What would you say if you had to praise your enemy?

Carla Solo, February 13, 2018(Photo Source: New Statesman)

Dear George Osborne,

I think you are self-righteous, arrogant, out-of-touch, inconsiderate, stubborn, annoying, oh wait, I have to praise you…

It is hard you know, but I do think as a society, we should practise this, if we want to become more democratic and tolerant of other people’s views.

Well from all of the Tories, I think you are among the most socially liberal. You voted for gay marriage, when you were an MP. You said we should become more of an inclusive and open society, regarding some of the immigration views shared by the leave campaign during the EU referendum – that’s why you accepted the job as editor of the Evening Standard, in the first place. You said you wanted to promote Britain as a multicultural society, something I agree with. In fact, Theresa May threw you out of the cabinet Government, because she didn’t think you were Conservative. I would agree with her on this one, socially you are liberal. When it comes to your economic views, you have more in common with the rest of the Tories, you are more of a neo-liberal. You chose ideological extreme cuts to reduce the size of the state, when you were Chancellor of the Exchequer, which I didn’t personally agree with, because I thought it had negative consequences for the most vulnerable in our society, but your social views appear more reasonable. Oh, and I agreed with you about remaining in the European Union, during the EU referendum, and despite many disagreements, I actually think you’re quite talented and much more open-minded than most of the Tories. We also support the same football team.

I think those are the nicest things I’ve ever said about a Tory.(Photo Source: Euractiv Agenda)

I invite other people to say nice things about their enemies… I think we are really becoming hateful as a society, especially when it comes to politics, and it’s getting quite toxic. We are not going to completely agree or completely disagree with a particular person on every single issue. Everyone is different, but we have some things in common too. Remember what Jo Cox said in her maiden speech, ‘We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than that which divides us.’ Watch Jo Cox’s Maiden Speech.

(Photo Source: Dear Homeland)

Here’s a mental exercise, people can try at home. Think of someone you dislike or disagree with… think of 3 things that you admire about them. There has to be a few things you like. Perhaps, they are polite, maybe even charismatic. At first, all of the things you dislike about them will probably pop into your head, it’s natural if you dislike that person, but if you think about it deeply enough, you will realise that everyone has some qualities, so you will be able to find a few things that you like about them. You can even write them a letter (no, you don’t have to send it to them, it’s just an exercise) and write about all of the things you admire about that person. You might even find that the list is longer than you originally expected. Try it, if you don’t believe me. It will help us to become more tolerant of others.

After all, I managed to find some nice things to say about George Osborne.

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