’s is truly dreadful, and the Cartoon Channel is our only escape. Miami is inflicted worst because it’s 60 percent target-voter Hispanic and voter-densest.
How I envy voters in the UK their simple, non-commercial, swift elections. One of our strongest leaders ever – Margaret Thatcher – was in for 12 years, removed in two days. Not a penny changed hands! That is how Democracy is done America – simply, cheaply, fairly, swiftly.
Anyway, we British-Americans can’t improve the US system but we can VOTE on NOVEMBER 6. Whether Romney or Obama is your preference, at least that ensures it is the true choice of Floridians. So if you haven’t already, rush to register on Florida’s official website: www.//election.dos.state.fl.us/voter-registration. Then Betsy from Bognor, Derek from Doncaster and Martin from Manchester get your British butts to the polling station. APATHY IS NOT BRITISH.
■ WRINKLY BRITISH ROCKERS The Who perform at the BBT (formerly BankAtlantic) Center in Ft Lauderdale on November 1, as part of their national tour. Information and tickets: www.livenation.com
■ BRITISH BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: SOCCER at SEA is a new Florida enterprise with a smart idea: offer the ultimate soccer experience for adults and boys and girls of all ages aboard a cruise ship! British owner Steve Everitt (with wife and business partner Karen) arrange International games in port on Royal Caribbean Cruiseships against local teams, using the ship’s facilities. They also offer beach soccer matches. All explained on their website www.socceratsea.com Then phone British owner Steve Everitt direct on (561) 727-0363 to discuss your needs. (FOOTBALL FACT: English football is probably the oldest team sport in the world. It was even known in ancient Rome. In 1863 the Football Association in London established the first official regulations for a game that British boys had been kicking around for centuries. Er, so why have we only won the World Cup once??) FOOTIE NOTE: There’s a well-known local Brit Ray Hudson, who commentates on English football for GOL TV in Miami. Hudson used to be the manager/coach for Ft Lauderdale Strikers and Miami Fusion when he became known for colourful expressions and analogies American players/viewers often couldn’t understand but we Brits relish. When Lionel Messi played in Miami this summer Hudson said: “The people of Miami should crawl on broken glass just to inhale the exhaust fumes from the bus Messi is travelling on.”
■ A GLAM BRITISH NIGHT OUT presented by the Broward/Palm Beach British-American Chamber of Commerce (BACC): Enjoy a VIP Reception followed by the premiere of Skyfall , the new James Bond film starring exciting English heart throb Daniel Craig. Saturday, November 10 from 7pm in Boca Raton. Also: The BACC holds a Networking event October 18 and their fabulous annual Christmas party November 30, both in Ft Lauderdale. Call BACC President Roy Yates on (954) 942-7330 and he’ll email you details.
■ ORLANDO GUY FAWKES BONFIRE and Night Out on Monday November 5 from 6.30-10pm. Thousands of local Brits and Anglophiles attend this annual event, with yummy British and Indian (er same thing) foods, British business booths and fun family activities. Phone event promoter Justine Assal on (407) 401-4690 to obtain info.
■ COMMENT from a London nightclub doorman, on the binge-drinking Brits: “From 2am you don’t encounter a single, sane person.”
■ SCOTTISH FESTIVALS are always a great day out. Enjoy the Big Bend Highland Games in Mariana, northeast Florida on October 26-28. Dust off your sporrans, wear something tartan and go. Phone event organizer Brian Coghill on (850) 778-2358 for info.
■ PINT AND A PIE CORNER. Herewith one Florida British pub picked at random. This is not a recommendation, unless I have personally checked out the place, so you may deem it divine or dire. Pop in and see: THE GEORGE AND DRAGON in Orlando (407) 351-3578 British owner Mick Salt.
■ COLUMN SUBMISSIONS: Just opened a British business in the last three months? Email details for possible publication here to email@example.com Your name and daytime phone required.
The opinions in this column are Patricia Kawaja’s and not necessarily shared by Union Jack Publishing.