Most of us have a complex personal portfolio of beliefs (and prejudices) all our own

Fine article by Alice Thompson in The Times today about, among other things, the use of “Woke” as an insult . As with so many areas in our divided society we are daily assaulted with binary judgments and if we are perceived to be “for” or “against” something someone will abuse us. There is little room for nuance.

JK Rowling is a liberal, decent, talented woman who presents a perfectly coherent and balanced view of sex and gender. And yet because her view is nuanced rather than strident she is traduced by those for whom theirs is the only truth.

I suspect many of us do have legitimate but a bit dogmatic views on some subjects. “Legitimate” is a value judgment of course and a tad intolerant. In the public eye at the moment is the so-called “privatisation” of the NHS. This is a binary over-simplification. Healthcare is a classic public/private partnership and always has been – even under Bevan ! Getting the balance right between “in house” and “contracting out” is part of the task of managing the NHS. My excellent local hospital has a large boiler house run for it by a specialist company. Extremists argue because it’s NHS property and on NHS land it should be run only by NHS employees. This is nonsense, but the example can be extended to other areas including the clinical. Say this to a health Union and you get into trouble !

I describe myself as “Woke” on social media as a bit of a provocation. I do it because if you look at the dictionary definition of the word it is highly complimentary. That it has been adopted by the Right as a term of abuse is strange and rather puerile. But in reality reducing one’s beliefs to a single word is a nonsense. Most of us have a complex personal portfolio of beliefs (and prejudices) all our own. I suspect (hope) that there is nobody who quite believes everything that I do! Even if I found one he’d probably be an Arsenal supporter.

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