14 July 2009

Democracy Diners.

Great satire on our electoral system - hat-tip Mark Reckons.

[Scene opens on a restaurant]

WAITER: Yes sir, what can I get you?

CUSTOMER: Right, I would like a prawn salad, erm followed by, what sort of steak do you have?

WAITER: I’m sorry sir.

CUSTOMER: Sorry?

WAITER: Yes sir, I think you may have misunderstood how it works here at the Democracy Diner.

CUSTOMER: How it works?

WAITER: Yes sir.

CUSTOMER: So how does it work?

WAITER: Well sir we have a number of menus that we ask you to look at. [He pulls out several menus that are each clearly many metres long. Each one is on different coloured paper]

CUSTOMER: [Takes menus and starts to assess what is on them] I have to look through all of these? But there are thousands of items on each one.

WAITER: That’s right sir.

CUSTOMER: And I’m supposed to choose a meal from all of this?

WAITER: No sir.

CUSTOMER: No?

WAITER: Sir really doesn’t understand does sir?

CUSTOMER: [Starting to get annoyed] Understand what?

WAITER: OK sir. You have to choose every single meal that you would like for the next 5 years. From one of these menus.

CUSTOMER: Every single meal?

WAITER: Yes sir.

CUSTOMER: For the next 5 years?

WAITER: Yes sir.

CUSTOMER: What, even like supper and brunch and stuff?

WAITER: Yes sir. Every meal.

CUSTOMER: That’s crazy!

WAITER: That’s how we do it here at the Democracy Diner sir.

CUSTOMER: Hang on, so I have to choose the meals I want from each of these menus?

WAITER: No sir, you just choose one menu.

CUSTOMER: One?

WAITER: Yes sir. And then every single meal is predetermined from that menu for the next 5 years.

CUSTOMER: But what if I want some from one menu and some from another.

WAITER: You can’t do that sir I’m afraid.

CUSTOMER: [pause] So I have to go through each of these menus and decide which one I want to be everything that I eat for the next 5 years.

WAITER: Well not quite sir.

CUSTOMER: But you just said...

WAITER: I said you choose the menu but it won’t necessarily be the one that you get.

CUSTOMER: How do you mean?

WAITER: Well sir, everyone else in the Democracy Diner also gets to choose which menu they fancy and once everyone has chosen, we take the one with the most support and everybody gets the food from that menu for the next 5 years.

CUSTOMER: So there might not be any point in me choosing anyway?

WAITER: Well there could be if it was a close vote.

CUSTOMER: Is it likely to be a close vote?

WAITER: No. You are in a safe vegan seat here I am afraid sir.

CUSTOMER: But I like meat.

WAITER: I’m sorry sir. You can choose the carnivore menu if you like sir but I fear it would be a wasted choice. Carnivores can’t win here, have a look at this bar-chart [shows bar-chart with carnivores a poor third place].

CUSTOMER: So is there anything I can do about this.

WAITER: Not really sir. I suppose you could try to get other people to choose your carnivore menu but you would be unlikely to persuade many people. For many generations they have chosen vegan round here like I said.

CUSTOMER: Right, I’m not having this. I’m off! [starts to leave]

WAITER: That’s your choice of course sir but you will still be served the menu that wins the vote whether you like it for not.

CUSTOMER: [Sits back down] Is there no way we can change it so that there is some from one menu and perhaps some from another? Come on, be reasonable!

WAITER: We have thought about that but the thing is at the Democracy Diner, we like there to be a strong, decisive, clear menu so everyone knows what they are getting.

CUSTOMER: Even if lots of people don’t like or want it?

WAITER: Yes sir.

CUSTOMER: Right well I can see that there’s not really anything I can do about this. I suppose I’d better start going through the Vegan menu and get used to what I am going to be eating for the next 5 years.

WAITER: Well you could do that sir... [Pauses]

CUSTOMER: What. WHAT?

WAITER: Only, it’s not very likely that the meals will pan out exactly as it says there.

CUSTOMER: Why not?

WAITER: Well, your lunches and dinners will all be as it says there. That’s a commitment from us. But the more minor meals may end up changing. After all, we can't reasonably be expected to know right now what will be appropriate for you to eat in 4 or 5 years time right now. Can we sir?

CUSTOMER: But if things are going to change, why don’t I get a choice over how they change?

WAITER: Because we choose for you. Based on what you chose originally. Subject to changes.

[Customer looks agog]

WAITER: Would sir like a drink whilst he is waiting.

CUSTOMER: Yes, go on then. I’ll have a white wine... [sees Waiter shaking his head] What?

WAITER: No sir, I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that.

CUSTOMER: How does it work then?

WAITER: Well, we source our drinks from “Upper House Beverages”. So a panel of people including some whose ancestors were good at choosing drinks along with some other people who used to create menus have chosen the drinks you are allowed......

[Swannee whistle, Curtain]

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