What’s that you say? There are bullies in Parliament? I would never have guessed.

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I was a victim of bullying at school. I had a LOT of problems (child of out-of-control alcoholic family sent to boarding school at age 10 etc).  However, I can report that no-one attacked me in bed with wooden bed legs. Neither was I perfect but I also did not whack people around the body.  There!  Self-disclosure complete.

Do I think it is unfair that Sam Uffindell is now being pulled up for an event that happened when he was 16?  Well, really, it is neither right nor wrong – it was inevitable, given the circumstances.

The attack was really serious.  It got him an invitation to leave a school that has, over the years, tolerated quite a lot of bullying behaviour of the ruling class kind.

More importantly, Sam knew that it was a barrier to any political ambitions. He will find it hard to convince people that his apology last year was anything other than an attempt to clear the decks prior to standing for Parliament.

This certainly appears to be the view of the person who received the apology and accepted it on face value at the time.  It is not clear whether this guy is a whistle-blower or whether he was contacted by the media after the story became known.

But what is clear is that he now believes the apology was motivated by Sam’s political ambitions, which Sam denies.

Frankly, it does not really matter exactly where the truth lies on this on the spectrum from “my conscience forced me to seek out the man and apologise” to “cripes I need to get rid of this roadblock to my ambitions”.  It is public perception that matters. And that perception is unlikely to be kind to the new MP, at least in the short term. I have no doubt there are plenty of people in Tauranga who regret voting for him now.

But it is out in the open now, and will be old news next week, and ancient history by the time of the next election. As long as Sam behaves himself extremely well, and perhaps goes out of his way to support anti-bullying causes, he should be OK in such a safe National seat next year.

But what I do want to highlight is the difference between the Sams of this world and their private education and supportive families, and the people that Luxon was pleased to rubbish in Sunday’s speech – the feckless and lazy youth of his imagination who apparently do not wish to work.  It’s a bit of a contrast, isn’t it?

This is as much a white, male upper middle class issue as it is a parliamentary scandal. Compare this single attack on one young white boy to the sustained physical, psychological and sexual abuse experienced by children in state care.

The National Party needs to acknowledge the high level of privilege that its own people have, and stop bullying those less fortunate in policy, fiscal or polemical terms.

3 Responses

  1. Liz I commented previously on the story about Oat the Goat.
    A beautiful story, that I am sure everyone could learn from…
    I wonder if the same goes for other countries such as the US?
    Ben Shapiro describes Obamas tactic as:
    “While President Obama and the left like to pretend that they oppose bullying with all their hearts and souls, the truth is far darker: the left is the greatest purveyor of bullying in modern American history. Bullying has morphed into the left’s go-to tactic, as they attempt to quash their opponents through fear, threat of force, violence, and rhetorical intimidation on every major issue facing America today”

    In Bullies, Ben Shapiro uncovers the simple strategy used by liberals and their friends in the media: bully the living hell out of conservatives. Play the race card, the class card, the sexism card. Use any and every means at your disposal to demonize your opposition—to shut them up.

    Do you think that US politics is different? or do you think that the lefts in the US are purely mean or is this story just a hoax?

    Let me know, Liz.

    1. Do I think there are bullies to the left in politics. Errr, yes! Having said that, I do believe that Jacinda was keen to shift to a kinder and more caring society. But then she left old Trevor Mallard as speaker for a number of years, and I have yet to hear that they are explloring kinder, more conciliatory or restorative processes in Parliament. I reckon we could do better. Thanks for your two thoughtful posts on these matters. I am glad you like Oat the Goat – me too!

  2. Wow. I cannot believe the Labour caucus….
    Proves my point, as mentioned previously there are bullies in left politics.
    These are the leaders of our country, it shouldn’t be a playground.

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About Insight Aotearoa

Most of the blogs published here will either respond to initiatives elsewhere or will be ‘newsmaking’. Some will also be reflective in more general terms. The blogs will be topical and interesting. I like to inject some humour into my blogs.

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