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English pulls a Lockwood

Written By: - Date published: 2:28 pm, October 29th, 2008 - 64 comments
Categories: bill english, im/migration - Tags: , ,

Oh dear. In the same week Lockwood Smith made his racist remarks and Maurice Williamson committed the gaffe of talking openly about National Party policy, it appears Bill English pulled a wee Lockwood of his own.

According to the Ashburton Guardian, English complained to a local Greypower meeting about the Filipino ‘invasion’ in his home town of Dipton and talked about the plight of a poor farmer ‘whose sole Kiwi worker was arrested before he started his first milking shift’.

The issue of migrant workers from the Phillipines is a contentious topic in Southland, with the Sunday Star Times recently reporting that migrant workers have been abused, isolated and ignored by the mono-cultural locals.

Comments like this from Bill English, their local MP, are unhelpful to say the least.

[Source: Ashburton Guardian, 21/10/08. Hat tip: S McGee.]

UPDATE: Sounds like Bill actually said ‘infusion’ rather than ‘invasion’ and was misquoted by the Ashburton Guardian. Good to hear.

64 comments on “English pulls a Lockwood ”

  1. Quoth the Raven 1

    You’d think being Catholic Bill wouldn’t mind so much with the Philippines being mostly Catholic.

  2. Sarah 2

    The only word you can use within that whole piece to prove your point is “invasion”. And your evidence is not even a quote, rather a pretty unreliable paraphrase of what he said.

    But of course, we’ll get the usual diotribe about how much of a racist “bigot” Bill English is and all those other filthy nats.

    Stay positive guys.

  3. forgetaboutthelastone 3

    an asian invasion in dipton? I’ve been to (or should i say through) Dipton – there’s like 10 or 20 houses there if that. I wonder what counts as an invasion – 10 people? 3 or 4 families?

  4. the sprout 4

    If you can’t understand the inherent racism in Bill’s English’s comments Sarah, then that really is your problem. Not that your limited powers of perception are surprising considering your sympathies.

    btw, the word is “diatribe”.

    you stay positive too Sarah, you’ll need all the polly-annaism you can muster in the next few weeks.

  5. DeeDub 5

    Sarah. Oh dear. Someone hit a nerve there methinks?

    Everyone with half a brain knows Bill is a borderline bogan in a tailored suit and you don’t like to be reminded that some of us are hip to his bs do you?

  6. Anita 6

    Does the article make any sense out of the “arrested before he could begin his first shift”? Does this mean English thinks people should never be arrested? Or that the filipinos got the guy arrested? Or that being long-term unemployed is a crime where English comes from? Or that the sub-editor wasn’t on the ball?

    For that matter, if there’s a labour shortage what’s with the long-term unemployment?

    And, for another matter, if they have no staff what’s wrong with importing them? Shouldn’t it be a rescue squad not an invasion?

    I am counting my blessings that I don’t have to read regional papers any more 🙂

  7. Sarah 7

    the sprout – the whole newspaper piece is so inconclusive that I don’t believe anyone can actually make a judgment from it.

    This is not about politics. The source doesn’t even have a quote, rather a weak paraphrase. And the whole thing doesn’t make make sense (Re: Anita’s comment). If you’re going to call Bill a racist, then you need much more substantial evidence than the paraphrase of some dodgy regional paper.

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    Anita – I’d have thought that the kiwi being arrested before his first shift was a pro-Filipino comment – it seems they are truning up to work and making us natives look bad in comparison!

    Sarah, if ‘invastion’ isn’t quite enough to open your second eye, what is? Would English have to say there was a “stampede of filthy [insert country here] scum” before you decided that he was perhaps a touch off, but still nothing really wrong?

  9. Matthew Pilott 9

    ‘invastion’. D’oh.

    cap ‘the archbish’ – down wit da kidz.

  10. Scribe 10

    Sarah’s right. We have no idea whether Bill English referred to it as an “invasion” or whether the journalist paraphrased him. He might have used influx or a similar word.

