EDITOR’S LETTER : Fade to grey

It’s all about perspective. Or rather, changing perspective which is accompanied by fade from pure black and white to an alarming array of shades of grey. And it’s really quite unfair. When life is black and white and your view on things is obviously supreme, there seems to be an inherent energy reserve which helps you shout this from the rooftops and take other people along on your ride. However, as murkiness looms and polarisation shatters, life gets that much more complicated, harder to explain and you seem to run out of time, of energy and often even the inclination, to do so.
Right, now I’ve brought you all down, I do have something to cheer you up: sometimes the shades of grey reveal happier situation than the black and white perspective. (Obviously sometimes they don’t, but just go with me on this one.)
Take industrial relations for example. An initial perspective is often “unions good, bosses bad” or “bosses good, unions bad”, depending on your politics. Transmission of this view can generate public perception of singular good versus bad situation (again, assigning sides depending on your politics). I think this has happened with unions in New Zealand, meaning the subtlety and complexity of the relationship remains hidden. I know it has with me. Previous unions/boss encounters have left me with an extremely jaded view. It’s bit the same with politics – when you first start to vote then it’s fairly easy to sing the praises of your chosen party and castigate the rest. As you delve more into it, it becomes clear that many (most, probably) of them actually want the same outcome… they just have different ways of achieving it. Not fair, what happened to clarity?
But I digress. Unions. Probably best not to get me started on this one really but seeing as I’ve started it would be rude not to finish. I have strong personal opinions on which ‘side’ is right, on how it all works, on what should be done, and I have healthy sense of frustration with the inability of the ‘other side’ not to understand why what they do and believe is wrong. It would be wrong to say that was my brief going into this month’s cover story, but it would also be fair to say I had fairly preconceived ideas on how I thought the story would unfold.
And this is where the pesky perspective and grey shades re-enter. The right/wrong view is shattered and you could almost believe that the two parties have common goal. (Actually I’m not going to go quite that far on one.) But basically, businesses are there to make money and their workforce is often one of the largest resources which can help or hinder this. The relationship between the two is therefore, obviously, critical. And surprise, surprise, there really are two sides to the story. Don’t you hate that?

PS: Yes, ‘The Delicate Art of Fence Sitting’ does appeal as future feature.

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