Yeah, I know. Immigration. But I think I’m going to say something relatively novel, bear with me.
It’s funny how the Zeitgeist tide sways. Just a short while ago somebody posted a video of a big beardy man called Sean Whalen farting on about how the news is telling people what to think and that people are sheep and obeying blindly. This was in the wake of Cecil the lion and the recent wave of objections to the Confederate flag. This is what I wrote at the time:
He has the faintest glimmer of a germ of a point, but he’s got it so badly wrong. The news isn’t telling people what to think (at least not with these 2 examples), the news is *reacting* to what people are already thinking and jumping on the bandwagon.
There’s been a growing swell against hunting, and the fact that this particular lion had a *name* and was shot by a blamable American was just enough to reach the Tipping Point (as Malcolm Gladwell so eloquently and famously calls it). The news then has to report on it, which it gladly does because it’s good for ratings.
Similarly, the confederate flag has had a growing resistance – they made fun of it in the Dukes of Hazzard movie back in 2005! It’s inevitable that at some point in the future we won’t be using it any more because of its negative connotations, so at some point between the past and the future, there has to be a point at which it became an issue big enough to change the policy. How could it be any other way? It just happens that that point is now.
It is tempting to think that people are just trotting out what the news is saying this week (and there is probably a small element of that) but in actual fact the vast majority of people who are commenting *already held* these opinions. And whenever an opinion you already hold gets press, you share it, don’t you? It isn’t the *same* people who are jumping on every cause. It’s the people that believed in that particular cause already, capitalising on the fact that it’s getting some air-time this week.
I was actually planning a blog post on this very subject. It was an issue already in my head, you see, and now I’m voicing it because somebody else mentioned it That’s how the Point gets Tipped
And this is that blog post! I’m writing it now because it’s happening again. For years we’ve been watching the scum-rag Daily Mail bleating on about immigration, and lots of shouty people have voiced their objections to it. I think a lot of us for years have been silently wondering what all the fuss is about. It would be very easy to close the gates to stop immigrants coming in, and the government has been under immense pressure to do it. But it hasn’t. Why would that be? Surely it couldn’t be because the immigration is helping the country, could it? Well that would kind of make sense. The government has been resisting the pressure from the Daily Mail readers, for the good of the country and of the people involved. What other incentive could there be?
Now it’s all got a bit weird. The photos of the Syrian refugees have … well I was going to say “surfaced” but that seems insensitive…
Try again. The plight of the Syrian refugees has caught the public’s attention and so the media is all over it. So now all of a sudden it’s OK to voice the opinion that actually immigration is sensible and right and let’s get on with it. So now the Daily Vomit has changed its tack and everybody’s newsfeed is covered in sympathy for these guys. Hallelujah, finally some sense. It feels like that moment when you find out that actually quite a lot of people like salad cream in their sandwiches when you’d previously thought it was just you being weird. It feels like the world is on your side again. Like maybe the world is full of caring, smart people after all. You go, people of the world. Yay us.
Went a bit Oprah there for a moment. Sorry, it won’t happen again.
Anyway, it *seems* like the shouty people have done a U-turn and changed their opinion. But no, wait a minute. These are different shouty people. The individuals posting support for the refugees are not the same people who were posting UKIP support last year. They’re a whole different bunch. The anti-immigration lobby has all gone distinctly quiet, because they all know suddenly their opinion isn’t safe to voice any more. The *organisations* – the Daily Zitshit and so on – have changed their stance, but they’re just reflecting the tide of the people. The people are controlling the news, not the other way round.
And as for David Cameron. Well now he’s being blasted for not letting enough immigrants in! I mean, it’s hard to have sympathy for *any* politician, but I have to feel for the guy a little bit here. For his entire tenure his country has been telling him to stem immigration and he hasn’t done it because it isn’t in the country’s best interests. Now he’s getting flak for not allowing more immigrants in! “You should’ve ignored us before and done the exact opposite of what we were telling you to do! Don’t you know nuffink?! You heartless bastard!”
No wonder world leaders go grey.