In an effort to retreat somewhat from the frontline of bile, I will be attemtping to follow the following words of wisdom, stolen directly from the BBC’s website; that turbulent wen of vile, spittle-flecked communist ranting that poisons our world with grotesquely partisan fake news:
How to disagree better – eight tips
1) You don’t have to agree – disagreeing itself isn’t the problem, it’s how we do it.
2) Don’t aim for the middle ground – splitting the difference isn’t the answer when you fundamentally disagree.
3)How you talk is more important than what you talk about – “What matters is the dynamic that exists between us,” says couples counsellor Esther Perel.
4)Speak truthfully – to form meaningful relationships what’s needed is total honesty.
5)Listen intently and aim for empathy – it’s all about “a willingness to take in what the other person says,” says Esther Perel.
6) Dial down the rhetoric and rein in the insults – “No one in history has ever been insulted into agreement,” says Harvard professor Arthur Brooks.
7) Understand the difference between fact and opinion – opinions are perspectives to be tested against the evidence, not just weapons to be wielded against our opponents.
8) Go looking for conflict – Then “listen compassionately, give your point of view and express love,” says Arthur Brooks.
Douglas Alexander presents A Guide to Disagreeing Better on BBC Radio 4 at 20:00 on New Year’s Eve – it is available now as a Seriously podcast.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.