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The Churchill picture

Written By: - Date published: 8:13 am, August 12th, 2021 - 165 comments
Categories: Judith Collins, national, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uk politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

In Parliament there are a number of pictures.  Many of them have been hanging for decades.  Old white men still tend to dominate and there are a remarkable number of overseas people featured.

You would think that as time goes by older pictures should be replaced by more relevant and newer pictures.  While we should always acknowledge our history we should also recognise and respect our present.

The Greens recently asked that a picture of former English Prime Minister Winston Churchill be taken down from outside their Parliamentary offices and be replaced by one from Dunedin artist Marilyn Webb.  Looking at her art I can understand why.  Her art highlights the environment, is quite startling, and is a good example of what the Green Party is about.

And Churchill was not shall we say a nice person.  Johanni Hari at the Independent has this description of him:

Churchill was born in 1874 into a Britain that was washing the map pink, at the cost of washing distant nations blood red. Victoria had just been crowned Empress of India, and the scramble for Africa was only a few years away. At Harrow School and then Sandhurst, he was told a simple story: the superior white man was conquering the primitive, dark-skinned natives, and bringing them the benefits of civilisation. As soon as he could, Churchill charged off to take his part in “a lot of jolly little wars against barbarous peoples”. In the Swat valley, now part of Pakistan, he experienced, fleetingly, a crack of doubt. He realised that the local population was fighting back because of “the presence of British troops in lands the local people considered their own,” just as Britain would if she were invaded. But Churchill soon suppressed this thought, deciding instead they were merely deranged jihadists whose violence was explained by a “strong aboriginal propensity to kill”.

He gladly took part in raids that laid waste to whole valleys, destroying houses and burning crops. He then sped off to help reconquer the Sudan, where he bragged that he personally shot at least three “savages”.

The young Churchill charged through imperial atrocities, defending each in turn. When concentration camps were built in South Africa, for white Boers, he said they produced “the minimum of suffering”. The death toll was almost 28,000, and when at least 115,000 black Africans were likewise swept into British camps, where 14,000 died, he wrote only of his “irritation that Kaffirs should be allowed to fire on white men”. Later, he boasted of his experiences there: “That was before war degenerated. It was great fun galloping about.”

Then as an MP he demanded a rolling programme of more conquests, based on his belief that “the Aryan stock is bound to triumph”. There seems to have been an odd cognitive dissonance in his view of the “natives”. In some of his private correspondence, he appears to really believe they are helpless children who will “willingly, naturally, gratefully include themselves within the golden circle of an ancient crown”.

But when they defied this script, Churchill demanded they be crushed with extreme force. As Colonial Secretary in the 1920s, he unleashed the notorious Black and Tan thugs on Ireland’s Catholic civilians, and when the Kurds rebelled against British rule, he said: “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes…[It] would spread a lively terror.”

Do you need any more?

The request is perfectly reasonable.  So what does National, the party that claims to be focussed on the issues that matter to Kiwis do?  They make it the issue of the day and the centre of their media attention.

Judith Collins thought the move was outrageous.  From Radio New Zealand:

Collins said the move was outrageous.

“We found out today, this morning without notice, that that the Greens had demanded the removal of Winston Churchill’s portrait from the level two public area of the building here and apparently they’re gonna replace it with something else.

“Asked… if we could have him in our area, our public area, I just think it’s outrageous. I mean, it’s so disrespectful.”

She believed the Greens had moved the painting because they believed Churchill was racist.

“Many great people do have foibles and those people were people of their time, it doesn’t take away from the achievements of Gandhi or of Michael Josef Savage, but what is really important here is that this is a person who was one of the very few politicians who had the courage to stand up against Nazism when so many other people in politics in the UK and even in the commonwealth were happy to give into it.”

Removing the painting was “something that’s deeply offensive,” she said.

And National has even started a petition, presumably to get emails of crusty old conservatives who think that Churchill was a great leader and the world was a better place when Britannia ruled the waves.

Collins posed in front of a blank wall where the picture used to be and was either giving us a peace sign or a blank wall the fingers.  Much hilarity ensued as the image offered a great opportunity for other images to be added.

Collins is clearly stuck in her giving back double mode where she wades into the slightest opportunity to engage in culture war battles with bravado.  Her over the top aggressive outrage now only evokes bathos.  All she is achieving is that she has caused former National supporters to look at what she is doing and think WTF?

I wonder what outrage will occur today?

165 comments on “The Churchill picture ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Party wants new picture and so asks through the correct process. Approval granted, other party says it would quite like the old picture so they are given it.

    That's it. That is this entire story.

    Oh and Collins gave Jacinda Ardern massive free hit by being a drop kick twit, although Audrey "Friday Flash" Young's alternate reality doesn't see it that way (WTF is in the water at the Herald?).

    I have no idea what Judith Collins Ani O'Brian and the National caucus majority of GOP wannabe clowns are thinking, although I suspect they are all hubristic idiots who genuinely believe the majority of NZers think the same as them.

  2. Incognito 2

    Close, but no cigar.

  3. RedLogix 3

    Everything in history is flawed and offensive – the Greens need to be busing erasing all of it. And why not – it's a soft target that's no longer around to defend itself.

    • arkie 3.1

      Won't someone please think of the poor British former Prime Minister, he has no-one to protect him from having his portrait removed from the halls of a foreign parliament over 50 years after his death!

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        Everything that doesn't meet woke cult ideals must be deleted. No debate allowed.

        • arkie 3.1.1.1

          What a fantastic and catastrophist take! Glad we have you here to make your hyperbolic statements about the views and ideology of others! It doesn't contribute to a unpleasant and unproductive culture of debate here at all!

          • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.1

            Delete is woke's main weapon. Delete from history, from public life, from your job – pretending otherwise is feeble. Of course I'm going to lampoon it.`

            • arkie 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Who's pretending here?

            • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.1.1.1.1.2

              No-one is saying "delete Churchill". He remains an important historical figure. What they are saying is that he should be honestly appraised. His image in parliament was not mere historical record – it was a mark of honour and respect, which on actual consideration, he doesn't deserve.

            • Peter 1 3.1.1.1.1.3

              Pity that peace of shit was not deleted at birth, just ask the people from the north of England what they think of him, he turned the troops on striking workers.

        • Sanctuary 3.1.1.2

          You need a lie down, a cup of tea, and a deep period of reflection. You are turning into an enthusiastic culture war idiot. Perhaps you should start taking your tea with Chris Trotter and Bomber?

          • Muttonbird 3.1.1.2.1

            To be fair, this thread is gammon bait and therefore impossible for RL to resist.

            MS should know better!

            [RL: Last and only warning, if you use the racist hate term ‘gammon’ ever again on this site you will be permanently banned.]

            • mickysavage 3.1.1.2.1.1

              Um the post is about the weirdness of National going culture war on something which usually would be handled quietly without fanfare. I wrote this with some incredulity because I could not understand National's choice to do so.

