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Jim Hopkins: It’s an irrelevance, really.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 1, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Jim Hopkins: It’s an irrelevance, really.
Friday, 30.03.2007, 08:14am (GMT12)

Jim Hopkins: It’s an irrelevance, really

 5:00AM Friday March 30, 2007
By Jim Hopkins 

It’s never been what you’d call a major daily but no matter. Small it might have been and yet, back in 1938 or thereabouts, the plucky little Akaroa Mail spoke for many when it published a famous editorial.

Outraged by news Der Fuhrer had once again marched, uninvited and unwelcome, into others’ domain, the Akaroa Mail frowned a very stern frown and, from half a world away, issued the most thundersome threat … “We have had occasion to warn Mr Hitler before …”

And, boy, did Adolf take note!!!

Well, um, actually, no.

Mr Hitler just basically carried on doing what he was doing, indifferent to the censure of the Mail or any other critics.

Now, it is possible that some 83 per cent of you are thinking, – at this very moment, “Gosh, old Adolf would’ve been right at home in our Parliament. He’d’ve fitted in splendidly!!!”

If so, you should be ashamed – very ashamed. You should probably send yourself to your own room. Or dock your own pocket money. Or take whatever other strict measure will bring you to your senses.

Because if you were thinking that, you’re a very naughty little parent!

To begin with, it’s become abundantly clear you shouldn’t be thinking at all. That’s what we’ve got a Parliament for, you silly goose.

More to the point, it’s far too easy to be negative and feel (like the Akaroa Mail in 1938) that your opinions are irrelevant.

Which they are! But for a very good reason. Your opinions are irrelevant because they are wrong! And List MPs don’t have to listen to them! So sit up straight, wipe that sulky look off your face and get on with your homework – in the politically prescribed manner, of course.

And try looking on the bright side too. Try counting your blessings. It is, after all, “an ill wind that blows no good” and an iller one that does not look before it leaps.

Therefore, before you start leaping – in despair or rage – just recall the words of the judge (in front of whom you may soon be appearing) who told the Queen’s Counsel, “always try to find the sow’s purse in the Silk’s ear”.

And there are several such purses to be found in Ms Bradford’s anti-smacking Bill. For example:

* In an egalitarian society, it’s comforting to know that elected and electors are treated absolutely equally. They both get told what to do – whether they like it or not. From now on, we need never wonder what it’s like to be a Labour MP We need only look in the mirror – and feel deeply grateful the Prime Minister is taking such good care of our consciences.

* Whoopee! We’re going to have another review. Just like the one on MMP. And the Parole Board. And the Corrections Department. And … well, you get the picture. Plus the thrill of holding your breath for two years after the Anti-smacking Bill’s been rammed throu … errr, passed before discovering what the Review will conclude.

* Better still, it turns out that paragon of virtue, David Benson-Pope is in charge of this review. Wow! Great news! Heck, any chap who’s been found, prima facie to have rammed tennis balls into the mouths of recalcitrant students isn’t going to tolerate any namby-pamby, wishy-washy, bleeding-heart nonsense. If he can’t reinstate smacking, he’ll surely recommend ITB (Insertion of tennis balls) as an alternative – and probably increase benefits so poor people can buy some!

* In Sue Bradford, we have discovered the quintessence of moral consistency. Here’s someone who has argued tirelessly (and publicly) that abortion is an issue of individual conscience. “A woman’s right to choose” has been her insistent cry. But when women become parents rather than parents-in-waiting, the astonishing Ms Bradford decrees they should have no choice at all.

Presumably because a smack is a much greater threat to the life of a very small human being than ever an abortion would be. Sue, you’re an ethical genius! Anyone with a consistent and compassionate moral framework such as yours belongs to the whole world and not just this small part of it.

* Finally, this whole debate has seen many people get much fitter. Instead of sitting around guzzling Ribena or swallowing glaxotives, they’ve been out and about, protesting vigorously. Sure, no one’s listened but they’re all much healthier than they would have been without Parliament’s considerate intervention. More to the point, young mothers like the one seen on television flourishing a hand-made placard, My house. My rules have learned a very valuable lesson. As the PM herself might say, in Outer Roa today, it’s My House. My rules – and we are all the better for knowing that!

In summary then, chin up, cheer up and stop looking on the blight side of life. Your opinions may be irrelevant but even that unpalatable fact can be turned into a sow’s purse.

Unless it too becomes the subject of a “conscience” vote, there will be an election next year. And when that election comes, you can – however much it might disquiet the odd politician – emphatically demonstrate the truth of the old (albeit slightly paraphrased) axiom – Irrelevant never forgets!!!


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