On the back of the latest Islamic atrocity there has been a lot of chatter about spreading the risk. That is to say, if everybody speaks out then the target base for the extremist followers of Islam becomes so wide and deep that it essentially reduces the risk rather than increases it. This is a marvellous idea. Indeed, one that should require no prompting. Alas, as I have said before I consider most people to be reticent when faced with such prompts and I have some concern that whilst we would see increased persons stepping out, the majority will remain in the background. I’m not keen on cowardly behaviour. I don’t like people who will speak in the shadows but not in the light, and I do not intend to deny this. Cowardice takes subtle forms, and you’ll encounter it daily if you play close attention. Case in point; I’ve had colleagues express strong opinions regarding situations in the workplace, but when asked if they have spoken out I often hear the standard responses like “What’s the point?” or “Nothing’s going to change”. And they may be right, but if people don’t stand up then the message never get’s heard as plainly as it could. Now I cannot force people to be something they are not, and we come in all shapes and sizes. But courage is a quality, even if it might sometimes render us a bit clumsy. There’s no feeling in the world like standing unified in the face of adversity, able to trust that others have your back and won’t leave you abandoned. I have to be honest; when I look around me I don’t see many that give me that feeling. Lots of verbosity, lots of big words strongly ventured. But stepping up when it matters? Not so sure. This saddens me. It saddens me that we have become so risk averse, so afraid of ramifications that we remain mute. As an aside, I happen to think that if we had to go through a WW2 like scenario again I think we would be defeated. I just don’t see the strength and depth in our national identity to get us through something like that. Perhaps I’m incorrect. Perhaps when the chips are really down then fight wins over flight. I have been encouraged by some of the responses in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and I’d love this to be the beginning of a culture change. I’m sometimes told that I say the things that others think, and this makes me groan inside. Why won’t they say it themselves? Why won’t you? From a personal viewpoint I’ve no desire for popularity; any respect I earn I’d like to get from being known as a person who speaks plainly. Not always correctly, but honestly and with passion. With a desire to step out of the shallows. And I think a plainer speaking world is a more genuine world, and I think we must be very careful that we do not foster a culture in which our freedom to express our sentiments is inhibited by fear of causing offence. I don’t mean pointless and cruel offence, but rather the criticism of ideas. That’s the world I want to live in. A progressive world. Come join me if you’ve got the balls.