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Who's talking?


I am sure that I was not the only one to feel instinctively irritated by the assertion on the cover of last week's issue, that 'everyone likes' competitive dialogue.

For a start, the expression 'competitive dialogue' is oxymoronic, yet the headline as a whole gave us no hint that we were supposed to be amused, or take it at anything but its face value.

Dialogue is characterised by convergence, competition by divergence. Convergence might indeed be considered a basis for marriage, as suggested by your headline. Divergence, however, is divorce incarnate.

Any truth in your assertion that everyone 'likes' such an ambiguous activity would lie along the lines that they enjoyed it as a spectator sport, where underdogs might be favoured and rooted for, and losers scorned appropriately.

Any competitive activity tests only the skills applicable to that activity, which, in this case, appears to be arguing. I am not certain that an ability to win an argument is a very useful prequalication for someone entrusted with organising a venue for some Olympic Games.

Maybe I'm wrong. In this instance, time will probably tell.

Malcolm Cox (M), 3 The Exchange, South Brent, Devon, TQ10 9AE

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