Ostracism and Christians

An old friend recently wrote in a newsletter: “Christians are the only army in the world that shoot their wounded”…

Very interesting  excerpts from “The Pain of Exclusion” by Kipling D. Williams. Our need to matter and our need to belong are as fundamental as our need to eat and breathe. Therefore ostracism — rejection, silence, exclusion — is one of the most powerful punishments that one person can inflict on another. Brain scans have shown that this rejection is actually experienced as physical pain, and that this pain is experienced whether those that reject us are close friends or family or total strangers, and whether the act is overt exclusion or merely looking away. Most typically, ostracism causes us to act to be included again — to belong again — although not necessarily with the same group:

“Studies reveal that even subtle, artificial or ostensibly unimportant exclusion can lead to strong emotional reactions. A strong reaction makes sense when your spouse’s family or close circle of friends rejects or shuns you, because these people are important to you. It is more surprising that important instances of being barred are not necessary for intense feelings of rejection to emerge. We can feel awful even after people we have never met simply look the other way.

“This reaction serves a function: it warns us that something is wrong, that there exists a serious threat to our social and psychological well-being. Psychologists Roy Baumeister of Florida State University and Mark Leary of Duke University had argued in a 1995 article that belonging to a group was a need — not a desire or preference — and, when thwarted, leads to psychological and physical illness. Meanwhile other researchers have hypothesized that belonging, self-esteem, a sense of control over your life and a belief that existence is meaningful constitute four fundamental psychological needs that we must meet to function as social individuals. …

“Ostracism uniquely threatens all these needs. Even in a verbal or physical altercation, individuals are still connected. Total exclusion, however, severs all bonds. Social rejection also deals a uniquely harsh blow to self-esteem, because it implies wrongdoing. Worse, the imposed silence forces us to ruminate, generating self-deprecating thoughts in our search for an explanation. The forced isolation also makes us feel helpless: you can fight back, but no one will respond. Finally, ostracism makes our very existence feel less meaningful because this type of rejection makes us feel invisible and unimportant. The magnitude of the emotional impact of ostracism even makes evolutionary sense. After all, social exclusion interferes not only with reproductive success but also with survival. People who do not belong are not included in collaborations necessary to obtain and share food and also lack protection against enemies.

“In fact, the emotional fallout is so poignant that the brain registers it as physical pain. … As soon as [we begin] to feel ostracized, [brain] scanners register a flurry of activity in [our] dorsal anterior cingulate cortex — a brain region associated with the emotional aspects of physical pain. …

“For most people, ostracism usually engenders a concerted effort to be included again, though not necessarily by the group that shunned us. We do this by agreeing with, mimicking, obeying or cooperating with others. In our 2000 study, for example, Cheung and Choi asked participants to perform a perceptual task in which they had to memorize a simple shape such as a triangle and correctly identify the shape within a more complex figure. Before they made their decision, we flashed the supposed answers of other participants on the screen. Those who had been previously ostracized … were more likely than included players to give the same answers as the majority of participants, even though the majority was always wrong. Those who had been excluded wanted to fit in, even if that meant ignoring their own better judgment.

“Although personality seems to have no influence on our immediate reactions to ostracism, character traits do affect how quickly we recover from it and how we cope with the experience. … People who are socially anxious tend to ruminate or are prone to depression take longer to recover from ostracism than other people do.”

Author: Kipling D. Williams
Title: The Pain of Exclusion
Publisher: Scientific American Mind
Date: January/February 2011

In the Presence of Humbling Greatness

Last night Janet and got to hear one of the great men of our time, Canon Andrew White,  otherwise known as the Bishop of Bagdad… He grew up a Pentecostal, and converted to the Church of England where he rose through the ranks until he asked to go and serve in Bagdad where he’s been for 20 years. He talked about loving your enemies, a concept  just cannot get to grips with. Early on in Iraq he got to know Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein’s right hand man…

Last week he performed the funeral for Aziz in Jordan, most of his time is now spent there, as Iraq is just a bit dangerous now… But he is going back, ISIS or not, his “people” are there and he’s not abandoning them… You can go to his Facebook Pages and his books to learn more, but being in the presence of such humble greatness made for an amazing evening…


Really good story on getting #WorkingClassTories trending on Twitter

This was a great story on conservative Home yesterday, had to republish it here:

Twenty-two years old, Yorkshire lass, no degree, former apprentice, former Sainsbury’s worker and the child of a family who work in the NHS and in local education.

