Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I accepted support from Christians...

Yeah so it was just in student politics, WSU in 1993/4, but I've remembered now it in the context of all the brouhaha about the Exclusive Brethren's covert support for National.

In my defence, I only accepted their support 'cause they couldn't support the other candidates, one whom was quite staunchly left wing and the other who was a bit of a boozer and a lad (both were also damn good friends and remain so today). But I did accepted the support of a Born-Again Christian group in Hamilton.

Now I could say things about them that I didn't like, and they certainly did some things that I didn't agree with but (and this might simply be to make myself feel better) I was straight up with them that I supported several of the projects and groups that they opposed (particularly various initiatives designed to reduce homophobic harassment on campus) and they never asked anything of me, so why decry them now? They were also pretty upfront about what they were trying to do and did talk to all three candidates (I was also the only one that had gone to a Catholic school which could just as easily have counted against me).

Some of the people that supported me in 93/94 went on to do things that I actively opposed and I can't say that I didn't expect as much when I was elected. The stakes are lower in student politics of course, however not in every respect - the prejudice that openly gay students dealt with was real and immediate and couldn't be tolerated. That said, I was lucky to have avoided some of the drama encountered on other campuses - the worst situation I faced was when the student calendar ended up with something like 6 images of penises and a representative of the Church objected in the local newspaper.

6 comments:

Cheezy said...

"They were also pretty upfront about what they were trying to do"

I think that's a key thing. I don't have a problem with any societal group trying to promote their overt agenda and mobilise people to vote accordingly during elections. This could be said to be promoting democracy. It's the underhand 'cloak and dagger' stuff that's a concern, and threatens it.

From what I've heard about these EB people (which is admittedly not a helluva lot), they do sound like a weird bunch with few compunctions about running roughshod over other people's rights or even the law of the land (doubtless they see themselves as only be answerable to a 'higher law', however they interpret it...)

Madeleine said...

I hope you know I supported your campaign because I supported you. There was no agenda behind my support despite the fact I was a Christian with strong political views.

You were the best candidate in the field, the most qualified for the job, I liked you as a person and you asked for my help. There doesn't have to be an agenda for a Christian to lend political support.

In a way I feel sorry for the EB. I think they are a nutcase cult but they have as much right as anyone to speak out politically, to support or endorse whoever they want to, to spend their money how they see fit. They fliers in the last election were not nasty, they simply presented their point of view which people were as free to take or leave as they were to write the things in the first place.

Plenty of dodgy, fanatacal groups write similar fliers criticising National - I picked up a pile in the local Work and Income office the other day written by the Socialist Workers.

backin15 said...

Madeleine, I appreciated the support I received and I appreciated your personal support and friendship.

I should clarify that in my post, I didn't mean to imply that Christian groups on campus were responsible for harrassment, as far as I know they were not. What I meant was that in one discussion with a group off campus, I was clear that I supported improved representation and support for GLB students whereas they didn't.

I firmly believe that the EBs are entitled to their views and beliefs, my problem is with their covert political activities. I don't agree with the Socialist Alliance either but at least they are clear about who they are and what they believe.

Madeleine said...

The EB are not clear about what they believe or who they are because of the very nature of what they believe - they do not believe in speaking about what they believe to people who don't share their beliefs.

I don't know if that makes the EB that intentionally covert... I know they seem that way but I think they seem that way to us because of their bizarre beliefs and not because they are devious or underhand.

I mean, they put their names on their pamphlets and were up front about that and sure the media found them difficult to contact and once contacted difficult to get them to speak publicly but then they don't believe in telephones and they fear radio and television waves and they shun the world outside their sect.

This of course made it look like they were being sneaky and had something to hide but if you look at it from their point of you view you see that they were not.

Once asked about their involvement they were forthcoming and honest - again something that is in accord with their faith. They believe that you should not do things you are not prepared to defend honestly.

I think another factor we all found weird was that they don't vote and generally stay removed from society but here they were doing something that appeared to conflict with those beliefs. We saw this as hypocritical and therefore this made them dodgy and suspect.

In fact their theology is a little more complex than that, they don't believe that should vote but that does not mean that they believe that nobody should vote.

They would be happy to stay out politics if the goverment would leave them alone but it doesn't. Aspects of the human rights act threaten their freedom to practice their religion so they decided to try to influence those who vote.

As for the hiring of private investigators - well I am sure you realise that this is NOT the first time this has happened in politics. My uncle, Gary Knapp of Social Credit, endured taps on his phone - our phone was tapped when mum was his electorate secretary.

Last year Matt and I were photographed leaving our house with our children around the time the fruits of our research on Jim Peron were being utilised by Winston.

When I laid charges against Pete Hodgson last year within hours I had reporters phoning me about my "secret relationship with Don Brash", allegedly formed when he stood for National against my uncle when I was 8 (if I met him at the time I have no memory of it) and reporters demanding to know the nature of my relationship with Bryan Sinclair whom they knew I had worked with at Waikato. Who fed this this stuff? It is not well known at all who my uncle is, we do not share surnames and never have, someone had to have dug and shared for reporters from different media outlets to have had the same information on me that quickly.

Now since, I am nothing important in the NZ landscape of politics, how much more interest are the skeletons in the closets of party leaders?

I believe that the EB did nothing new beyond being honest about what they were doing when asked. Further, given how corrupt politics has gotten in NZ and how useless the media is at getting the truth out there I think the role of private investigators is sadly almost a necessary tool if the public don't want to continue to be duped.

Don't get me wrong, I think the EB are seriously in error with their beliefs, but I don't think they even come close to the dirty, deceitful and corrupt politics of the socialist groups who bat for Labour and the left - they are just weird.

backin15 said...
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backin15 said...

Hmmm, Madeliene, I can't buy the convenience of all of the EBs beliefs as mere coincidence. I don't believe they were honest at all in their dealings and I don't accept a desire to avoid talking with outside world is a credible defence.

As to your comments about spying and bugging. I'm not so naive as to think no covert activity takes place ever, but I don't believe that it is institutionalised.

I also have to say that I'm not at all convinced there is any significant evidence of corrupt practice by "socialist groups" in their advocacy for Labour - it is generally overt, in your face, and authorised.