              • Muttonbird

                Certainly. My last sentence was tongue in cheek. I wasn't suggesting you deliberately baited another commenter but as you can see, that is what has happened.

                • mickysavage

                  Apols!

                  • RP Mcmurphy

                    excuse my ignorance but what does that word mean?

                    • Populuxe1

                      It's a reference to the tendency of reactionary conservative types to go pink in the face when contradicted or forced to acknowledge the existence of women and minorities. As for how the term is now "racist hate speech" I am afraid that is beyond my comprehension.

              • Anker

                I think the problem is actually cancel culture, rather than "woke".

                This is happening more and more on the left in NZ and I don't think it is healthy, eg. the student climate change activitists who cancelled themselves because of accusations of racism. We need those kids to be working to fight climate change. Likely there was racism in their organsation, but what about trying to sort it out rather than cancelling? During the Springbox tour there was racism and sexism in the ranks of the likes of HART. But we had a job to do, and we tried to walk and chew gum as best we could.

                Cancelling a Chalie Chapman musical at CHCh University is another example. IMO better to put it on and then give a handout about Chapman at the end to education people. Chapman was born into inpoverished circumstances and his mother went into a psychiatric institution when he was young. He was also a communist. He married two extremely young women, which I find distasteful and probably was mysogynistic but men were in those days, and many still are today.

                Cancelling SUFW giving public talks in libraries about a piece of legislation seems not to have bothered the left too much. The Palmerston North City Council had to fork out $30,000 in legal fees for this attempt to stop free speech though. What a waste of money.

                Most of what RedLogix says I agree with on this thread.

              • Karl Sinclair

                Micky S

                Nice clarification of why you wrote the post

                It bubbles up a ton of issues that really do need discussion

                For example, NZs woke brigade just blindly following the USA woke brigade.

                Obama removed Churchill’s bust…. Now NZ woke effectively do the same….

                Text book copy cat… and it goes way deeper than that on so many other fronts (a creeping insidious asymmetric culture war….of boiling the frog)

                I do get your point about JC though (using it for political gain). But will give some merit points to her for having the guts to mention it. RNZ and National News seem to quake in there boots and never provided a counter to cancel culture and wholeness for fear of be called racist ((it’s the perfect moral mind trap)

                Cheers

                • joe90

                  Obama removed Churchill’s bust….

                  Cool story bro….

                  //

                  The 69-year-old Conservative MP exclusively told Express.co.uk: “No he didn’t get rid of it. When Obama became president, the then British ambassador had lent George Bush this head of my grandfather from the embassy for his period in power.

                  “And when he went, the ambassador wrote and said, ‘Can we have the head back, for the embassy?’

                  “So it went back and Obama let it go. It’s not compulsory to have it. Actually outside the President’s study, in the White House, is another head of Churchill. But it’s obligatory to have a bust of Churchill in your office. Trump asked if he could borrow it. It’s not his, it’s loaned.

                  https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/films/904934/White-House-Winston-Churchill-bust-Donald-Trump-Barack-Obama-Darkest-Hour-Nicholas-Soames

                  • Karl Sinclair

                    Nice one Joe90

                    I stand reprimanded and Fact checked (got lazy)

                    Interesting to note though how the bust has been moved / removed 2x.

                    Also interesting how the fad around the world is to remove statues of anyone that historically pisses certain woke tribes off

                    Diplomacy is sometimes the art of saying f$&* you to a perceived enemy (but not saying it in an overt way) and there by gaining advantage via the people’s perception. Like having your cake and eat it

                    1. Fact Check: Did Joe Biden Replace Bust of Winston Churchill With Hugo Chavez?

                    The bust of Cesar Chavez, not Hugo Chavez, did not replace the bust of Winston Churchill that Trump had on display as president. It replaced a statue of Andrew Jackson. The Churchill bust was removed but wasn't replaced by Chavez.

                    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/fact-check-did-joe-biden-replace-bust-of-winston-churchill-with-hugo-chavez/ar-BB1d0nJW

                    2. Obama Explains Why He Removed Churchill Bust from Oval Office

                    At a press conference during a visit to the U.K. on Friday, Obama confirmed that he had in fact removed the bust from the office to make way for one of Martin Luther King. “There’s only so many busts you can have before it starts looking a little cluttered in there,” he said.

                    https://time.com/4305062/obama-churchill-bust-oval-office/

          • RedLogix 3.1.1.2.2

            Unlike the culture war idiots who initiated this debate by removing Churchill's picture? Unlike them I know fully well that all our heroes have feet of clay – only fools think, expect or demand otherwise.

            What I celebrate and respect are those who rose above their flaws, their failures to transcend the ordinary that all the rest of us struggle with every day. My point which should be fucking obvious to someone with your ability and insight – is that no-one is immune to this woke cult's mobbing.

            • Gypsy 3.1.1.2.2.1

              Beautifully said.

            • arkie 3.1.1.2.2.2

              The pearls are well and truly clutched!

            • Sanctuary 3.1.1.2.2.3

              Calm down grandpa, it is just a picture. And it's only a culture war if you are stupid enough to take the bait.

              • RedLogix

                Now with the condescension … and yes it's 'just a picture'. But if it's really so unimportant exactly why did the Green culture warriors target it for removal?

                Nothing better to do?

                • Muttonbird

                  It's outside their new offices, apparently.

                • arkie

                  Condescension must be avoided at all costs, excepting when we talk about the Greens and their ‘culture war’ as you have deemed it.

                • Patricia Bremner

                  Why does the removal of a portrait bother you? You live in Perth Australia? When would you ever see it? Do you have a picture of Winston Churchill on display in your local Parliament building? Visit that one.

                  It is the Greens Office, in NZ, and they are entitled to change the art surely? They have not destroyed the portrait, so hardly cancel culture, more like affirming their beliefs… supporting local art.

                • Populuxe1

                  I imagine that it might have something to do with Aotearoa being a colonised country, given he told the Palestine Royal Commission in 1937:

                  I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.

                  Well that, and being responsible for the Bengali Famine, and, for that matter, being responsible for landing our troops in the wrong place at Gallipoli and getting them slaughtered. But that's just a guess.

                  I mean, if we're going to stick portraits of foreign leaders who helped defeat Adolf on our Parliament's walls, why not Stalin?

              • Anker

                Sanctuary I have to say, I thought that was condescending too!

    • AB 3.2

      There is erasing, and then there is correcting. Those of us old enough to have used a typewriter know the difference. People opposed to the correction sometimes call it erasing.

    • Gypsy 3.3

      In a run off between Winston Churchill and the 'artist', I know whose name will still be remembered in another 50 years. And it won't be the artist.

    • Descendant Of Smith 3.4

      What a load of tosh. Someone asked that they have the picture outside their office replaced with something more appropriate to their political standing and policies.

