I’ll admit it, I don’t really understand politics, like some voyeur I’m following from a distance, watching the likes of Andrew Marr trying to get a clear answer from a relatively normal question. But there’s clearly a set of unspoken rules laid out, meaning that a preference for tea or coffee must be answered with “I see benefits in both, and in fact all hot drinks have their merit”, for fear that stating tea may be either too British, or should you change your mind in the future and later choose coffee, this will be held against you as someone who has had the audacity to change their mind.
I often wonder what the point is of Question Time, for the questions are rarely answered. With each in turn trying to get out their pre-prepared sound bites, fulfilling their party’s agenda for the day. It’s a world where you can hint, suggest, imply, mislead, and the latest addition, misspeak. So long as you’re not caught out right lying, you’re generally safe. To understand the rules, you must swear your undying allegiance to a party, and work your way up the ranks desperately trying not to unsettle the apple cart until you’re established enough to hold your own opinion.
No thanks, it’s not for me. But in all areas of life we have our own unspoken rules. A true West Ham supporter would be exiled for eternity should they ever recognise even the tiniest achievement of Spurs, and god forbid a true Scotsman not wearing a kilt to a wedding, no matter how many generations have lived in England. But just because I don’t get the rules, doesn’t mean I can’t respect them. Yes maybe I’m naïve, but I genuinely believe that those who choose to go into politics, no matter what the views, as a whole do so to try to make things better. They may well have very different opinions on how to do this. Those leaning to the right believing less centralised control will free up people’s true potential allowing them to thrive, whilst those left leaning are adamant that more state control is needed as for them this will make things fairer. But ultimately they both see the outcome as making things better, even if their methodology is as dissimilar as Jo Brand and Joe Wicks’ dietary habits.
In this island, and every other, there are groups of people who are unhappy and lazy. Too lazy to try and help society improve, they choose an easier option and find a group of people to vilify and blame for their ills. Of course, we can all be a bit tribal, we all want to belong, but there’s a difference when you want others to suffer just because of who they are. The far right and far left, as we’ve foolishly elected to call them, are almost identical. The far right may choose groups by race to hate, whilst the far left hate by class or economic beliefs, but they have far more in common with each other than their directional name sakes.
For some reason, which I can never fathom, we lump these groups in with people who want to improve our lot. We’ve created a linear spectrum of far left to left, to right to far right, which not only suggests a gargantuan chasm of opinion between the two extremes (when in fact they’re very interchangeable) and it also suggests a closeness between those on the moderate sides with the extremes. That line going from left to right doesn’t work, we need something different, something where the two extremes meet, something like a circle.
Why not use a clock face? Those people in the middle holding the view that state control and personal freedom to do as you please could sit at six o’clock. Those who lean towards less state control, they can sit between the six o’clock and progressively move towards nine o’clock. Those advocating more state control sit between six o’clock and three o’clock. And for those who have given up on trying to improve things and blame everyone else instead? Well, let them take the nine o’clock to twelve o’clock spots, and three o’clock to twelve o’clock spots depending on how extreme their views are.
The more extreme they are in their views the closer they become to each over, no longer to the left or right, but closer and closer to the top of the clock. All the way till they become aligned at 12 o’clock. And what should we call those with those views at 12 o’clock? Cuckoos. Seems like a perfectly fair title to me.