Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

21 July 2013


ONE of the effects of ageing doesn't become apparent until you get there: the realization that the world has become a place into which you increasingly don't fit. It doesn't matter how young you feel or how young you think, The Young will exclude you or send you to the margin. They do this by shouting or deliberately speaking so softly that you can't hear them or, more sinisterly, by publishing on social media hurtful comments such as 'why don't you get out of the way and leave room for us?'

You also become aware that your attitudes, which are the result of experience and many years of distillation, march to the beat of a different drum, and that although you might belong to a majority, your opinions will be shouted down. You notice that the smaller the minority the more noise it makes and because it makes such noise it gets noticed and influences the thinking of those who make legislation; they mistake noise for the opinions of a majority.

But that majority has one opportunity in each electoral cycle to make its feelings felt: polling day. On that one day upon which those who can be bothered to vote vote they become more important, individually, than The Most Important Person in the World. Bigger than the Prime Minister, the Queen, The President or The Pope. They choose to endorse the party and or candidate whose promises most closely chime with their needs, wants and beliefs. Their, plus all the others of their ilk's, ticks will make the government.

That's the day when the noisiest of minorities are silenced by what has appropriately become known as the silent majority. And rightly so.

It's in the nature of 'The Media' to emphasize attacks upon the governing party no matter how trivial. I think this is done because media think that they can bring down governments and they do so ignoring the truth that the governing party (in this case New Zealand's National Party) has far and away the largest share of the popular vote. Although it hovers about 50%, plus or minus - depending upon the polls and the events of the day - it greatly outranks the others: Labour, The Greens, New Zealand First and the tiddlers.

Anything that makes news pleases the media even if it's only the accusation that the Prime Minister went to school with the brother of a man he recommended for a civil service job! In a country with a population of only 4.4 million everybody knows everybody or somebody who knows somebody! In any case don't all of us recommend people we know if we know they'll do a job well - a good builder, electrician, doctor, lawyer, podiatrist..?

Sadly, we are a country characterized by envy. Meaningful journalese adjectives are attached to 'haves'. Adjectives such as 'up-market', 'mansion', 'rich-lister', 'millionaire', 'flash car owner', 'exclusive suburb dweller'.

Envy manifests itself every day in the complaints of undeserving people who seek hand-outs of benefits while comparing their circumstances with wealthy, self-made entrepreneurs or people who simply work hard for a living and pay their taxes. Successful people rarely complain even when they know they are being exploited by soft government agencies that pay out benefits to people whose qualifications they don't sufficiently scrutinize.

Right now, the National government (it was put there by a majority of electors) is clamping down on benefit fraud or manipulation and while the 'anything-that-makes-news' media delight in publishing news and cartoons that depict certain cabinet ministers as mean-minded slave drivers the Great Silent Majority is quietly satisfied that good things are happening. They recognize only too well that The Unemployed can metamorphose into The Unemployable if they lose the work ethic; the sick can become sicker of they are not motivated to get well and work; and the philosophy that the state owes the individual can be carried from one generation to the next.

Having said all that in a Colonel Blimp sort of way, I am very concerned about our government's desire to change legislation in order to allow state agencies to 'spy' upon our own people. I fear that our Prime Minister (of whom I am a supporter) will lose the goodwill of the people unless he assures us that such 'spying' will not be carried out without the approval of an external panel of adjudicators. We need to be promised that any surveillance (upon suspected terrorists, drug traffickers, IT thieves, money launderers - anybody, in fact, who would do us harm) is only undertaken after a warrant has been applied for and issued.

They say that if a citizen has done no wrong he has nothing to fear. Tell that to any Jew who willingly declared his race the day before Adolph Hitler came to power!

Don Donovan, Curmudgeon-In-Chief.  Albany. 21 July 2013.

www.don-donovan.blogspot.co.nz or www.donovan0001.blogspot.co.nz

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By Don Donovan