I firmly hold to the view that if more people based their judgements and actions on the realities of any situation instead of their perceptions of it, the world would be a better place. To quote Stevie Nicks, we should “Take on the situation not the torment”. Now that’s not to say that we shouldn’t try to see things from other people’s point of view. Obviously, we should. However, when their viewpoint is so at odds with actuality, we do occasionally, need to point that out. In addition, as a public speaker, I feel that language is crucial. This is all the more important when I see “so called” newspapers peddling distortions of the truth when they should be establishing and publicising the facts; along with some analysis. These distortions, of course, aimed at trying to influence opinion, often in support of their political viewpoint or current target. My own view has always been “Provide me with the facts and I can make up my own mind, thank you very much”. So, if we are to make informed decisions, we need to separate the perception from the reality and, in an effort to do this, I’ll start the discussion with a few examples that I’ve gleaned recently.
For a start I have, at last, realised that Spurs are not going to get their act together. There, I’ve said it so a few others among you can do the same by considering the following:
According to Ipsos MORI, a recent opinion poll showed that those surveyed thought that Muslims constituted 21% of the population. The actual figure is 5%.
According to The Guardian, there is about £10bn of unclaimed benefit but less than £2bn in benefit fraud; a figure that is less than 1% of total benefits expenditure. When did a tabloid report that on its front page instead of the sex life of some obscure “celebrity”?
A recent report by the UCL has stated that European migrants to the UK aren’t a drain on Britain’s finances but, actually, pay out more in taxes than they receive in benefits with a net contribution of £20bn between 2000 and 2011.
Lastly, many of those in receipt of benefits now have at least one person in the family actually working. They are, therefore, by definition not workshy scroungers. In fact, we, the taxpayers are subsiding their employers.
Unfortunately, we seem to be able to do little to prevent the tabloids from peddling their prejudices, so, perhaps we might do best to try to get the real picture from which to form our views. The world would, indeed, be a more enlightened place for it.