McCully should remember Myrtle before he tries muffling protests at Parliament

The Herald's picture of another stroppy politician...

In normal circumstances Alf would be recommending that medals be given to the Chinese heavies who roughed up Russel Norman the other day.

The Greenie co-leader obviously was out to get himself a headline or two, and maybe a spot on the telly news, by provocatively waving a Tibetan flag at the Chinese vice-president, a bloke with the delightful name Xi Jingping.

The Herald says:

Protesting at China’s human rights abuses, Green Party co-leader Russel Norman held a Tibetan flag aloft a few metres away from Mr Xi at the Beehive entrance. Mr Xi had arrived to meet Speaker Lockwood Smith.

Dr Norman became involved in a scuffle after Chinese security put an umbrella over the flag and then pushed the flag out of his hand. When he went to pick it up off the ground someone stood on his hand.

Dr Norman has laid a complaint with Mr Speaker and an assault complaint with the police.

Don’t hold your breath. The gendarmes said on Friday there was insufficient evidence to substantiate an allegation of assault although they would continue inquiries.

Does this mean they will be travelling to China to interrogate the buggers alleged to have committed the assualt?

Alf suspects not.

But his real problem with all this carry-on arises when his colleague Murray McCully pitches in and says he thought Norman had abused his position as an MP

McCully, our Foreign Affairs Minister, is sounding self-important and huffy, as he is wont to do, calling for a full report on the incident from his ministry and banging on about the need for a protocol to be developed between the Speaker and protesting MPs for future visits.

McCully forgets that Parliament as our patch – a stamping ground for the people’s representatives, which (as a consequence of the democracy thing we take pride in) must include a few Greenies so long as enough voters support them.

Yep, it’s discomforting, but there you go.

And on occasion these Greenies, programmed to grab any opportunity to promote their silly causes, will use the grounds of Parliament for their posturing.

Remember the pictures of Sue Kedgley in a sow stall?

She has a thing about the way farmers treat pigs.

She damned near looked as good as the usual inhabitants of the sow stalls, although sows are more amply endowed when it comes to their battery of teats.

But back to McCully, who must have picked up some authoritatian instincts from the visiting Chinese and now wants to proscribe the way MPs can protest.

“Members of Parliament should understand they are in a privileged position and they shouldn’t exploit it.

“I’m not suggesting we should constrain people’s rights to protest or free speech or anything of the sort but that we find a seemly and courteous way of allowing security people and police and others to plan and allow Members of Parliament to protest if they feel they must.”

He said he would like to see if the Greens were open to a “professional discussion about it to see if we can meet everyone’s objectives here”.

But it works both ways.

Alf’s good mate from Taranaki-King Country, the splendid Shane Ardern, engaged in a famous protest in front of Parliament, too.

Remember him driving Myrtle up the steps in defiance of security staff?

The cops moved a lot bloody faster on that one than they are doing with the roughing up of the Green co-leader, which rankled Alf – and many of his colleagues – more than somewhat at the time.

Anyway, McCully should have remembered the Ardern incident before shooting off his mouth about Norman.

Much worse than McCully’s wailing, however, is that the bloody PM has apologised to the Chinese.

Prime Minister John Key telephoned the most senior minister in the visiting Chinese delegation to apologise for the scuffle during the arrival of Vice-President Xi Jingping at Parliament.

If the incident had happened at Premier House where the PM was hosting the Chinese, then okay, the apology might be in order.

But not when the scuffle happened at Parliament, our House of Representatives and the centrepiece of a Parliamentary system that Alf hopes the Chinese will recognise – at least eventually – as far superior to their own bullying and authoritatiran regime.

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