Free speech and hate speech by Susan Grimsdell

Absence of respect It’s interesting that those who clamour for the right to say anything they want are almost always people who want to say cruel hateful things about other people.  They demand the “freedom” to spew out whatever racist, sexist, anti-semitic, anti-gay messages they want, whether in person or on social media.  I’ve never heard anyone shout out for the right to express kind, generous, tolerant, respectful messages.  We should remember how damaging hate speech is, and if anyone doesn’t know how to identify hate speech, the simple test is –… Read More

A helping hand for the rich by Susan Grimsdell

We all pay taxes and I’m only too happy to do so.  As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Tax is the rent we pay to live in a civilised society”.  Our accumulated money pays for schools, health care, and thousands of other amenities, as well as providing us with money when we are unemployed, sick or old.  Share the pot fairly My taxes go into a huge pile of money we call “government” money.  Of course we know it’s actually ours, that we’ve handed it over in order to meet the needs of… Read More

I’ll be with you in a tick! By Trevor Plumbly

Wise council I fumbled past 81 last week and decided to look around for amusement instead of reality. If you’re not careful, at that age, there’s far too much to be serious about. Fortunately, it’s local election time down here in Auckland and that’s always good for a few laughs, mainly provided by the wild card candidates. Not protected by party training wheels, they sometimes wobble and get forced to wing it, which brings an element of farce, largely driven by the unlikelihood of them ever getting elected. I found it was… Read More

Paved with good intentions by Trevor Plumbly

             Crime and nourishment Administering justice has been a disaster since the days of Cain and Abel. After God failed to sort it, we’ve been struggling with it ever since. These days, the threat of the fiery furnace or more earthly punishment doesn’t seem to work that well; every time someone rattles out the latest crime statistics, an army of apologists strike up a salvo of mitigation ranging from poverty to post colonisation trauma. Quite frankly I’m getting a bit sick of it: poverty of some sort or other, has always been… Read More

Language and bullying by Susan Grimsdell

Pattern of bullying Today it was revealed that along with two mates, one of our National MPs, Sam Uffindell, at the age of 16, violently assaulted a 13-year-old boy at night in a dorm at a prestigious boarding school.  He now describes that event as “stupid” and “dumb”.   I wonder what words the parents of the victim would choose to describe the event.  If my son had told me he had been beaten by three older boys allegedly using wooden bedlegs, I would not say “Well, they were being dumb and stupid”. … Read More