Once upon time, in the days before Robbie Williams had left Take That and when John Major was still calling the shots from Number 10, the only things that used to make me angry were when my sisters used my bike without authorisation or when I didn’t get the toy I oh so wanted for Christmas. As I got older I started to add more to the list, things like having to study Religious Education at school, and homework. Nowadays pretty much everything gets on my nerves. It’s uncontrollable. If I hear or read someone coming out with what I believe to be utter guff then my blood starts to boil through my eye sockets.
Over the past few years there have been several high-profile current affairs that have tested my last nerve; the raising of student fees in England-land for one. The fees needed to go up, the United Kingdom had – has – no money. Its all well and good crying and throwing eggs at Camilla Parker-Bowles but all you’re really doing is highlighting the fact that you don’t understand how the world works.
The British economy is also sore spot. Dave and George of Downing Street (and their little friend Nick) really don’t have too many options on the table when it comes to austerity. They inherited a treasury that contained a desk, a half-used biro and a mousetrap. And of course lots of receipts for things like Millennium Domes and Libyan petrol stations. The funny thing is that both Ed Millibrain and Ed Balls (no name tampering required) have openly said that their policies wouldn’t be that different to that of the Coalition. I know I’ll upset people of a Guardian disposition but the fact remains. Dole cheats, MP’s expenses, Footballers, the Trade Union Chiefs…these are all areas that keep me awake at night with rage as I struggle to sift through the sanctimonious hypocrisy.
This – somehow – brings me on to the UAE. The other week I read in the national media that a twitter campaign has been started aimed at getting women to dress respectably whilst out in public in the UAE. For those of you that aren’t aware, the UAE’s Islamic principles require women – and men – to dress modestly whilst out and about. Women are encouraged to cover their knees and shoulders. I agree. When in Rome and all that. The UAE is our host nation and we must follow the rules. I would expect the same anywhere. I was spooling through some of the reader’s comments on the article and some of the people babbling on about it made me put my fist through my lap-top. We get it, but seriously, it is a bit extreme to wish death upon the offenders. People really were taking it beyond seriously and all have harked claim that it is disrespectful to mankind. Ok it is in a manner of speaking, but where is the perspective? You flag that up but what about the other stuff that is going on under your noses?
So I wonder how many of these comment leavers have ever been to a labourer’s camp over here. Not many are my bet. I have. They are generally located 1-2 hours out of town, out of sight from us. The labourers will work 12-14 hour days and are ferried in un-air conditioned buses. They live with 5 other men in a 10x10ft windowless room and share a bathroom with 40 others. There is an over-riding stench of sewage in the air and the body odour is horrendous. There are more labourers here than anyone else, they make up 60% of the population. Without them there would be no Burj Khalifa, no Jumeriah Towers, no litter-free public spaces, no nothing. You feel guilty because you know that there is nothing you can do to help them.
So then, twitter campaign, let’s gather some perspective before we define what “disrespectful” actually means…