Title: Desperate Don! Credit: Craig Young Comment Wednesday 13th April 2005 - 12:00pm1113350400 Article: 698 Rights
At the moment, the centre-right is behaving strangely. They can't touch Labour on the economy, so social conservative obsessions have resurfaced at the annual Greypower conference. Don Brash positioned National alongside New Zealand First, arguing that Parliament should abdicate its responsibility to debate issues and throw money predatory, overseas-funded rightwing organisations when it came to MMP and peace issues, as well as 'conscience' concerns. However, while he waxed weird about 'homosexual social engineering,' he also thought that it was useless relitigating old issues, like the Civil Union Act. Over in ACT, Muriel Newman has started raving about gay conspiracy theories yet again. Some might say that Brash has turned into a 'bi-conservative' and is trying to have it both ways. How convenient. He realises that the relationship equality debate drove away his Orewa redneck crowd, but still holds out for opportunism when it comes to transgender rights and adoption law reform during the next parliamentary term. Earth to Don. Our rights are non-negotiable. Get used to it. Oddly enough, Libertarianz put out a media release at the same time, sternly arguing that it objected strongly to the pro-smoking WIN Party's endorsement of binding citizens initiated referenda. It made dark references to mob rule and head counting, arguing that this shouldn't be able to overturn liberties and property rights. Of course, the Libz supported the Civil Union Act and Prostitution Law Reform Act, as well as endorsing cannabis decriminalisation and legislating for access to voluntary euthanasia. I applaud them for this. They have indicated that they're opposed to populist rights-bashing through this principled stance. It really says something about the current sorry state of the National Party that the Libz are taking the fiscally responsible stance over these matters. Meanwhile, in the United States, radical 'feminist' Andrea Dworkin (1947-2005) died recently at 58. She has a bad rep amongst anti-censorship feminists, lesbians and gay men in the United States for her extremist and strategically challenged stance on state censorship of 'pornography' which led to convergence and alliance with Christian Right anti-porn groups when it came to civic ordinances and the Meese Commission of the mid-eighties. After that, Dworkin married (!) John Stoltenberg, a bisexual fellow antiporn crusader. Many feminists blame Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon for sabotaging US feminist unity and distracting them from fighting for women's reproductive freedom during that period of recent US history. If one sups with the devil, use a long spoon. Much the same could be said about Sandra Coney and her opposition to prostitution law reform here, although to be fair, there's a US lesbian/gay antiabortion group which shows similar strategic naivete when it comes to rolling back women's reproductive freedom. Strategically challenged single-issue obsessions and collaborationism are not the province of 'radical' feminists alone. Fortunately, National aren't likely to win the next election, given its continued slippage in current polling. Sadly for 'The Donald,' the strong economy undermines his area of particular strategic competence, so National has become addicted to populist short-term single-issue social conservatism. However, addictions lead to unsavoury results, like tunnel vision and unrepresentative single-issue obessions. Skippydom won't save ACT from oblivion, nor will it make National an attractive coalition partner for New Zealand First. Nor will it distract New Zealand voters from feelings of wellbeing within a robust economy. Craig Young - 13th April 2005    
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