I was lucky (well, I thought so!) enough to meet Tony Benn a few years ago, and couldn’t help but notice that he avoided getting into ideological debates with people – I suppose you can dance around fine points, but ultimately, on the big things, you have a certain view of the world and other people either share that view or they don’t. Its not really a popularity contest – you really have to be defined by a set of principles if you want people to take you seriously.
Yesterday, I saw that Billy Bragg had posted something on Facebook. Now, I obviously follow this guy, so I’m normally quite sympathetic to him. But, on this occasion, I thought he was wrong, so posted a comment saying why I thought this.
It was very interesting, as the replies started to flood in. At first, it was a case of clarifying why I thought what I did (including dealing with people who could only really offer that I was an idiot). So I did my best to explain myself. It all took a fair amount of time, though, so evertually I stopped following the post.
I happened to go back there this morning, and was quite plesantly surprised by the tone of the comments. While yesterday they were mostly full-frontal attacks, today they were generally a lot better thought out. Quite open questions, even some comments of support.There was even one woman, (I’m not sure that she was a supporter!), who said that at least my views were well-thought-out, “not like most people”. Er, that was a compliment………wasn’t it?