REV DAVID FAREY: Opinion is sometimes based on flimsy knowledge

Two news items over this last week cover the impact on millions of people. One is the seeming mash up of sending migrants who reach Greece back to Turkey. It seems to put unnecessary stress on families already stressed and traumatised with reports of Turkey being woefully unprepared and simply returning them to war torn Syria.

Friday, 8th April 2016, 5:00 pm
David Farey SUS-160113-102615001

The second story nearer to home is the chaos in the steel industry with the prospect of closure.

What is clear about both stories is the way that they represent colossal stress for those involved in them and that there are groups of people involved in dealing with these situations in trying to resolve them. It’s a thankless task, because whatever decision is taken someone somewhere is going to suffer as a result. Politicians and business people have to make decisions often far removed from the real hardships of those affected by those decisions, but hopefully they are at least informed decisions.

We all love to be able to express opinions. In our society the means are there through digital media and of course the press and television. That is what it means to be able to live in a free state. We are allowed to express opinions, provided they are not defamatory or insulting. What is often amazing though is the way that people are encouraged to express opinions on matters of which they know nothing whatsoever about.

If we take the migrant situation for example, there are many who argue that they should be ‘sent back’ and that many of them aren’t fleeing life threatening situations but are simply looking for a better life. The problem is that as far removed as we are from the events we simply do not have a clue. Even the papers and media can only ever report a fraction of what the true situation is. Opinions are therefore expressed on the basis of extremely flimsy knowledge.

The steel industry crisis is another scenario. Cheap imports threaten our industry and are crippling our home steelworks. But while everyone is out to protect the industry and shore it up one lone voice of a business expert declared that its time the industry was wound up and energy put into alternative employment instead. I seem to recall that similar battle lines were drawn for the coal industry and we should look at what history can teach us, but the decisions are for those who know the true situation!

Thank God that we have freedom to express our opinions but may each of us learn to put a guard over our mouths to prevent us from pontificating about matters of which we know next to nothing!