Tough Talk

Posted: October 7, 2010 in Current opinions

One disagreeable aspect of modern politics is the habit of inventing or utilising an existing phrase, and then repeating such a phrase often over a long period of time so it gives the impression that it is a fact that has always existed. One such phrase that I find to be uber-annoying is “tough decisions” in relation to potential cuts to the budget. The cuts themselves are not the issue I am contending here, but the idea that one would have to be “tough” in order to take a person’s livelihood from them. One particularly nasty feature here is that once someone has lost their job society is being encouraged to see them as a cheat or a “scrounger”.

My definition of a tough person would be one who would disregard their own suffering in order to relieve the suffering of another, or in the context of a sporting activity one who would be willing to undergo a more arduous training regime than a competitor in order to excel. I do not consider insensitivity to the suffering of others to be tough, whether this should manifest itself in areas such as politics, business, domestic violence or warfare.

The idea that the ability to reject people without emotion is an asset seems to have trickled from the business community into the mainstream in the last decade or so. Programmes such as The Apprentice or Dragon’s Den have seen the viewer invited to fantasise about a life spent exerting power over others whilst disregarding their feelings, and instil the idea that such insensitivity is the norm. The cruelty of such entertainment spectacles of Britain’s Got Talent or Over The Rainbow, where rejecting and upsetting children is accepted as part of a ritualised decision making process may be more traditional, but has never been more popular or been executed with such fervour. Whilst the above brain drainers may not be harmful in themselves, I believe they have contributed towards a climate whereby someone such as David Cameron can cast himself as the tough hero in what will be very difficult times for many, but is unlikely to affect the lifestyles of multi-millionaires such as himself.


Roll your sleeves up and rate for toughness...


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