School Daze

Sometimes we look back on our school days with a sense of fondness. I am no exception to that. Not because the majority of those schooling times were in the late 70s and early 80 (a time when hair, both facial and otherwise, was groomed and flambeed within an inch of its natural life). Meatloaf topped the charts with one of the greatest selling albums of all time and I was in love with the blonde one from ABBA.

During the 80s (insert Billy Idol and/or Joel reference here), a significant portion of my high school years were spent at an unnamed all-boys school in Gisborne. At the time my family were living on the East Cape in a small hamlet called Tokomaru Bay where my father was principal. Because of this I was required to spend my weeks and many of my weekends in the boarding hostel.

High school is that wonderful bridge between primary school and university whose job it was to completely deplete any confidence built up during those pre-form 2 years (Gen-Ys will need to look up “form 2” on the Google).

If you think back to all that confidence-sapping bullying that occurred during your secondary years there were generally two or three major ring-leaders. Usually a fat one (self-confidence issues), a sport one (God’s gift) and if you were unlucky enough to attend a co-educational institute (our hostel was such), there was the girl one (usually the most evil).

Last week I watched the Len Brown affair with interest. The Ngati Whatua dalliances of this high-profile public servant were by-the-by. What has been most interesting is the main-stream media, usually unquestioning and accepting of the contents of any press release, who have taken to digging and delving into this story to find (SHOCK! HORROR!) that the release of the information was politically driven by Len’s opponent and his team.

Of course, Palino and many, many, many National Party insiders have “distanced” themselves from the story. Is this about the parliamentary wing trying to look normal and reasonable.

The story was broken by those insightful minds behind the Whale Oil blog. Cam Slater and Stephen Cook.

Cam has been all over the media this week attempting to justify himself and his decision. His story changes more often than my son’s underpants (that is a reference to our current toilet-training regime if you missed it).

Although he sounds so reasonable when he’s interviewed, however you only have to read his blog and the associated comments to realise how damaged he and his followers. What comes out of his mouth is vastly different to what comes out of his fingers. I appear to be turning him into Gandalf and I don’t mean to.

When it all comes down to it, he has been a party to the bullying of a young supporter of the same party he was born into. Others in the same party have decided to bully and harass someone into revealing something they didn’t really want to. He writes very aggressively and I can only imagine what he was like at school. Since his daddy is a past president of the National Party, I suspect he did not attend Papatoetoe High.

But aggressive, or at least passive aggressive is how the National Party work.

Fail in your bid to sell an energy company to people who already own it? Blame the Labour / Greens rather than the fact the market having no appetite for the sale. How did they do this? Minister of the Whole World Steven Joyce called them socialists and communists.

Name calling – the first port of call of the hardened bully. Wait until election year when they start texting abuse to Russell Norman in the middle of the night.

I expect to now be on the black list.

Mr B.


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