A puzzling and sometimes amusing feature of modern life are those occasions in which polling research into people’s views and attitudes appears to produce results which on the face of it are unexpected, counter-intuitive or odd.
Or, alternatively, perhaps even perfectly normal for that matter.
It is part of Rust folklore that when we began this venture we presumed little more than – firstly – that we would be offering a niche service to those beyond the first flush of youth and – secondly – that our revenues would come largely from advertisers keen on reaching that demographic – e.g. purveyors of age-related insurance products, assisted retirement properties, stairlifts, care homes, inheritance tax advice, wills, funeral parlours and manufacturers of hearing aids or wheelchairs.
We had no idea at all that we would develop into the massive conglomerate that today vies with Google, Facebook and Amazon for the title of the world’s most valuable commercial organisation and whose very name dominates the thoughts and utterances of every social media addict.
For today’s post I don’t want to venture too far into the realm of politics here for fear of getting bogged down in the antics of US President Trump, John Bercow and the prorogation of Parliament (or not) and, of course, the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas and her crackpot idea of setting up a cross-party, all-female ‘emergency Cabinet’ to stop a No-Deal Brexit which duly bit the dust as soon as it hit the airwaves by prompting a social media storm of ridicule because it wasn’t ‘woke’ [is that the right term?] enough, viz. it didn’t include any BAME or disabled women.
However, when – on the one hand – you’ve got swathes of redneck Republican supporters chanting “Build the wall!” (to stop Mexicans entering the USA illegally) and “Lock her up!” (apparently to side-line Hillary Clinton for being Hillary Clinton) at Trump’s rabble-rousing bidding … and – on the other – here in the UK you’ve got apparently sensible observers objecting to the medical profession pointing out that the vast proportion of overweight people effectively inflict obesity upon themselves by eating too much and not taking enough exercise, sometimes one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
However, to do no more than demonstrate the degree to which our lords and masters in the UK political elite have totally lost touch with reality, as my opening offering I give Rusters this – a link to the (I think right-wing leaning) political gossip website Guido Fawkes on which yesterday was published the results of the – LATEST YOUGOV SURVEY
For good or ill, one phenomenon that has the unerring capacity to irritate me from time to time is that of ‘positive action’ – i.e. measures designed (with all good intentions) to ensure that people of every origin and/or minority grouping are given chances, in the cause of ‘social mobility’, to advance themselves, not least in order to give their peers the impression that with ability, hard work and opportunity anybody can achieve anything – but which always smack of tokenism whenever they involve ‘lowering of standards’ and/or ‘quotas’ in whatever form these might be applied.
For me, when, for example, universities like Oxbridge feel compelled to lower their exam standards in order to increase diversity amongst their student bodies I begin to get uneasy, as I do when leading companies are encouraged to appoint women, disabled, ginger-haired people and whatever-else-have-you to their executive boards in order to demonstrate their ‘connection’ with the modern world.
There is an inevitable clash when the concept of meritocracy meets tokenism.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as opposed to dozy, half-wit, offspring of wealthy people being gifted comfortable career positions – merely because of who they are, or whom they know – as I am with putting disabled people in such positions just because they’re disabled.
However, the way things are going, it seems that these day the all-powerful ‘sense of entitlement’ trumps (and I use that verb advisedly) the idea that human beings should take responsibility for their own lives and that excellence and merit naturally does – and why should it not? – rise to the top.
It seems that the prevailing mood of (is it?) ‘wokeness’ has gained a momentum in the modern world that is practically unstoppable.
Here’s a link to a piece by Richard Marsden on the latest antics of the Advertising Standards Authority which makes my point for me, as appears today upon the website of the – DAILY MAIL