The other day I was cheating people out of their money over the phone, half asleep, half hungover - or possibly still drunk from the night before - and the oddest thing came on the television, in fact if I remember correctly, it actually interrupted whatever British drama series TV One was showing - Emmerdale, East Enders or something along that vein - with "Breaking News" - like it's an emergency or something, something that's going to change the trajectory of my day in an unimaginable way - I couldn't hear the reporter as the mute button was on but saw the text exclaiming 'Key Announces MMP Referendum' and went back to calling people about a four hundred dollar piece of plastic that's going to change their life - and in only three minutes!
The avid National supporter across from me yelled, 'about fucking time!' and I thought to myself, 'you realise it's only a vote don't you?' What followed was a comedy of errors on the National supporter's part as he made the mistake of talking politics to me. Now, normally if given half a chance to get on my soapbox and wax politics I would jump at the chance; however, being that I'm under a contract which actually states in no uncertain terms that, 'no employee should discuss politics, religion, and other controversial matters whilst working for... failure to do so will result in instant dismissal,' and so I bit my tongue, kept my head down and tried to go about my work but was asked if I liked MMP by the National supporter. I gave a non-committal answer and then was treated to an almost David Brent moment where the Nat supporter went about telling me everything that was wrong with MMP, everything that was wrong with Labour, why National was the only party he supported - ever since he began to understand politics - why taxes suck, why Maori's shouldn't be involved in the supercity, and to top it off, why Asians, Indians, Wogs - anyone not white was ripping him and the country off.
I held my tongue, then asked him to wait for my cigarette break and said that, "then I would be happy to explain my opinions on everything," to him, in words he could understand but he kept at me and so I decided to take my break early. What followed over a cigarette was your cliche' black versus white conversation where no-one would ever back down, no-one would show weakness and even the idea of admitting there was something we could agree on was unimaginable. I finished my smoke and walked upstairs saying, 'let's just get on with our day,' then went and sat at my desk. Five minutes later I was approached by the manager who said, 'we were listening to your conversation through the headset, you handled it well, I'm about to go and fire the fucker.'
And so five minutes later the National supporter was fired and asked to hand back his headset. The word schadenfreude sprang to mind as he left. After an hour or so I got reflective and wondered just how annoyed he'd be when he realised the referendum is two years or so away and the announcing of a referendum doesn't mean a win, it means um-ing and ah-ing, talking about it til you're blue in the face and don't care anymore, but people seem to think the vote is a formality and it's already a done deal, even when John Key himself said, "the country is in no mood to dump MMP." So... one has to beg the question if this is a waste of time that a National government would normally - as their ethos requires them to do - cut, or is this just Key placating the extreme edges of his support base with the hopes of grabbing some more supporters from Act when Act hits rock bottom?
Overall, people need to chill out, not be so premature in their ejaculations of victory when all a referendum is, is a nice exercise of democracy - and sometimes means keeping the status quo.