Sunday, September 02, 2012

NZ’s scorpion

One of my favourite fables is the tale of the scorpion and the frog. A scorpion asks a frog to carry him across a river, but the frog says, “How do I know you won’t sting me before we get to the other side?” The scorpion replies, because then we’ll both die.” The frog is satisfied with that answer, and the two set off. Halfway across, the scorpion stings the frog. As the poison paralyses him, they begin to sink, but before they both drown, the frog asks, “Why?!” The scorpion replies, “It’s my nature.”

Colin Craig, the leader of the Conservative “Party”, is like that scorpion. He’s been trying to convince mainstream New Zealanders that he’s a reasonable conservative politician who leads a logical coalition partner for the ruling National Party. He couldn’t keep that act up, however, as his nature compels him to extremism.

Up until recently, his biggest problem seemed to be the fact that despite spending part of his own fortune in the last election, he was unable to win an electorate seat, nor to convince enough voters to get him or anyone else from his “party” into Parliament. Nevertheless, for a time the newsmedia took him seriously, turning to him as the go-to religious conservative to comment on the possibility of a marriage equality bill in New Zealand.

Unfortunately for him, that issue exposed his true nature.

This should have been obvious from the beginning, given his tendency to regurgitate propaganda from the USA’s radical anti-gay industry, either without knowing, or perhaps not caring, that the propaganda was almost entirely based on lies, deliberate distortions and deception. It was those groups’ propensity to lie, distort, deceive and smear that got them labelled anti-gay hate groups. If Colin had really been the serious politician he claimed, and not a far-right religious/political ideologue, he should’ve been more careful in selecting arguments to parrot.

But Colin’s poor judgement in regurgitating deeply flawed propaganda was only the start. Once the marriage equality bill was drawn, Colin flew into full frothing mode, declaring: “It is not intelligent to pretend that homosexual relationships are normal." The crushing irony of that attack is that he elsewhere declared that the debate is “…an issue of respect. Respect for the many stakeholders in what marriage means.” Respect for all except LGBT New Zealanders, obviously.

And now, he’s ended all efforts to hide his anti-gay nature. He sent flyers to 20,000 households in the electorate of Prime Minster John Key, and in the letter accompanying it Colin gave prominence to a supposed comment from a supposed voter in the electorate: "Colin, you should stand here because John Key is too gay for Helensville." Call me old-fashioned, but I wouldn’t have thought that it was a good idea to attack the leader of the party you want to be in coalition with, a party without whose support you simply cannot get into Parliament.

In case anybody doubted he intended to gay-bait the Prime Minister, Colin doubled-down: "There are people out there [in the electorate] who simply don't like to see their Prime Minister doing things like dancing on stage with transvestites, as he has done in the past," he said, referring to Key’s appearances at The Big Gay Out, New Zealand’s largest LGBT event. Nice to see Colin practicing what he preaches and showing all that respect to LGBT New Zealanders, eh?

I have no idea why Colin is so obsessed with homosexuality, or why he feels the need to attack LGBT New Zealanders with outright falsehoods and fear-mongering. But we’ve seen all this before: Colin is acting just like Graham Caphill, also a far-right religious extremist who entered politics and pilloried gay people. Like Colin, he also used falsehoods and homophobic rhetoric. Like Colin, for a time Graham Caphill tried to present himself as a reasonable conservative who happened to be religious, and where is he now? Like Graham Caphill, Colin Craig can’t keep his nature hidden and, also like him, he will similarly fade from view as the entertainment value from having a raving nutter in the news ends.

Colin has caused his own downfall simply from being unable to keep his true nature hidden. His real problem, then, is that, like the scorpion in the fable, he just can’t help himself.

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