I’m not good at making decisions. I have to think around every possible connotation – and even then, I’ll know I don’t know everything. My parents taught me not to take things at face value, to see other possibilities. And my science training taught me to question: if someone posits a possible explanation I will dissect it, looking for other possibilities.
In other words, I am scientist and poet, not a politician or a newspaper columnist. I ask questions, analyse answers.
I am a skeptic. It’s not the same as a cynic – though those who are neither confuse the two. I sit firmly on the fence on many things – and, believe me, it’s hard work, all that balancing in the winds of change.
Skeptics are a rare breed. They are, by definition, not pigeonholeable. They argue between themselves – and so they should. They are not a cosy club. Tim Minchin has a song about The Fence. Ben Goldacre and the other Infinite Monkeys also ask us to THINK about the world around us: advertising, political promises, bullshit in general.
When it comes to politics, I’m particularly ambivalent. I have ideals but the question is how to achieve them? If you sit on a fence watching two parties head off in opposite directions you’ll anticipate, knowing the world is round, that they’ll swap over somewhere in Australia and come back on opposite sides. Or, as in Orwell’s fable Animal Farm, “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
Which brings me to this blog by Michael Rosen. New Labour and the Tories: different ideologies? Perhaps. Same damaging effects on our children’s education, though.
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