Poles Apart: Political Polarisation
"Have you ever changed your mind? No, really, have you?"
This was the question posed by Alison Goldsworthy, as she asked the audience of her event 'Poles Apart: Policial Polarisation' in the St David's hotel, with the backdrop of a wet, dark clouded Cardiff Bay and the Senedd behind her.
The faces skewed; everyone thought hard about it, asking themselves, have I ever changed my mind? The backdrop of the conversation is based on Poles Apart; A thought-provoking book reviewing the tribal nature of politics, the hard stances that we all take and the defences we make of our fellow political thinkers and our leaders, no matter what is said of them.
She shared with us the experiences that she had faced and the courage it took for her to stand up against her own party, at a time before the 'me too' movement. She highlighted the inexcusable experiences forced upon her by a senior member of her own political party. No one should consider whether or not to raise such behaviour, but still, the victim weighs up the sense of party loyalty against the backdrop of what is right and wrong. Alison, unfortunately, experienced first-hand what it was like to live in a tribal political society, how a victim, no matter their experiences, will be demonised and ridiculed by the tribe she once called her own to defend their party from unsavoury accusations.
The discussion didn't grant all the answers as to how we fix the masculine, heterosexual, white male-orientated society that we live in today. Instead, it has shown a light on how we think, how our worlds that we believe are true and liberal may not always be. Alison highlighted that the audience had more women than men; for most attending, this highlighted a great triumph in diversity and libertarianism, but, when you took real note, there were no representations of Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities in the room. So can we truly call ourselves a liberal tribe? Why are we content with just one form of diversity? Is it because we do not experience the troubles faced by others?
Brexit, Black Lives Matter, and the pandemic have all split the public's views and exposed injustices and wrongs that people didn't realise for the first time. But have they really changed minds or solidified positions? Is there an aunt or uncle you now don't talk to because they have a different view on a divisive topic? Have you ever changed your mind on something that you now feel shameful for ever thinking that way, and would you admit to it afterwards?
The room was stunned, as they had never thought of politics in this way. Now, we welcome you to open your mind, to read the pages of Alison's book and challenge yourself with the same question, 'Have I ever changed my mind?'
The book Poles Apart can be purchased here.
For a bird's eye view.
Am olwg oddi uchod.
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