Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Unfashionable opinions


I'm going to say something controversial today. Several things, in fact. But am I the only person in the universe who watches the news or reads the 'papers or otherwise receives the message of the masses and is left thinking, 'am I the only one who thinks this is a load of xxxx?'

Perhaps I am: I don't mind if I'm in a minority of one. But in the interest of scientific objectivity (if only!) I'm going to throw the whole thing open this morning to a little empirical evaluation.

First, something close to my heart (or liver): sport and alcohol. There seems to be a sacred doctrine that the twain should ne'er meet, that alcohol and sport are the very worst of partners (think Peters and Lee but with attitude) but I beg to differ. Here's my (unfashionable) opinion: it's not the sport, or the booze - it's who is drinking it. Look at The Lords Test last week. Spectators not only permitted to bring their own booze into the ground (mostly champagne, admittedly) but to buy as much as their livers or bladders can accommodate without the slightest hint of crowd trouble, anti-social behaviour or any other kind of disorder. The same seems to be true at Twickenham, although it's a few years since I was last there so things may have changed. But I hope not. After all, you really need a drink to make watching many sports the least bit enjoyable, don't you?

Next, immigration. I may be in a minority of one (again) here but I have a sneaking admiration for people who up sticks, leaving friends and family hundreds of miles away in order to get a (usually low-paid, long hours and outdoors) job. And bringing your family to a foreign country for a chance to wave you off at six in the morning to work on the land all day can't be any easier. The fact is, they work. Well, most of them do anyway. There are some continental habits I don't entirely approve of, like drinking vodka in the park at eight o'clock in the morning and relieving oneself against the nearest tree. But you can't escape the fact that for the most part our EU partners work hard, take jobs that need doing and do them well in spite of the fact that there is (in some instances) a potential local labour force unwilling to do either.

And talking of things that don't work, may I add local 'democracy' to the list? I know the idea of elected mayors was comprehensively rejected at the plebiscite just recently but... how many turned up to vote? And how many of those who did were persuaded by the arguments of the existing politicians, keen on retaining a status quo that does them very nicely thank you in terms of expenses?

I could go on. But I'll spare you. Before I go, though, I'll just add the unfashionable opinion that it's madness of the Beeb to leave the iconic BBC Television Centre in West London. I know, renting studios in Salford because they're, like, 'in the north' and in private hands is a 'good idea' because private is good and public is bad and all that, but it seems rather like privatising the Houses of Parliament or making Her Maj rent a palace in Birmingham or something. A ridiculous idea.

This post isn't intended to be in any way political. For what it's worth, I'm the ultimate sitting-on-the-fence floating voter. I'm just flying a kite to see if what I regard as common sense is as uncommon as it sometimes seems to me, sitting at home shouting at the television. (What? You don't do that?)

The enemy, of course, is ideology - whether it's your party manifesto or union position or just inherited prejudice. We seem cursed with a system that means you're either 'for' them or 'against' them and everything 'they' stand for.

But I've never minded being different. I was in a minority of one in preferring this to all the bands my friends were raving about when I was at school...


Ah, Jethro Tull - about as unfashionable as my opinions. But darned good, for all that. (Tull, that is, not my opinions.)

Still, it'd be a dull old world if we all thought the same, as my nan used to say.

What are your unfashionable opinions?
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