Sunday, 14 April 2013

A View From....

I think I have a bit of a reputation as a fencesitter.  And I am rather happy with this as an assessment of where I and my head are at, on many important matters.  
I know I'm at least a week too late to say anything that hasn't already been said about the death of Margaret Thatcher, but I am alright with that too. 
I was born in the 60s and grew up on a council estate, with an older brother and a working mum and dad.  I guess we represented a typical working class family.  Apart from knowing, but not understanding, my dad's support of the unions, I had no clue about how our country was organised and governed.  My political consciousness wasn't formed until I saw, heard and felt the vitriol with which Margaret Thatcher's rise to power was played out amongst my teenage peers and others around me.
Carried along with the widely accepted view, I too hated Margaret Thatcher and everything she and the Tories stood for.  Yes, everything. 
Now that I am older, there is something I am absolutely clear on.  There are always two sides to every story.  I believe it's pretty much impossible for one ideaology or viewpoint to be completely right and another completely wrong.  Since having the confidence to climb onto the fence, I believe I've become more tolerant, more accepting and more open to the views of others.  Opening my eyes, my ears, my heart and my brain to the possibility that there is merit in much that I dismissed in my youth, has been one of the best things I have ever done.  I now have more questions than answers, but I find questioning what I instinctively believed as a result of my upbringing to be liberating. 

I admire some of what makes people believe passionately in one cause over another.  But what if some of what the other side is saying is actually quite sensible? 
I knew there was a reason I felt nothing but sadness at the passing of an elderly, frail woman who had stood for what she believed in and defended her beliefs admirably - whether I agreed with her or not. 
To quote the wonderful Louis from Admiral Fallow - "the courage to turn your back on the way you were raised."
I'm glad I'm a fencesitter - you can see everything from up here.

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