Another British General election is next week. (Really? Someone should have mentioned it in the media.) Last night there was a debate on the BBC between the relevant leaders of their parties, although the Tories and the SNP sent deputies, with consequent derision from the others.
As I said in a blog last year, if there is one thing I have learned from the last Election and the Referendum, it’s that you cannot air political views on Facebook or other websites without finding you are suddenly in a battle. Why people bother to do this is open to debate because all those posts advocating the qualities of this or that politician rarely change people’s minds but just breed resentment. These days everyone seems to have an opinion that’s right and use (anti) social media to promote it.
Now, I am no stranger to a frank exchange of views or sometimes giving a robust defence of my position but the amount of vitriol expunged from people liking opposing Parties is at times frightening. Last time, ‘Victors’ were crowing and ‘Losers’ feeling ill.
I suppose it is hard to see an opposite view and accept it. Some were accused of being ‘bad losers’. I always think that’s a bit strange as if you were a ‘good loser’ that would imply that you lost so often you were quite accomplished at it. What they mean is that some people are ungracious in defeat but that would depend on the nature of the defeat and the respect for the opponent, I assume.
If you were uncharitable you could think that people who are writing with a poison pen about you are using up precious moments of their life dwelling on yours.They will never get those moments back. Is that a comfort? Far be it from me to think that it is…..although I am sure I can reach it if I try.
It is so different than a face to face discussion. There is no compensatory twinkle in the eye, grimace or smile to soften the verbal blows. Although someone may say or write, ‘No offence’ after a statement, there is always an offence. In legal terms, there has usually been mens rea, or guilty intent. The barb has been thrown and often sunk deep in the psyche of the recipient. On newspaper websites, it seems the anonymity gives the ‘courage’ to be as hostile, foul-mouthed and bad mannered as anyone likes. Often you hear or see the expression, ‘It’s a free country and I can say what I want’. No, you can’t, not if it causes deep offence to another. Or, the other favourite is, ‘I know my rights.’ Do they really? If they do, they certainly don’t know their responsibilities, which usually appear absent.
Whatever the result will mean for you though, it is obvious we need opposition in politics. It is not good for one Party, whoever they are, in my opinion, to always rule unless inter alia they have these aims:
1) Have a desire to help the poorer people keep healthy, fed and sheltered, even at the expense of an elite small percentage that has everything and thinks they are superior because they have more money; and that if others haven’t any it is always their own fault.
2) A proper acceptance of Human Rights and not just the rights of rich corporations.
3) Make a real attempt at keeping our planet from dying through the excesses of our greed. Showing love for our fabulous environment that anyone can enjoy for free by just walking or being in it.
These are my ideals. If you don’t share them, why not? Surely the morality is unassailable? Yes, good housekeeping is important but not at the expense of people’s lives.
To anyone who feels that the Election did not go their way and feel they lost, remember the words of Marilyn von Savant – ‘Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.’
It is said that Time is a great healer. Let’s hope it’s a fast worker.