Monthly Archives: June 2018

What is democracy?

There was a big protest this weekend. People jumping up and down again about how we need another referendum because the people who voted for Brexit were obviously mistaken and have all changed their minds (according to the people protesting) and therefore the country deserves to have another shot at voting. Something about ‘the People’s Vote’.

Now whether or not you voted remain or Brexit I have an issue with these protests. A massive one. If they succeed and we have to vote again, you have undermined the whole point of democracy.

You get to have a referendum. You do a bit of research. You vote. You don’t necessarily like the consequences of that vote but THAT is the idea behind the people have spoken. If you didn’t vote then you don’t get to complain. If you did vote and you didn’t do your research you don’t get to complain. If you did vote and you did your research but you didn’t campaign your whole neighbourhood to take up arms and follow you BEFORE the vote you don’t get to complain. You move on and try work out how to make the result work.

I come from a country where for years a large portion of the population was denied the vote. When it was finally given, it was a gift worth standing in the sun for hours to use. A lot of people don’t like the party currently in power but the expectation is that this is something that may pass and in the meanwhile, you make your vote count or you get out and emigrate. Our history and the history of our neighbours has taught us that a FAIR democracy is supposed to involve accepting the results of a properly run election (where noone has cheated – okay this can get debatable) even if you don’t like it. If you don’t like the results and you keep redoing the election/referendum/whatever, it is no longer a democracy. It’s just a bunch of people or a person being autocratic and forcing everyone down the path you want them to follow. Just keep trying again til I get the result I want why don’t I?

A few countries succeed like this – like Singapore, where to all intents and purposes, one party has still resulted in a successfully run state. But that is the exception not the rule. Generally speaking when you have one party – or the illusion of other parties but everyone has to vote for that one ruling party who are destined to win anyways, it is NOT a democracy and moreover NOT  a nice place to live. I don’t see all of you moving to North Korea.

I’m not saying I’m pro Brexit at all. I’m not saying I’m against either. What I am against is people taking away a fundamental right I thought I was accessing in living in England. The idea that my vote meant something the first time. And yes, maybe this is bigger than one political party winning for a few years then getting voted out. But that’s just more proof that you should think more carefully before you put your sticky fingers on the ballot page next time. A wake up call because so many people here are complacent about their vote. And whatever the result of that ballot, that you find a positive way to move forward from it once it’s over.

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Debatable eating

I’m watching this thing on BBC about how a celeb chef is fighting obesity in Britain. He was going on about how the major cereal companies don’t put a traffic light system onto their products like supermarkets here do to warn you if an unhealthy element is in high concentration in the food. Lots of the parents with him said they used the traffic lights. I made pfff pfff sounds in the background. I tried to use it once. I landed up substituting a traffic light that said high in sugars for a ‘healthy eating’ yogurt only to discover it was stuffed full of colourants and that funny taste in my mouth was artificial sweetener. The ‘better’ product was far worse than the original. I switched instead to a low fat natural yogurt and started adding my own fruit into the mix instead.

So I was in Holland and Barratts and looking for a snack or two. This is the ultimate in ‘health food store chain’. It is the perfect one stop for vitamin supplements, wholegrain wheatgerm and manuka honey. It is also the place a sales assistant once chased me down the aisle with the enthusiasm of a true evangelist that I should eat according to my blood group to be healthy. The assistant claimed the store had trained them for this. I’m highly dubious of that. It felt more like a hari krishna had got into a Baptist church and was looking for converts- I do not mean that sacrilegiously but the guy was seriously converted to this blood group thing. Personally I refuse to follow a system that says my blood cells dictate I can’t have steak or peas or something because I’m not an O positive or whatever.

The fact of the matter is I can’t really call H&B a ‘health food’ store either. Who’s kidding who? Raisins, which I believe some Americans call ‘natures goodness in a box’ – who puts them in a box for petes’ sake! – are full of sugar. Bombay snacks are full of salt and fat…

Basically everything in moderation. Unless like me you aren’t too sure where the off switch is.

 

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Filed under Fitness, Food, modern living, shopping

Gotta love a Yankee

I was standing outside the bus stop last weekend. It was unusually warm – proper summer. These northern hemisphere people do not adjust to this. Aside from wearing dodgy inappropriate clothing to try get as much vitamin D exposure as possible, tempers fray. Partly because of transport issues but I believe the heat plays a factor. They still walk as fast as they do when it’s cold to keep warm. Then they overheat and get grumpy. They don’t realise that in hot places people just move extra slow and think extra slow when it gets too hot to literally not get hot and bothered about stuff you can do nothing about – like weather.

Anyways. The bus was there but the driver wasn’t letting us on. If they do it’s an additional health and safety thing I believe because then he is effectively taking responsibility for you on his bus even if it’s not time for the bus to go anywhere yet. You could still fall off a stationary non-moving chair and nut yourself on the bar on the way down.

These Americans came up behind me. Americans are a funny sort. They can be giving, loving, generous, friendly, intelligent. They can also sometimes be incredibly obtuse and need a few months out of their native land if they are from some small hick town to understand how the rest of the world works.

This lot had one of them singing the first line of the cartoon Spiderman theme tune over and over and over again. Like that was not annoying. They then went into a full rant about why this bus driver had the nerve to not just open the bus up and get moving now that they had arrived and were ready to go (as if he was waiting for them). That, at the very least he should let them go inside the bus to wait. Which made no sense because they were, all three, able bodied and boarding early would save maybe 30 seconds if that for them to get in and it was like a hot tin can pressure cooker in the bus so why the bus driver was even in there I don’t know. (UK municipal buses are NOT airconditioned).

They were quite loud in their rude tirade about the bus driver being a horrible man. I am sure he could hear them and this purposefully made him delay letting us on even further, especially when the one girl commented that her app said the bus should be leaving now and it clearly was not.

They then leaned over and started to comment disparagingly on the fact that I was playing Candy Crush while waiting to board (yes, this is a guilty pleasure of mine when standing around). It then occurred to me they may not realise the bus driver could hear them. Maybe they also thought he couldn’t understand them. Whether because they thought American English was a whole different language to British English or because they thought he was a foreigner. Because the way they were talking about ME certainly alluded to the fact that they thought I was either deaf or unable to interpret what they were saying. Kind of like when South Africans are stupid enough to think that if you speak Afrikaans in London noone will understand you. Well, yes. Someone will. ALWAYS. And if not perfectly, enough to understand if you are insulting them.

I was so tempted to ask these three if this was the case. But then I thought, it’s too hot to waste energy on this. And honestly, I’d just annoy myself because anyone dense enough to think people in England can’t understand your English is certainly not going to understand when they are being told off.

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