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Cracks Between Allies: Fighting a Common Enemy

Cracks Between Allies: Fighting a Common Enemy
August 20
10:00 2019

MICHAEL J BLAIR
Perthshire, Scotland

As someone who uses social media on a more than regular basis, I have noticed several interesting changes in how people interact with each other, in the absence of a common foe.

We all like to be in the company of like minded people. We feel safe, knowing that there will be agreement on most subjects, and common ground will be the order of the day.

As long as we can focus on the one subject which brought us together in the first place, all will be well.

But what happens when we eliminate the common enemy?

For example, people who are against the idea of Scottish independence have had an enemy in the form of the SNP pro independence supporters and vice versa. There is something close to comforting in knowing this enemy isn’t going to change their minds, and will therefore still be there when one wakes up in the morning.

This comfort is mirrored by the independence movement and its supporters. Knowing one’s enemy keeps life on an even keel.

This is especially important on social media. Twitter and Facebook are important to the back and forth insults hurled from the safety of keyboard.

If the insults become too harsh or personal, we have the ability to block or mute our abusers.

This keeps us all feeling safer and therefore comfortable.

But I have noticed recently that the mutual blocking and muting of the enemy has left people with far fewer people to debate with on the various offshoots of the independence argument.

The main point here is that in the absence of the enemy, we all begin to see our allies in a different way. We soon realise that we aren’t all singing from the same hymn sheet when our natural opposition has been silenced.

This makes us more likely to see our allies as possibly having a different life view than our own.

This is quite disconcerting for us, and we see some statements from people we agreed with on the broad issues of the argument, being more harsh than we might have imagined they were capable of being.

This has also been noted on the pro independence side as well. Now that the number of people shouting “No” have been silenced by technology, the same tendency is being felt by the SNP supporters.

Internal differences are showing up more clearly.

Both sides of the great independence divide are made up from many different parts of the political spectrum. So when we don’t have the same interaction with the enemy, these differences become much more obvious.

This vacuum has to be filled with something.

We see the same kind of thing when communities get together to protest against an unpopular road being built or vast tracts of beautiful countryside being destroyed by some insane project.

Natural enemies will come together to fight a common enemy. Only when they have either defeated the project or have been beaten by it, will the natural order be restored.

Old grievances will be resurrected and a degree of comfort will be returned to the community.

Humans are, and always will be, their own worst enemy.

If only we could harness the power and energy which allows us to band together to fight a common enemy, and use it to make the most of the planet upon which we live.

Realising that our common enemy are politicians who, hand in glove with multinational corporations, are deliberately dividing us in order to exploit the rapidly diminishing resources of our world, is the first step to stopping these parasites in their tracks.

Michael J Blair contributes political analysis to DDA, and he can be reached at: michaelblair43@googlemail.com. His Twitter handle is: @mmjblair
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