Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Legalise P, but ban the Koran? The politics of Act's number six

Act leader Jamie Whyte has been promising voters that his party can have a stabilising influence on a National-led government. Act will stand solidly beside National, Whyte says, and can work constructively with Peter Dunne's United Future outfit, with the Maori Party, and with Colin Craig's Conservatives.

Whyte might like to check, though, whether all of the candidates on Act's recently-announced party list share his ecumenical philosophy. Stephen Berry, a former deputy leader of the Libertarianz Party who has been awarded the sixth slot on Act's list, has had some less than complimentary things to say about the organisations Whyte wants to work with. In a 2012 post to the Libertarianz-aligned blog Solo Passion, Berry condemned both the National and Maori parties as collections of 'talentless scumbag parasitical busybody politicians' who were forcing an ideology of 'pure fascism' on New Zealanders. Berry had been upset by National's support for Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia's call for more regulation of the tobacco industry.

When he ran as an independent candidate in the 2011 Tamaki byelection, Berry used a press release to promise that, if elected, he would refuse to support any government that included Peter Dunne. For Berry, Dunne's attempts to regulate legal highs made him an 'enemy of freedom'. In a blog post he made last year, when he was running for Auckland's mayoralty, Berry condemned Conservative Party leader Colin Craig as a 'village idiot' and a proponent of 'Big Socialism'.

Even the Act Party has at times seemed too much for Stephen Berry. In a press release written in 2003, when he was a member of the Libertarianz, Berry described Act as 'classically illiberal stinkers' with a 'Nanny-knows-best' attitude to politics. Berry had been outraged by Act MP Muriel Newman's warning that New Zealand was suffering a 'methamphetamine epidemic', and her call for more police resources to be given to the problem. Berry believed that Newman should have been supporting the 'individual freedoms' of P manufacturers and dealers, rather than sending the police after them.

There is a curious contrast between Berry's desire to legalise P and his apparent enthusiasm for a ban on one of the world's most popular books. In a post last year to Solo Passion, Berry mixed metaphors to warn that a 'plague of Islamic poison' was spreading across Europe, and suggested that followers of Mohammed's 'horrendous philosophy' might soon bring 'threats, violence' and 'sharia law' to New Zealand. Berry expressed his solidarity with Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who has famously demanded that the Koran be banned from Europe's libraries and bookshops and that mosques be closed down across the continent.
Islam is not the only religion that Berry considers a threat to freedom-loving Kiwis. In a 2012 blog post he denounced the Catholic church as an 'evil' organisation; in a statement issued during his fight for the seat of Tamaki he praised Guy Fawkes Day, which for centuries involved the burning of effigies of the Pope and the singing of anti-Catholic songs, as a 'celebration' of freedom.

Stephen Berry's sympathies for P dealers and hostility towards Muslims reflect his time in the Libertarianz, a party that has traditionally contested outfits like Democrats for Social Credit and McGillicuddy Serious for last place in New Zealand elections. Now he suddenly has a high spot on Act's list. If the party wins the Epsom electorate and grabs four percent of the vote, then Berry will enter parliament.

There is an embarrassing contradiction between Jamie Whyte's rhetoric about constructive partnership with other parties of the right and Stephen Berry's condemnations of the fascists, idiots, and other enemies of freedom in National, United Future, and even Act.

In different ways, both Whyte's rhetoric and Berry high list spot are products of the crisis of the Act Party over recent years.

As scandals and poor leadership have seen Act plunge in the polls, most of its more moderate, opportunistic members have defected to National or to Colin Craig's Conservatives. The defectors have left a vacuum which has been happily filled by Berry and other libertarians.

But Act's weakness has deprived its leaders of the ability to distance and differentiate themselves from National. With seven or eight members of parliament on his team, an Act leader like Richard Prebble could urge a radically right-wing programme on his National ally. Today, when his party is polling in the margin of error and dependent on National's charity for the seat of Epsom, Act's leader is forced to present himself as a guarantor of stability in a centre-right government.

If he wants his message of moderation to have any credibility, then Jamie Whyte might have to keep Stephen Berry away from the internet.

[Posted by Scott Hamilton]

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Congressional Constitutional Committee will consider the request of Imran Firasat to ban the Koran in Spain

April 24, 2012

Imran Firasat, a Pakistani national with legal residence in Spain as a political refugee, has accomplished what at first seemed impossible: his petition to ban the Koran in Spain will be discussed in the Constitutional Committee of the Spanish Congress, as shown by the document displayed above, which is reproduced exclusively here at the Minuto Digital website.

