Sunday, April 21, 2013

Buffoon of the week

Maurice Williamson is being lionised as some sort of international celebrity for his speech in Parliament in support of the same-sex marriage bill. He has become an improbable hero in the eyes of the media, which abandoned all semblance of professional impartiality on Louisa Wall’s legislation. (I say “improbable” because Williamson has been more whipping boy than poster boy for the media in the past. It’s just that on this occasion, his politics happened to align with those of most journalists.) But I see nothing to admire in Williamson’s grandstanding. On the contrary, I think it was a contemptible speech – contemptible because it mocked and ridiculed people who had merely exercised their right to express a view on the bill. That’s called democracy, a point apparently lost on the ego-tripping MP for Pakuranga. Democracy confers the right to hold unpopular, silly and even offensive views without being smugly derided and held up to contempt in Parliament. Others may regard Williamson as a hero, but he confirmed my impression that he’s a clown and a buffoon – and worse, a clown and a buffoon with no regard for the right of constituents to freely communicate their honestly held opinions to their elected representatives. And while he may boast of having a degree in physics, I’m curious to know how anyone could get to the age of 62 without learning how to pronounce the word celibacy. Thank God ministerial rules prevented him from accepting Ellen DeGeneres’ invitation to appear on her TV show. I shudder to think of the harm that might have been done to New Zealand’s reputation.


Jigsaw said...

Absolutely agree - the man is an idiot and has proved it enough times in the past. I caught only part of his speech when he quoted someone who had written to him suggesting that the proposed bill has caused the drought. Such tactics tell you much more about the person the repeats them than anything else. Disgusting!

Robert Viking said...

contemptible because it mocked and ridiculed people who had merely exercised their right to express a view on the bill.

Your words and yet you apparently suggest that he shouldn't have the right to mock those self same views. Surley a perfect legimate freedom.

He may be a buffon(your opinion freely expressed) but freedom of speech allows that he is free to critique others views.

Be careful what you whish for.

Karl du Fresne said...

Most people would see a world of difference between the legitimate exercise of free speech and an MP using his privileged position in the House of Representatives to belittle people who pay his salary. If the only way Williamson can exercise free speech is by deriding others who are unable to respond, he should shut up. He's a bully as well as a buffoon.

ApologiaNZ said...

"I shudder to think of the harm that might have been done to New Zealand’s reputation."

Oh, John Key already went there, so Mr. Maurice Dubya didn't have to:

SPCS said...

Absolutely agree with you Karl. Your blog has inspired our response.

Russell Brown said...

What utter tosh, Karl.

Williamson made a point of emphasising his respect for the concerns expressed to him by "moderate" people and said he understood their fears.

But how is is he supposed to respond to an assurance that he would personally "burn in the fires of Hell for eternity" or messages blaming the marriage equality bill for the drought -- other than in good humour?

Like most other MPs supporting the bill, Williamson received some really vile, nasty correspondence from its opponents. That you're huffing and puffing about him making light of it in reply seems absurd.

Karl du Fresne said...

I took the trouble to watch Williamson's speech again. He spoke for about 4 minutes and seven seconds. About 20 seconds of that consisted of an acknowledgement that many reasonable people had legitimate concerns about the bill. For most of the remainder, Williamson indulged in unabashed scorn. The overall effect was to discredit opponents of the bill as being driven by loony religious fundamentalism. There was nothing good-humoured about it. It was a smug, egotistical man taking advantage of his privileged position to sneer and mock. As someone remarked to me (an office-holder in the National Party, as it happens), his speech stood in marked contrast to the thoughtful, reasoned and considerate contributions of other MPs on both sides.