Hate mail Ben actually has a point
Friday 6th September 2013, 4:00PM BST.
CONSIDER, for a moment, the situation young Ben Inder finds himself in. Having gone on a TV programme that is either compelling or cringe-making and hamming things up a bit – aided and abetted by Come Dine With Me’s slash and shame cutting editors – he now finds himself at the centre of a barrage of hate mail.
He clearly does not lack courage. Having been driven from his office by a torrent of abusive emails and engulfed by hostile comments that left his mum unwilling to leave the house, he gave this newspaper an interview which ran on page one yesterday which explained what had happened to him since the screening.
What seems to have upset the most was using the word ‘backward’ in relation to Guernsey. Whether that was a description of islanders or – as he insists – the programme makers cutting out the context of his reference to Sunday trading, the political system and other idiosyncrasies, has become largely irrelevant as the controversy continues.
Seen through the eyes of a bright, articulate, 20-something, however, are his comments really that surprising?
Even the most passionate supporters of the island – this newspaper included – become frustrated by much of what is taken for granted here but hopelessly dated elsewhere.
Paid parking isn’t the Guernsey way even though it could free up parking for shoppers and fund a bus service on the point of collapse.
Civilisations elsewhere haven’t fallen where shops open on a Sunday and we have a governmental system that regards its inability to act as an asset to be preserved.
An approach to housing that puts ownership out of the reach of many and enriches landlords by driving the young, the old, the single parents and the elderly into outrageously expensive rentals and a health system that regards it as acceptable for wealthy doctors to pursue their patients through the courts for care they cannot afford but need…
There are many other examples and islanders will have their own favourites.
But the point remains that there is much that should be improved locally and it will take pressure for that to happen.
And it is the prerogative of youth to make these points. Diplomatically or not.