It’s just like living in…

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 7:20 | Filed in Life, Politics

Zimbabwe Iran.

No it fucking isn’t.

I’ve heard this line from the archetypal ‘man in the pub’ before. It started last year when Mugabe and his thugs rigged the election in Zimbabwe by brutalising those who might be prepared to vote against him. That was when I first heard it.

Generally from some relatively well-off person who can afford to feed their family: someone with a right to vote, someone who’s not suffering from a massive cholera outbreak, someone who will find that their vote actually counts for the person their vote for, someone not intimidated into voting for the incumbent, but someone who didn’t like Gordon Brown.

“It’s just like living in Zimbabwe. They Government just do what they want…”

It’s not like living in Zimbabwe. It’s not like living in Iran. We have comfortable lifestyles, we may be criticised for saying something inappropriate (as quite frequently the people who have expressed said belief have been complaining about “gippos” or “immigrunts”), but even the most racist bigot is not going to get tortured and “disappeared”. But those people that can “just do what they want” here are the ones with an elected parliamentary majority.

Gordon Brown may not have been elected as Prime Minister, but we don’t elect Prime Ministers. You elect an MP for your constituency. Gordon Brown represents the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, and theoretically even if everyone in the constituency voted for him, he’d only get around 72,000 votes. But Gordon Brown couldn’t be Prime Minister if Labour didn’t have a majority: that majority is because more labour MPs were returned to Westminster. That majority is what enables him to “do what he wants”. That majority which was elected.

Our democracy may not be perfect: we have a huge unelected chamber filled with cronies of current and past governments; we have MPs who have played the expenses fiddle too long to be playing violins when they get caught; we have a situation where smaller parties (greens, UKIP, BNP etc are not represented in our parliament because of the first past the post system) — but where we do try a PR / party list type thing and UKIP, BNP and greens get elected as MEPs, people point at that system for being flawed also. It’s not perfect, but we do have a democracy. A flawed one, but no less a democracy for that.

Witness Major swept from office by a surge in public opinion against the Tories in 1997. Witness the same happening to Brown (for much the same reason*) in 2010. Witness Mugabe and Ahmadinejad hanging on to power because the results mysteriously going their way despite a perceived surge in public opinion against them. Compare … and contrast.

*yes, I know. It’s satire.

So the next time anyone suggests to me that their pathetic little problems and gripes that they are whinging about is “just like living in Iran” (or Zimbabwe, or whichever country is in the news), I’m going to try to resist the temptation to smash them over the head with the nearest thing to hand (as technically, that’s a little bit on the brutality side itself), I’m simply going to ask them whether they are prepared to move to Iran, or Zimbabwe, or whatever.

And of course, if it really is just like living there, they’ll presumably be quite happy to do so. Well, it’s either that or admit that they’ve been talking bollocks, isn’t it? Besides, it’s a little politer to gently point out that they are talking bollocks than to say what I really feel under these circumstances.

Shut your whinging face, you pathetic whining little turd. You have not got the slightest idea what you are talking about. Comparing your own petty and miniscule little complaints with serious abuses and torture — you are a know-nothing nauseatingly self-important little wankstain. A crapulous excuse for a human being. And if you don’t fuck off right now, I’ll stop sugar-coating it and tell you what I really think…

Ah, that’s better. Blogging can be somewhat cathartic, don’t you think?

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5 Comments to It’s just like living in…

  1. Gary Miller says:

    June 17th, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Feel better for that Jack? You’re absolutely right of course. I’ve heard variations on the theme up here in pubs. It usually comes from a member of what Billy Connolly used to call the ‘Volvo Brigade’.

    Here though, it’s not ‘It’s just like living in x’. We get, ‘We might as well be living in x’. Bunch of toe rags.

  2. paul canning says:

    June 17th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I can see it now … mass exodus of British refugees to Iran/Zimbabwe/wherever flee oppressive regime …

  3. Steve Whateley says:

    June 17th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Well said Jack! Too many people seem to think we are living under some form of oppressive society here. It is perfectly obvious that they don’t know what the word “Oppressive” means!!!

  4. Shannon says:

    June 17th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I had a similar experience the other week. A relative of mine who identifies with a certain minority group recently compared living in the States with living in Nazi Germany. Um… REALLY?? He got ripped apart by another relative of mine for that comparison but apparently he’s done this many times. When I found out I was furious for days. How insulting and belittling to the people who actually lived and died in Nazi Germany (and who continue to face real oppression throughout the world today). How disgusting to compare your little complaints and your privileged cushy life to what they went through. So yes, if he ever says that directly to me I may just quote your little speech there at the end of your post.

  5. Councillor Jack Brody says:

    June 18th, 2009 at 11:42 am

    That is all very well and good, but as I’ve pointed out in my blog this week, it’s a good thing that we’re not the same as those overseas, who have taken to the streets in protest to do something about their situation, as it just isn’t British! We’d mucg rather sit around in pubs (the ones that are still open, anyway) and whinge about things, rather than doing anything practical to improve them, and rightly so! What did that ever achieve, eh? Keep on whinging and supporting the status quo. As a matter of fact, I’m quite a big fan of Status Quo actually, and supported them when they played Rochdale Arena (well, I managed to wangle freebie tickets for the director’s box, but who wouldn’t?). We’re rockin’ the boat all over the world!

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