      I'm pretty sure national don't have a picture of Savage directly out their doorway to gaze upon every time they walk out the room.

      There is no logical reason for taking a position that once a picture is put on to a particular wall it has to stay there forever.

      It is probably a good time to review all the pictures anyway – most went up when we on FPP so they likely represent either national or labour politics (political heroes) with a few gifted ones from overseas thrown in.

      This notion of wokeness, like PC, is just a way of belittling stuff and people you don't agree with. Attaching labels where none exist. Those with disabilities like myself see this label bullshit all the time.

      • Gypsy 3.4.1

        "I'm pretty sure national don't have a picture of Savage directly out their doorway to gaze upon every time they walk out the room. "

        According to some, Savage was an anti-Chinese racist. So all of his pictures should come down as well.

        • arkie 3.4.1.1

          While that may be true, at least he was PM of this country, so a picture of him in a government building is actually relevant. An interesting discussion to have.

          • Gypsy 3.4.1.1.1

            Yes, my comment was more an objection to the rather silly trend of removing pictures and statues of all and sundry characters because those characters were flawed, as if we are today all pure.

            • arkie 3.4.1.1.1.1

              The question in this instance is one of relevance, not purity politics. One would say it reflects more on those defending the status quo simply because it's pre-existing; not the most logical reasoning.

              • Gypsy

                Yes I get that the OpEd was questioning why Collins was barking at this particular car, and it's a fair question. I'm not defending the status quo. If the picture was being removed because it was faded, for example, then fine. I'm just making the point that there is a lot of silly judgmentalism going on, and I suspect this is part of that.

        • Descendant Of Smith 3.4.1.2

          If national had a picture of Savage outside their doorway and wanted to replace it with Holland/Holyoake/Marshall/Muldoon/Shipley/Key/Thatcher/Ebenezer Scrooge/Ayn Rand or any of their heroes I don't know why anyone would care really.

          • Gypsy 3.4.1.2.1

            You're missing the point, which is that the removal of the Churchill picture can be seen in the light of the wider cancelling of historical pictures due to some perceived imperfection. It's particularly a thing of the left. The present National party is so ideologically numb I doubt they'd bother.

            • Crashcart 3.4.1.2.1.1

              You are missing the point by some how turning the moving of a painting into an attempt to erase Churchill from history. This is over blown.

              DoS is spot on. The pictures around a parties office should represent that party. It should be common for them to have the art change to do this. If National want to hang Churchill, that is great. If it goes in storage or to a museum, then just as well.

              [fixed typo in user name]

              • Incognito

                Out of sight, out of mind. How (in)convenient.

              • Gypsy

                "The pictures around a parties office should represent that party."

                Why? The corridors of Parliament are public spaces. Political parties relocate; their places in parliament, as in history, are temporary and sometimes fleeting. On the other hand this is a portrait of one of the ultimate anti-fascists.

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  He wasn't anti-fascist – he was protecting Britain. Not quite the same thing.

                  "If it seems odd that an individual of such reprehensible views should today be regarded as a hero of democracy, consider this: throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, Churchill was an open admirer of Mussolini, declaring in the 1920s that the Italian Fascist movement had “rendered a service to the whole world.” Had it been necessary, he stated, he was prepared to do in Britain what Mussolini had done in Italy: “If I had been an Italian I am sure that I should have been wholeheartedly with you from the start to finish in your triumphant struggle.” Travelling to Rome in 1927 to express his admiration for the Fascist Duce, Churchill announced that he “could not help being charmed, like so many other people have been, by Signor Mussolini’s gentle and simple bearing and by his calm detached poise in spite of so many burdens and dangers. Secondly, anyone could see that he thought of nothing but the lasting good, as he understands it, of the Italian people.” (The Times, 21 January 1927)

                  • Descendant Of Smith

                    Nor was he a supporter of democracy.

                    In the first volume of his autobiography, Churchill wrote: "All experience goes to show that once the vote has been given to everyone and what is called full democracy has been achieved, the whole political system is very speedily broken up and swept away." Churchill told his son that democracy might destroy past achievements and that future historians would probably record "that within a generation of the poor silly people all getting the votes they clamoured for they squandered the treasure which five centuries of wisdom and victory had amassed."

                    He also thought it was silly that women be given the vote.

                    • Gypsy

                      Churchill also said this

                      ‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’

                      In other words, democracy isnt perfect, but it is the best we have. That's actually quite hard to argue with, and shows the insight of the man, and a deeper understanding of his views.

                      But if you think cancelling historical figures because they hold views frowned upon today, here are some people you will find deeply problematic:

                      Leonardo Da Vinci – allegedly slept with his pupils.

                      William Wilberforce – supported the dissection of criminals

                      Charles Darwin – who referred to aboriginals as 'savages'.

                      Marie Stopes – who apart from being a woman's rights campaigner was also a racist, a eugenicist and and supporter of Adolf Hitler.

                      And the list goes on.

                      This childish trend to cancel anyone with a blemish on their past, while ignoring the achievements of the same individuals, needs to be consigned to the past.

                    • Gypsy

                      He also thought it was silly that women be given the vote.

                      That's a gem. In fact there were many well known women who opposed giving women the vote. Should we ignore all of their other achievements as well?

                    • Descendant Of Smith
                      1. Nobody is cancelling him. They are changing a picture FFS.
                      2. He wasn't by any means the greatest anti-fascist leader of the 20th century as Judith Collins asserted.

                        Everything else is just distraction and trying to score points.

                    • Gypsy

                      Nobody is cancelling him. They are changing a picture FFS.

                      Clearly you haven't been observing what is going on around the world. There is a concerted effort to erase certain people deemed undesirable from history. It isn’t done by burning books any more.

                      He wasn't by any means the greatest anti-fascist leader of the 20th century as Judith Collins asserted.

                      I didn’t make that claim.

        • Gabby 3.4.1.3

          Well, maybe just not hung outside Comrade Colonel Jiang's office.

    • Gabby 3.5

      Why do they need to be busy erasing all of it? Are you busy this weekend?

  4. Great article, I used to think he was just a product of his times, but you have shown that he was part of the cause. Apartheid has its origins in the despair and trauma of those South African concentration camps. And he was responsible for the Gallipoli disaster. How on earth his portrait was still there says a lot about the sycophantic nature of our conservative leaders.

    • roblogic 4.1

      Not forgetting his part in the Bengal famine and 5 million deaths

      • Muttonbird 4.1.1

        No, no. He 'rose above those flaws'.

        • RedLogix 4.1.1.1

          Yes he did – the entire age of empire right from the dawn of agriculture – is littered with invasion, conquest and exploitation. That was the very nature of it and none of your choking moralising can change that.

          That Churchill should have played such a prominent role in last hurrah's – and in bringing that era to an end – is one of life's little ironies. That and his clear sighted will to defeat the Nazis.

