There is no doubt in my mind that renowned scientist and TV celebrity Brian Cox is far more intelligent than myself. However when it comes to emotional intelligence, our roles reverse and my intelligence dwarfs his. And not just mine. Every Labour member outraged by his attack on shadow chancellor John McDonnell over his recent declaration that friendship and Tory MPs don’t mix, is an intellectual giant next to Cox.
The fact Cox shared his contempt for this view on twitter, is even more evidence of his lack of emotional intelligence. He claims to be apolitical, yet lacks the imagination to realise many thousands of his followers are suffering, or know people who are suffering under this government’s policies. He can’t stand in their shoes, which is the essence of what makes someone emotionally intelligent. From where he is sitting, as a wealthy celebrity, the country is in pretty good shape. I have the emotional intelligence to understand his lack of understanding to some extent. However I can’t help wondering if he ever walks anywhere, because you don’t have to go far in this country to see desperate people huddled in shop doorways with their sleeping bags and cardboard mattresses. You’d have to be very selective in your news sources to ensure you missed out on discovering how many disabled people have been devastated by cuts, how much our NHS is in crisis, how thousands of elderly and vulnerable people are failing to get the social care they so desperately need, how many people are suffering from mental illnesses with little to no support, how much crime is soaring due to police cuts, how so few young people can ever countenance buying a home, or renting one that’s affordable and of a decent standard, how many students lie awake at night anxious about mounting debt, how many people, working or unable to, have been forced to rely on food banks to survive, and how many desperate souls have taken their lives as a direct result of this government’s cruel and needless austerity agenda.
When I read Cox chastise McDonnell for his views on Tory MPs and friendship (and let’s be clear here, McDonnell stated quite clearly he was referring to friendship, not nods of acknowledgment or a civil chat which are an inevitable part of Westminster society), I wondered if he’d take the same stance if John McDonnell said he couldn’t be friends with a psychopath who got their kicks from torturing people mentally or physically. Because he might as well have said that. Just because Tory MPs wear suits, speak eloquently and can even be charming, doesn’t make them any less heartless or cruel. It doesn’t make the death and destruction they deliberately cause any less heinous. These psychopaths have somehow managed to convince Cox, and people like him, that they are well meaning, decent human beings. The odd bit of suffering that results from their policies is just a touch of collateral damage, not worthy of scrutiny.
I’m just amazed that someone as intelligent as Cox, believes them.