Monday, February 02, 2009

Beige is the new Brown

On the face of it, and in the absence of any evidence arguing to the contrary, Bennett's decision to take Halaholo under her roof and her pleas in mitigation on his behalf are unexceptionable, understandable and even commendable. At times of strife, particularly when the law is requiring an errant youngster to face the consequences of his actions, family bonds are tested, and those that do not break are precious indeed. It is difficult to imagine that Bennett's motives in allowing her granddaughter's father to be bailed to her home were anything other than entirely blameless. Her personal history, which has not been free of tribulation over which she has triumphed, would equip her to be an ideal guardian of a young man who needed watching over, and the non-custodial remand alternatives, presuming they existed, would very probably have been less satisfactory.
So, what's the problem? Paul Bennett, who is now Minister for Social Development, gave her daughter's partner somewhere to live while he is on bail and writes letters attesting to his character. Why is this not "unexceptionable, understandable and even commendable?" Because the Herald wants blood, that's why. Paula Bennett was alright when she was the battler who triumphed over adversity, when she was a role model for the Brown folk. She was the new face of Change, for a short while, the get-up-and-go Minister from the wrong side of the tracks who knew about life at the bottom and was going to do something about the people there. Then she was the real-life battler, who took on the thugs in hand to hand combat. But now it turns out she has been harbouring a criminal. Worse than than, she has been harbouring him in leafy Titirangi.

On the face of it, Ms Bennett's actions were "unexceptionable, understandable and even commendable." But clearly they were unacceptable. For a start, she has an unmarried daughter whose partner is a member of a vicious street gang. And, rather than shunning her and condemning him, she offered them shelter and support. You don't do that sort of thing. They want the perps to be crushed, not welcomed into homes in leafy Titirangi. They want revenge. They (and by They, I mean the Herald, its readers in leafy suburbs, the angry middle-aged men, the commentators and such like) cannot bear to see the perpetrators of crime being supported, rather than condemned. Nor can they bear to see the perps revealed as people, who have families and children, and with merits. Tories cannot bear too much reality.

Ms Bennett's failed to realise that They did not want Brown. They wanted beige. They wanted someone who would be an example to the Brown folk, not one of them. They wanted someone who was once Brown herself, but now has a home in leafy Titirangi and is otherwise indistinguishable from white folk. Instead They got a security risk, someone who is a risk to the security of their own prejudices. And unfortunately for Ms Bennett, that nice Mr Key is so nervous of upsetting Them that he will abandon her to Them.


stephen said...

You are correct, but you know, live by the sword, die by the sword.

Jake said...

Maybe they weren't anti-Labour after all. Maybe they're just incompetent, reactionary shitheads. Who knew?

Peter in Dundee said...

Reading the Herald article I was struck by the extremely qualified way Key supported his minister, making it absolutely explicit that HE was squeaky clean. If I was one of his ministers (apart from a Maori Party one) I would be a bit concerned about things like loyalty. But then that is a wishy washy liberal sort of concept, isn't it?