This David Shearer tosser really knows how to raise Alf’s hackles.
Just for starters, he is a Labour Party MP, and for good measure he aspired to and became the leader of an ill-assorted bunch of fellow Labour MPs.
But more than that, Alf today has learned from the NZ Herald that Shearer is
* A republican who supports a new national flag,
* A social liberal on gay issues,
* And he believes New Zealand’s flag should be changed.
“Why should we have another country’s flag in our top corner? I’d rather see a fern [which] for me is the national emblem. How we do that [depends] on how people want to do it.
“We should be moving towards a republic.”
The best that can be said is that this is not a “number one priority”.
It shouldn’t rank anywhere in his priorities.
He said he had no issue with gay marriage or same-sex adoption, a palpable sign of his willingness – indeed, eagerness – to pander to the poofs.
He would have to see the detail of any bill to legalise gay marriage or same-sex adoption before voting for them but supported them in principle.
On alcohol reform, he wants to complicate the rules by supporting a split purchase age of 18 in bars and 20 in supermarkets and liquor shops.
The best that can be said is that he knows he does not know enough, because…
He said there was some evidence to clamp down on alcohol advertising, but he wanted to research the issue more.
Alf suggests he does the same with republicanism and the flag.
He hasn’t spelled out his objection to Her Majesty and the Monarchy.
He overlooks the benefits, under our wonderful constitutional arrangements, whereby we get a royal tour every now and again, and the best of us get knighthoods and damehoods, and stuff like that.
And the Union Jack which Alf salutes each morning and which sits proudly in one corner of our national flag is rich in history.
You can’t say the same about a bloody bit of fern.
A fern – for what it’s worth – is any one of a group of about 12,000 species of plants belonging to the botanical group known as Pteridophyta.
As common as muck, in other words.
According to Alf’s reading on the subject at Wikipedia, ferns are not of major economic importance, and some are “significant weeds”.
Oh, but they do provide nourishment for some people apparently.
Tubers from the King Fern or para (Ptisana salicina) are a traditional food in New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Not at Alf’s dinner table.
Nor has he seen fern roots on the menu of any restaurant in which he has dined.
All of this reinforces his view that a fern leaf and a Union Jack are not in the same league, when it comes to symbolising nationhood.
Oh, one final observation.
Shearer says he is not so liberal on cannabis as he is on gays.
“I don’t think people should go to prison for smoking a joint but I don’t support legalising cannabis.”
So he doesn’t want the weed legalised. But he wants a weed to replace the Union Jack.