I was talking to an old friend this week, remembering a time when we were both much younger.  It’s funny where the tendrils of nostalgia take you – I got to thinking about activism, about taking a stand, shouting your opinions from the rooftops and being generally angry with the world – are these all symptoms of youth or merely a state of mind that some choose to carry with them throughout their life?

Occasionally I encounter people who appear inexplicably angry.  They seem to have unlimited depths of energy for assault-making on any given subject. Often these are inspiring people, folk who can jump on a soapbox at the drop of a billboard and spout forth knowledgeably about their subject of choice.  They have an educated understanding of both sides of the argument and are happy to challenge and to be challenged, to exchange views and engage in intellectual debate.  It’s one of the many reasons I used to love the Abbot and Portillo double act on This Week – completely opposing views respectfully presented by political opponents.

Of course there are the not-so-inspiring folk too.  Those for whom opinions are weapons to wound and scar.  People who use intimidation tactics and would sooner die that give away the last word, who don’t see the point in backing down – ever.  The psychology student in me is intrigued by these people.  I wonder how they manage to keep their anger reservoir topped up, where they stash their reserves of vitriol, if they ever have any ‘down-time’.

Is anger a pre requisite of youth? Are all young people angry? And, by definition, are all ‘people of mature age’ more mellow, more inclined to address both sides of an argument before passing judgment or opinion?

I’m not generally an angry person.  I have a well defined sense of right and wrong and feel strongly about a variety of subjects, but often lack the vital ingredient to progress my opinions into activism.  Then something comes along that requires my attention, a situation presents itself that needs people with energy and determination.

At the moment it’s the plans for the HS2. I’m opposed to the plans, I see it as a monumental waste of time.  I simply don’t see why a country less that 900 miles long needs to spend in excess of £34 billion developing a train that can travel at 250mph.  I get nauseous just thinking about seeing the cows go by at that speed.  I will be affected by these plans, so will you and everyone else in this country.  Half a million public sector worker jobs are being sacrificed through the spending review so that the Government can press on with their plans to spend this amount of money – and more, probably much more.

So, where are all the angry people? I need you.  I have something you can really get your teeth in to…..

Where are all the angry people?
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17 thoughts on “Where are all the angry people?

  • October 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    i’m angry! i’m angry about a lot of things, the immigration policies (has stopped my career dead in it’s tracks coz i am not from the EU, even though australia is still a bloody monarchy!!!)… don’t get me started… i’m angry about the racial inequality and the way the press portrays this… don’t get me started on that either… i’m angry about LOTS of womens issues…. i’m angry about how much work teachers have to do and how many ppl think they are lazy with too many holidays… don’t get me started on that… but I am too tired to do any more than I am already doing… being a mum and trying to start my own business so my kids can go to uni when they are older!! but if you need some demonstrators… or someone to sign your petitions, let me know and i’ll support u!! 🙂

  • October 24, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I used to be more like this is my youth too and I have mellowed in my old age, but I did read your HS2 post and decided I wasn’t against it. Why? Well I live in the back of beyond in the cold frozen north and getting anywhere takes an age. I am filled with the hope that a high speed link would give me and my children more freedom, the ability to travel south without the pain and time, therefore, opening up more opportunities for me and more importantly my boys. Having lived in Berkshire, I am well aware that their are more job opportunities down south etc and this way they boys can exploit them without living too far away from their family. As it was family that drew us home.

  • October 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I too have been asking myself where the angry people are. I think perhaps they are all around us, but too worn down and busy with the demands of everyday life to do much about it. Anger is not just for the young either, here in Ireland the most successful protest in recent years was by pensioners. And the result? Their pensions and right to free (ish) medical care was not touched in the 2009 Budget. At 48, I am also a bit old, but I am part of the PACUB campaign here which aims to protect existing levels of child benefit. Last year we had a mass petition, a march to the Irish Parliament and a nappy protest. And maybe that’s why the proposed large cuts to child benefit ended up as a ten per cent cut. This year, we’re finding that while families are in even more desperate situations, they just seem not to have the energy to support the campaign. Hope you have better luck with yours!

  • October 24, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    I honestly thought political anger and demos had been consigned to the tip along with vinyl copies of ‘One in 10’ but on Wednesday evening I was making my way along the Strand when I saw something that did my socialist heart the power of good: a huge, fully organised demo against the Government cuts. If I hadn’t been on my way home I would have joined in. I grew up in a house where we were taken on regular marches – I have pictures of my mum holding placards with us running alongside taken from the press, and of course I went on heaps of demos as a student. So I will encourage my offspring to demonstrate about things they feel strongly about, and while I might not be out there in the cold, marching, I will be blogging about the issues I feel are important.

  • October 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Where are all the angry people?

    Grown up, worn out or dead.

