Cyber hypocrisy

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 pm, September 26th, 2007 - 14 comments
Categories: Media, national - Tags: ,

All the fuss created by one Rory English, son of National’s deputy leader Bill, exposes some very real and concerning issues.

Firstly, just what standards do the English family think they are setting at the moment? Rory English’s posts to his now mysteriously deleted (well, not very mysterious actually!) pages on Bebo were truly offensive. And not just to the gay community either. Rory also appears to believe it is ok to preach hatred against black people and Jews as well. Those who were unfortunate enough to look at the site before it was hurridly taken down following its exposure yesterday would have also seen that it featured an extremely violent cartoon sequence that would have been quite at home on homepages of those responsible for the Columbine tragedy. At one level it’s easy to dismiss this as the behaviour of a teenage boy showing off, but when murder and extreme violence is being encouraged solely on the basis of one’s sexuality, race or religion it should be of concern to any decent parent. New Zealand does actually have a significant problem with cyber-bullying and with homophobic and racial abuse in schools. It’s more than a little incredible (revealing, even) that the former education spokesperson of the major opposition party has still not said the grossly offensive material his son posted to the site was not acceptable. And this from the man who during the recent debate on the repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act said that he is “totally responsible for his children’s physical and moral welfare,” and that children need parental direction.

Secondly, just how gutless is the New Zealand media? Today the newspapers have been full of Bill English’s spin that somehow has executed a “disgusting and sick attack on a young teenager”. Excuse me! Who was attacking who? Where was the question to Mr English about his reaction to the comments made by his son? All did was publish comments posted on a public website and for that the nation’s media are happy to run National Party spin that somehow they are the guilty party here. Isn’t the real reason the media have been so slack at asking the obvious questions over this issue because Bill English said he was consulting his lawyers? A truly apolitical media committed to ethical journalistic standards would have said ‘fine, talk to your lawyers, but in the meantime why are refusing to answer simple questions about whether you think homophobic, racist and anti-semitic tirades are acceptable in your family?’ In any case it’s not like invented the Rory English webpages so what possible prospect of success would Bill English have in any legal action. Truth, is after all, the ultimate defence.

Thirdly, what does the Rory English post say about his family’s attitude to the Key family? Perhaps these posts are yet more evidence that Bill and the whanau still haven’t forgiven John key for assuming the National leadership – a job Bill English still covets. It hasn’t escaped our attention that Rory English reserved some of his most strident abuse for ’emos’ – which for older readers helpfully translates as ‘young people who openly express emotional angst through their fashion and music.’ We remember not so long ago John Key describing his own teenager as ’emo’. Could this cyber-attack be yet another front in the English family battle to regain the National leadership for their dad?

14 comments on “Cyber hypocrisy”

  1. JAB 1

    Having read the offensive internet postings by Bill English’s son, it’s a tad ironic that the MP smarts at having his son’s anti-social behaviour reported as offensive and seeks to threaten defamation and repress media coverage.
    This is the same politician who as party leader, only four months out from the 2002 election accepted his Wairarapa candidate’s honourable resignation over the public anti-social behaviour of that candidate’s son. That seemed appropriate at the time as Mr English was running his party campaign based on strong conservative moral behaviour, family values like integrity and respect, and positive parenting.
    Has Mr English changed his moral parenting code now as it took two full weeks after media gave him notice to pull the offensive internet site and respond publicly only to attack the media? Or has the fact that someone in his family is now making these offensive comments about gays, and black and Jews just got too close for comfort? While I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes (or Rory’s for that matter) Mr English should look to the US for the Republican’s performance in their recent elections for the chickens that come home to roost.
    So, the criticism of English now is not that he is wholly accountable for his son’s content, but for the way he responded. He can’t blat on condemning fellow MP Benson-Pope as he did for alleged hypocrisy when he shows that very attribute himself. I bet John Key himself of Jewish heritage would not have made the same calls today on TV and all over the media if it were David Swartz of the Jewish Council making the complaint instead of the gay community!

  2. tom-tom 2

    Chip off the old block.

  3. Policy Parrot 3

    How very typical of National…

    Complains when there is serious negative trends in society – for example, bullying in schools, homophobia etc …

    Yet, when the Government announces measures to tackle it, is denigrated as ‘politically correct’.

