At work the other day I stumbled across a copy of the Mail from February 2010, which featured on its letters page what I suppose was round 1 of the current euthanasia debate. There was a letter from Terry Pratchett (someone who when he was railing against the NHS over treatment for Alzheimer's was flavour of the month at Dacre Towers, nowadays not so much) saying, in essence, "If religious leaders feel they're not being listened to, then there is no conspiracy; all that has happened is that people (for many reasons) have decided their message is not worth listening to".
As a really crap analogy, think about it in terms of cars. One time, you had to drive a Model T Ford, as it was the only affordable car on the market. Sure, you'd see the ocasional Rolls Royce or Bentley, but these were exotic and objects of envy/fascination. You had your Ford Model T, and were happy with it. What's more, you were better than all those cyclists, because you could travel in comfort.
Things changed. More and more cars came on the market. No longer did everyone drive the same car, but they were able to see the defects in the Model T that served them so well for so many years. Some people upgraded. Others couldn't afford to, or didn't want to, and got very defensive about the old Model Ts. Why bother changing? they asked. It's served me and my family well for years.
Then things got even worse. People began to question whether car ownership was at all a good idea. Some people looked for new Hybrids, that allayed their environmental concerns to a degree, while offering the safety, convenience and comfort they had come to expect from a car. Others went 'fuck it, in for a penny, in for a pound', and bought Humvees, knowing full well how uneconomical and destructive they were, but also that they offered excellent protection and that only a total lunatic would try to fuck with them. And the Ford owners sort of respected and understood both groups. The Prius owners were a bit wet, the Humvee owners a bit scary for their liking, but both were better than the third sort. Besides, a car was still a car.
The third sort abandoned the cars altogether and went back to the uncomfortable, flimsy bicycles. And to the fury of the car owners, were not at all inconvenienced. In fact, they said that by using a bike they became freer, more mobile, able to go anywhere and explore new places. They were glad to have abandoned the car. "In fact" they said, "We never really needed them in the first place".
And the car owners began to grow concerned, and did murmur against the cyclists. Was it not true, they said, that the cyclists ignored the rules that all road users should follow? Was it not true that they were given preferential tratment? Was it indeed not true that when new roads were built, they were made to favour the cyclists, even thouth the cyclists didn't even have to use them?
And all the time they said this, they failed to recognise that a) the strongest cycle would still buckle like a reed and offer no protection against the impact of a car, and b) there were still bastard cars and roads everywhere.
Now, my childer, the Humvee owner is the fundamentalist, who cares not for how much of an asshole they are and how much everyone else knows it. The Prius owner the moderate/reformist/Quaker who tries to follow their faith well, while not unduly affecting anyone else unless for the absolute good. The Ford owner is the Mailite CofE Christian who says isn't the traffic awful, mind you wouldn't want to use the bloody buses and train tickets these days don't get me started and when are they going to finish with these roadworks, another pack of pork scratchings and a scotch egg over here mein host. The cyclist is the Humanist.
Pagans are riding unicycles. Entertaining, occasional pratfall, but ultimately going nowhere.
Ten seconds... the pain begins.
Fifteen seconds... you can't breathe.
Twenty seconds... you give up and turn off the Jeremy Vine show.