I've been listening to an unhealthy amount of radio phone ins. Against my will I might add, due to an undemocratic workplace policy of tuning into the same radio station every day. The playlist loops each day until I can hardly distinguish the music from the relentless hum of computer cooling fans and clicking hard drives. It’s like when you forgot to bring CDs with you on that long road trip holiday you went on, and ended up re-listening to the same album over and over again until you felt repulsed by the very notion of music itself, let alone that particular album which you never really liked anyway.

At around 12 o’clock the hum from the tiny speaker is turned into a groan as the British public vent their misplaced angry opinions on whatever the news stories of the day happen to be. The consensus is that we all have a right to an opinion. This is, of course, is sometimes almost true. The thing is, opinion seems to be a byword for views based on a lack of facts, or even a basic, pre-school level of understanding.

As an example, a lady today drew the startling conclusion that the chaotic nature of a night time evacuation of that capsized cruise liner the size of a small city, was down to the inability of people these days to queue properly. This opinion may have held water (too soon?), but her tone and general smugness negated any possible value in her words.

the whole point of tax, to take money from the population and distribute it to where it is needed most. Otherwise it’s just people buying things for themselves

Another man was confused as to why his taxes were being spent on things which he himself did not use. Which, I couldn’t help explaining to the poor sod who sits next to me who has to endure my daily moaning about people moaning, is the whole point of tax, to take money from the population and distribute it to where it is needed most. Otherwise it’s just people buying things for themselves, which sounds good, unless you are disabled, a new mother, poor or otherwise indisposed. Though the implementation the taxation system is often clumsy, bias and often hostage to the whims of a handful of people, I still think tax and it's ability to provide the NHS and the welfare state to name just two, is still one of our greatest achievements as people.

I think it’s the tone of the callers on these shows, a tone of righteous indignation in the voice of nearly every contributor. Don’t get me wrong, I think their right to an opinion is paramount, and also their right to share it. But you get the feeling the right to opinion has been taken to mean that an opinion is always right, like a “customer knows best” backlash of the reactionary and bafflingly misinformed. How much damage is really caused by opinions based on factually incorrect information being aired on respectable media forums?
It's a sign of a working and free democracy I know. But that doesn’t make it any less of a pollutant to my already polluted, tinnitus ridden ears.




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