    States that ‘family values’ is the best way up bringing up children – ‘not teachers and bureaucrats from the PC universe’.

    But the children of said representative(s), who under their allegedly superior moral values upbringing display all of these seriously problematic traits.

    There is no doubt that education starts at home. Maybe said representative should tidy up his own backyard before telling others how raise their own children.

  4. ziuzou 4

    Firstly,to highlight the immature rantings of a teenager to make comparisons with American high school massacres is a flawed leap of logic. Are we know to expect Rory to form a clique and follow the philopospy of nihilist thinkers? The use of the nauaseating slippery slope argument is alarmist and poor.

    Further, Eddie writes New Zealand does actually have a significant problem with … racial abuse in schools. Is this a problem exclusive to those in the education sector? No. Then what is being done to change the ingrained and institutionalised racism that exists in NZ’s society? We all applaud Hone Harawira’s actions in Australia yet we don’t do nothing ourselves on the ground level.

    Secondly, Bill English defending his son is no different to David Cunliffe’s response to accusations of him and his son after the furore regarding the repeal of Section 59.

    Thirdly, a very speculative connection about the English family trying to bring about the downfall of John Key through a website. I would have thought the National Party caucus is a better means for Bill English to regain the leadership?

    Using the son of politician to score cheap points is lazy and cowardly thinking. The same type of thinking used by Rory.

  5. ahod 5

    The simple truth is that we are a mixture of the people around us, we act like our friends, but for the most part we form our opinions based on what ideas and morals our parents inflict on us. For a son to place homophobic, anti-Semitic and racist comments on a public forum then it raises the question; What morals and ideas has the English family been inflicting on their children. The ‘chip off the old block’ analogy works well here.

  6. Irish Police 6

    You guys are loseres grow up. How many of you have seen a more offensive thing then a stick figure trying to get out of a box that was the offensive cartoon wow im gob smaked soooooo offensive. How many of you SMART people who get a kick for making up bull have seen his bebo page it isnt even that bad. You can find a million more worse bebo pages but wat a shock you all focus on the MP’s son this is a injustice. This makes me feel sick when obvious lies are posted against a honest young man. I have the honor of Knowing this great boy and he does not promot racism

    [lprent: ummm this is immediately triggering my troll instincts. Great capitalization, immaculate spelling, innovative lack of use of punctuation, and I have absolutely no idea what is being talked about]

  7. higherstandard 7

    Is this where the political debate is going demonising partners, spouses and children ?

    For people on this blog to question how Mary English has raised the family really leaves me speechless.

  8. Rory, is that you?

    Bit behind the times, old boy.

  9. r0b 9

    Is this where the political debate is going demonising partners, spouses and children ? For people on this blog to question how Mary English has raised the family really leaves me speechless.

    I quite agree HS, the family life of public figures is out of bounds. Which is why your hypocrisy really leaves me speechless:

    Spin-busting: ‘Hardworking kiwis’

    June 11, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Congratulations with such outstanding blinkered behaviour you both appear to be the sons that the Prime Minister wishes she had.

    Go ahead – tell me how it’s “different”.

  10. higherstandard 10


    If you can’t see the difference between my comment and the post I feel sorry for you.

  11. HS.

    a) post from six months ago

    b) the post was in response to Bill English’s attack on Gaynz, saying that Gaynz was correct in its comments.

  12. higherstandard 12

    Sorry Clinton

    My mistake completely didn’t read the date on the post !

    I though Irish Police was IB and I enjoy reading his comments – then after reading the post got a bit uppity.

    I though it was strange that the the post was here as most of the publishers have been very civil in relation to families and spouse/partners.

  13. zANavAShi 13

    Hrmmmmm, looks like a good case for a plugin that automatically holds for moderation any comment posted to a thread which hasn’t been commented on for 30 (60, 90 or whatever) days.

    Maybe iffn ya find yourself in a moment of boredom sometime over the weekend eh Lynn (hehehe I know you know I know a devoted php coder never sleeps has a weekend off) 😉

  14. Protoss Army 14

    Everyone one who has posted a comment here makes me laugh. You really don’t have anything better to do then to grumble on and on about something so UN-important like this hahaha. get a life, serousily!!!! Good on ya Irish police though.

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