Saturday, November 03, 2007

today : I kill a conversation

The other day I got into a political discussion with someone I didn't want to discuss politics with. I just wasn't in the mood and I knew this person enjoys testing himself against me each time we meet. Sometimes I enjoy it but generally it gets a bit macho and rather pointless. Although we occupy different parts of the political spectrum, I don't violently disagree with him in quite a few areas, but as I said, I wasn't in the mood.

Out of politeness, this time I went along with it for a bit. The topic quickly strayed towards immigration, and I shouldn't have worried about how to let the guy have his debate fun and then move along before I got bored. When I declared that immigration was the political topic that I was least bothered about and that the only reason it is shoved it the top of the political agenda is that it is yet another false enemy that deflects people away from noticing and worrying about the manipulation of power by international corporate interests, the conversation ground to a halt. I didn't even get to the bit where I point out the irony that a globalised economy needs freeflow of migrants in the same way it needs a free flow of goods and capital, yet they were playing on peoples' racist and xenophobic tendencies in order to scare people into chasing invisible ghosts.

The fact is that my adversary simply refused to believe that on a list of important issues from 1 to 10, immigration, on my list would be a firm number 10. It simply did not compute. The responses moved from 'How can you say that?' to 'I don't believe you believe that.' almost instantly. He could not accept that I am not worried about foreigners invading our nation, about people coming over here and using our health service, jobs and housing or any of the other issues that mindless knee-jerk racist xenophobes (...sorry, reasonable anti-immigration people) parrot out as their objection to immigrants. The conversation ended.

He didn't walk away sighing and shaking his head from side to side, but he may as well have done. Instead he looked up and addressed the room. His exit strategy was quintessentially British.
"Anyone for a drink?" he asked.

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