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View from the street: Not so humble opinion

Balance

Rochelle Blakeman

Rochelle Blakeman

Associate

With bottled-up anger boiling over in China at President Xi’s ultra-strict covid policies, protests have erupted across the country’s major cities. With such demonstrations not seen in the mainland for over thirty years, this phenomenon is one to watch closely and a major test for the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

Economists have expressed cautionary optimism that global inflation may have reached its peak, a trend that may be a relief to everyone, especially banks and consumers.

And in a world where there appears to be no shortage of opinions on any given topic, Kyle Macintyre reflects on why we might need a bit more perspective regards our strongly held positions – in his view, of course!


Kyle Macintyre

Senior client manager 

We all have too many opinions, in my opinion.

Hear me out. Opinions are certainly not in short order. A quick scroll through Twitter will have you believe that everybody in the world has a strongly held, almost entrenched, opinion on every minutia of life…and heaven forbid you believe something differently. If so, you are to be chastised, ridiculed, something to be scoffed at.

But what actually is wrong with not having an opinion on something? Indeed, I was taught it was an intelligent position to take if you were to say “I don’t know enough about [insert topic] therefore, I don’t have an opinion on that.”

I admit, this hasn’t always been my stance. Age and experience have provided me with a slightly more sophisticated point of view when it comes to opinions.

“You don’t hate anybody, or anything” my Mum would quip at me any time I gave her my strongly held opinion on anything from how disgusting macaroni cheese tastes, having to do my paper round in the rain to how annoying one of my siblings were being at any given time. The truth is as a child I had quite a lot of opinions and enjoyed expressing them with nauseating frequency.

As I’ve matured, I’ve gained some perspective.

In our line of work at Charlotte Street Partners, we think a lot about tone. As a company whose profession is embedded in the world of communications, it’s essential. How does one deliver a particular message in a way that will be well understood and resonate with its intended audience?

The key is balance. If you’re trying to win a particular group of people over, you don’t want to alienate them. Make your case, do so strongly if needed, but with balance, nuance, and an understanding of the other sides position.

My concern is that this understanding of the range of opinion is something we’re losing from everyday discourse. In recent times, we’ve seen political leaders say they “detest” those on the other side of the argument, or that they will simply ignore their opponents. For me, that steps well beyond the realms of healthy disagreement and encourages intolerance.

We all have different life experiences, each of which provides us with a unique perspective. My favourite thing about my job is that it is people oriented. I meet so many people, get to chat to them about their lives, their perspectives. Difference is to be celebrated, and to be learned from.

The next year or so is likely to get a bit more heated in Scotland, as we all consider our stance on the constitutional question again. I wouldn’t dream of telling you here how you should feel on that topic. But I would make a request: let’s approach the debate with courtesy, tolerance and understanding.