In the world of social media semi-literate morons rule
New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser did the only thing he could do to save his career - apologise "unreservedly".
Mind you, he had plenty of incentive. NZ First, ever since its formation, has often been referred to as Winston First, and there is little doubt that the party's fortunes rise and fall with the popularity and exposure of its mercurial leader Winston Peters.
All of the other seven NZ First MPs elected in 2011 owe their jobs to Winston. What he wants, he gets, and conversely, if anyone crosses him, they don't last long. Ask one-time Winston protege Brendan Horan. Just the whiff of a scandal was enough for Winnie to be judge, jury and executioner. Within 24 hours of the allegations of Horan ripping off mum's money surfacing, he was gone. Stripped of the status, his party membership, he became a political non-person in the eyes of Winston and his followers. Privately they could well have referred to him as Pooh. So Prosser did what any political animal would have done - he flip-flopped, withdrew his comments and apologised for everything he'd ever said and done since he was about 7. Job saved.
Having digested all of that, let's analyse just what reprehensible words Prosser dared to write.
In an article in Investigate magazine, Prosser said it was undeniable that most terrorists are Muslims. He quickly qualified it by adding that he accepted most Muslims were not terrorists.
Prosser had been moved to vent his spleen after having his beloved Swiss Army knife confiscated before boarding a domestic flight. Obviously a bit piqued, he wrote: "New Zealanders' rights were being denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan, threatening our way of life and security of travel in the name of their stone-age religion, its barbaric attitudes towards women, democracy, and individual choice.
"If you are a young male, aged between say about 19 and about 35, and you're a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West's airlines."
Let's make it clear, I don't agree with everything he said. I think he was wrong to have the age group restricted to "between 19 and 35".
In the wake of 9/11, several of the Muslim terrorists were later identified as being older than 35.
Seriously though, Wogistan was going a bit far, what with wog being offensive, and it's downright silly to say all Muslims of any age should be banned. But to read the article in full it's clear that he was indulging in a bit of satire to make his point. Much in the way that Sir Paul Holmes did with his "cheekie darkie" jibe at UN secretary-general Kofi Annan in 2003. That didn't work either and Holmes was roundly vilified. Prosser, who is more likely to be called Tosser than be knighted, will have to wait until he is dying to have any chance of forgiveness, and even then it's unlikely.
So while Prosser is now reduced to being the target of the sort of vitriol usually reserved for smokers, frackers and Coca-Cola peddlers, did he have a point? Let's face it, one of the tedious after-effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is the ridiculous 'security' measures all sorts of tinpot airlines and airports enforce in this part of the world.
Watch the charades that occur at Auckland Airport every second of the day.
Some officious chap or chapess in a uniform calls one of us aside to test us for any contact with drugs or explosives with monotonous regularity and go through their pointless exercises with their expensive little machines.
The added cost is enormous, the inconvenience annoying. Flying from here to Brisbane is hardly the preferred route of terrorists. Auckland to Christchurch even less so. Prosser was right to draw attention to the stupidity of it all.
By the way, whenever Mrs Brown and I fly trans-Tasman we fly Emirates. Not only does it provide the best service, more leg room and it's always punctual, it's owned by Muslims, so the chances of being hijacked by Muslim terrorists seems rather remote.
So far it's worked.
We are lucky that Prosser's unreserved apology was just in time to placate the extremists in the Muslim world.
The righteous fury these Allah-fearing chaps might have felt is alarming.
We mustn't do anything to upset them, they have the oil.
To err is human, but in this cowardly new world of social media in which semi-literate morons are quick to condemn and demonstrate more hatred than anything Prosser or his ilk would ever be capable of, they effectively muzzle us all.
Taranaki Daily News