Monday, 3 March 2008

catching up

it's been a hectic week, and i haven't managed to post as much as i'd like. but there have been plenty of things happening to blog about.

first, i'm appalled at the herald at the moment, which is currently reading pretty much like a national party newsletter. what annoys me most though, is that if any (labour) politician dares to criticise their coverage, it's immediately trumpeted as a sign of failure. so the narrative seems to be "we can say whatever we like, but if you criticise us for it, then you're a loser". it's bizarre.

i've heard phil wallington on radio nz (for whom i generally have a lot of time) criticise the PM for her views on the media. i'm paraphrasing badly, but he interprets her criticisms as some sort of attempt at telling journalists what to do. but if the media can have views on politicians, why can't politicians have views on the media? the media are not above criticism and critique, and if you believe in freedom of speech, then any person should be able to give their opinions without being lambasted for it. or being labelled a loser.

in other news, nice to see ross robertson is putting in a bill outlining a code of ethics for MPs. about time. some of the behaviour in the house is pretty sad, and it would be good to have some standards codified.

had to laugh when i heard michelle boag on the panel a few weeks ago, complaining about mr peters showing that photo of mr key and mr iti in parliament. how terrible, she complained, and how could journalists report it in the way they did (national party members are apparently allowed to criticise the media without it being a sign of weakness!).

it was such a hypocritical performance. she seems to have entirely forgotten about one judith collins bringing a tennis ball into the house, and brandishing it around, while labelling the hon david benson-pope a child molestor under parliamentary privilege. that little incident seemed to have escaped her mind totally, as did the many times helen clark has been forced to listen to taunts about her not having had children, her marriage being a sham, and some pretty nasty homosexual innuendos. one of the most petty comments i heard was on a thursday afternoon, when one of the female MPs from national (can't remember who) was tauting a labour member on the basis of her name. it was pathetically childish (as were the accompanying giggles from that side of the house), the sort of behaviour you expect from five & six year olds in the playground.

so yes, it would be nice to have a code of ethics and a lifting of standards of behaviour. i note mr robertson's comments that he would have preferred to do it through the standing orders committee, but that committee has been unable to come to a consensus in three attempts. it will be interesting to see how the debate on this goes, and who will be voting against it.

i really love this piece by joan smith - yes, i have to admit, it's in the herald, and it's damn good (seems they are not 100% evil!). anyway, the piece highlights how violence against women could have been prevented by people speaking out when they saw signs of inappropriate behaviour. we are often so afraid to intervene, or are not sure how to do so without making the situation worse. i guess there's the fear that we will have involved "the authorities" when there was nothing much going on, creating much embarassment for the target of our complaints as well as ourselves. there is the knowledge that speaking out will ruin a friendship.

it's the same fear that abounds around violence against children. we fear that good parents who give their child a smack might be unfairly targetted, if that violence is reported. however, i would rather have a few good parents go through something that's uncomfortable, if it helps to save the lives of other children, or at least to save them from harm. it's better to report and have the embarassment, than to not report and have a serious injury and death.

just as important is the link smith highlights between prostitution and sexual violence. i was never a supporter of the legislation decriminalising prostitution. i would have preferred to grant immunity from prosecution for prostitutes who made complaints of violence against themselves, or who presented to the health authorities for any reason. and in order to make the previous law fair, i would have preferred that men who used prostitutes were given the same treatment under law as the crime of solicitation was given.

finally, congratulations to louisa wall, our newest labour MP. i've had the privilege of working with louisa on a couple of things, and know that she will make a great MP. good luck louisa, i'll be looking out for your inaugural speech.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

i really love this piece by joan smith - yes, i have to admit, it's in the herald, and it's damn good (seems they are not 100% evil!). anyway, the piece highlights how violence against women could have been prevented by people speaking out when they saw signs of inappropriate behaviour.

There's another great piece in the Guardian on much the same topic.

And for anyone looking for more evidence of misogyny, just consider who is being blamed for these murders: their mothers. Wright's hatred of women has been ascribed to his mother leaving the family when he was a boy, while Dixie's has been blamed on his mother abandoning him outside a care home when he was 12. Dixie's childhood does, indeed, sound horrific, but it's interesting that his mother seems to be getting at least as much of a kicking as the stepfather who allegedly abused him. And, wouldn't you know, it's not just maternal neglect that apparently leads to misogynist psychosis. It has also been said that Bellfield's mother is a "strong-willed matriarch", whose close relationship with him (he visited her almost daily after leaving home at the age of 22) contributed to his psychiatric problems. In a misogynist world, women just can't win.