the other side of the argument

the other side

I’m finding the debate on the EU referendum a little tiresome.

The claims from each side, seem to get wilder and more outrageous. They become more fearsome too. Threat, despair, doom and gloom seems the order of the day.

In part it is the nature of ‘sides’. ‘Sides’ are the root of debate. The foundations of politics. An all or nothing mentality. I win, you lose. I’m right, you’re wrong.

It seems once you join a side, you have to defend the collective position of that ‘side’ against all the other ‘side’ might say.  Our party politics is riddled with this.  Somehow the concept of ‘side’ seems to rob these people of individual thought, ironically at the root of democracy, the very thing they seek to uphold.  Everything the ‘other side’ says is wrong. And everything I say has to support my side’s view, whether I truly believe it or not – even World War 3!  Everything.

“Really? Everything?”, is my response.

The power of ‘side’ is evident in this referendum debate.  Politicians on the same party ‘side’, are now on different ‘sides’. Colleagues once, now vitriolic opponents.

It seems to me to drive an extreme position which, for me, becomes less and less believable. Less real. I stop trusting them all. I stop wanting to listen to them all.

Surely in anything so significant and complex, there is grey? Some risks and some potential gains? Some good, some bad?  Why can these people not just provide a balanced perspective?

But ‘side’ is everywhere.

It permeates our gender, our ethnicity, our social status, our religious persuasions, our organisations, our families, our sport…

‘Side’ fuels blame, it creates blind spots, it reduces options, choices, potential. ‘Side’ underpins judgement. ‘Side’ erodes compassion, care, humanity. ‘Side’ creates gaps, divides. ‘Side’ is the bedfellow of anger and frustration. ‘Side’ is dangerous.

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