Sunday, 29 March 2015

Is public debate dead?

Hello everyone, I apologise in advance (once again) for this rather lengthy and specific rant I may be about to embark on however I feel a few of you will probably have experienced something similar to this in the past or perhaps you deal with things like this on a daily basis (dear lord I hope not!) but I'd like to share something that made me really angry, disheartened me a little bit and generally ticked me off surrounding a local issue and public debate (which after this encounter I can assure you is well and truly dead!) Don't worry I'm not going to go into excruciating detail about this particular encounter but it really did get me thinking about the way in which we, as a public, interact with one another when we come up against conflicting ideas, opinions and general newsy type information that is flung our way on a day to day basis.

For me this revelation really started with Scotland's independence campaign, living in Scotland the divide between the Yes and No camps was far more obvious than people outwith the country but my issue really began with the campaign strategies. I think and I just found the way in which Yes and No debates were hosted and managed was a disgrace, inside the political parties and outwith. Now, no, I am no politician, but in my opinion the way in which our current politicians do conduct themselves is a bit crazy, normalizing name calling on television, dirty fighting in campaigns and debates only creates the impression that yes, this is how professional debate is supposed to go - how is this any different from 'plebgate'?

My own experience of course was quite small, I commented on an article online for one of the local newspapers and was swiftly bombarded with abuse, vile comments and general rudeness, which needless to say I was flabbergasted at. Is this democratic public debate? I don't think so. How can we be expected for our views to be heard and our opinions to be taken seriously, if we can't even have a mature discussion about important issues within our community. Just to put this into a bit of perspective I demonstrated my support for a local build and stated it would give people a place to go as opposed to loitering in the streets, the response from one woman was to call me a German stereotype dating back to WWII.... yes I'm afraid that is the extent of public debate I have witnessed.

Needless to say this entire experience has put me off of getting involved in 'public debate' and specifically local 'public debate' for a good long while at least until there are some sort of guidelines, screening process or at least something put in place to ensure a real debate, specific to genuine, valid opinions about the topic at hand without cyber bullying, name calling and rudeness can take place, do you see that happening any time soon? Nope nor do I.

Has something like this ever happened to you that sparked a political revelation? I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and experiences (keep it clean!) be sure to share them in the comments below, come share them with me on Twitter or of course if you'd like to keep up with the latest Granite City Girl posts you can follow me on Bloglovin.

Until next time folks, having a clean and rational debate with myself.

H.Elizabeth x 

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