I don’t know if you will have formed any opinion of how brave I am as a person by reading this blog, but I have to tell you that I am a State Registered Coward. I am pretty much scared of everything. My boss says that being in a car with me driving makes him want to murder people – apparently I should drive faster or overtake more, but why? I don’t like the outside lane, I feel vulnerable, so why should I use it?
The list of things I’m scared of includes, but is not limited to, snow, ice, anything that slithers along the ground on its belly, wasps, overtaking, the dark (oh, you should have seen me at Brownies last night trying to pretend I was sane while leading 25 girls along a pitch dark corridor to clean their hands, cos someone had decided it would be a good idea to let them finger paint), the bit in the Sound of Music when Fraulein Maria goes back to the Abbey and virtually every episode of Doctor Who.
If you listened to these researchers, you would expect me to be David Cameron’s best friend instead of a peace loving hippie leftie liberal.
I don’t know that much about statistics and scientific research, but I do think that this research is a bit simplistic. True, I have seen evidence in my own circle of friends that psychologically vulnerable people can cling to narrower social parameters and be more intolerant of others.
The author of this research says that he wants to bring people together and promote greater understanding.
To me what he says is the essence of liberalism. My core instinct is to try to work out and understand where the other person is coming from, even if they are expressing views far from mine. Empathy promotes understanding. What I don’t accept is that views can’t change because of some psychological or physiological factor.
So, I won’t be asking people if they’re scaredy cats when I go around canvassing. I’ll listen to them and where they’re coming from.