Angry & Intolerant – A response from someone who knows me well

My recent posting regarding my own anger and intolerance over Brexit brought back this insightful response:-

Anger can be a useful tool if it can be directed, it can fuel difficult actions and hard campaigns. As long as you have control of it a little anger can take you a long way, sometimes further than you thought you could make it.

I don’t think Anger is an inherently bad thing, there are things that SHOULD make us angry. You are angry not because you got beaten but because you watched too many members of a generation who won’t be around to see the consequences of their vote to make life harder for their grandchildren, because you saw vulnerable people lied to and exploited, manipulated into voting for something that won’t benefit them in the least. In their case the anger they were entitled to feel at the neglect of the system got used by someone else, perhaps partly in fear of those people directing their anger towards the right targets and the people that had consistently failed to help them, or worse still failed to really try.

You are angry because there has been a backlash of hate, of racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, the list of rising hate crimes is too long to go on with. You are angry because a young woman trying to work for her community got savagely murdered in the streets.

You SHOULD be angry, we should ALL be angry, but anger is only useful if we direct it into purpose. This may be the biggest threat to our country, to the liberal values you and I both hold dear, in a very long time. It should be fought. Tolerating other people’s views doesn’t mean you stop fighting them when you think they’re wrong. It means you fight them in the right way, that you don’t stoop to name-calling, to slurs and intimidation. You treat them with the respect owed to all human beings while fighting against the effects of their views and trying to convince them they are wrong. That’s where anger starts to get in the way, you don’t change anyone’s views by shouting at them.

We need to remember that more important than politics, than economies, than anything, is our relationships with our fellow human beings. Events like this make us want to retreat to the safety of those that agree with us, make us want to get behind a barricade and throw projectiles at the enemy but that isn’t really going to help anybody. Martin Luther King quite rightly said “hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”.

We need to be careful about indulging in some feeling of moral superiority and feelings of blame, how we got here is important but how we move forward is even more so. All far easier to say than to do, but I grew up with a good example of all this so somehow, occasional shouting aside, I think you’ll do just fine.

Well, it seems like I could consider an apology to those I have insulted over the Brexit vote following this advice. But, I will have to sit on that for a while as the anger is still very strong and the full consequences of that vote are unknown. Put it this way, if my genuine fears about the future of the UK prove to be unfounded and that Brexit ‘visionaries’ were right in saying leaving the EU will be the making of the UK then maybe I will apologise. However, based on the evidence that I saw before the referendum and what I have seen since I still can’t understand why Brexiters pressed what I see as the self-destruct button. Yes, still very angry indeed!

Me angry and intollerant?

The other day a friend, whom I appreciate the advice of, said to me that they had noticed how angry some of my postings had become since the EU Referendum result. They went on to say words to the effect that my usual tolerance of views differing from mine own seemed to be a little lacking presently.

Well I suppose that’s a reasonable assessment of me. I don’t think I have ever felt so angry about an issue of public policy as I do about the EU Referendum result and yes I have become very intolerant of people who promote leaving the EU. With tolerance being a fundamental tenet of being a liberal am I becoming illiberal? Makes you think doesn’t it.

I don’t think I have ever feared for the future of our country as I do now, we seem to be fundamentally unstable economically and socially. Hate is on the rise, some elements of the press are completely out of self-control, our economy is in a real mess and our attitude to minorities and refugees is utterly frightening. I would say that in a short space of time we have become fearful, inward-looking, mean spirited and intolerant as Country and it is this sea change that has in turn made be angry and intolerant.

It is not the country I grew up in and I want my tolerant, welcoming Country back.

But the other thing my wise friend had to say was that they feared I was venting some of my anger at a section of society whom I perceived had voted in a way that made them look foolish, irresponsible etc. The point being made, I think, was that the people I was angry with had been manipulated over many, many years to the point where the propaganda against the EU, refugees, the poor etc. had become the truth to them.

This later point is interesting in that what was being suggested to me was that just because I try to take an analytical approach to most issues many people don’t. I actually get that and my posting of a few days ago about being lied to addressed this. It is available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/11/10/why-do-we-allow-ourselves-to-be-lied-to/

And the point of all this? Well I think the advice was stop shouting at folk who have been manipulated by the press, the wealthy and the powerful and try to convince them that hate and fear does not actually help society develop but instead corrupts it terribly. I wonder if I can rise to that challenge when the anger inside is so strong as we seemingly march towards becoming a fascist state?

Can’t promise I will not shout again as sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps me sane, but I do get that being a Liberal means I have to try to reach out to people who stand for things I really, really find distasteful.

Liverpool – Cameron & Anderson – the best of chums? – But surprisingly there is a Tory/Lab pact history on Merseyside

My recent posting where I talked about working with Labour councillor Steve Kermode to address some issues in Maghull provoked comment and I was pointed to the article below run by the Liverpool Echo. Does the Echo article confirm my view that politicians across the political divides can and should cooperate?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/cameron-praises-liverpool-mayor-fighting-8065021

In many ways this is an interesting article and I always look at such writing from the perspective of why was it written? What was the motivation behind it? Why did the politicians involved make such statements?

It may have been an attempt to embarrass Joe Anderson as you would think he would be uncomfortable being congratulated by a Tory Prime Minister.

Alternatively, it could of course havevbeen an attempt to massage Joe Anderson’s ego.

Joe Anderson – locally, like Cameron – nationally, is seemingly rather unpopular at present because of the Cunard Building fiasco, the selling off of green space in Liverpool and I am told the relationship between Anderson and some local journalists has become rather rocky in recent times.

Cameron, of course, wants his policy of elected City/Metro Mayors to be a success so he feels he has to back people like Joe Anderson no matter how much he dislikes their policies and record.

My own view is that Joe Anderson has sadly and inadvertently been highlighting the concerns that many of us hold about putting a great deal of power in the hands of one person. Maybe Cameron can see that too but his priority seems to be to impose elected City/Metro Mayors on all English Cities/City Regions no matter what.

So my answer to the question in the first paragraph of this posting is no, this Echo article does not confirm my view about the value of politicians cooperating. My working with Steve Kermode is I think a genuine attempt on both our parts to address a local matter jointly. Cameron and Joe Anderson are simply flung together in a rather uncomfortable way to promote elected City/Metro Mayors; Joe likes being one and seemingly carves such power over the whole of Merseyside, Cameron seemingly wants anyone to have such power.

We should all be highly sceptical of this Anderson/Cameron agenda as it is illiberal and yes I do include here the small minority of Liberals who have flirted with support for elected City/Metro Mayors.

But there is another odd and very much Merseyside angle to this matter. It is not so long ago when Labour relied very much on the Conservatives to keep them in power on Merseytravel (the transport authority for Merseyside). What’s more there was a failed attempt to run Sefton Council via a Conservative/Labour pact in 2008. It may only have lasted a couple of months but here on Merseyside Labour and Conservatives backing each other up is not new at all!