28 September 2007
The MP's son, Bebo, and homophobic abuse - Part 4
More thoughts. A contributor elsewhere has queried, rhetorically, whether as a result of my analysis we should simply ask politicans "What do you think of people calling other people faggots?" and suggested that the responses would unlikely to be suprising. My response and further comments were as follows: ... I would welcome that question being put to those leaders. That's really my main point, I think that's exactly the line of questioning the media should be directing at both Bill English and John Key. And - given their public comments so far on this issue - I would not assume that the answer would be straightforward. If a patsy response was received, I suggest there are a number of follow up questions that could also be put: 1. How do you reconcile that with your party's statement that it stands for "Speaking honestly, not political correctness"? (What National Stands for, Principle 5). 2. How do you reconcile that with the views of your party's then Spokesperson for the Eradication of Political Correctness comments in June 2005: "[H]ate speech proposals have their source in the bastions of the politically correct. … There are New Zealanders who want to be able to express their views on homosexuality, not just privately, but through the public media. … Under the guise of protecting minorities, we lose one of the most important values in a free society; the right to freely express one’s opinion. The whole point of freedom of speech is that it protects opinions that one sector of society might be deeply opposed to."(Dr Wayne Mapp, 22 June 2005, " The Problem with Political Correctness"). 3. Do you [English] still believe that "diversity" and "respect and care" should not be one of the values identified in school curriculum? (19 August 2005, Evening Standard interview: "National would be very concerned if Labour tries to use values education to impose its own political correctness and social engineering on our kids.") I'm not trying to politicise the present discussion or to make take a partisan approach. Instead, I'm suggesting that the issue raises fundamental questions about political philosophy and policy. In that light, it makes the reluctance to pursue the issue surprising. It makes me wonder whether politicians can avoid tough questions on a fundamental issue simply by playing the "privacy" or "family" card? Or, despite the existence of the Lange-style political figure qualified privilege, by threatening to call in the lawyers?