STUDENT SHOUT: The problem of being an eternal fence-sitter

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In a polarised society we’re expected to be staunchly for or against one side.

Last year it was Brexit. Were you a Remainer or a Leaver? Your decision may have cost you popularity with family and friends.

Most people vote Labour or Conservative and those sides can rarely be friends. So, what are those of us who are perpetually undecided to do? The back and forth of political discourse does not leave room for a substantial grey area.

Growing up, I have rarely been able to stick to one or the other. Even when I have believed I have discovered the truth and the evidence seems undeniable, something comes along to shatter that notion.

I have gone through life unable to see black or white: my vision filled with grey.

Even suffering and pain sometimes seems to have had a good effect: it has built character, prevented the suffering of others or given a person a new lease of life.

Each new piece of information compounds the cacophony of positions in the world and I despair because I know as the eternal fence-sitter, I will not fall on either side.

Yet despite not being able to always root for the same team, this has its advantages. No matter which position someone argues, I am able to take the opposite view and I get pleasure from that.

However, I’m not immune to propaganda, unable to remain married to an idea for which there is conflicting evidence or fact.

The worst aspect of being undecided? Inaction becomes a statement of its own. While I swing between views, others simply go and do – it is too easy to disengage from issues, or ignore them entirely.

It is not enough to play devil’s advocate. Though undecided, we must ensure steps are taken in the direction in which there is the most probable positive outcome.

Student Shout is a weekly column by journalism students at Highbury College.