May 14, 2014

Update to Action Point 3 of Intro to Critical Thinking

Follow-up to First entry on Introduction to critical thinking from David's blog

My Third Action Point was to critically analyse and challenge political discussions on tv and radio.

Over the last 5 to 6 weeks, I have been following many political debates on tv (such as Question Time) and on radio (particularly Radio 4).

Recently I have engaged with many topical debates such as the housing crisis in the UK and the Eastern European crisis in Ukraine. However, them main political debate I have engaged in over the past month or so has surrounded UKIP and the EU. I have followed much of the debate on UKIP and the proposed referendum on EU membership and I have engaged both with pro and anti-EU arguments.

I have looked at the significant differences between both polarized views and have analysed what is potential right and wrong with them.

Much of the UKIP arguments consist of populist views which sets out an ideological slippery slope in which the UK is supposedly heading for disaster. UKIP's political manifesto can also be accused of scaring the public into voting in favour oh their party. Moreover, UKIP rely heavily on the debate of immigration and don't look at any other aspects of the EU.

The focus on immigration, however, is partly the fault of UKIP's extreme opposition. This opposition claims UKIP is a racist party because it raises the question of immigration. However, it is clear that immigration can be considered a major problem in the UK without being racist. UKIP's opposition would be far better off by outlining the EU's major benefits such as its functionalist common market and Western Europe's seventy years of peace (a miracle by European History's standards).

However, the opposition is right in the sense that UKIP seems to attract unpleasant individuals. The premise seems to get stronger the more UKIP scandals are revealed. On the face of it, UKIP appear like old tories trying to pull the clock back to a time when the UK had a more global role that it has now. The truth is, as a global super power, the UK has already had its day and should look to integrate more with other European countries.

That said, the opposition has been guilty of getting dragged into an ugly debate where the term "racist" is applied to anyone who questions the EU. As a pro-EU person myself, I believe UKIP's opposition would be far better off in this debate if their arguments were put to better more sensible use. As outlined above, there are plenty more benefits to the EU that UKIP would struggle to argue against.

Having engaged with both sides of a debate like the EU for the last few weeks on tv and radio, I have found I have a more accomplished, well rounded and stronger argument in favour of the EU than I did before.

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Lisa Faulkner

    Hello David,

    A very interesting blog entry for sure – it’s good to see that you have engaged so critically with this debate and that you’ve been able to identify the use of logical fallacies within this.

    Keep up the good work – I’d be interested to hear if you’re able to apply the same critical mindset to some of your academic texts with such good results!

    All the best,

    21 May 2014, 14:53

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