“If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.”

“If you don’t like it, go somewhere else.”

This response to an argument is far too common. I’ve seen recently it when complaining about the monarchy and the Olympics, as well as on lots of other occasions. However, that phrase is loaded with assumptions, privilege and intolerance.

I object to the monarchy. I don’t want the head of state to be a hereditary position – they should be democratically elected to represent the people. The head of state is meant to act as a control to keep the government in check. The queen theoretically has the power to veto legislation, to select the prime minister, and a few other things but she cannot do so because it would be politically impossible. Therefore the queen is useless as head of state and is basically only good for ceremony. I think it is wrong to define royalty as somehow better than everyone else and to call people subjects instead of free citizens. I certainly hate the celebration of the jubilee, all deference and nationalistic flag-waving and spending millions on extravagance at a time when the cost of even food and shelter is being denied to so many because of austerity.

The reason that I have presented this argument, however, is that you don’t have to agree with the views I have just expressed. We have basic human rights which are stated within the European Convention on Human Rights as a right to freedom of expression (Article 10) and a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. (Article 9.) In a democracy people may vote to select a representative or a policy based on the views that they hold. Unfortunately I can’t vote to abolish the monarchy because MPs have sworn loyalty to the queen and cannot introduce such legislation. I can, however, express my dislike for this situation.

There are many injustices that I would like to fight and the monarchy is a long way down the list. The jubilee has made it rather hard to ignore recently though, and when people express their dislike of the queen a very common response is to be told to live somewhere else. The problem is, I can’t, and I shouldn’t have to anyway.

I am chronically sick. Physically and mentally I would find it extremely difficult to cope with moving house across borders although there are ways around that if I had money. If I moved I would be separated from my support network and would require even more state support. My illness forces me to rely on income from benefits because I am unable to work and as a result it’s not just a case of paying to renew my passport and buy a ticket to another country; once there I need food, shelter, clothing, medicine and all the other things necessary to live. Unfortunately we live in a world of closed borders, of xenophobic people and of language barriers. It is hard enough to move to another country to work, but next to impossible to move to another country to live on welfare. (For what it’s worth, I once left the UK for six months, but was forced to return to find work.)

Even if I could leave, though, why should I have to? This is the place of my birth, the place where people share the same language and cultural references. This is where my family and friends are. I do not forfeit the right to those connections just because I dislike the government and the monarchy, and I certainly do not forfeit the right to complain about those things just because I am too sick to work. (See: Ungrateful.)

Freedom of expression and of thought means that we have to share with people who hold views that we don’t like. We can oppose those views, we can express our opposition, and sometimes views run over into threats which the law addresses, but we must not demand that people leave just because we disagree with them.

 

You deserve it

We’re losing big chunks of our welfare system, aided by constant scrounger rhetoric from the press. We have outsourced the decision about whether people are sick or not to Atos. The NHS is being privatised while the Tories constantly tell us that it isn’t. Local authorities are being told to outsource pretty much everything to private companies. We have long been losing our freedom with TPIMs (Formerly Control Orders) allowing people to be locked up without trial, security theatre making travel and events hell, police deciding that protesting or speaking out is terrorism, police routinely kettle and hit protesters, and governments making a grab to spy on all our communications and censor them. We hand over police duties to private security firms. We hand over billions of pounds to banks, doubling the country’s national debt while they continue to gamble away the money, pay themselves huge bonuses and land the country in crippling, deadly recession. Companies do everything that they can to avoid paying tax and threaten governments when anyone tries to clampdown. In fact the Conservatives receive half of their funding from business in the City of London. Employers continue to pay pathetic wages that no one can live on and yet still fire more employees and increase the workload on those who are left. It seems that racism and xenophobia are everywhere,  people continue to discriminate based on skin colour, gender, sexuality, disability and religion or lack of religion and who knows what else – they just hate everything different to them. People are being sent to work, unpaid, in Tesco and Poundland, while the government pays the employers to exploit these people and the employers sack the paid workers to make way for the slaves. Our prime minister wants to scrap the Human Rights Act because it stops him from being so nasty to everyone.

You deserve it. All of you. You let it happen. We let it happen. Maybe it should happen and people should suffer for their inaction and their hatred, except that the worst offenders really won’t suffer. They will just buy or oppress their way out of any situation. Fuck it, nuke the human race, it doesn’t deserve to be here.

 

Avoid aria.co.uk – or write off your warranty

Over the past fifteen years I have bought quite a few computer parts. I used to buy a lot of them from Aria PC Technology. In fact, I bought all the parts of my current PC and my previous PC there.  My business now spends thousands of pounds per year on replacement parts for the computers that we fix. You won’t find me buying them from Aria though, and here is why.

They might as well not provide a warranty.

The main activity of my business is repairing computers. From time to time people want to purchase a computer from us, and I explain that quite honestly, I can’t compete on price, and if I did manage to, we couldn’t afford the warranty obligations. Well I suppose not honouring the warranty is one way to keep the price low.

Note: the rest of this rant is mostly here to make me feel better. Feel free to skip it. Continue reading “Avoid aria.co.uk – or write off your warranty”