Happy Thoughts and Inconvenient Truths

Happy Thoughts and Inconvenient Truths

20120107 Smiling Train Tray Clip 150x150 Happy Thoughts and Inconvenient Truths

Gideon sent in this picture taken on an international train in The Netherlands.  Look at its smile! It is happy!  And a happy new year to you too!  As we entered the new year, David Cameron tried to force a smile too.

In his New Year statement Cameron attempted to “big up” the UK in 2012 and force happiness against a backdrop of numerous murder stories in the last couple of weeks and, of course, more pending economic doom and gloom.  He attempted to make us feel positive by focusing on the opportunities ahead.  After all, 2012 is the year of the long-awaited Olympic Games in London.  Also, some old lady is celebrating some 60th anniversary or other… Was it the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s membership of the Bratwurst Appreciation Society or something?  I forget, but it’s another day off work, so what’s not to like?  It’s also a day of lost productivity in the UK.  But the state of the economy is an inconvenient truth and no-one wants to hear bad news.  Happy, happy, happy – be happy.  Get it?

Other interesting events this year’s calendar include the UEFA Euro 2012 (where we will see The Netherlands become European Champions) and the US Presidential Election.  On reflection there isn’t an awful lot on in the first half of the year, so it’s a great time for hibernation and pretty much feeling miserable if you’re that way inclined… No!  Be happy!

An Inconvenient Truth

All credit to David Cameron for trying to sound positive – the silly “posh white boy”, to quote Diane Abbott.  Ah yes, she made the news again this week over more racially charged comments, but this time on Twitter.  In case you managed to miss this item of non-news, she made a sweeping generalisation about white people and mentioned “colonialism”.  Whilst this was obviously a poor judgment on her part considering she is a Member of Parliament, I think it has been taken out of proportion and it was clearly meant to be read in context.

There is a broader truth that we in the West have for a long time oppressed people in the Far East, the Middle East, in Africa and so on and the error she made was in trying to condense that sentiment into 140 characters.  I get the impression this is just another inconvenient truth people don’t want to hear about and instead pick out one small detail.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no particular affinity for Ms Abbott; I am merely an observer, looking at (not watching) the show from a distance. 

Discrimination and Inequality

There are other forms of discrimination that ought to have everyone up in arms on a similar scale but don’t.  Here is an example written in the format of a Twitteresque soundbite:

Pay gap between men and women stood at 9.1% in November 2011” (61 Characters)

The Independent newspaper seemed to put a positive spin on that story at the time, saying that it was down from 10.1% in April.  But that’s still a large gap based on nothing but gender discrimination.

From racial discrimination, to gender discrimination to inequality: Here’s another one for you, from an article in The Guardian newspaper:

Top 10% have incomes 12 times greater than bottom 10%, up from eight times greater in 1985, thinktank’s study reveals.” (118 characters)

No mass media furore resulted.  It’s just another bit of bad news that we can’t do anything about, so let’s not talk about it.  An inconvenient truth. Happy, happy, happy thoughts… Right?

Now come clap your hands with me!

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