Friday 20 January 2017

Silence of the centrists kills decent debate

On a range of issues from immigration to abortion, voices from the extremes are drowning out the middle ground

Eoin O'Malley

Published 02/10/2016 | 02:30

Protest: The Repeal the Eighth Amendment march on Merrion Square, Dublin Photo: Gerry Mooney
Protest: The Repeal the Eighth Amendment march on Merrion Square, Dublin Photo: Gerry Mooney

Margaret Thatcher used to ask of her colleagues, "Is he one of us?" She separated people into two categories: those with her or those against her. Over time she reshaped her cabinet, and even the civil servants working for her, to ensure that she was only surrounded by people she considered 'sound'.

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Thatcher was certain of her mission and certain of her ideology. And whether you like it or not, it is undeniable that she delivered remarkable change to British society as a result.

But her certainty blinded her to criticisms, and it was her inability to compromise on the Poll Tax which caused her downfall. Certainty is the enemy of the truth. Certainty closes down debate. And there is nothing is more certain than a true believer.

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