          It was no accident that in Simon Schama's series on the history of Britain, in his closing episode on the 20th century he chose both Orwell and Churchill has the vehicles to carry his narrative. Not because either represented any kind of ideal – but because they engaged with and transformed the world around them.

          And neither will be forgotten because petty minds deem them unworthy.

          • arkie 4.1.1.1.1

            Who's moralising here?

            Who are you calling petty-minded?

            The question of Churchill's relevance to NZ remains

          • AB 4.1.1.1.2

            "his clear sighted will to defeat the Nazis"

            Yep – but the interesting question is why. Was it some objection to Nazism itself, or the fact that a superpower Germany would have been a death-knell for Britain's imperial reach and all the wealth that flowed to the imperial centre? Some of Churchill's earlier words and behaviour suggest that anti-democratic dictatorship and murderous racism didn't overly bother him. There was of course by 1941 an existential threat to Britain itself – but setting that aside for the moment – there's an argument to be made that he did the right thing for the wrong reasons.

            The problem is that Churchill has become such a cultural marker, that even such polite questioning of the official version is met with a torrent of outrage. Which means that, as usual, the most vehement and effective 'cancelling' is actually running in the opposite direction to that claimed by the people who protest the most about 'cancel culture'.

          • Descendant Of Smith 4.1.1.1.3

            RL states "No debate allowed" as they then proceed to stifle debate by labelling, being prejorative and accusatory.

      • woodart 4.1.2

        also not forgetting that churchill was against giving women the vote . if churchill had his way collins would be stuck in the kitchen, cooking tripe, instead of talking it.

    • I Feel Love 5.1

      Get a grip, it's been moved, big fucking deal, "cancelled", buying into the right-wing framing.

      • Incognito 5.1.1

        Who do they think they are those Greens? Churchill is part of our colonial heritage and history. I’m outraged and we must replace the empty wall space with a portrait of Trump, Boris, or Xi ASAP.

        • I Feel Love 5.1.1.1

          You've lost me, either I missed the sarcasm or I've found the audience Collins is catering too. All good, just rest easy knowing the portrait is safe & still able to be seen.

      • William 5.1.2

        I wonder whether it has been moved to a previously blank wall, or have National 'cancelled' another painting to create space. Hopefully a journo will follow up this important matter 🙂

  5. I Feel Love 6

    I think she's attempting Churchill's "victory" salute. Anyone check how many ppl signed the petition? They're a joke party, surely.

  6. Karl Sinclair 7

    Presumably the Greens and the woke brigade will be requesting the removal of Gandhi statue outside Wellington station then based on the below. Or is this an example of selective memory based on certain criteria and agenda that being “white and male”. Wow did I hear that penny drop, Seems like someone’s drunk the cool aid.

    People are flawed, they still make up parts of history, they have good and bad sides…

    Gandhi was a racist

    Last year, a Gandhi statue was removed from a university campus in Ghana. Activists there and in Malawi are using the hashtag #GandhiMustFall. They're angry about his early writings.

    In 1903, when Gandhi was in South Africa, he wrote that white people there should be "the predominating race." He also said black people"are troublesome, very dirty and live like animals."

    There's no way around it: Gandhi was a racist early in his life, says his biographer Ramachandra Guha

    https://www.npr.org/2019/10/02/766083651/gandhi-is-deeply-revered-but-his-attitudes-on-race-and-sex-are-under-scrutiny

    • I Feel Love 7.1

      It's not a secret, he was also dodgy around women, he was flawed.

    • AB 7.2

      All public statues are a bad idea – they aren't art, and so tend to be markers of an official ideology of the particular age in which they were erected. Some are endearing and almost art – like the one of Peter Fraser leaning into the Wellington wind. But on the whole, we'd be better off with none.

  7. Muttonbird 8

    Loved the Prime Minister's response:

    I don't care.

    • Anker 8.1

      Yes on that we can agree Muttonbird. I loved the PM's response too.

    • David 8.2

      Like Judith however, Riccardo and crew obviously don’t have any greater issues to involve themselves with than worry about the art at the front door of their offices.

      oh, the life of an MP

    • RP Mcmurphy 8.3

      Neither do I

  8. Churchill was a psychotic warmonger, but he was our psychotic warmonger so that's all good 🙄

  9. Muttonbird 10

    Also, the is a lot of symbolism/metaphor in the picture Judith tweeted. It is the one where we view from a hidden place staff removing the Churchill portrait.

    Whether she captured the image or not, by sharing it she lets us know she was spying. She caught them in the act!

    Along with this breathless voyeurism, she also lets us know she is caged, behind bars, hurt, powerless, an outsider, isolated.

    She reminds me of someone promoted far, far beyond their ability.

  10. Adrian 11

    My father was in England as part of the NZ forces, 23rd Bt. and he maintained that the NZers were convinced that Churchill started the targeting of civilians before Hitler. The story went that an off target German bomber dropped its load which landed in a street full of houses, prior to that the targets had been the docks and airfields and other strategic sites. Within days Churchill had launched carpet bombing on Berlin and The Germans responded, hence the Blitz. I have no way of confirming the veracity of the story but it wouldn’t surprise me. The ordinary NZ soldiers had a very low opinion of Churchill, maybe because of Gallipoli etc but the depth of his deception of those supporting the Allied effort is characterised in Operation Mercury by Tony Simpson the NZ military historian which details how General Freyburg was blindsided by Churchill into sending a poorly equipped and supported NZEF into Greece. It’s is an enlightening read.

    • "We love thee, Winnie, but we'll nowt vote for thee!"

    • Gabby 11.2

      'Carpet bombing' is a tad hyperbolic, given what the RF was capable of at the time. But I'm pretty sure Rotterdam had already happened.

      • In Vino 11.2.1

        Adrian – your Dad's story is true, shown fairly accurately in the 1970s film 'Battle of Britain'. One German bomber unwttingly dropped a few bombs that landed in blacked-out London. The Germans thought they were miles away from London.

        Some say Churchill was aware that Goering had promised Berlin would never be bombed, and his decision (to send a light raid (not carpet-bombing) by a small number of 2-engined Wellington bombers to drop a physically insignificant but psychologically shattering number of bombs on Berlin) was inspired. Churchill knowingly caused Hitler and Goering to switch to bombing London instead of airfields. This saved the RAF when it was near to destruction, but also meant that Churchill deliberately launched the misery and and horror of the Blitz bombing on his own citizens. An earlier case of that Vietnam doozie – "We had to destroy the village to save it."?

        Others say that Churchill may not have been that clever – just wanted revenge for the bombs dropped on London, and that Goering was quite capable of stuffing up a winning policy and abandoning it for another without Churchill's help..

        Churchill in his memoirs was unlikely to admit that he knowingly provoked the Blitz on his cities, so I guess we will never know for sure.

