The Metro opinion page has been playing “Who’s got the best opinion?” again. Which is always a laugh for me because literally everyone that plays it comes across like an idiot. For those unaware “Who’s got the best opinion?” is a game the Metro plays on their opinion pages where one day they randomly introduce a subject right the fuck out of nowhere and take the most vehement and objectionable opinions they can find baiting the other side to yell back at them tomorrow and printing the resulting bitch war over a series of several days.
Its called “Who’s got the best opinion?” because…they’re not opinions. Its a disputed fact that people base their opinion on because of one random example they can think of. Like say “Is it difficult to claim benefits in the UK?” you’ll think either yes or no but that’s not an opinion, its either a fact or it isn’t. So one day people present their opinion validated by one example, or not even that in a lot of cases, next day people present the opposite side validated by one example, next day the previous people call them stupid faces, then the next day the other side responds, you get the idea. But neither say anything concrete or conclusive, its just some vague musings by people with only the basest understanding of what they’re talking about which means fuck all in the long run, passing the baton back and forth to see who wins.
This time it was about train drivers’ salaries. This debate’s been brought on since the tube strike a couple of months back and the death of Bob Crow (personal nomination for best person ever, rest in peace) and the looming potential for further travel disruption. This game was always gonna happen and seriously fellow commuters: you aren’t exactly helping yourselves by saying some of this stuff, it only makes a strike more likely when it makes it firmly clear you have no respect for the guy driving you to work. You don’t call the designated driver a thick twat, first rule of being a passenger.
I know this may seem weird I’m taking the other side of the argument. As I’m generally known to bitch about train travel a fair bit, but I don’t blame the people doing the job they’re told to do with shit equipment. And I feel a certain kinship with people whose career sees them doing menial repetitive tasks for prolonged periods of time.
The main thing that got me about the opening shot in this bitch war was the guy saying the main reason train fares are so high is the drivers are the ones that are overpaid ruling out more funds for anything else…………okay, I know its not exactly the grown up thing to go in response to that: “EUEUUU!!! DUMMY!!! BIBLDYBIBLDYBIBLDYBOO!!! DO YOU WANT ME TO BUY YOU SOME PLAYDOUGH?!?!?” but I feel it wholly appropriate in this instance. Rail companies are private businesses now, they have to turn a profit and have a service that has its users hostage because they’ve got no other choice of transport…and yet for some reason the drivers are the ones doing the hostage holding because they feel they should see some of that insane profit margin….yeah I wouldn’t trust any of the people in charge of it to not decide to thinly disguise lining their pockets with unjustifiable fare hikes and their bonuses and no guarantee of improved service, why would you fall so heavily for that one unless you seriously need primary re-schooling? Yeah, this is what we call “naive capitalism” here, we don’t blame the boss we blame the workers.
Another interesting thing about the opening shot is this thing about a main beef with train travel:
Now, I’d all but forgotten about this by the end of the day but as I was on my way home going from Kentish Town to St. Pancras on Friday, we came to a red signal. And the driver, God salute this man said this over the tannoy (I am paraphrasing slightly):
“I apologise passengers, we are being held at a red signal. But of course according to Mr Jonathan Bright if he’s on this train, that’s no excuse is it? Of course if he’s ever held a driving licence in his life he would know you can’t exactly go when you see a big red light in front of you or you might kill somebody. So I apologise for the dog eating my homework. We’ll be on the move shortly”
….I seriously wanted to stand up and applaud that man. Because…well yeah its a highly valid point, the driver’s not exactly who you should be directing your fury at, is he?
Then the train drivers responded next day.
I felt they all had valid points but all it really amounted to was more people winging about how “theirs is harder than everyone else!” which is a difficult thing to do without coming across like a whiny teenager. I do see the point about the possibility of hitting someone though and is a main reason I would never want to be a train driver. Thing is though, no matter how justified you feel, if you ever talk about how your job is stressful, which of course it is, everyone feels stress in different ways and all jobs are….weeeell then we get people being self important dicks moaning about how you should count your blessings in an monumentally insulting way when guys, they just stood up for themselves when people slung their insults at them when its their bosses they should be blaming. These guys are just doing what they’re told. Cause then things got slightly nastier:
…you think being a train driver’s bad? Try being a nurse or a care worker! Yeah I get it alright, so does everyone, nurses and care workers are hideously underpaid, but no one was saying train drivers have it worse than nurses ya fucking idiots. The response rail workers gave was about misdirected aggro and being seen as responsible for the dicks in charge of the company, where the fuck are you bringing this unrelated subject from? Because someone said “my life’s not exactly brilliant” so everyone can now have a good old moan and lock themselves in their room listening to Linkin Park going “My life is so unfair!”
I expect tomorrow someone’s gonna write in “You think being a nurse is tough? Try being a CEO of a tax dodging corporation, my harem of prostitutes won’t see to themselves, they’re just so needy” ………….okay yes that was uncalled for but it was sort of called for because of the ultimate point I’m trying to make here: if you’ve never been in the position you’re criticising, your opinion’s just as improvable as that of the person in that position. These are not opinions, its a bitch war based on nothing and its ultimately pointless.
And you’re buying into it guys! The paper has two pages to fill here, you’re being used as a tool to fill that space here goading you into a formless unopinion. I guarantee you they go looking for shit like this to fill this page and make shit up to tempt these opinions out of you and prod the ensuing argument with a stick. I bet they have templates that look like this:
So yeah: in short: this “Who’s Got the Best opinion” is a crappy game, stick with something more fun. Like chess.
…you think I’m joking but I’m actually being serious, that’s how much of a fucking slog these pages are.