Saturday, 9 June 2012

Democracy. We really don't know how lucky we are!

We give out about the government. We lampoon the Prime Minister. We lampoon the Chancellor. We openly express our opinions of the establishment on and off line. We have Private Eye. We even have Rod Liddle.

Yet, it's a totally different story in other parts of the world.

Manal al-Sharif, lives in the wonderful 'democracy' that is Saudi Arabia. Where women are right up there in the pecking order. After men, camels, goats, iPhones and shopping malls. This brave lady had the temerity to defy the draconian rules of that country that forbids females to drive.

Now, while the disabled spaces at Saudi branches of Sainsbury's may consequently be free of 4x4 Riyadh tractors as a result, all parking spaces are the strict preserve of Saudi males. Who dress in House of Fraser bed linen and wear pound shop tea-towels on their heads.

Manal has been forced to cancel a trip to the United States to receive an award for her activism because, wait for it, of multiple death threats! For driving a car. For being a woman. For championing human rights.

What type of people are these that issue death threats to a woman because she champions a basic human right that should not even have to be questioned? All they do is show themselves up as the inhumane, barbaric, chauvinists they really are. Just one of the many reasons I wish they didn't have all that oil. Then they could genuinely inhabit the 15th Century as they seem to want to.

Then there's China. Fascinating country. Well and truly in the 21st Century as far as technology is concerned. But a little behind in the times as far as democracy is concerned - if you can describe positively Feudal as a little behind.

They are now tightening further the grip and restrictions they impose on the internet. The want internet service providers to comply with such things as real-name registrations, and apply full censorship of online discussion forums and microblogs.

The question asked by the real world, is, what exactly have the Chinese authorities got to hide, or are embarrassed of?

We already know that if it's made in the West, it's copied in China. We already know about the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, where according to official Chinese agencies, it was really all about testing the resilience of the human body to tanks. We know that Tenzin Gyatso, or, as he is better known, His Excellency the Dalia Lama and his wonderful people are persecuted beyond belief, even to death by the Chinese authorities. We even know that the iPhone is assembled there by hand for next to nothing, yet is sold in the West for the equivalent of £400.

But why? We all know the Chinese authorities are a bunch of half-baked Communists, with an average age of 93, who didn't invent sweet and sour chicken and who go for short walks on a very long wall. A wall that can be seen from space.

If we here in the UK call the Right Hon. Nick Clegg a plonker, everyone laughs (except poor Nick, and anyway, he seems a right proper bloke who, in the eyes of the public, just happens to hold the Government's official fall-guy job, following, as he does, the extremely hard act that was m'Lud Prescott).

On the other hand, if Chu Wang Soo (95 Acacia Street, Tianjin - first turn on the left after Kentucky Flied [!] Chicken) was to call Wu Bangguo (Congress Chairman) an illiterate, rural, Yangtze-wading, cheap, beer-swilling peasant, he'd have his hands, legs, and possibly his head chopped off and served to the piranhas.

So really, we just don't appreciate how lucky we are here in the UK.
Providing, of course, we don't publicly accuse some feckless, useless, overpaid footballer of sleeping with some stick-thin misery of a model who isn't his wife.

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