        • In Vino 11.2.1.1

          Adrian – regarding Operation Mercury: by that time Churchill was receiving info from the successful breaking of German 'Enigma' codes by the team at Bletchley Park. He knew full well that the German surprise attack against Stalin's USSR was about to happen. He feared that the Russians were not ready, and if the German onslaught could be launched earlier in Summer, the Germans might well take Moscow and achieve a winning position.

          The first Book published about the Enigma codes in the late 1970s (The Ultra-Secret) makes the claim that Churchill knew in advance that Operation Mercury in the Balkans would fail. (No wonder NZ troops got to dislike him!) But it caused Hitler to divert three whole divisions into Balkans to boot us Kiwis etc out, and that in turn delayed the start of the invasion of the USSR until too late in the summer, causing Hitler to fail, and eventually be defeated in the East.

          Again, hardly the sort of thing Churchill is likely to confess in his memoirs. Others claim that unseasonable late Spring rains would have bogged the Germans down in a sea of mud if they had attacked in May, so once again – Who really knows?

  11. Ad 12

    The quandaries you get into are similar to this exchange about Greens' MPs Keith Locke and Jeanette Fitzsimmons, in Parliament from 2008, Hansard record:

    Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: I am being interrupted already. The fact is that, as one reads the last paragraph of the article that has been tabled, which is headed “Cambodia liberated: victory for humanity”, one sees a boast in it, in the second to last sentence, that the writer of that article, one Keith Locke, cannot deny. In short, he supported it. If we are for ever to be challenged by his denying what has been tabled in this House, and substantiated not just by me but by other members from across the House and across the political divide, then we surely will bring this House into disorder. No one should be asked to apologise or withdraw for the allegations against Mr Locke, because he did write that. They are his words. Like all politicians, we live with what we have said in the past, and so should he.

    JEANETTE FITZSIMONS (Co-Leader—Green) : It is a longstanding point of order in this House that a member’s word is to be taken. That word has been given. What is more, by way of a personal explanation my colleague Mr Locke explained that there is a big difference between welcoming a change of regime when an oppressive regime is turfed out, and then later supporting what the new regime turns out to do. That is an entirely consistent position. It has been pointed out more than once in this House, and the member’s point of order is a fabrication.

    Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN (Leader of the House) : It is worth recording that yesterday I did not accuse Mr Locke of supporting genocide. I said he supported the Pol Pot regime, and that headline seems to me to be conclusive as to that fact. One may, of course, change one’s mind subsequently about that in the light of experience. Now, Mr Locke does place us in difficulty, and I said to him after the House rose, when he approached me somewhat upset, that I could have taken a breach of privilege, given his claim that he never had supported the regime at all, which seems to me to be denied by the fact. The difficulty with the personal explanation is that it then becomes a means of denying what seems to be an unavoidable fact.

    Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) : This is a very small typed note, but it reads this way, in the words of Keith Locke: “When they discover the real gains that the revolution brings for the Indochinese people, they will start to question many things.” Now, there may have been no gains at all, which is a fact—in fact, it was an absolute disaster—but Mr Locke wrote those words. He supported the regime, and he cannot get up and gainsay it now and ask that his verbal word be taken while his written word is not.

    JEANETTE FITZSIMONS (Co-Leader—Green) : There is a very big difference between supporting an incoming regime as having got rid of a repressive earlier regime and supporting that new regime full stop when it turns out that it is doing outrageous things. I supported the election of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe because of the regime he replaced. I do not think anybody could legitimately accuse me of supporting what Robert Mugabe has done since.

    MP Keith Locke also had to walk back his support for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, with his personal explanation to Parliament:

    https://www.vdig.net/hansard/content.jsp?id=89249

    Naturally there's no portrait of either of these in Parliament. But one's thinking in youth can't always be defended.

  12. Karl Sinclair 13

    Robologic, presumably your statement

    (modified with prominent figure of history race variable X)

    “X was a psychotic warmonger, but he was our psychotic warmonger so that's all good”

    Must apply to all cultures then.

    X could equal Hongi Hika and Te Rauparaha (could be any “tribes leader from Europe, Asia etc)

    Quick call the woke police, remove all statues and paintings or reference to Honai and Te …..

    https://teara.govt.nz/en/1966/maori-tribal-history

    Shortly after Europeans began to visit the country various Maori chiefs were quick to see the advantages of the musket and the power it gave them over enemies without such weapons. Chiefs who managed to acquire muskets by trading set out on a scale of slaughter and destruction quite unknown before. In the first 30 years of the nineteenth century thousands of Maoris must have died in the campaigns of Hongi Hika and Te Rauparaha alone.

    • roblogic 13.1

      Churchill represents some extreme highs and lows of the British Empire and its last hurrah. He can be lauded by Poms if they wish but Kiwis have a different view

      He was a man of his time etc and made some wonderful speeches. His life was really interesting but we might as well have portraits of Mao or Thatcher.. just as relevant to NZ (i.e not very)

  13. RP Mcmurphy 14

    churchill ran the war and he was free with other peoples lives but clement attlee ran the country.

  14. Anker 15

    And now for some humour if you care for it. The ever brilliant Tracey Ullman and her woke support group.

  15. David 17

    Blair did something similar when he moved into number 10 in 1997. It was quite the story of the day. Classic art of the past washed away to be replaced with the “it” artists of the time. It in part was an attribution of the phrase Cool Britannia.

    Perhaps it is my warped sense of humour but I had quite the chuckle at the dichotomy of the 2021 NZ Greens emulating the 1997 UK Blair Labour government in this regard.

  16. Incognito 18

    I’m so happy for Judith that she’s finally getting a debate, here on TS, about the aesthetics of a portrait and the ethics of the man it portrays. When realism meets surrealism: ceci n'est pas une pipe.

    Here’s a tip for a happy marriage: never move the photo of your mother-in-law. Just don’t touch it, ever. Don’t bring it up in conversation either, ever. Go with the flow, nod, and smile at the right moment. Life is good.

  17. Anker 19

    Don’t mention the mother-in-law eh Incognito……sounds like advice based on real life experience………

    • Incognito 19.1

      The MiL is just an analogy, as is the pipe, or a mind-pivot. The point is that when you hit a nerve you’ll get a reaction that is usually reflexive and emotive. Do this a few times and you’re conditioning. Some people just love to hit nerves and some just love to react and vice versa. When realism meets surrealism – not the art forms, this time – it is perception that matters. Perceptions based on comments on a blog such as TS are flat and superficial, but so are movies on TV; the brain does the rest.

  18. Jenny how to get there 20


    "Sir Winston Churchill, the greatest anti-fascist leader of the 20th Century….."
    Judith Collins, Leader of the New Zealand National Party, 2020 to 2021, (and counting)

    "I know he is a monster, but he's our monster"
    Clement Atlee. Leader of the British Labour Party 1935 to 1955

    Will Judith Collins be hanging a portrait of Stalin, the other 'greatest' anti-fascist monster of the 20th Century, beside the portrait of Churchill? (y'know for historic accuracy).

