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Friday, 23 November 2012

My Exceedingly Unpopular Take On Weddingate Because The Clearly Outlined Point Will Be Ignored



Disclaimer: This is entirely based on how the situation appears to me on Twitter.

Well, I wasn’t going to weigh in on this blog-wise, but I’m tired of seeing the few who are speaking up for reason and a thoughtful approach being lambasted, and even subtly threatened with diminished future opportunities if they don’t start agreeing with the popular opinion. I sincerely wish people at the heart of the mob mind could step back and witness their own behaviour. Slowly, the “end justifies the means” is creeping in to their philosophy and will only escalate down the road as “ends” with even greater stakes will be justified with even greater “means”.

No one seems to like Joe Fontana. I’m sure someone must, but I’ve yet to hear anyone recently make such a bold claim.  Most of the people I know and associate with, respect and consider friends, share my concerns about his selfish, short-sighted “zero tax increase no matter the cost” stance, and his position at the head of the “Fontana 8” council voting bloc that consistently respects political allegiance above citizen concerns. Those are two solid reasons to wish the man away into oblivion.

Unfortunately, in the rush to make that wish come true, otherwise thoughtful and fair citizens are failing to see some glaring problems in their own position – not the least of which is because such circles of support with each other go round and round, bolstering each other’s confidence in their righteousness until any opposing viewpoint is simply incomprehensible and certainly not worthy of actual consideration.

But that’s a rather abstract notion. More concrete is that many of these people tilt to the left and would normally scrutinize the claims of the London Free Press, being a Sun Media publication. If Fontana was a mayor these people approved of, they would certainly be questioning every media allegation along the way.

Yet I see no one concerned that a Sun paper received anonymous information that led to the Conservative government pressing for charges against a former Liberal. Quite possibly there’s nothing to that, but surely some journalists would want to look into it (I'm sure Free Press journalists would agree), and some concerned citizens would be appreciative if they did. And if there was something to it, then it’s possible the Free Press was simply a pawn in the game and had no part in a Tory scheme. Not that I have any reason to believe that's the case. The point is, those who would otherwise wonder about such things, voice these concerns and put them front and centre, simply aren’t discussing it whatsoever. Why? Because it’s contrary to their great wish of seeing Fontana gone at any price -a worthwhile end justifying less than noble means.

As for the well known petition (created by someone I consider a friend) that’s been signed by, I think, less than one third of one percent of Londoners, no one says “consider all the facts and decide if you agree this is something you would like to sign”. No, it’s constant, urgent pleas to sign, sign, sign! Don’t think. We’ve already thought for you. Don’t question, just sign. Now. Here’s the convenient link.

Scores of people have expressed their deep disgust with Fontana for using public money to fund his son’s wedding. These people have undoubtedly signed, even though the most rational among the anti-Fontana mob occasionally remind them that he’s yet to be found guilty of anything. But there are a lot of those people who post how horrible he is for committing such a crime. I wonder how many have signed.

As well as those who believe the man is guilty until proven innocent, there are those with strictly political motives. They have no doubt all signed and done their best to coax others into signing as well. Then there are those with their own career goals who wish to show that they’re team players and have signed because it’s the prudent thing to do personally. I’m sure there is no shortage of that type. And, of course, as with any mob, there are those who are caught up in the enthusiasm and want to jump on the bandwagon simply because mobs have that exciting, contagious effect - simple human nature.

Of all those people in all those different groups, none of them are the ones the genuine petition supporters claim they want signing – they say they want people to sign it who believe the mayor should temporarily step aside due to the distracting nature of his situation (although the petition was created 3 or 4 weeks ago when the only distraction was by the ones claiming it was distracting).

My concern here is that those publicly exclaiming what the correct purpose for the petition is, are quite content to have its numbers bolstered by the uneducated and the self-serving, and to use those bloated, artificial numbers to help prove their argument, while retaining the innocent stance that it’s simply about avoiding distraction. That is entirely misleading and deceptive, and disillusioning - as these are the people who profess they want to end the political games. I don’t think most of them even realize they’re falling into the same devious routine as those they wish to replace. Shades of George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’. That's the nature of the beast, and I implore my friends to progress very carefully indeed.

The masses also claim that if Fontana’s innocent then he should have said so earlier, despite what his lawyer advised him, and what every lawyer would advise a client. They would all, apparently, tell their own lawyers that they’re wrong and would refuse to follow the sound legal advice they’re paying for. Why are these normally rational people making such preposterous statements as this? To suggest that a person under investigation who doesn’t proclaim his innocence publicly is likely guilty of something, is a huge slap in the face to the most sacred aspect of our legal system.

If they could step back, though I think most are too far down the hole for that now, they might ask themselves why they’re so deeply entrenched with many whom they are usually at odds with. I've witnessed some strange bedfellows in London, but this situation has created the strangest by far.

And also ask themselves why they let a newspaper that is, or should be, a major part of the story, set the framework for how the story should be told, and how it should unfold, and use that paper’s articles to support their stance. In any other case, they would find that ludicrous. But not this one time. Why?

Ask why, when after a month of the source of outrage for so many being that Fontana paid for a wedding with their money, they barely even noticed that the police are claiming no such thing. Yet that had no effect; the outrage continues unabated, along with the cries that the criminal must pay. Also ask why they’re willing to let those who have decided he’s guilty without conviction or due process help improve their numbers if they truly want to change the way the game is played.

Ask themselves, as well, if there’s just the most remote possibility they might be becoming the people they’re so terribly discontent with. If they screw themselves when they’re sleeping, will they be able to respect themselves in the morning? I like and respect some of them enough that I believe it’s still possible for them to ask themselves those questions. Some of them have been completely inspiring to me and I know they have the best of intentions, but if a personal equivalent of 'mission creep' began to effect me without my noticing, he who points it out to me in time is my true friend.

Is Fontana guilty? I don’t know. Should he step down? I don’t know. These very large questions are beside the point here.

Does the public mentality surrounding these matters concern and disturb me? Yes. Greatly so. 

That is the point of this post.

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