So it seems John Key did apologise to the Chinese delegation for the awful inconvenience of having to sic their security guards on to one of our MPs, who was so rude and thoughtless as to hold up a Tibetan flag on the grounds of our own Parliament, where the right to protest has been upheld by our own courts, just in case the Chinese Vice President might happen to see it. Perhaps we could reimburse them for the cost of the shoe leather they spent on stomping on Russel Norman's hand, or any wear and tear on the umbrella someone tried to cover his head with? Anyone got a ministerial credit card handy?
I find this whole thing unbelievable. Shorter Key (and McCully): I don't agree with what you have to say, and I won't defend your right to say it either, not even a teensy bit you Green hippie dipstick (with apologies to Voltaire).
Oh and let's not forget that John Key said whilst in Opposition that he would have met with the Dalai Lama if he was PM, when the Big DL visited in 2007, but then in 2009 when he was here, and Key was PM, he decided agin. Thanks to David Slack for pointing this one out.
I'm not a Russel Norman fan.* I think the way he responded at the time of the attack by the Chinese security guards didn't reflect all that well on him, or the reasons he was there. But then he probably wasn't expecting to be treated the way he was, emulating Rod Donald's similar protest in 2005. At that time the Chinese delegation chose to go in another way to avoid Mr Donald's flag-waving, although apparently a Chinese security person did try to move Donald on.
Surely, even if you don't agree with Norman and you don't hold a candle for him politically, you wouldn't be so spineless, so craven, so soft as Leader of Your Nation that you would actually contact the people who had broken our rules, at our parliament, against one of our MPs, to apologise to them?
And why has the Speaker of the House, one Lockwood Smith, been completely silent on a breach on his ground?
What worries me almost as much as apologies and silence from our National leadership is the single thought: What Would Winston Do?
I haven't seen anything yet along the lines of blaming the Chinese, (as in Chinese people) particularly those who live in New Zealand. But I'm not really very hooked into Talk Back Land, where racism can run away into all sorts of wacky places. And to date the few right wing blogs I look at have focused on calling Norman stupid things like "lame", and defending Key and McCully (or indeed ignoring the issue entirely as if it were of no political moment whatsoever). Not to mention those who are saying it's inappropriate for MPs to protest. Really? You mean like this or this or this or this? I guess we can safely assume then that there won't be any ACT MPs at this on Wednesday then too.**
So maybe my fears of Nightmare on Molesworth St XIII: Winston's Baaaaaack are all going to amount to little more than a heap of momos. Fingers crossed for that.
And fingers crossed that the focus groups tell John Key he made the wrong decision regarding Norman. Maybe then he'll do the Right Thing, even if it isn't for the right reason.
* Maia wrote this post on why she wouldn't vote for Russel Norman in the Mt Albert by-election, if she could, and I agree with her sentiments.
** Which I guess would show that by "Rise Up Against the ETS" Act really mean, please come to our public meetings.