    For even better recounting of history, a list of their atrocities, as well as their triumphs could be posted under each portrait.

    Both men were terrible, both were men of their time, history will record that their greatest redeeming feature, was that their rival for imperialist world domination, Adolf Hitler, was worse than both.

    • Pierre 20.1

      This is a valid point though, that one of the politicians who had the courage to stand up against Nazism was Joseph Stalin. There is a reason you have so many public squares in France 'dedicated to the battle of Stalingrad' – after the war there was a genuine understanding that the Soviet Union and the Red Army had liberated Europe from fascism. If one of the key themes of a culture war is 'celebrating our anti-fascist heroes' Judith Collins should quickly realise that anti-fascism is the political heritage of the socialist movement.

  19. McFlock 21

    Churchill deserves monuments and portraits. Pretty much everything said about him is true – the good and the bad. He was a Victorian aristocrat who ordered gas dropped on tribes people in the 1920s, wanted to shoot Ghandi, personally fought battles in at least two continents, and almost single-handedly stopped a British surrender at the opening of WW2.

    But his portrait in NZ parliament buildings is inconsequential, no more notable than a landscape.

    Frankly, I would have thought they would be regularly curated, circulated, and so on. Six months in a suitable space, then moved on. Do they have a load in storage, or do they borrow them from somewhere?

  20. vto 22

    "cancel"

    Cancel is fucking great. All the redneck right wing blowhards who object to "cancel" are just going to have to suck up their own medicine…

    … ever tried to have a debate with one of these 'anti-cancel' dicks? They shout you down with pithy one-liners, snarl, bare their teeth, thump their fist on the table jeering at 'Cindy', and effectively cancel anyone with an opposing view to their own… with nary a word of actual ‘debate’…

    … so the 'other side' has taken up their approach and simply cancel things….

    ha ha fucking ha

    cancel away I say… it's a free world… if you wanna cancel something out of your life then go to it.. if the right wing wankers want to bring it back then all power to them too

    cancel cancel cancel

    ha ha ha

    we can do wtf we want – suck it up

    • McFlock 22.1

      careful, "redneck" might be a racist term now. 🙂

      the cancel culture thing I really like is how the nats started to "demand the debate" then refused to let bills even get to select committe for public submissions.

      • vto 22.1.1

        yeah i dont think the nats have any credibility atm

        they are drained and dry

        • McFlock 22.1.1.1

          was talking it over at pub last night.

          Juco and party leadership are fresh out of ideas, but all the sharks circling are of a similar size. Nobody has a clear enough advantage to be tempted to start a regime change.

        • Chris 22.1.1.2

          If only we still had ipredict. There'd be a stock on how long Collins remains leader. Quite difficult to pick, really. Could be any time from tomorrow to after the next election.

    • Karl Sinclair 22.2

      VTO, are you on meds mate?

      I know plenty of people who are right of centre and left of centre that can have great discussions (oh and who are not of the opinion that cancel culture is a good thing).

      Maybe a new friend group?

      • vto 22.2.1

        ha ha, relax… its called artistic licence for the purposes of point.. some small exaggeration…

        and I was talking redneck right wing, not 'right of centre' which is another beast altogether..

        but to the point – people are free to cancel. its a free world

        cancel

        cancel

        cancel

        yeehaaa i say

        • Anker 22.2.1.1

          I am glad you clarried you were exaggerating VTO.

          But if people are free to cancel, then that can't just be for right wing red necks. It can equally apply to progressives or any other group, if people are free to cancel

          So lets cancel The Spring Box Tour protestors (going back in time that is).

          Lets cancel the Trade Unions………why stop there, lets cancel Poverty Action and the Salvation Army (all those pesky reports criticizing the government). Lets cancle feminist groups……….

          JUst to be very clear, these are all groups I support and I am just trying to get a point across. I imagine amongs these groups there would be some you wouldn't be happy about cancelling.

          tCancelling in my opinion is the action of the intellectually bereaft. I agree with Jenny a little plaque acknowledging why the picture is there and their "flaws",

          Cancelling sends people underground and so they don't learn that their arguement or what they are saying may have flaws or prejudices. You don't get rid of peoples thoughts by cancelling them

        • Karl Sinclair 22.2.1.2

          Yo VTO

          My farm is calm

          Your right it is a free world…..

          Yeah, but no, but yeah, but no….

          The consequences for people who speak out against cancel culture and woke idealistic thinking can lead to loss of jobs etc…..

          Hey ho…. free world….. couldn’t happen in NZ ehhh

          • Descendant Of Smith 22.2.1.2.1

            People who speak out against capitalism lose jobs all the time. Have done for years – or don't get them in the first place.

            Same as those who speak up for unionism or feminism or pick any other cause you know. I know Springbok tour protestors who lost their jobs.

            Right wing arseholes scour the internet all the time to not employ people.

            Hypocritical wanker.

            • Karl Sinclair 22.2.1.2.1.1

              D of S

              you said to me

              ”Hypocritical wanker.”

              Your jumping to conclusions ….

              just maybe I believe in freedom

              of speech and just maybe I sit to the left (my definition of left of course)

              Take care…. go have a beer

              [fixed typo in e-mail address]

  21. Pete 23

    Suddenly Winston Churchill is the most important person in the world. Those who've never had a picture of him on their walls, would never have a picture of him on their walls want a picture of him on their walls.

    Haven't heard Act's Seymour, the party all about choice, getting on his hind legs and telling them all that it's their choice. Get a picture of Winnie, stick it up and all will be happy with the world.

  22. coreyjhumm 24

    People are sleeping on the streets and families in motels.

    And we're talking about paintings. F***** PAINTINGS.

    People are homeless and in motels. It's like I'm in an alternate dimension where the planets not burning and there's no suicide epidemic and there's not people living in shop doorways

    I say we sell all the artwork pictures and painting in parliament and every other govt department and local council on trade me and use the funds to build a house or two..

    All up councils and govt departments spend millions and millions on art installations a year, $700 k here , $30 k here , $150 k here it all adds up and none of it houses or helps anyone.

    Once we've housed everyone then we can have all these expensive vanity issues.

    Anyone seeing the ammount of problems this country faces and thinks we need to debate about old white men in paintings or spend a thousands on new paintings or hundreds of ks on artwork is out of their minds.

    People need houses. HOUSES. That’s honestly the only issue in this country right now other than the vax roll out, once you sort housing our poverty rates and much or mental and physical health issues will drop.

    And anyone who says the govt can do multiple things at once…. I’m not sure our decision makers leaders and bureaucrats can do one thing at a time.

    Do you hear the people sing? They are singing :

    Houses. Houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses houses

    And if it’s not sorted they’ll soon be singing the songs of angry men.

    • arkie 24.1

      none of it houses or helps anyone

      Perhaps one could say it helps to house the local artists whose work is bought?