    Journalists often like to make comments more exciting than they are by showing off their knowledge of the English language.

  11. the sprout 11

    fair enough Sarah, i withdraw and apologise.

  12. Daveski 12

    Helen is keen on process even with dealing with serial liars 😉

    I notice that no quotes are used so at this stage we don’t know if indeed he said it.

    Actually, Tane, what does the following mean:

    appears Bill English pulled wee a Lockwood of his own

    Which reminds me of Cullen’s comment about Lockwood – “the member can’t have it both ways … well, perhaps HE can!!”

  13. Daveski 13

    Oops – apologies for repeating some – i was writing my comments a lot slower than sarah!

  14. Tane 14

    Um, that he appeared to make potentially racially inflammatory comments, but obviously not on the scale of Lockwood. Hence the ‘wee’.

  15. Anita 15

    Sarah,

    At the absolute best English was politically foolish to let himself be associated with “an invasion of Filipinos in his home town”.

    At a (very likely) second best he has unthinkingly played into the hands of racists and provided fuel to existing racial tensions within his home community.

    At an (also pretty likely) third best he has revealed some of the unconscious deeply seated racism that most of us have when we see people who don’t look like the kind of people we expect in our towns.

    A much less likely scenario is that he was consciously expressing racist sentiments to inflame existing tensions and boost his vote.

    I’ll go for

    Deputy leader of the opposition says something politically foolish and potentially deepens existing racial tensions and racist behaviour three weeks out from the election.

    Not the beginning of the apocalypse, but not a sign of political or electoral competence, let alone the kind of behaviour we’d like to see in a potential deputy PM.

  16. Sarah 16

    Somone just needs to give him a muffler. He’s ruining all of Key’s good work.

    But the impact of this will be very little so I suppose it doesn’t matter. I personally can’t stand Bill, but John had to appease the real righties of the party.

  17. Lampie 17

    hmmm perhaps not naming the ethnicity would of help.

    Question Scribe, is this showing to Mr English before publishing? Usually? It should be? So they are not taken out of context??

  18. forgetaboutthelastone 18

    “I notice that no quotes are used so at this stage we don’t know if indeed he said it.”

    ‘Mr English said…’ – does that count as a quote?

    Or perhaps he was talking about australia? National has made so many gaffs such as this one that we are all getting far to used to the ‘gaff followed by lame excuse’ cycle.

  19. Tim Ellis 19

    There’s nothing racist at all in this. Weak Tane. Very weak.

  20. Anita 20

    Tim Ellis,

    Can you see the “foolish” tho?

  21. Daveski 21

    Tane – if you we being a little troublesome, you could read it as “English pulled wee Lockwood” which gives it a completely different context!

    [Tane: Hmm, that’s unfortunate. Typo fixed.]

  22. the sprout 22

    I agree with Anita that even a charitable interpretation leans toward a suggestion that English did not excercise very edifying political judgement on this.

  23. Lampie 23

    aghhh showing – should be shown

  24. Scribe 24

    Lampie,

    Question Scribe, is this showing to Mr English before publishing? Usually? It should be? So they are not taken out of context??

    Any newspaper worth its salt wouldn’t show stories to people beforehand, unless they have real reservations from a legal perspective.

    forgetaboutthelastone,

    No, that’s called paraphrasing. If he actually said invasion, which is possible, the line — from a journalistic standpoint — should have been Mr English said there has been an “invasion” of Filipinos….

  25. Tim Ellis 25

    No I can’t, Anita. Nothing foolish at all. English was describing a real phenomenon of major labour shortages in the rural community, which is being supplanted by Asian labour. There is nothing that English said that is derogatory towards Asian people.

  26. randal 26

    so is there a flippin invasion of dipsticks or not?

  27. The only person using the race card here is the author of this garbage.

    Still I suppose it IS a distraction when your leader is up to her neck regarding her knowledge of the donation for consul scandal.

