I must confess that Key’s position on the repeal of s59 has puzzled me from the moment he started cooperating with the Labour government to get it passed. It’s a principled and evidence based position in stark contrast to his usual ideological blinders and populist posturing. Or perhaps it’s based on a deeply personal conviction. Whatever the reason, on this issue Key has made the right decision, in the face of considerable pressure, and I applaud him for it.
In the aftermath it’s obvious that there’s a lot of irrational anger and bluster out there — on both sides of the Yes No fence. While it’s tempting to sit back and enjoy the spectacle of John Key getting lambasted by much of his support base (and a small but highly visible nutjob fringe), fanning the flames in any way is actually not doing the country any favours. Time to cool things down, if we can. So this is my appeal for us leftie Yes vote activists to make peace with the other side.
I have never been comfortable with characterising the No vote as “beaters” or “monsters”, labels that rightly apply to only a tiny minority. 1.4 Million people voted No for a range of reasons. One of those reasons was the unfounded fear and distrust whipped up by the American fundamentalist funded No campaign, seeds sown in the fertile soil of “Nanny State” hysteria that National worked so hard to cultivate for the last several years. Another significant reason was that the leading question invited a No vote (prior to the referendum the question that was used polled 86% No, while a neutral question polled 50% No). There will be many other reasons for No votes, and very few beaters or
monsters among them.
So if we leftie activists can dial back the rhetoric a bit, that might help grieving and agitated right wing activists calm down, and speed the process of putting all of this behind us. Then one day we might be able to have a rational discussion about the causes of child abuse, and what to do about it.