Autonomy and the right to be.

Who decides what you can and can’t do? As adults we like to think we are in control of our thoughts and actions, that we have the tools to make our own decisions and that our values inform our behaviour. Over time we may reflect on our decisions, learn from others and change the way we deal with the situations we face, how we respond to life’s challenges. We learn from our relationships, especially those who matter the most to us. They will be supportive and hopefully kind in offering feedback which makes us think more deeply and, if we keep good company we become better people as a result.

We move through life in various roles – partner, parent, employee, friend. We juggle such roles whilst trying to uphold our values in order to be our authentic selves. Sometimes we interact with others who would wish us to change to please them. We may be minded to make changes but we need to know when to resist and when to stand firm. Thankfully, having reached an age and a stage in life where I find it easier to make my own choices, I appreciate the importance of pushing back. This has been further illustrated to me by the recent media storm around one tweet about the latest (probably illegal) govt policy on immigration from a football legend:

This is not the full tweet and as Twitter is not very reliable any more I won’t try to embed it here but a quick search will locate the various angles taken on his words. Much of the UK media and those sympathetic with the swivel eyed loons of #notmygovt fail to appreciate the humanity of Gary’s perspective, preferring instead to try to spin his measured and honest dislike of the right wing rhetoric around migration. They call for him to be fired by the BBC for his views. The very people who claim freedom of speech when spreading misinformation cannot tolerate that someone so admired by the public could express contempt for their actions.

Thankfully others have joined the fray using the hastag #IstandwithGaryLinekar and #GaryGate. Gary’s colleagues have refused to take part in BBC football programmes today in support of a man who had the courage to defend the voiceless. They recognise that this reaction is politically motivated, an attempt to control the views of influential individuals. Controlling the media in support of a political agenda – such as happened in WW2 under Josef Goebbels. You can read all about it on the BBC Bitesize site!

We are reaching very worrying times in Western Europe if we fail to acknowledge the importance of standing in solidarity with fellow citizens of the world against injustice, failing to stand up and take responsibility for our authentic selves.

Your employer does not own you. The BBC would do well to take a look at their own building.

JRennocks, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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