  28. Ianmac 28

    Funny how posters above take exception to Bill’s comments being paraphrased to make a point. Have you noticed how often paraphrasing is used to blacken Helen’s name :Sean against Winston today or Guyon or Bill Ralston or John Key? It is a blunt way of joining dots to make a case that is not even there.
    So Bill’s comments: Would a non-racist person name the racial group or just talk about the difficulty in finding the workers? Filipinos have small hands and should make good workers.

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    I wonder how long it will take for the Nat party HQ to lean on the A G and get a retraction.

  30. Matthew Pilott 30

    There is nothing that English said that is derogatory towards Asian people.

    Mmm, “Asian Invasion”, for an example, has never even been suggested as being bad. Or are you being an Authority on What Was Said, Tim?

  31. Lampie 31

    “Any newspaper worth its salt wouldn’t show stories to people beforehand, unless they have real reservations from a legal perspective.”

    cheers, thought perhaps local might be different.

  32. Anita 32

    Scribe,

    I’m assuming that if the AG had been unsure of what English did, in fact, say they would have checked with him (what he said, not the whole article). Checking you’re attributing the right quotes and/or sentiment is normal I would hope 🙂

  33. Akldnut 33

    Scribe – what you are calling paraphrasing is purly semantics. Its pretty obvious to the layman (me) what he meant in general. Just another faux par from a senior Nat MP who is second in line to the throne – scaaaaaary and stupid to say the least.

  34. Felix 34

    The phrase he used was “an infusion of philipinos”, not invasion.

    Audio here.

  35. Lampie 35

    “so is there a flippin invasion of dipsticks or not?”

    yeah, Nat supporters

  36. Matthew Pilott 36

    The phrase he used was “an infusion of philipinos’, not invasion.

    …Oh. If Nat HQ asks for a retraction they’ll be in order… Where did you find that audio, felix?

  37. insider 37

    Anita – don’t assume too much…

    Paraphrasing can be done for a range of reasons. It might be to alter the tense or part of speech, or it might be to encapusulate a long idea into a single word, or it can be done for effect. If English used the word invasion, because of its strenght and connotations, I would expect it to be in quote marks. But he might have said “Dipton has been invaded…” which is the same thing just a different tense, so no quote marks. Or there could have been a comment by someone else about an invasion and he might have said “we’re seeing a similar thing happen in Dipton…”

  38. Scribe 38

    Thanks Felix.

    Can everyone calm down now?

  39. Lew 39

    Akldnut: No, it’s not semantics. Political speech is (usually) very specific, and it rests on peoples’ utterances being taken literally – to the full extent of what they actually say. Not more, not less.

    I’d say the word `infusion’ is a smart one to use in this case. While it might invoke `invasion’ among some people, in general use it’s a neutral term which is sometimes used to describe a dose of something beneficial – such as `cash infusion’.

    If that’s the same quote the A-G heard, I’d say their report is guilty of promoting racism, not English’s statement.

    L

  40. insider 40

    Thank Felix. That’s conclusive

    So in short, there is no story. The reporter got it wrong. Will the standard writers pull or amend the item now, or leave it up as a dog whistle?

    [lprent: Generally leave it up and maybe amend it if the poster feels so inclined. Problem is that if we take it down, then people get wound up about their comments that disappeared, and the more paranoid start feeling there is a vast conspiracy. This is common amongst the blogs, for instance DPF still has posts up saying that I am the NZLP. Besides it should sit there as a permanent record of a mistake]

  41. insider 41

    Thank Felix. That’s conclusive

    So in short, there is no story. The reporter got it wrong. Will the standard writers pull or amend the item now, or leave it up as a dog whistle?

  42. Akldnut 42

    Scribe my bad, I had only read the article but have just listened to the audio and an apology is in order. Consider this it……….. I’m not totally unreasonble

  43. Akldnut 43

    Lew – I’d say their report is guilty of promoting racism, not English’s statement.

