Caught myself out!

You might have noticed that the last few weeks’ blogs have been longer, and covered thornier issues than running. This is partly because there is not always something topical which grabs my attention, but also because I like trying to understand these types of issues with sufficient depth to ensure that I have been challenged in my own prejudices and pre-conceived ideas. And this week, I caught myself in a huge set of assumptions.

I wrote the bare bones of a blog and then checked the facts. And the facts didn’t fit what I thought they would. The lens I was looking through was so warped that it took a while for the data to seep through and help me see the beam in my own eye. Don’t you just love mixed metaphors? That’s me trying to distract from the real issue here, which is not how to write English but the fact that I ignored checking the facts in preference for my own opinion.

Why did I do that? First, it was a practical issue. I was sitting on Portobello promenade writing it while LoLo was out sailing (for the first time). So I didn’t have proper access to the files I would need and was relying on memory and overall impression. As well as my prejudices. Second, because I was relying on the media portrayal of the facts to be accurate. We should be able to assume the facts are materially correct, should we not? But third – simply because I already thought I knew what the answer would be, the angle I wanted to take, the context in which I was seeing the case.

I am now going to allow myself another week to get to the bottom of the case I wanted to cover, which was the Malcolm Rifkind/Jack Straw case following an undercover media sting.

MR-JS report cover

Of very immediate interest to me is the extent to which my assumptions and prejudices (yes, I know I keep using those words) suddenly kicked in and I assumed there had to be some wrongdoing behind the allegations being made against the two politicians. Because we all know that you can’t trust politicians, don’t we? And that the only thing lacking is some evidence for what we all suspect. After all, wasn’t there that whole thing with their expenses and moat cleaning and what not? So there must be more if only we knew where to find it. Or if we had intrepid journalists rooting out the truth. Modern day Woodfords and Bernsteins.

So rather than write about what I already ‘knew’ to be true, I have spent more than a few hours so far wading through the official report and have started on the several hundred pages of evidence from all sides of the issue. And that, I am afraid, all takes time.

But really my lesson so far is that while I think I am reasonable and rational in how I approach serious issues, I can so easily find myself better unfairly unobjective and believing I already know the answer.

Must do better. I hope to do so next week when I try to do the subject justice.

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