I’ve been lucky. My professional and personal lives bring me into contact with a vast array of people.
I work in the boardroom advising chairmen and chief executives. While, at the totally opposite end of the spectrum, I walk into a boxing gym twice a week – you try doing that with any pretentious side, closed views or intolerance of other people’s opinions and you’ll soon be put in your place.
I have friends who are lawyers and carpenters, scientists and firemen (yes, I know I’m supposed to say “firefighters” but that’s a topic for another day), accountants and professional boxers, actors and electricians.
And I’ll tell you one thing for starters. Never has the establishment, political village, chattering classes and media (not all but much of it) ever been so out of touch with the mood of a country.
We have hugely important issues of inclusion, diversity and tolerance that have become so politicised and hijacked by the “rent-a-gobs” (anyone else sick to the back teeth of “columnists”) that they do the exact opposite of what was presumably intended – they spread division rather than building bridges.
We have an increasingly cancerous – and depressing – trait among many that the views they hold are the only ones that matter and woe betide anyone who dare disagree. And God forbid that these individuals should ever, for a minute, think and speak from a grey middle ground – they’re incapable because “black and white” is all their brains are now equipped to comprehend.
We have politicians, representatives of the establishment and a media (again, not all of it) who are increasingly talking to themselves while the majority of us either roll our eyes or have switched-off entirely. And that cannot be either a good or healthy thing in a democracy.
What does this all mean? Well, based on the extremely wide range of people with whom I come into contact the messages are universal age across age, demographic and profession.
I hear the same comments on an almost daily basis. From “Why are some people so incapable of taking responsibility for themselves” to “We appear to have a media who’d like nothing more than for the country to be back in lockdown and for this government to fail” (although quite who benefits from that one is a mystery), and from “You can’t say anything these days for fear of offending someone” to “I’ve switched off the news; it’s the same depressing, negative, point-scoring stuff all the time.”
Interesting that those with the least to say when it comes to being enlightened, inclusive and informative are invariably, these days, the most blinkered, least tolerant, effortlessly divisive – and the loudest! It’s just a shame they’re afforded such negative and destructive platforms.