    Thats true

  44. Matthew Pilott 44

    Insider – last time an article was removed the bloggers were accused of rewriting history – it’s hard to get it right when you can’t get anything right (according to some…)

  45. forgetaboutthelastone 46

    i’m calm now… wtf Ashburton Guardian?

  46. Ianmac 47

    infusion/invasion?
    Actually it does show just how easy it is to mis-hear a word or two which changes the tone somewhat. But I still think that that is being done deliberately and wholesale by media and politicians and it is very hard to do anything about. Perhaps we should be very discriminating instead.

  47. Scribe 48

    Akldnut,

    Are you apologising to me? No need, my friend. You’re courteous, compared to some on here. I usually get told to F#%k off. I hope people know a little bit more about how newspapers work, now.

    I did suspect Bill would have been speaking of the Filipino “invasion” as positive, and would have been surprised if he’d used the word.

    As someone pointed out above, this sort of thing happens all the time. I think National needn’t bother itself with asking for retractions etc. The Guardian might be wise to correct it, though.

  48. insider 49

    Matthew

    sheesh – admitting a mistake is rewriting history. Good grief.

  49. Anita 50

    Good lord, the Ashburton Guardian can’t write, isn’t coherent, can’t listen, and doesn’t factcheck.

    To repeat and extend my sentiments above; for once I am faintly grateful for the Dominion Post and there’s something I never expected to say 🙂

  50. Lew 51

    Ianmac: Never attribute to malice what may more readily be explained by incompetence.

    L

  51. Scribe 52

    Good lord, the Ashburton Guardian can’t write, isn’t coherent, can’t listen, and doesn’t factcheck

    Everybody makes mistakes. When journalists make mistakes, they’re in circulation for ever.

    If this was done with malice, the journalist needs to be brought into line. Otherwise, a simple correction and private apology to Bill English would be in order.

  52. Akldnut 53

    Lew – Political speech is (usually) very specific, and it rests on peoples’ utterances being taken literally – to the full extent of what they actually say. Not more, not less.

    I’d agree with this. Does that mean you don’t think that the intention behind a particular speech (utterances) has any bearing?

  53. Tane 54

    Wow, that is a pretty dreadful misquote from the Guardian. I’ve amended the post. To be honest it’s a relief to hear.

  54. Akldnut 55

    opps shouldv’e been – I’d like agree with this

  55. Akldnut 56

    arrrrggg shouldv’e been – I’d like to agree with this

  56. Anita 57

    Scribe,

    If it was just the infusion/invasion bit I’d kinda agree. But none of the extract of the article above actually makes much sense. Someone should have read it and realised it was incoherent and illogical (even if they didn’t check what English actually said).

    But yeah, everyone makes mistakes and it’s tough to be a regional paper.

  57. Scribe 58

    Tane,

    Your correction is “Sounds like” the Guardian got it wrong?!?!?!

  58. Matthew Pilott 59

    Insider – yep it sure is. As I said, last time that happened, people from the Right accused The Standard of rewriting history. Good grief indeed. Although in this case, I don’t think it was this blog that made the mistake – If I’d read that comment I would want a fair few people to know about it too.

  59. Lew 60

    Akldnut: “Does that mean you don’t think that the intention behind a particular speech (utterances) has any bearing?”

    No, but if it’s not evident within the utterance, proving intention is very tricky and must be approached very carefully. But I certainly agree it should be approached.

    L

  60. Tane 61

    Scribe. It’s an audio clip, hence the ‘sounds’.

  61. Matthew Pilott 62

    Anita – I did have a bit of a double take, hearing difficulty in hiring workers described as long-term unemployment problems.

  62. Paul Robeson 63

    This is beginning to seem like it might be a legitimate National Party tactic trying to mop up the Peters vote and pander to their old- right base.

    has it been reported anywhere else?

  63. sorry this is a fly-through visit, but a couple of comments look standout.. feel like conflating two of them to : dipton dipped out—the infusion, the infusion!! [ not teabag, eh bill!!]

    well done Felix,

    all others, if you haven’y already try giving me a click for how-tos and who-bys in banking..

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