Comment

Yesterdaze: Plastic correctness gone mad

Judith Collins peddled fake news, Don Brash finally got his say, and plastic bags are on the way out - all in James Elliott's news of the week

This week was Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s first full week back from maternity leave and if you look through Judith Collins' internet browser history you’ll probably find a news website stating that she made her mark by declaring hostilities against Canada.   

In fact, what the Prime Minister said on our behalf was that ‘we are hostile to the views’ of the two Canadian alt-right speakers who were thwarted in their efforts to turn the Powerstation into the White Powerstation and who left the country with the single dubious achievement of having rendered TV3’s Paddy Gower speechless for three and a half seconds.                   

Paddy debunked the Canadians’ assertion that they had ‘destroyed him’ just as the two Canadians debunked the belief that all Canadians are unfailingly polite by firing a few verbal volleys back at Jacinda Ardern and signing-off from these shores with a ‘Hope you enjoy Sharia’. 

I’m assuming there was something lost in translation and that what was intended was a plug for a fellow Canadian – ‘Hope you enjoy Shania’ (Twain – who’s touring here in December). I’m making that assumption because if what was intended was an assertion that New Zealand is somehow subject to Islamic Sharia law then that’s as crazy as seeking political credibility by tweeting a link to a fake story on a fake news website.  

I’m no fan of Don Brash. He’s like a pottle of sour cream that’s well beyond its use-by date – it should just be left on the shelf and doesn’t really need to opened up to find out just how sour it is.   

Which is exactly what Judith Collins did this week, tweeting a link to a story claiming that the French government had voted against having an age of consent in France. Only it hadn’t. It was fake story on a fake news website. I’m not going to name the website here in case you’re tempted to click on it – you’re welcome. If you want to find the website yourself then, again, you’re welcome. And no it’s not up for debate as to whether it is in fact a fake news website. This particular website has claimed amongst other things that Anthony Bourdain was killed by Clinton operatives and that Melania Trump hired an exorcist to rid the White House of Obama demons – the truth being that Anthony Bourdain committed suicide and that it will be the next occupants of the White House who hire an exorcist. 

Collins dug in, refusing to delete the tweet and saying that backing down would ‘only make the situation worse’. Which begs the question – worse for whom? It’s a curious position, to say the least, to say that deleting a tweet promoting a fake story from a fake news website is somehow worse than tweeting it in the first place. It’s like a British General in WW1 saying ‘look if we don’t stick with our strategy of sending our lads over the top it will only make the situation worse. It will look like the first time we made our boys walk slowly towards the German machine guns it was a dumb idea.’  

Now you would think there’s universal agreement that single-use plastic bags are a free commodity that should be banned, but there will probably be a small minority who will no doubt say that’s plastic correctness gone mad.  

Speaking of digging in to defend a dumb idea, Don Brash was banned from speaking at Massey University but he did eventually manage to speak at Auckland University debate as to whether ‘PC culture has gone too far to the point of limiting freedom of speech’. I say eventually because Brash was initially shouted down by a group of protesters exercising their right to not so much free as unintelligible speech by using what looked like the broken loud hailer that John Minto threw out in 1982.    

I’m no fan of Don Brash. He’s like a pottle of sour cream that’s well beyond its use-by date – it should just be left on the shelf and doesn’t really need to opened up to find out just how sour it is. But I’d rather we knew what its ingredients and serving suggestions were so that we can decide for ourselves whether it’s safe for personal consumption.              

And if you don’t like that dairy analogy I’ve got time to work on another one because the free speech debate is going to carry on and will flare again when Nigel Farage comes here next month. No doubt those opposed to his visit will be making plans for Nigel but given that he’s quite open about his tour simply being a money-making exercise let’s hope those plans don’t have the unintended effect of enabling him to do just that.           

Finally, the Prime Minister book-ending her week with another declaration of hostility.  On Friday morning she announced that single-use plastic bags will be banned and are to be phased out over the next 12 months.  

Now you would think there’s universal agreement that single-use plastic bags are a free commodity that should be banned, but there will probably be a small minority who will no doubt say that’s plastic correctness gone mad.    

Have a peaceful weekend.

Newsroom is powered by the generosity of readers like you, who support our mission to produce fearless, independent and provocative journalism.

Comments

Newsroom does not allow comments directly on this website. We invite all readers who wish to discuss a story or leave a comment to visit us on Twitter or Facebook. We also welcome your news tips and feedback via email: contact@newsroom.co.nz. Thank you.

PARTNERS