Editorial: Defining moment, or forehead-slapper?

16:00, Nov 02 2014

You don't want to be so open-minded that your brains leak out.

This seems to have been the case for the Greens' Steffan Browning who, in a mentally alfresco moment, suggested that homeopathy should be investigated as a cure for Ebola.

Let's just say this hasn't enhanced the Greens' campaign to persuade the nation they're clear-eyed pragmatists.

Here, say the critics (once they have stopped laughing) is further proof, if proof were needed, of what a scientifically illiterate crowd these guys are.

Really, though, the stronger case to be put is that most political parties have their representational embarrassments. You need only peer to unkindly depths down many a party list - not necessarily all that deep - and you can expect to find personalities who are unlikely to become famed for their political wattage.

It really does seem that on even the proudest parties' lists, there comes a point where "the best we've got" seems to be less a boast than an admission.


The thing is, not all derision-invoking goofs are created equal. Different parties have their own, particular, vulnerabilities.

National isn't fairly to be defined by the "do you know who I am" arrogance of restaurant tantrum-thrower Aaron Gilmore. Yet his swaggerings empowered overreaching claims of typicality from those who are only to happy to tightly typecast National as the party of privilege.

Browning's lapse is all the more damaging because the Greens invoke science a lot, and as a result are inevitably assailed, frequently, on the grounds they have got it all wrong.

There's also the impression, illusory or not, that the party is still tragically New Age, and that its capacity to receive and understand good science is influenced by whether it fancies it can hear Gaia weeping.

We live in times when zealotry is mightily mistrusted.

But so, of course, is unseemly internal conflict.

In fact it's even possible for parties to get it in the neck from both directions simultaneously.

For instance, you could say that the problem with the Greens can be summed up on the grounds that half them are so cuckoo they don't support public water fluoridation.

And the other half are such nutjobs that they do.

So either way you look at that, they're riddled with stupidity.

Stands to reason, doesn't it?

The Southland Times