It seems that everyone has a voice now. It’s weird, I suppose, but the fact that I spout on here in the mistaken belief that someone out there might be interested on some level illustrates this quite well. However, I do have to go out of my way a little bit in order to do it. If I want to impose my political views or moral values on whoever the hell you are (and I do occasionally) then this is the vehicle that enables me to do that. A decade or more ago I would have had to build some sort of local following, maybe through libraries or meeting groups around the city or by being a trade union representative. It goes all the way back to bawling your head off while standing on a box on speakers’ corner. To become even more serious and to actually affect public opinion, I would have to become a councillor or a member of parliament.
It’s not really like that anymore though, is it? We have Facebook and Twitter. Everyone’s a bloody expert on every subject now and I’m not sure that it’s very healthy.
In the past (there was one, I remember it) you could spout nonsense in the pub and cause a row, but if you became abusive or physical, or both, then you would either be thrown out by the landlord and barred or be taken into the car park by a couple of blokes to have your head sorted. I’m not condoning violence in any way just drawing attention to the fact that there used to be consequences, unpleasant consequences. And if you went down that route then the general consensus would be along the lines of, ‘To be honest, he was asking for it.’ That doesn’t happen now though, does it? You can shout and bawl at people and threaten them with violence from the comfort of your own armchair (or padded cell) without fear of retribution. You don’t even need to construct a valid argument; you just have to shout and swear.
I’m trying not to get worked up over all this so here’s a picture of the moon that I took the other night. It was later to be eclipsed (by us) but I would have to have got out of bed at five thirty and I can barely do that at eight.
Anyway, I don’t have an answer to all of this nonsense. I used to steer clear of political discussions mainly because I never really felt confident enough to argue my beliefs. That’s one of the reasons I was so puzzled when we were all allowed a say on leaving the European Union. I am an instinctive remainer but, despite decades of reading and listening to the news and getting involved in politics on various levels, I knew that I was unqualified to make an informed decision. And yet we now have folks who have never even voted before, crying from the rooftops about how brilliant it will be when we crash out without a deal. Thank god none of us have access to the Hadron Collider! Then again, disappearing up our own black hole might very well be a solution to all our problems.
But now! What just happened? In an almost impossible to predict twist of plot, the extreme remainers and the extreme leavers are all celebrating the voting down of the prime minister’s agreement. You can barely move in parliament square for Union Flags and European Union Flags. All mixed together.
Political multiculturalism. If ever there was an analogy of political confusion then this must be it: polar opposite views waving flags thinking that this decision is a win for their particular side. You couldn’t make it up.
However, this is a rare moment of agreement. A rare moment of agreement between any two groups of people for a very long time. Maybe we should celebrate it. You don’t have to look hard on social media to see evidence of polarisation. A local building; a pop or rock group; a book; film; tv series, anything that is mentioned in passing by someone will quickly attract a counter post of, ‘Utter crap.’ or ‘Hate that.’ Everything is either brilliant or rubbish. We have lost the middle ground. I can’t remember the last time someone said, ‘Not really my cup of tea.’
When did that happen and who started it? Jonathan Coe, in his novel ‘Middle England’, cites the public trial by media suffered by Christopher Jeffries over the murder of Joanna Yates in 2010. It was certainly a shocking moment to see those headlines accusing him, based on nothing more than gossip and his appearance, and I can’t think of anything as extreme before that. However, there must have been. The British Press have always over-stepped the mark and have always sought to steer public opinion for political advantage. Call me a cynic but I always thought that was what the press was for.
I honestly don’t know what can be done about the level of intolerance (matched only by the level of ignorance). Question Time is no longer watchable as it’s become a mob-rules programme. As was said recently, it has more in common with Jeremy Kyle than it does with political debate. Cries of ‘We have to leave now!’ and ‘Why can’t we just walk away?’ show the true lack of basic knowledge in our population.
Of course, both demands could be met but those shouting for them would be the first to complain when the result of such a rash act inevitably hits their pocket or they have their terms and conditions at work removed. Senior Tories are already on record as saying that it is ‘too difficult to hire and fire’ and we know how they feel about worker’s rights. You can probably kiss goodbye to annual leave, sick leave and paternity leave as well.
Okay, those last three might be taking it a bit far but it certainly isn’t going to get easier.
I read an interesting article that claimed that the Fundamental Brexiters (with the emphasis on mental) such as Grease Mogg, Dee Dee Davies, Lima Fox and that blonde twat are actually un-patriotic. Quite the opposite of what they claim. And that’s because they actually hate Britain. Hate it. Or, more accurately, hate the Britain of today. They don’t like workers’ rights and young people and brown people at all. They don’t want innovation and clean air and renewable energy. Their ideal view of Britain is more Bleak House whereas the more liberal minded prefer an open house, mainly because it’s friendlier. It’s not hard to be nice, after all.
I wasn’t going to mention Brexit again – bugger.
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