Monday, 6 February 2012
How many times do you hear the remark that, in spite of someone's political views, he/she is "very nice". Just as the Daily Mail is dedicated to categorising everything in the world into those things that either cause or cure cancer, so it seems we are all doomed to separate the sheep from the goats; the nice from the not so nice. If only it were that simple. When faced with the "but she's very nice" view of someone that you know full well holds political views that you find totaly abhorrent, I can usually do no better than some trite remark about some people having found Hitler "very nice". Leaving Hitler aside for a moment, the trouble is that as we go through life we meet many people who we find easy to be around in spite of serious political disagreements. Many years ago I was working on a coaster and the Irish Mate was a pretty decent bloke. Easy to work for, a good laugh and well up for a pint with the lads, us deck hands should have been grateful and we would have been had it not been for his political views. We could cope with the Irish republicanism but the man was also a keen supporter of the extreme right and claimed to have been a member of Colin Jordan's loathsome gang. Did I mention that the Second Engineer had fought with the International Brigade? Somehow we all had to live and work together and the Mate was "very nice".
Whether it's standing together against the boss, rubbing along with the neighbours or building a post revolutionary society we can't always choose to be around people with views very similar to our own. Sometimes "very nice" is as good as it gets.