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In Full . . .

THE VILLAGE VIEW

Posted on August 31 2017 at 2:52:50

With the rest of the world apparently heading to hell in a handcart, these quiet days of summer in and around our villages have perhaps had an extra sense of the idyllic.

This mood was reflected in a recent letter to a national newspaper by a 93-year-old man remembering the summer of 1939, a time when he and his friends regarded the Adolf Hitler they saw on cinema newsreels as a figure of ridicule.

Their happy summer came to an abrupt end on September 1st as the Nazis invaded Poland and Hitler could no longer be treated as a joke.

The 93-year-old correspondent’s point was that no one believes it is going to happen . . . until it does.

So should the world be holding its breath as nuclear sabres are rattled between Trump Tower and Pyongyang, with China and Russia glowering on?

Especially as once-great Britain is attempting to sever ties with much of the framework created to maintain peace between Europeans since the end of the Second World War?

We have been here before, of course, but with the possibility of just about anything being declared in 140 characters or less, with no filters and no guidance, without the time-lag required for sense to prevail, something could go terribly wrong.

Even here in our villages, we see wars of words break out on this new technology as opinions, prejudices and bias that didn’t previously reach the light of public view can now thrive in the oxygen of being decried.

Alvechurch Village Society has a Facebook group which it has, with very good intentions, opened to all in the parish, not just the relatively few people who are members of the society.

It has proved to be very useful in finding lost dogs, keeping villagers aware of problems on the roads and trains and helping those looking for a plumber or someone to help them to lift a fridge.

But inevitably, it also sometimes empowers those less-than savoury views that may have been previously hurled at TV sets in living rooms or muttered in the corners of pubs.

Last month, the Alvechurch Village Society member who volunteered for the unenviable task of moderating the views expressed on the Facebook page felt she had been threatened by a user who disagreed with something she had posted.

This is a terrible thing to happen in one of our peaceful villages, and in times past we would have asked: “What is the world coming to?”

Unfortunately, with the examples being set daily by those in power, this now appears to be the world in which we all must live.


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