Title: Editorial: Election year's 1st gay victims and a surprising accuser Credit: Jay Bennie Features Thursday 10th March 2005 - 12:00pm1110409200 Article: 650 Rights
The opening shots have been fired and the first individual target is stunned but still standing. Winston Peters has accused a politically active gay man of unspeakable crimes, but of course he won't speak about them away from the protection of the house of representatives. In what is the first and remarkably cowardly act of the fight for the few votes remaining out at the right of the political spectrum (remember there's an election only eight months away and Peters has had very little media exposure lately)this wily MP decides to up his profile by grabbing hold of a file containing the words paedophile, homosexuality, immigration and ACT (see feature article) and tabling it in parliament. Predictably, the news media goes ballistic, the pompadour and the pinstripes are blasted into everyone's living room. Objective presumable achieved. As our own gay literary icon Oscar Wilde once observed: "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about." Under the cloak of parliamentary privilege truth and fair play have been scuttled, but at what cost to the target of Peters' attacks, Jim Peron. Mark Jim Peron down as the first individual piece of human collateral damage in what has been warning will be a nasty election year. But there are two villains in this piece. There's Peters of course... but he didn't trawl the internet for half truths and out of date gossip. He wasn't the one assembling the folder of innuendo and patently false accusations that are so risible that, when they were peddled to a Sunday paper last December, after a few day's salivation the paper realised how baseless the accusations were and withdrew the story completely before going to press. has spent today sniffing round the halls of parliament trying to identify the real source of the file. Jim Peron is remaining quiet about who he believes it is despite repeated requests from us to name his anonymous accuser. From usually reliable sources we got a name, the same name: a man who is an experienced investigative reporter and who happens to be... gay! That's the really disturbing bit behind all this. The Worm tongue-like spinner of this whole affair (to borrow from LOTR) is one of our own! There's a breed of politicians which we expect to be opportunistic and few would deny that NZ First's leader Winston Peters fits that category. But for a gay man to repeatedly peddle anti-gay tripe about a fellow gay man, to falsely cause him to be labelled a paedophile, shady immigrant and all the rest, defies any definition of humanity. But there has been some humanity emerging from this sordid story. Rodney Hide, the ACT leader caught up in a false gay smear campaign of his own a while back, has been staunch in his parliamentary defence of Jim Peron, and in his condemnation of the use of a person's homosexuality as a weapon against them. Immigration Minister Paul Swain has handled the matter tactfully and with dignity in the house. And most of the media are at least questioning Peters' motives. In closing let's not forget there is another victim in all this disgraceful business. If Jim Peron is stressing out wildly and is worn out by nights of no sleep, defending himself and media intrusions, how must his much more private partner be feeling. Mark Jim's partner down as individual gay collateral damage victim number two. Fasten your seatbelts for Election 2005 folks... it's going to be a damned bumpy year! Jay Bennie - 10th March 2005    
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