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Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

8 March 2001
or Jamie's Guide to Why Democracy Doesn't Work

I think, of all the unlikely people, it was Iain Dowie who hit the nail on the head, in one of those Q&A articles in Supergoals on a Monday. One of the most acerebral of footballers, and a clear contender for ugliest British footballer ever (only recently surpassed by Luke Chadwick), saying something with which I agreed fully and unequivocally. Yes, I was dumbstruck too.

If memory serves, it came after a round of routine questions ('What's your most attractive feature?' - 'My eyes', 'What do you eat the day before a game?' - 'Chicken and pasta', all the usual shit). Then, in response to the query 'What do you hate most?' (to which Chris Bart-Williams had previously answered 'broccoli'), he gave an answer more lucid than any footballer before him - 'Ignorant people'.

It's not really that I hate stupid people per se. They can be great company, they tend to be good for a laugh, and if they're attractive, female and single as well, all the better. There's something refreshing about a conscious lack of intelligence and a knowledge of one's own boundaries (take me for example - physically, I may not be Johnny Depp, but I make up for it with my sparkling wit, sexual charisma and hilarious anecdotes). I just don't like it when ignoramuses try and talk about things they clearly don't understand.

It can be something as simple as people trying to talk about football. You can normally spot this type from the moment they start off the topic; they'll drop in those pedantic Americanisms like 'Arsenal is looking good for a Champion's League spot', or they'll say 'I fancy Manchester for the cup this year'. Look, if you don't like football, just say so. No one's impressed, ok?

Or think of the animal rights activists protesting outside Huntingdon Life Sciences, or one of the kitten prisons or breeding colonies. For a start, they should really be out working instead, but more importantly they don't seem to have a substantial argument for what they're doing, more of a conspiracy theory involving governments, monkeys and vivisection. Ask them if they've ever used any medicine, or whether they would like to see their children die slowly and painfully of some horrible disease, and they either clam up or claim that's not the issue and start their monkey chants again. Even better is when these groups (or even better still, the 'Pro-life' campaigners) decide that hypocrisy is the way forward and start on a bombing campaign against the perpetrators. Most of the time, they don't even see the funny side.

Well, you may say, so far, so harmless. Apart from the letter bombs. But the problem is, we give these people a say in the running of our country. Let's just look at an example of democracy in action, shall we?

Topical one, this. The Brit Awards, 26th of February, 2001: Best British Newcomer. Voted for by the general public. Quite an impressive range of musical styles represented here, with some undeniable talent on show. You'd be pretty pleased with the likes of Artful Dodger, Coldplay, JJ72, Badly Drawn Boy, even my secret half-brother Craig David coming to the fore. But leave the vote to the great unwashed, and what do you get? The Great White Hope of British Music is: A1, best known for their spectacular mauling of Take On Me (and named after their favourite road, no doubt). Would you have your government chosen by the same process?

Now, I'm not a fascist. Just because I don't believe that everyone has a right to vote, doesn't mean I don't believe that everyone has a chance of a right to vote. All you have to do is introduce a small test on election day to let people prove they're capable of thinking rationally, not just voting Tory because 'I don't want a bald Welsh git running the country' (1987, 1992) or Labour because 'The Sun says to, and D:Ream are great'. This would also eliminate the main obstruction to women's right to vote - the fact that (unless you're good at counting to 28) you're never quite sure what sort of mood they're in. Simple really: after the test, you could tell whether or not they're in a fit state to decide who should run the country.

So many problems would be solved. For one, democracy is by its very nature intolerant of minorities: if the matter of mass repatriation had been put to the general vote thirty-something years ago, what would our country look like now? That's why referendums are such a bad idea - you put elected politicians in power to make the difficult decisions for you. [To be quite honest, it would be so much easier to follow the blueprint of Brave New World and just give everyone happy pills the whole time. It irks me when people try to paint that book as some kind of nightmarish view of the future. Sounds fine to me.] Why do you think major cases are decided by a group of Law Lords and not a common jury? Who's going to make the better decision, five highly-trained, respected and educated judges or twelve people pulled off the streets? The same principles should apply to putting people in power.

But hey, sod it, it's not going to happen. And you can see why - if you were in charge, and you knew you could win re-election by offering a bribe of tax cuts, would you change the system? So pray for nature's own selection test, apathy, to do the job for you next time there's a vote on. Dissuade hormonal women from having their say. And keep your children away from those electrified flowers...


Previously on upsideclown


Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
13 October 2003. Jamie writes: The Persistence of Memory
22 September 2003. Jamie writes: The Email Eunuch
1 September 2003. Jamie writes: Credo
11 August 2003. Jamie writes: Brad and Jennifer and Me
21 July 2003. Jamie writes: Interruption
30 June 2003. Jamie writes: Do you remember the first time?
12 June 2003. Jamie writes: Forthcoming Attractions
19 May 2003. Jamie writes: Stupid Mistake
28 April 2003. Jamie writes: Hoping and Praying
7 April 2003. Jamie writes: Strangers on a Plane
17 March 2003. Jamie writes: Q&A
24 February 2003. Jamie writes: Altered States
3 February 2003. Jamie writes: How to say goodbye
13 January 2003. Jamie writes: In A League Of Their Own
23 December 2002. Jamie writes: What's in a name?
2 December 2002. Jamie writes: Lies, Damned Lies and Spastics
11 November 2002. Jamie writes: Memoirs of a Gaysian: A Preface
21 October 2002. Jamie writes: Love is blindness
30 September 2002. Jamie writes: Time for bed
9 September 2002. Jamie writes: Angry Exchanges Can Be Puzzling [10]
19 August 2002. Jamie writes: High Speed
29 July 2002. Jamie writes: Firkin Hell
8 July 2002. Jamie writes: Do you, er... haiku?
13 June 2002. Jamie writes: Unnatural Porn Thrillers
20 May 2002. Jamie writes: The Triumphant Return of the Septic Fiveskins
25 April 2002. Jamie writes: Meeting People is Easy
4 April 2002. Jamie writes: I Want I Want I Want
7 March 2002. Jamie writes: The Player of Games
11 February 2002. Jamie writes: Fat Man Walking
17 January 2002. Jamie writes: Passive/Aggressive
3 January 2002. Jamie writes: Love (classified)
29 November 2001. Jamie writes: A Lil' Nite Muzak
5 November 2001. Jamie writes: Natural born liar
11 October 2001. Jamie writes: All I need
17 September 2001. Jamie writes: Postcards From The Edge (of the pool)
23 August 2001. Jamie writes: Class act
30 July 2001. Jamie writes: Ritchie Neville is dead
5 July 2001. Jamie writes: A Letter from God
11 June 2001. Jamie writes: "If it's in French, it must be deep"
17 May 2001. Jamie writes: Reportage
23 April 2001. Jamie writes: Show me the Logos
29 March 2001. Jamie writes: Sobering Thoughts
8 March 2001. Jamie writes: Stupid, Stupid, Stupid
8 February 2001. Jamie writes: Spent
15 January 2001. Jamie writes: Full to the brim
21 December 2000. Jamie writes: fuck xmas
27 November 2000. Jamie writes: Eye Candy
2 November 2000. Jamie writes: World-wide-web?
9 October 2000. Jamie writes: Kids' stuff
14 September 2000. Jamie writes: Scatological Warfare
21 August 2000. Jamie writes: I can't stand up (for falling clowns)
10 July 2000. Jamie writes: The Etymology of Greatness

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