Labour voter?


The Conservative Parliamentary Candidate who took on Yvette Cooper in the 2015 Election?


Beth Prescott was Parliamentary candidate for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford in the 2015 General Election
Beth Prescott was Parliamentary candidate for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford in the 2015 General Election

Recently, a friend and I started a conversation on Twitter. We were simply letting off steam about how we are constantly wrongly stereotyped: people assume that because we are Conservatives we must be middle aged, privately educated and have been born with a silver spoon in our mouth.

Skip forward 24 hours and #WorkingClassTories was trending at number one in the United Kingdom on Twitter.

What ignited such passion? What caused people to tweet in their thousands wanting to tell their story about why they are #WorkingClassTories. What caused “shy Tories” to be silent no more? So many people tweeted in saying they voted Conservative but are not what people would deem ‘typical Conservatives’. Is there even such thing as a ‘typical Conservative’ anymore? Was there ever?

Twitter showed story after story pouring in from thousands of people: former miners, people who grew up on council estates, the children of NHS workers – the list went on and on.

A new group of Conservatives are making themselves heard. People from across all generations and from across the United Kingdom. The people that have seen the way the Conservatives are rewarding hard-working people and how Labour never actually did anything to help, despite claiming to be the party for working people.

Record employment, a tax-free minimum wage, an increase in the personal allowance, record numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds at University, millions of apprenticeships created – of which I was proudly one – extension of the right-to-buy scheme, free childcare and many, many more. People are not Conservatives despite all these things, people are Conservatives because of all these things. It is not about pushing things down to people; it is about giving them a hand up whilst still protecting those who do need it most.

Rob Halfon, the Party’s new Deputy Chairman,  could not have put it better when he said: ‘“We are the party of the ladder, it was Churchill who first said that…The ladder symbolises everything we’re about. It’s not just leaving people to climb up it themselves, we hold that ladder for them. Labour on the other hand are the party of dependency and the welfare state, and that’s why they didn’t get in.”

Yes, a few left-wingers joined in the hashtag offering sarcastic remarks. In doing so they continued to prove the point we were making. Many again accused me of being from a rich, posh background and this of being an orchestrated publicity stunt – completely wrong and completely missing the point.

The Left will not win another election until it realises that you cannot win back voters by insulting them. They stand on the left hoping that the country will move towards them one day, not realising that it is about time they moved with the country.

I am from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire. West Yorkshire is one of the many areas Labour think they claim a monopoly over, simply because we are Northern and from former mill towns and mining towns. Every day they become increasingly mistaken. Every day more and more people come out as Conservatives.

Yorkshire hit the headlines during the Election when Morley and Outwood, a constituency very close to Dewsbury, said a definitive ‘no thank you’ to five more years of the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls. A clear sign that the people have had enough of Labour’s failed economic policies and wanted to know more about the Conservative plans to invest in the North.

I grew up under Labour. Being from a town that’s sometimes believed that have a bit of an iffy reputation, I was often told, growing up: ‘you are not going to make anything of your life because of where you are from’. That is the atmosphere Labour create. Labour claim to be the party of the North. What they actually mean is they are the Party who try to keep the North down.

The Conservatives, however, are investing in the North. It is the Party that encourages people to work hard and teaches that if you do, we will reward you. Ever since I joined the Conservative Party, I have been made to feel like I really do have a bright future. That if I work hard, no matter what my background, I will get somewhere.

One of the most important things my parents taught me growing up was to always work hard and that, if you do, you will get somewhere in life. This is the very basis of what the Conservative Party is all about and that is why I joined it. It teaches that no matter what your background or who you are, if you work hard you will get somewhere.

What did the Conservative Party do with a working-class lad from Brixton? It made him Prime Minister. What has the Conservative Party done with a working-class lass from West Yorkshire? It has given her an apprenticeship, it has given her a job, it has given her a run at Parliament, a run at her dreams.

The Conservative Party is and always will be the Party for hard-working people. Last week, Twitter exploded as it realised just that. Long may it continue.

Interesting Surrey Heath Stats

All the Councillors had to go to training on Council finances tonight. Got some very interesting stats from it about Surrey Heath:

Life Expectancy:
Men: 81.1 years
Women: 84.1 years

Number of Households: 33,546

46% detached houses
77% owner occupied
10% social rented
23% live on their own
1.68 cars per household