THIS MONTH WELCOMES THE ANNIVERSARY OF OUR LIBERATION FROM THE KINKY JACKBOOT OF NAZI GERMANY. TOGETHER WE CELEBRATE A TIME WHEN THE CHANNEL ISLANDS (AND INDEED ANY BIT OF EUROPE LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE OUT OF REACHING DISTANCE OF THE SOVIET UNION) WITNESSED THE DEFEAT OF FASCISM AND A VICTORY FOR THE FREE WORLD.
What’s questionable these days is whether people even properly appreciate that freedom, as the western world in general has got pretty comfortable with whining about the slightest impediment to our personal liberty. In the 30s we went to war against an enemy that imprisoned people for reading the wrong books, thinking the wrong thoughts or simply on the suspicion that they might do these things if given the chance. Today our free, mostly uncensored, internet is buzzing with the outraged whining of people who feel similarly oppressed – but in their case by speeding tickets, the price of a TV licence or getting in trouble for telling racist jokes in the supermarket. That’s not to say there aren’t still oppressed people, even in our liberal societies, but they probably aren’t fighting that oppression by organising a petition to pardon Jeremy Clarkson and bring back smoking in pubs. If you are having trouble working out whether you personally are oppressed, take this short quiz and we’ll tell you precisely how free you really are.
1. What would happen to you if you committed a serious crime?
A: It would be really, really lame. Although I’m not old enough to go to adult court my parents would ground me again. Fascists.
B: I might go to prison for a bit, but could expect leniency from the jury as we probably all went to the same school.
C: I’m not officially domiciled in Europe, so for anything short of mass murder my lawyers could hopefully arrange for me to be extradited back to some Caribbean island where I own the land the courthouse sits on.
D: Aside from shame at disappointing our leader, the remainder of my family would join me in this prison camp to break rocks with their teeth.
2. How much power does your boss have over your life?
A: Way too much. Last year he tried to make me work Glastonbury weekend. F*** you I won’t do what you tell me.
B: I occasionally have to let him win at golf, but I could always leave this firm and do the same job at one of our 50 competitors.
C: Hugo Boss? Not much, if they don’t do exactly what I want Armani would love the business.
D: My immediate supervisor is a prisoner too – he’s allowed to beat me but will also be shot if I fail to assemble enough smartphones.
3. How much money do you owe to the bank?
A: I’m not even allowed a monthly phone contract, but will be applying for a credit card the minute I hit 18.
B: Two mortgages, six credit cards, and the finance agreements on my BMW, kitchen, swimming pool, wife’s boobs and designer dog. If things go bad, they can take the dog first, then the boobs, then the car.
C: The bank owes me money – luckily the EU is helping them pay me back, or there’d be trouble.
D: I don’t understand what you mean by “money” or “bank”, but my children owe the prison rent for the plank I sleep on.
4. Do you have control of your daily routine?
A: No, my mum gets me out of bed if it’s past noon. Bitch.
B: No. Client meetings, my kids, wife and mistress have my diary booked out until 2017.
C: No, I’ve tried lobbying the markets to open earlier, but apparently there’s another equally rich man in China who wants them to open later instead.
D: I rise, collapse and use the toilet according to the whims of a deafening siren in our bunkhouse, but as long as I don’t stop work I get to choose how often I cry.
5. Have you done what your parents have expected of you?
A: No, because I hate them. I will have to wash Dad’s car on Sunday though or my allowance gets cut off.
B: Yes, right up to the point where I put them in a home and sold their house to buy a villa in Spain.
C: I fought my father in a duel to succeed him, first with corporate lawyers and then with a rapier on the deck of our largest yacht. Mother will never forgive me.
D: I have been a hardworking servant to our Leader, but every time I collapse from exhaustion 40 hours into a shift I feel the shame of my ancestors.
6. How much influence do you have over how your country is run?
A: None, I’m not voting in solidarity with Russell Brand, and as a protest against the opening hours of the skate park.
B: Not enough, as they keep passing laws which benefit other people.
C: When you go to the trouble of buying a country or two, you tend to have a fair amount of influence. Release the sharks!
D: I have as much influence on our nation as the lowly termite has upon the moon.
7. Does life seem fair to you?
A: No, I didn’t ask to be born.
B: Yes, I’ve been well rewarded for working hard. It has nothing to do with me being born a middle-class white man.
C: No, it seems unfair that my taxes pay for things I don’t really need, like public hospitals, roads and the United Nations.
D: Perhaps. I lay awake at night wondering exactly what I did in a previous life to deserve this.
What did you pick?
Mostly As: you’re a Jersey teenager. We hate to break it to you, but you’re a pampered little chihuahua whose only encounter with oppression is likely to come through owning a Bob Marley album at university.
Mostly Bs: you’re a wealthy middle- class Western adult, you’re one of the freest people who has ever lived, despite the Daily Mail’s best efforts to convince you that stormtroopers from the EU are coming to steal your Jaguar.
Mostly Cs: you’re a billionaire plutocrat. The only thing stopping you from doing exactly what you want is that tiny, withered voice that the rest of us call a conscience. Quick, drown it with another martini.
Mostly Ds: your name is prisoner #245- 6YH-C. Despite living in a forced labour camp, you maintain a positive disposition and a fierce love for turnips. Once you made friends with a beetle, before another prisoner ate it. Try not to get caught reading this magazine.
Mostly Es: You’re such a free spirit that you made up your own answers to the quiz. You probably live in a camper van and smell like quinoa.