It’s a childish thing, to ‘take sides’. I witness it daily: What, with my day job and being the father of two daughters.

My advice, which remains steadfast and often unheeded is always to ‘stay out of it’.

I have lost count of the number of times one of my bairns has relayed ‘beef’ between two of her friends, usually in the social media arena, when both of the warring parties insist on her taking a stance.

Quite often, when not getting involved, the situation intensifies with both antagonists seeing her as the frenemy as she refuses, despite intense pressure, to pin her flag to the mast of either party.

But this phenomena, once played out only in playgrounds, is now a mainstay in all subsets of society, including the political arena, where our leaders insist we are either here or there and nowhere in between. 

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis admits he knows nothing about the background of the fighting in the middle eastBrett Ellis admits he knows nothing about the background of the fighting in the middle east

The news story at present, excluding Holly Willoughby taking some rest bite or KSI’s hugfest with Tommy Fury, is undoubtedly the ‘tensions’ between Israel and Palestine.

The rhetoric is emboldened with news outlets billing it as Israel v Hamas. Now I’ll be honest, I have no ‘skin in the game’. Absolutely none: not a jot or one iota. I know very few, if any, Israelis or Palestinians.

Yes, the attack on Israel was appalling, as is the Israeli retaliation, both actual and expected, which is the proverbial sledgehammer cracking a nut if ever there was one, but we are now being ‘forced’ into taking sides.

I switched on LBC late yesterday as they reported on a pro-Palestine rally that took place near parliament square when an interviewee said, "You are either with us or you are against us" which says everything about how messed up, uneducated and intolerant our society has become at all levels.

Think about it: when did you last hear of someone as being ‘slightly’ to the left or right politically? Now folk are demonised as far left or far right.

How do we define racism? Have you ever said, even 30 years ago, something negative about, say, travellers? That is different to having Nazi tattoos and going on EDL marches before firebombing the local mosque, yet to the talking heads among us you are either X or you are Y.

So, carefree, I plan to sit this one out. I am not unequivocally (Sunak’s word, not mine) going to back either horse as I know little of the riders or their past, or present, historical tapestry.

It's ok to stay in the grey as without full receipt of the facts, your early proclamations may prove to be wrong as you continue to argue despite knowing you are wrong, as confirmation bias forces you to take a very uncomfortable stand indeed.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher.