I’m afraid I haven’t posted in a while. I have a reason, and I’m going to try to explain. Over the last year, and especially the beginning of 2017, I’ve become heavily interested in modern politics. I’m obsessed. Every spare moment I get is spent trawling the BBC for new articles, and when there’s none left, I have a look at the New York Times, the Guardian, the Cambridge University politics podcast, the Daily Mail, Breitbart News, Russia Today – and, of course, Twitter.
I love reading news over and over again from different perspectives, different biases. I love evaluating for myself the truth; or if not the truth, the truth I have decided to believe in.
The politics of today is (perhaps unwillingly) experiencing an explosion of aggressive, innovative change. Policies and governments that have been for the last decades centre-right and centre-left have rocketed out to the extremes, setting up camp as firm enemies; Left and Right. Are you on one side? Or the other?
To give an example; have a look at all the news outlets I mentioned above. Every single one can be categorised into a ’side’. At first, this made me a bit angry, because I think I thought that everyone had a universal right to unbiased, fair news. When I realised my mistake, it felt like I’ve been cheated out of something I never had in the first place.
I got over it, and, over time, started to revel in it. In fact, now I think about it, I’m wondering whether part of the reason I love politics is because of the way it’s being presented at the moment – for me, just reading the news feels like a challenge; an adventure all in itself. I feel like a detective; separating fact from fiction, conjecture from certainty; the emotional from the rational.
Anyway – back to why I haven’t posted recently. I have spent nearly all my time reading the news (and revising for upcoming GCSEs! – don’t worry, Mum 😂).
I’ve spent a lot of time and effort trying to expose myself to a range of viewpoints and opinions, even – no, especially – ones I disagree with. I’ve read the twitter page of the alt-right (for some, a name synonymous with ‘modern-day fascism’). I’ve also had a look at Momentum, a left-wing Jeremy Corbyn support group. I’ve read Marx’s Communist Manifesto (less current, but still important). I’m working towards understanding the motives and reasons behind everyone’s perspectives.
So where has this left me? Unable to write a coherent blog post on any of my views on politics. And trust me, I’ve tried!
The best detectives make no assumptions until the very end; spending most of their time collecting evidence, sealing it up in see-through plastic bags, and then evaluating its relative importance.
And I am, decidedly, still at the evidence-finding stage. It’s a lot harder than I expected it to be, and I absolutely love the challenge. I’m at a stage where I’ll look at an article purely to understand the writer’s motives, bias and viewpoint, and to sort out in my mind what I empathise with, and what I do not.
I know, unreservedly, that politics is going to be one of my life long infatuations. Just as we fall in love ’slowly… and then all at once’, so am I going to take it incrementally for the next few years. My sole aim at the moment is to read opinions I disagree with.
And maybe, in a few years’ time, I’ll have picked a side. Or maybe I’ll remain where I am at the moment, hovering between the two. Maybe lots of people are secretly feeling like that; wishing we could go back to the days when conscientious citizens didn’t have to make such a black-and-white, binary choice over which political party to support.
I always ask for ‘likes’ and comments (and very rarely get them!) but on this post especially, I would LOVE to hear your views. Do you know which side you’re on? If so, why? What makes you as certain as you are?