Every so often I get tweets on my Twitter feed from what appear to be a group of rather unbalanced people accusing Tom, Dick and Harry of “controlling the mainstream media.”
I’ve never really paid much attention to those type of comments until today. Although we’re proud of the numbers, we have a relatively tiny blog here. But, commendably I think, we have a very proud policy that anyone who writes comments or contributes to the blog is welcome to do so from all angles and perspectives, providing the material is not defamatory or offensive.
So I would like to post such a comment please, because it’s too late for the owner of the blog to interfere with the publication of a piece by the Editor and his writers. Or should I not have interfered at all?
Let me explain.
From behind the scenes, I hope that I bring some political balance to this blog, because everyone else who writes for it is rather more left-leaning than me. For example, our editor has been to known to read The Guardian in the past and The Guardian has provided the Labour leadership with Seumas Milne who is so far to the left of me he’s almost full circle and far right. By contrast, my reading material consists intermittently of The Times and The Telegraph and, I admit it, the Daily Mail. So I don’t read The Guardian if I can help it but so far it hasn’t mattered one bit. I don’t know what John Bolch reads down there in deepest Kent but I will hazard a guess he is a Guardian reader too. Anyhow, I think we do a pretty good job from our respective perspectives commenting on social justice issues between us and usually we all agree albeit to differing degrees.
But on this occasion, the boys who write for this blog published a post based on a report in The Guardian last week, which in turn had discussed a press release from family law organisation Resolution. And because I don’t read The Guardian, I missed it. I missed the post on the blog. I apologise profusely for those omissions, because if I had, I think for once an executive decision would have been made by the owner of this blog to trash it.
Or would it? Would the Editor’s opinion have held firm?
I read the offending Guardian piece today on Brexit causing divorce for the first time when I saw it on Twitter and thought it was nonsense. But then a lot of what appears on Twitter is nonsense so nothing new there. But I did an absolute double take when I realised we had published it too. Why? Why? Just because it was in The Guardian… does that make it true? On the other hand, Resolution, a respectable organisation, did say what they said.
Oh Lordy Lordy.
Anyhow, being fully aware that I owe you readers a duty of care to be impartial, to be absolutely sure, I thought about it some more. Let me tell you where I’m coming from.
In real life I haven’t gone hysterical ordering a nuclear bunker for the back garden because the world is coming to end with the election of Donald Trump. Unlike all those professionals who are clearly far more intelligent people than me on Twitter, I actually don’t think the clear majority of US states who voted for Trump are peopled by misogynistic racists. Like me, I suspect they just weren’t keen on Hillary who promised even more of what President Obama offered, but to my mind, he has been playing far too much golf recently with too many celebrities. So they voted for change. And from over the Pond despite all the hysteria in the (mainly) left leaning British media I’m not expecting an apocalypse.
Now The Guardian and I did agree on voting Remain back when Brexit happened. But how long ago was that? Last century? Quite a lot of water has flowed under that bridge since we all woke to discover the polls were er..predictably..wrong.
Although I voted Remain, unlike The Guardian, I took the result fair and square on the chin and taking my own advice to clients, I got a life and dealt with it. No mighty attempts were made by me to reverse the decision for the good of the majority of the nation who again according to the clever folk on Twitter were clearly too thick to work it out for themselves and need the assistance of the strong arm of the law to give them a helping hand. Brexit has happened, as far as Im concerned, I’m one of those who actually does respect a democratic vote and as we’ve all had our vote, on we jolly well go. The Guardian, meanwhile even suggested that Leonard Cohen (in reality far more right wing than generally known) might have passed away because he couldn’t stomach Trump.
But ever mindful of the balance we exercise here, I thought about it for at least a minute more. And I still had the same opinion and tweeted this:
— Marilyn Stowe (@marilynstowe) November 14, 2016
Nigel Shepherd, a Manchester solicitor, chairs Resolution and acts as a spokesman on their behalf. He told The Guardian that Brexit is causing divorces.
“The difficulty of reconciling opposing political views may be the final straw … It was a really divisive campaign. It pushed some couples [over the edge]. It was the last straw that made them think ‘we are really incompatible’.”
So when I arrived in the office today, in the cause of ensuring balance, I sent an e-mail to every lawyer in the firm across the country. Perhaps someone, somewhere might have been consulted? Did anyone have a Brexit based divorce? I asked.
Back there came a resounding silence.
Although it’s too late to send an email written in my usual ladylike terms to the Editor along the lines of “What the hell have you published that for?” in the interests of balance, I’m grateful to the Editor for publishing my comments.
And as to divorce and Brexit, as I understand the late Queen Mum used to say when occasion arose “How very fascinating.”