A long running in-joke between me and my best mate Mat, is in the midst of an argument you are obviously losing to shout ‘Well then!’ very loudly, as to pretend the others very valid point has backed up your losing point. The dealer of the ‘Well then!’ automatically wins on the basis of the sheer gall of refusing to accept loss. It’s probably not funny to anyone else, but it’s very funny to us. Mainly because usually, in day to day life, we can both accept it when we are proved wrong. Well I can. Mat is in slight denial due to constantly being wrong on everything.* This trope was invented when we are about 15 and even then we knew it was completely stupid.
Earlier today I posted a link to Ian Dunt’s excellent piece on the threat of UKIP to my Google+ profile. No one uses Google+ ever but I heard somewhere it makes articles go higher up in the search results so, hey, why not? Within minutes, someone who isn’t in my circles or whatever it is G+ has – I’ve never really paid attention – has no connection to me whatsoever, is suddenly accusing me of being in the ‘Loony Left’ with my wild accusations. I calmly sent him my reasons for disliking the party in question, commenting on the latest posters which are, in my opinion, xenophobic, to their promises of a flat tax rate that would ultimately cut taxes for the rich by 14% while meaning those earning less would pay much more**. I didn’t insult him. I merely explained why I disagreed. Without reading through any of what I sent him I was accused of ‘pathetic media hype’, and having lost the argument, before he then insulted my comedy career. A very complicated way of saying ‘Well then!’ without wanting to instead, sensibly deal with the arguments.
It scares me how common a response this is across the board. Prime Minister’s Question Time is just 30 minutes of Cameron blaming Labour for things the current government haven’t managed to put right. Miliband then blames the current government for areas he has no resolves for. Farage repeatedly responds to any attack with a martyr like plea that he is the victim of some sort of ‘left wing conspiracy’, no matter how right-wing the attacker.*** It is no longer political discussion, it is just who can shout the loudest. Sadly that seems to be what people notice now. In a world where a tweet is gone from your timeline in seconds, where news becomes more sensationalist everyday, where television is just about who puts on the biggest show and the brightest act, it feels like there is only room for those who can barge their way into your field of vision first. No wonder UKIP are doing well. They are everywhere. On television all the time, on radio and in papers. Every opposing view is hunted down and hounded out with detracting comments in an aggressive manner that has arisen only in these last few years. Professional trolling of sorts, combined with an ignorant stubbornness to even hear out anything else. Because they stand up for free speech, remember? This blog will no doubt get filled with comments from those fiercely googling their parties name.
It scares me. So many people feel disillusioned and don’t want to vote for anyone. Those who shout loudest definitely will vote though and I’m worried that will give them an easy majority. Yet I don’t know who to vote for to oppose them. I’m sick of the Conservatives, have no hope in Labour anymore, and the Lib Dems are a waste of time. Greens, probably. Though if I’m honest, I don’t know who our local candidate is, or exactly what they stand for. Or if there even is one. They just aren’t shouting loud enough. There is a stage trick, taught to me by the indomitable Stuart Goldsmith, where is a crowd is loud and raucous, rather than shout above them, you go quieter. By softening your voice, lowering your tone, people start to hone in and feel you have something worth listening to. It’s not fool proof, but it does seem to work a lot with adults and children. I hope it works in politics too. It might be a ‘loony lefty’ thing for me to think, but I don’t want the country lead by someone who just shouts over everyone else, without ever listening to others, trying to achieve a sensible well informed balance for all. Oh. You don’t agree? WELL THEN!
* I’m writing this mainly so I hope he reads this, feels angry and then we have an argument that I can finish with ‘Well then!’.
** This area of their policy has now mysteriously disappeared from the UKIP website and is replaced by simply a promise of ‘lower tax rates’ on their current local election manifesto with no further details.
*** Today Nick Robinson questioned Farage’s view that Europeans are coming to steal our jobs, when his German wife is employed as his secretary. Amazing hypocrisy, which was of course greeted with the old ‘BBC’s left wing bias’ by many UKIP supporters. Nick Robinson was the chairman of the Young Conservatives in 1986. Hm.
Please join my mailing list at www.tiernandouieb.co.uk. Hypocritically, I tend to be quite loud on stage. Come to one of my shows and see.