I haven't commented on the British elections, but it got me thinking. You see, I am a long term if variable supporter of both the UK Liberal Party and the Scottish Nats.
As I read the somewhat breathless commentary, I thought that a bit of history would have helped. The Libs have been in the place the Lib-Dems are before - closing in on second spot - and suffered for the same first past the post reasons. But what has all this to do with my heading - are we what we read or hear?
At primary and secondary school, I read the Armidale Express, less often the Northern Daily Leader and, rarely, the Sydney Morning Herald. In the latter part of school I also sometimes read the Financial Review. By contrast, we had a subscription to the Economist and I read it cover to cover every issue. We had no TV, so my electronic news came via ABC.
Beyond this, my information came from books and especially from my family and those I talked to. We were an academic-political family, so I was exposed to a fair range of information and a mix of views.
I've been surprised by how conservative people are today. But I should not be, everyone arrives at "today" from different paths, backgrounds and if you like, "baggage".
Leaving aside the conservative issue, Noric is right about different paths.
In my own case, what I read, listened to and argued about led to a mix of not always consistent views.
I became a supporter of the UK Libs because I saw them as a minority party like the Country Party, while many of their attitudes seemed close to mine, if also a bit alien in spots. I also did a fair bit of English history with the Whig/Tory divide, while John Buchan's books with their often Highland settings also had the Whigs as a natural part of the backdrop. I think even today, this is Lib-Dem territory.
The Scottish Nationalists appealed for totally different reasons. This was well before they achieved their later electoral success, long before devolution. Here it was the connection with my Grandfather with his sense of Scottishness, a well as a sense that the Scots Nats and the New State Movement were fighting for a common cause.
Now compare all this with the Australian Liberal Party.
In many ways, the Liberals were tribal enemies. They were also, as I saw it, a city party. If you consider that during my first fifteen years I rarely read the Sydney Morning Herald, indeed this was in some ways the enemy paper, rarely visited Sydney and indeed never met an avowed Liberal voter outside a few family friends from Sydney, you can get a feel for the the things that formed my thinking at that stage. Even now, I regard the Liberal Party as a very strange beast.
This is not an essay on the evolution of my own thinking. Rather, I am simply sketching out some ways in which my own thinking was formed by what I read and heard.
As I write, by the way, I have the British election reporting on in the background. Quite distracting, but oh so very familiar.
At one level, asking whether our views have been formed by what we have read or hear may sound a bit simplistic. However, I am interested in different patterns, in the nuances. in Noric's different paths.
So what are the things that have formed your views? To what degree have you been formed by what you have read and heard?