A few weeks ago Imran handed over a formal document to the Ministry of the Presidency, the Congress of Representatives, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior, in which he presented 10 points to back his request:

1. The Quran is not a sacred and religious book, but a violent book, full of hatred and discrimination.
2. The Quran is a horrible book which provokes a community it calls Muslims to undertake Jihad, kill innocent people and destroy the peace of the world.
3. The Quran is responsible for all the terrorism we have seen in recent years in which thousands of people lost their lives.
4. The Quran is a book which contains evil teachings and forces its believers to capture the entire world and total power at any price.
5. The Quran is a book which legally permits and incites hatred and violence, and for that reason it is not compatible with the modern world, including Spain.
6. The Quran is a book which directly discriminates between human beings.
7. The Quran is a book which does not allow either freedom of expression or religious freedom.
8. The Quran is a book which causes women to suffer and be tortured through the totality of its injustice and macho laws.
9. The Quran is a book which, rather than teaching unity, teaches disunity, and in this way does not allow its believers to form friendships with those who are not Muslims, because in the eyes of Quran they are infidels.
10. The Quran is a major threat to the free society of Spain. A book which clearly preaches the messages of jihad, killing, hate, discrimination and revenge. For that reason it cannot be compatible with the Spanish system in any sense. It is a book totally contrary to what the law and constitution of Spain say, and it incites hatred and violence in our country.

1:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen Berry: tough on thought crime.

2:39 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Here is a new submission:

1. The Bible is not a sacred and religious book, but a violent book, full of hatred and discrimination.

2. The Bible is a horrible book which provokes a community it calls Christians to undertake war, carry out bombing raids on lesser armed countries, kills millions of innocent people and destroys the peace of the world.

3. The Bible is responsible for all the terrorism we have seen in recent years in which thousands of people lost their lives.

4. The Bible is a book which contains evil teachings and forces its believers to capture the entire world and total power at any price.

5. The Bible is a book which legally permits and incites hatred and violence, and for that reason it is not compatible with the modern world, including Spain.

6. The Bible is a book which directly discriminates between human beings.

7. The Bible is a book which does not allow either freedom of expression or religious freedom.

8. The Bible is a book which causes women to suffer and be tortured through the totality of its injustice and macho laws.

9. The Bible is a book which, rather than teaching unity, teaches disunity, and in this way does not allow its believers to form friendships with those who are not Christians, because in the eyes of Bible they are disbelievers.

10. The Bible is a major threat to the free society of Spain (or anywhere else). A book which clearly preaches the messages of e.g. the US War of Terror, killing, hate, discrimination and revenge. For that reason it cannot be compatible with the Spanish (and World) system in any sense. It is a book totally contrary to what the law and constitution of Spain say, and it incites hatred and violence in our (and all other countries) country.

Therefore the Bible must be burnt and banned and the Christian religion eradicated.

11:07 pm  
Anonymous jh said...

There is a curious contrast between Berry's desire to legalise P and his apparent enthusiasm for a ban on one of the world's most popular books.
.....
that's disingenous: it isn't Lady chatterly's Lover we are talking about it is a world view and prescription for behaviour

2:54 pm  
Anonymous jh said...

Act leader like Richard Prebble could urge a radically right-wing programme on his National ally. Today, when his party is polling in the margin of error and dependent on National's charity for the seat of Epsom, Act's leader is forced to present himself as a guarantor of stability in a centre-right government.
....
Scot of course is centre left.
Pot calling kettle black.

3:01 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

So you'd really back a ban on the Koran, jh? Extraordinary.

3:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did jh say that Richard Prebble was a kind of Pol Pot?

Epsom's a tory area.

10:09 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

Well, Prebble was a member of a Labour government that supported Pol Pot, who was the dominant player in a three party anti-Vietnamese coalition that ran, with Western help, a shadow state along the Thai-Cambodian border through the '80s: it's probably less absurd to link him to Khmer Rouge than it is for Tories to make the link with Keith Locke...

11:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Richard Taylor is probably insane but he has a point about these bastards being mates of A Hitler etc, so his 'piano wire' suggestion' might be satire but he might be onto something...the country is run by evil men and women.

11:50 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

'I think that Richard Taylor is probably insane'

Like so many other fine writers! Check out his blog.

5:00 pm  

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