    • Incognito 24.2

      Actually, no, this crucial non-debate that is demanded by the Opposition is about moving a painting from one wall in one corridor to another wall in another corridor of an old building with a long rich colonial history. A kind of 501 deportation, if you like. The deporters don’t want to talk about, the deportee can’t talk about, and the new caretakers of the deportee are ungrateful that they were not consulted. In lieu of this, we have organized a debate here on TS, but not everyone is pleased about it because some don’t want to talk about what others want to talk about, you see. These are definitely not “vanity issues” but existential and going to the core of who we are or pretend to be.

    • Anker 24.3

      CoreyjHumm. I thin a lot of people share you frustration.

      But there are also a lot of voters out there who don't support cancel culture and the old PC thingie. The centre right people who will say this is woke gone mad….the people who may have voted for Jacinda due to Covid, but who are suspious of the Hate Speech Laws. I wouldn't under estimate the votes in that…afterall in the most recent poll Labour was down, National up. Thats likely why National are doing it.

    • Pete 24.4

      There'd be something quite wondrous about Marilynn Webb having a profound affect on the whole country, forever.

      That it could be for selling off all public art to house the homeless? Why not go the whole hog? All public galleries be sold (maybe they could be turned into housing), sports fields could be sold, plenty of sections to be had there.

  23. mary_a 25

    While Winston Churchill still appeals to a few bluer than blue conservatives, I consider him of no relevance to 21 century NZ. His portrait hanging in the halls of power in an independent nation far away from Britain is as ridiculous as it is inconsequential.

    • Pete 25.1

      Well said!

    • Karl Sinclair 25.2

      Hey Mary_A

      I respectfully disagree with your statement

      “While Winston Churchill still appeals to a few bluer than blue conservatives, I consider him of no relevance to 21 century”

      just a mute point but didn’t he help take out those guys….. you know the ones with funny uniforms with SS written all over them…..could be wrong but I think they were called the NAZIS……

      Maybe your right or maybe your working for the CCP

      • Anne 25.2.1

        We have a nut-bar conspiracy theorist in our midst. angry

        • Karl Sinclair 25.2.1.1

          Anne

          Nutbar…. that’s kinda catchy

          • Anne 25.2.1.1.1

            It is your prerogative to disagree with another commenter. No problem there. I suspect it was just an uncalled-for and nasty aside, but to equate Mary A's comment with the the CCP was complete nuts. You asked for it.

            • Karl Sinclair 25.2.1.1.1.1

              Sooo

              the bit about Churchill and defeating the NAZIS is lost on you (aka relevance to NZ society)

              Also do ya really think Anne is part of the CCP and I was taking the piss or maybe wait (as the Russians say) she a “useful idiot” perpetually bleating memes unconsciously to someone else’s tune

              Ehh???

              • McFlock

                Does the NZ parliament also have portraits of FDR?

                Did Churchill ever set foot in NZ?

                • Incognito

                  Did Churchill ever set foot in NZ?

                  Nope

                • pat

                  Nope , but he had a connection (contentious)…Gallipoli

                  • McFlock

                    Yeah – like, yay?

                    Churchill was definitely one of those "people of destiny". But he wasn't one of ours.

                    Trying to make a big deal out of a portrait being moved might play in the remaining nat voting bloc, but if that's the most important job they can find at the moment then I almost pity them.

                    • Incognito

                      I agree, really bad ‘optics’ here, no matter how you look at it. The commentary here on TS was abysmal too. I almost longed for long-Covid conversations again and the pros & cons of forcing people to take the vaccine; those were the days.

                    • Macro

                      Gallipoli was essentially a crackpot idea which Churchill embraced and supported from the get go. It was bad idea at the best of times, and so the sacrificing of ANZAC lives in a lost cause (which for some reason or other we continue to glorify today) is pretty much all down to him. He was the one (as the then First Lord of the Admiralty) riding roughshod over more sane counsel. So thousands of NZ and Aussie lives lost for nothing.

      • Gabby 25.2.2

        It's MOOT. A MOOT point.

  24. McFlock 26

    The other thing about NZ having a picture of Churchill hanging around parliament is that it puts me in mind of the story about the UK Foreign office meeting room that had a battle picture in it (Waterloo maybe, or Balaclava). In the days of the EU and diplomatic cooperation, the painting was seen as anachronistic, so replaced it with a portrait of an historic English leader.

    First meeting after the change was with the Irish govt, who walked in, saw the portrait of Oliver Cromwell hanging over them, and walked straight out with no uncertain terms being uttered.

    Cromwell was significantly less complex than Churchill.

  25. Anker 27

    Interesting story McFlock, so it is all in the eye of the beholder.? Maybe.

    • McFlock 27.1

      Seen it in a couple of places, neither beyond fault (e.g. QI tv show).

      It's a little parable about how we tend to reduce people to one facet of their lives, but that great people are usually more complicated. And diplomats should do their homework.

  26. DS 28

    The problem is less about the Greens (to be honest, they can have whomever they like outside their offices. Myself, I'd replace Churchill's mug with Attlee).

    The real problem is that this has been turned into a silly opportunity for certain people to engage in a stupid culture war. And that applies equally to Judith Collins and Wokeist commentators who insist that all the evils in the world come from Racist Old Men.

    Churchill was a Racist Old Man, of course. My grandfather served in the Royal Navy during WWII, and absolutely despised him. The point is that the images of Churchill aren't about Churchill the Man, or even Churchill the Politician. Both were arseholes. The images of Churchill are about Churchill the Idea. Whatever his personal faults, he's a symbol of Britain and its Empire standing alone against the greatest evil of the twentieth century… and to be honest, I'd say that the fight against fascism remains rather relevant today.

  27. Anker 29

    Recall visiting Parliament a year or so ago, before Covid.

    What I noticed was there were exhibitions behind glass cases of gifts that had been given to the NZ parliament by other countries. I am really sorry, I don't recall exactly what they are.

    So these pictures and objects are there for a reason. Whoever said parliement is a public place and too bad it is outside the Greens office is right.

    I know there are photos of all the NZ PMs and we don't pick and choose the ones we don't like.

    The Greens are cancelling something that was chosen to be hung on a particular wall in Parliament. I am not sure that is a good thing to do.

    • McFlock 29.1

      The Greens asked for it to be moved, not burnt. They haven't "cancelled" a thing.

      If the nats love it so much, they can hang it in their caucus room.

  28. Anker 30

    The phrase Mickey used was they asked for the picture to be taken down.

    • McFlock 30.1

      …"from outside their Parliamentary offices and be replaced by one from Dunedin artist Marilyn Webb". I.e. they wanted a painting that had little to do with NZ to be replaced by something NZ.

      oh well, looks like the problem has been solved:

      Dr Kerekere told Newshub on Wednesday that Churchill's painting was a "significant work that will remain on permanent display in a public area of Parliament". It's unclear where the painting will be located, but Collins said it would be finding a home in National's offices.