    The Angry Generation ran for almost 25 years from 1956 when Osborn unveiled Jimmy Porter in Look Back In Anger to 1990 and the Poll Tax riots thatsaw the end of Maggie. It was an age that went from Hungary in ’56 to Tiananmen Square in 1989; from Vietnam to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    That generation were angry about civil rights, gender rights, nuclear proliferation (God Bless the Greenham Common women), blasphemy (Lady Chatterly, Oz), obscenity (Hair, Romans in Britain) and Lord knows what else. My own favourite was the Malcolm Muggeridge vs John Cleese debate about The Life of Brian – just wonderful.

    And then we stopped. We gave up. All the big battles have been fought. What’s left? Wind turbines? Recycling? Zzzzzzzz.

    We now live in an atomised society where connections are less direct and somehow less intense. Passion has been sucked from society by shopping malls and social networks, and along with passion has gone curiosity. This is least curious society I have ever lived in. (Personally I blame Maggie, but absolutely not in the way you might expect). If you’re not curious how on earth can you move on? I find it hugely depressing.

    Do I care about HS2? Not really (yet) but I am willing to debate it, to learn and help form an argument that challenges the best way to spend £34bn. Bring it on. Any time.

  • October 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I do think it’s partly an age thing. As you gather more responsibilities I think your focus shifts from the big wide world to your own family and work. Your brain becomes full of day to day minutiae. I’m not saying that’s necessarily right, but I think it’s the way it often is.

    And the other thing, that I think stops people, or me at least, is that the older you get the more you realise quite how much is wrong with the world. There is so much money wasted, so much injustice, so many things that are wrong, that it becomes paralysing. Where on earth do you start? Because you can’t do everything.

  • October 25, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Hmm, interesting question. I know that when I was younger I thought I was going to change the world and now that I am not as young I can sit back and see both sides and have mellowed. I guess I save my anger for things that are important to me, I just don’t have the energy to spare to go throwing anger around for everything going. Being from Ireland I am aware of what BlueSky is talking about at the moment and that is what I will be supporting:) Jen *waves at Blue Sky*

  • October 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I was an angry young man, then mellowed a bit, then got angry again. I then stopped being quite so angry when I realised there were much better angry men blogging. I’ve now started being angry again and blogging more.

    There are a lot of stupid people out there and I think it’s important to let them know how stupid they are. There are also a lot of intelligent people out there who just call things wrong, and I think it’s also important to tell them that as well.

    Now I’m older, I understand fully that I am wrong on pretty much every thing I’ve ever thought, and that helps me see both sides of an argument. Doesn’t stop me from jumping in on stuff other people have written, but hey, I think that’s just me.

  • October 25, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I must be one of the angry ones as I seem to go round with a permanent scowl on my face.
    Or so I am told.
    Probably why I have taken to wearing a wetsuit, to detract from the face.

    LCM x

  • October 25, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    The anger has shifted in demographic. No, please don’t stop reading. I’m not being overly cerebral.

    In the 60s, 70s and 80s it was the yoof doing the protesting, whether it was against Vietnam, Trident (not the chewing gum) or unemployment and disaffection. These days, demonstrating has become a middle class affair, partly because those yoofs grew up and partly because the issues are affecting that socio-economic group.

    Steinbeck wrote “it is the nature of a man as he grows older to protest against change, particularly change for the better” so perhaps there is a wellspring out there somewhere. 🙂

  • October 26, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I am quite enjoying this new and long forgotten feeling of anger, it stems from a passion about something and that makes my little life exciting. Thought provoking as always. Here – with helpers – if you need someone to hold a banner or fashion a sandwich board. x

  • October 26, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Ok I admit I get angry but not about trains. Sorry!
    However, it’s your thing and it’s great that you are getting out there and making a stand. Go girl.
    What riles me is our education system. Now for that I could chain myself to a gate or failing that just be a nuisance. The important thing is to believe you can change things. Starting here is a pretty good place.

  • October 27, 2010 at 11:53 am

    “Now I’m older, I understand fully that I am wrong on pretty much every thing I’ve ever thought, and that helps me see both sides of an argument.”


    Abso – bloomin’ – lutely. Well said, sir!!

  • October 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Thanks Janelle – I do wonder if there’s a direct correlation between amount of sleep and the ability to get angry. That and the fact that the ‘to-do’ list doesn’t include a section for righteous indignation! I do think it’s important that we keep a little something back so we can rail against the important things – just give me a minute to catch my breath 😉

  • October 27, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Jen – thanks for reading, and I can understand your position completely. I think the fear is though that the plans would end up funnelling all talent away from the North in exactly the manner you describe – when the plans that be are trying to argue that it will be the opposite. I’m just not sure…

  • October 27, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Mikey – you should absolutely visit Silas’s blog, I think it might appeal!

  • October 28, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Top tip! Ta.

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