New brooms, same old dust by Trevor Plumbly

Political bigamy Fine words are always spoken prior to elections. That’s certainly no different down here in NZ, nor is what follows. Stentorian rhetoric gets watered down by the appeasement that comes with the MMP system.* The leader needs to ‘consult’ with two other leaders before actually ‘leading’. It’s ironic that a system touting broader representation looks like poisoning itself with its own prescription. Courtship At the ballot box, we were swept up in a flurry of expectation; our new prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, was all we’d been dreaming of: young, idealistic… Read More

Moss gathering by Trevor Plumbly

By the book I think I’ve mentioned the importance books have played in my life. After my schooling was severely truncated, they were the cheapest form of entertainment and education available. In the late 1950s, I was living in a bedsit in North London, 12 bob a week, share bathroom and toilet with penny-in-the-meter electricity. Kilburn in the late 50s was far from welcoming, but it did have a public library. Bedsit etiquette was pretty much ‘mind your own business’, so in the absence of social contact, I wandered up and down… Read More

The confession of a cunning old fart by Trevor Plumbly

Culpa! Mea? This aging biz isn’t turning out to be the doddle I thought it would be; there’s lots of stuff to adjust to. The nights of six pints of lager and a curry have been replaced by a glass of wine, rabbit food and easy access to the toilets. It does, however, have some compensations: the old standby ‘he’s getting on a bit’ allows me to avoid inconvenient disruptions to my routine by resigned martyrdom rather than open defiance and as a result I’ve mastered a strained patient grimace along with… Read More

Send in the clowns by Trevor Plumbly

I’m beginning to wonder if the popular concept of progress is entirely beneficial to the human race. Sometimes it seems that the more enlightened we become, the more patent stupidity creeps in. The least harmful, but possibly the most ludicrous, is the current fad for verbal gender neutrality. Today I heard a half hour radio discussion involving four adults, debating whether or not certain words are acceptable to those who wish to ram the more idiotic facets of gender identity down our throats. Somewhat naively, I’ve always held the theory that those… Read More

On Her Majesty’s Service by Trevor Plumbly

Bulldogs abroad We Brits plonk embassies down all over the place in an effort to reinforce our sense of superiority. I admit that I’ve never paid these far flung monuments too much attention until recently. When my eyesight decided that it didn’t need me anymore, little things like the driving licence and passport got ignored. Rally driving isn’t on my to-do list, but I figured the passport should be kept valid. Problem was it’s already three years out of date. I’d never bothered to adopt NZ citizenship; bugger that black vest, colonial… Read More