      Talk about a storm in a teacup. It's not like they picketed anything, they simply filed a request to get a better painting. 🙄

  29. Anker 31

    They are there to do a job, not choose the artwork on a corridor outside their offices. Get on with the job. The planets burning. Homelessness hasn't got any better and sexual violence stats don't seem to have changed. Stop f….ing around.

    • McFlock 31.1

      The Greens filed a request. Like for getting a leaky tap fixed or a new office chair. It doesn't take much time in most organisations.

      The nats organised a photo-op for their caucus leader.

      Who is f….ing around? It ain't the Greens.

    • Gabby 31.2

      Well if ppl would stop arguing the toss as if it mattered, they could get on with the job.

  30. Anker 32

    Yes but it isn't a leaky tap is it. It wasn't just that they wanted a better piece of artwok. They wanted the picture of Churchall removed from outside their office.

    This is the petty level that the Greens operate at.

    I don't believe they have achieved much at all in terms of climate change, violence towards women or homelessness, which is what theyve responsisiblities for and claim to care about. Happy for people to prove me wrong on this.

    And I suspect McFlock you are engaging in a knee jerk reaction debate with me o this, becasue of my views on gender self id.

    The honest truth is I agree with Jacinda on this one. People shouldn't care what is hanging outside their office in parliament.

    • Anne 32.1

      I think you are the one having the knee jerk reaction. The Greens behaved impeccably. They filed a request to have the picture relocated and replaced with a more suitable picture by a renowned NZ painter. My understanding is, it is in close proximity to their offices and I think they probably got sick of looking at Churchill and wanted a change. Can't say I blame them. He's not exactly Adonis.

      It seems to me that its the knee jerk reactions from the naysayers who are creating the silly stir over a %^^&#** picture.

      • Anker 32.1.1

        I am afraid I don't agree with you on this one Anne. Always open to criticism if I think it applies.

        I have just read all my comments on this and I don't think they are knee jerk.

        I think the request to remove the picture is it is part of a pattern that can be considered cancel culture. Others don't agree, so be it. But I am entitled I think to hold my point of view on that.

        I think I stated that I agree with Jacinda twice on this thread that "I don't really care about the picture on the wall" or words to that effect.

        But I do see it within a pattern that is not so healthy and gave some recent examples. Either it is or it isn't. But I am inclined to think it is.

        I support a feminist group that had to go to the high court to hold meetings in public libraries after having their meetings cancelled. The High Court found that the meetings should go ahead and that they were not a hate group. Palmerston North council wasted $30,000.00 of rate payers money on this. The feminist group who put up a poster which merely read the dictionary definition of women, then had their poster taken down. I am pretty sure the Greens perpective on this would have been supportive of cancelling both of these. So forgive me if I have jumped to the conclusion that that is what the request to remove or take down the picture of Winston Churchall is

        BTW I am surprized that more left wing people weren’t concerned about four libraries cancelling a feminist group wanting to discuss proposed legislation.

        • Populuxe1 32.1.1.1

          I can't imagine for a moment why a party that makes taking a stand for indigenous people and ethnic minorities might be a tiny bit squicky about an unapologetic imperialist directly responsible for more than one crime against humanity. /sarc

          Parliament regularly curates and moves around its art collection. If they want to hang a Marilyn Webb in their workspace instead, that's entirely up to them. They followed procedure, filled out the paperwork and it was relocated. It wasn't thrown on a bonfire.

          Do you not like Marilyn Webb?

    • McFlock 32.2

      No, it's a knee-jerk reaction to the idea that people shouldn't have some input into their workspace or that the workspace should maybe reflect the work of the time.

      When I worked in public safety, there were lots of public safety posters in halls and foyers.
      When I shifted to another workplace, the halls and foyers have local artwork and artifacts relevant to the work done.

      Churchill has little to do with the NZ parliament, and nothing to do with the Greens that I can see. Now, maybe the Green caucus stopped everything so they could have a three day retreat on decolonising the hall. That would be excessive, sure.

      But if they were finishing up a caucus meeting and someone said "why do we have a picture of Churchill outside our offices? Dude was a dick as soon as you get past the we will never surrender speech", a staffer in the room got given the job of sending an email to parliamentary services, job done, ten minutes tops – that's a reasonable bit of housekeeping, in my opinion.

      In my opinion, the ones blowing it out of proportion are the nats.

  31. WeTheBleeple 33

    When we erect monuments to assholes, they simply become monumental assholes.

    It is fair to correctly portray the good and bad of historical and present day figures. It is ridiculous nonsense to demand perfection of either. But there's a line of who we should/should not glorify, surely? Genocidal tendencies, deeply rooted racism etc, are not really the material for celebration of humankind or any form of deification. Championing historic dirtbags is no hill to die on.

    Cancel culture is largely bullshit. What started as a means of the powerless bringing down undesirables in power, has quickly devolved into the petty personal vendettas of players of poor faith who magnify false outrage through social media. It has led to a culture of fear and fakery, where everyone has to pretend to be perfect, for fear of the gatekeepers of what is right/wrong catching wind of your moments of indiscretion.

    All the best stories are tales of redemption. We are human, inherently flawed and subject to the teachings of many ignoramuses before us. Collectively we learn when we listen to each other, where and how we go wrong, and how we might hopefully evolve. People in power write the narratives of others as if they are true, but what we find is that much of history has been whitewashed in this manner, denigrating others and deifying dickheads.

    Change is a good thing. Cancel culture is fucked.

    If the Greens made a song and dance preceding the paintings removal I'd suspect some BS in play – they did not. The fuss was kicked up by a detestable loathsome critter who has nothing but nonsense to offer. Cancel culture is still fucked, and poor faith actors of the right and left both indulge. The magnification of perpetual victimhood when one questions white might is more than obvious in media and leadership. The machinations of personally aggrieved lefties is just as petty and lacking in self-awareness.

    We're all guilty of being assholes. Let's just cancel everyone and start again.

  32. esoteric pineapples 34

    I think it would fair to say that Churchill had his good and bad side. It was Churchill's leadership in 1940 along with the British Air Force, that managed to hold back Hitler back at a critical moment during World War II.

    • McFlock 34.1

      yup.

      But keeping the portrait of a victorian colonialist in NZ parliament could be interpreted as still clutching the colonial apron-strings.

    • Gabby 34.2

      He got a bunch of guys killed at Gallipoli for nothing, then had anther crack at it next time round in Italy. Needed to stick to his knitting.

  33. Jenny How to get there 35

    While we are talking about the big issues, A Kiwean New-Zealanderoan, fleeing persecution from the Aotearoan government overlords, seeks refugee status, in Godzonistan*

    'I'm not an Aotearoan': Bridges hits out at Government's 'compulsive' use of 'Aotearoa' (msn.com)

    *(despite the name, not a theocracy).

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