Jude Collins

Monday, 30 May 2011

Our political opponents: they're so damn CONFUSING...

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there is a difference between people and their politics. I don’t mean by that the obvious, that politics divides people. It can and it does. If I believe in capitalism and you believe in socialism, if I value union with Britain and you yearn for Irish ‘independence’ (I put that word in quotation marks for EU/IMF reasons), then naturally those differences will divide us. No, what I have in mind is the fact that if you can peer past someone’s politics, you often discover an interesting and different person from the one you had in your head.

I was reminded of this for the umpteenth time yesterday, when I found myself in the company of a person whose view of the political world is chalk to my cheese. We didn’t talk politics, or not directly, because you’re right, politics permeates everything to some degree. But by talking the way people might if they met on a train or in a pub, I soon discovered a human being surprisingly like myself, coping with or enjoying many of the same pains and pleasures.

George Bernard Shaw made this same point a lot more vividly, except I haven't his quotation to hand and am too lazy/busy to be bothered hunting for it. In essence he said that very often, you find that those who share your political thinking can be a pain in the arse, while those whose political thinking you firmly reject can often be people towards whom you instinctively warm.

In the words of a politician whom I really detest: it’s a funny old world.


  1. OK my inner pedant wins...there's an apostrophe and a 't' in 'haven't'....!

  2. Ha ha - well done Anon. Just spotted it myself. A typo, I swear it is...

  3. I have several friends here with whom I completely disagree politically. However there are many other things I like about them, so we remain friends. We agree to disagree and talk about other things, but it can be difficult. I must say though that I don't entirely agree with Mr. Shaw. I don't usually find people with whom I agree to be pains in the arse, but maybe that's just me.

  4. qcirish - I shouldn't have used that word (arse) - Shaw would never have used it. He meant the same thing, though...

  5. I've a very good friend who can talk the leg of a stool. When I'm saying something she profoundly disagrees with she just falls silent. It's a great arrangement. We never fight, never fall out, always know each other's no go areas. I recommend it.

  6. Anon - sounds like my wife...