Forcing opinions via radio….

I listen to a very well-known radio show every day, but this week one particular presenter has left me fuming!

There have been lots of things in the news lately that relate to my life, and said presenter has held phone ins twice this week on a couple of them. I absolutely love a phone in. I think it gives a wide range of experiences from all over the country. But this week it was different. She (the presenter) has been trying to force her opinions onto people, and if they didn’t agree with her way of thinking, she would be very abrupt and cut them off. Not biased at all – much!

The first show that really got my goat was on Tuesday, when she was talking about how MMR injections should be mandatory, and that people whose children didn’t have them shouldn’t be allowed a place at a state school for their child. This lady has a young child and her mother is a GP, so has some experience of this – namely that her daughter has had the injections with no ill effects. This topic struck a chord with me. The elder Stroppy’s had all their ‘jabs’ with no ill effects. Stroppy 3 however was very different. She caught whooping-cough from her very first dose and it was a truly awful time. Lovely man and I had to take turns in sleeping because she would stop breathing because of the cough. She had to sleep in her rocking seat because as soon as she lay flat on her back, she would have difficulties breathing. She probably stopped breathing 50 – 60 times a day, and we were absolutely terrified.

I would take her to the doctors and be dismissed as a ‘fussy mother’. The health visitor was the same, despite me already having two older children. I wasn’t a ‘new’ mum – I was an experienced parent who could see all the signs of a serious problem, but was ignored by the so-called ‘health experts’ time and time again. The breakthrough came when I demanded my GP let my daughter have an X-ray, and she stopped breathing on the X-ray table. Then I was taken seriously! She was rushed to paediatricĀ A&E and hospitalised for days, her tiny body pumped with antibiotics, tools put down her nose to take a biopsy of her lungs, etc., etc.

It was confirmed as whooping-cough – it has to be ‘officially’ confirmed. I’m not sure why. Anyway the confirmation meant neither my GP or health visitor would look me in the eye. The ‘experts’ had got it wrong…

Back to the radio show. The presenter was determined to get her point across and make people come round to her way of thinking. She said all the ‘experts’ said it was safe, so what was the problem? These are the same experts who dismissed me when my daughter was ill. GPs, consultants etc. Her mother perhaps?

My daughter has been left with weak lungs and has to take two inhalers in cold weather because of her first MMR jab, so she hasn’t had one since. I wanted to call the show, I wanted to ask her why she was being so dismissive of people with an opposing view to hers, but sadly I was driving. The more I listened however, the more annoyed I became. She was being so condescending to callers, that I wanted to tell her just how lucky she had been when her daughter had her injections. Had her daughter caught whooping-cough from them, I have no doubt that the nature of Tuesdays show would have been very different.

How dare this lady presume that I ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to take my child for her immunizations? How dare she say that children shouldn’t get a state education if they don’t have these injections? How dare she insist that they should be mandatory? I know she is entitled to her own opinion and I have no problem with that at all. The problem I have is that she seems to think that everyone else should be agreeing with her and if they don’t, they’re wrong.

So she’s entitled to her opinion. But the rest of us aren’t…..

I didn’t listen to her on Wednesday because I was still too annoyed, but when I popped out yesterday she was on air. And it began again….

This time she was talking about Manchester police allowing attacks on ‘sub-cultures’ to be classed as hate crimes. In case you don’t know why this has come about, a young girl called Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend were attacked in a Manchester park in 2007 because of the way they looked. Sophie sadly died. An awful waste of the life of a beautiful 20-year-old. Her family has since set up a foundation and have campaigned for this change for years. In my opinion it should be UK wide, not just in Manchester, but baby steps…

The presenter didn’t agree with Manchester polices policy. She said that you can’t change your colour, religion, sexuality etc., but you can change your clothes, so this shouldn’t be classed as the same crime. Several callers said that they or family members had been attacked, and she still stuck to her mantra. Then a man called with another experience and when she told him his daughter should have ‘just dressed normally’, he asked her if she meant that people shouldn’t be able to express their personalities. This threw her. I smiled as she spluttered through the rest of the conversation. Despite this, she would not have her opinions changed by the people queuing up to tell her of attacks and tried time and time again to change their views to be with line with her own.

As you may know from my earlier posts, Stroppy 1 is a goth. She has been verbally abused, spat at, held against a wall by her throat and threatened. All because of the way she looks. It’s disgusting that young people can’t express themselves without people judging them. This is a girl who yes, can be a cow bag at home, but is polite, helpful and well-mannered when out. She helps people with their shopping, lifts ‘sholleys’ onto buses for the elderly, and would help someone if they were struggling with a buggy.

I admit I’m not overwhelmed by the way she dresses, but that’s her choice. And for her to be attacked because she isn’t wearing pink, a fake tan and lots of make up is a hate crime. It’s a crime committed by people who are scared of something they are unsure of. They are scared of the way she looks and I sometimes think that because this look can sometimes appear menacing, with studs and spikes combined with lots of black, that attackers are trying to prove something. Perhaps they want to prove they’re ‘harder’ than a goth. I don’t know the reasoning – I’m just guessing. But whatever the reason, it’s still a hate crime and should be classed as one, and I don’t need a radio presenter from a privileged background with no experience of this telling me any different.

So once again I found myself wanting to call the show and tell her what its like to have a goth daughter. I wanted to tell her that yes, her daughter is only little (6, I think) and still likes pink, princesses and dollies like Stroppy 3 does, but that Stroppy 1 was like that once. And now she wears black, and likes ‘shouty’ music and skulls. Her daughter may go the same way as my eldest when she’s older.

But it doesn’t mean she not the same girl who liked pink all those years ago….