A quick look at the news items posted on the NZ Herald website this morning disquieted your long-serving member, as he prepared to attend the RSA service in the Eketahuna Town Hall.
No, dammit. Disquieted is not the right word. He was dismayed.
And he wondered what his dad would have made of it.
Was this the New Zealand for which the supreme sacrifice was made by so many Kiwis in World War Two?
First, there’s a report about two 15-year-old brats being arrested and charged after a dog was shot in the face three times with a slug gun and a cat was kicked in the head in a rural burglary.
The brats have been charged under the Animal Welfare Act and appeared in Whakatane Youth Court after the break-in at a Taneatua lifestyle block last Friday.
Second, there’s a report on a bloke who allegedly tried to set fire to the Cambridge police station. He has appeared in the Hamilton District Court to face a charge of attempted arson.
It’s a damned good thing we didn’t have to rely on his ilk to win the war, because his arson attempt with an accelerant was unsuccessful.
A cabbage tree in front of the station copped the worst of the attack and the building itself suffering almost no damage.
Third, a pair of bloody lesbians have been winning media attention and complained to the Human Rights Commission after accusing a Wellington bar of being homophobic.
There was no such condition back in World War Two and Alf’s dad – a more diehard conservative than Alf – might have been tempted to join the Germans if had been given a whiff of what the lesbian pair regard as acceptable bar-room behaviour.
Dammit, bars were for blokes in the good old days.
Now sheilas of a certain sexual persuasion can quickly gain media attention by wailing about how badly they have been treated.
But they have simply been thrown out of a bar, which has happened to Alf on umpteen occasions without his wanting to turn the incident into a cause celebre.
Maybe that’s what he should be doing instead of trying to win headlines for his speeches and press statements and good deeds on behalf of his constituents.
He should have himself thrown out of 3.2 in the Beehive, then complain to the Press Gallery that they discriminate against drunks.
The discrimination thing certainly put the lesbians in the limelight.
Rebekah Galbraith, 22, claimed a bouncer at Public bar kicked her and her girlfriend, Jennie Leadbeater, out because they were gay – a claim disputed by the bar owner, who says the exclusion was because they were being “too amorous”.
Inevitably, we are hearing differing accounts of what actually happened.
Public owner Gina Mills said the women were first asked to “tone it down” before they became aggressive, which was why the bouncer asked them to leave.
CCTV footage of the couple showed Miss Galbraith approach her girlfriend, put an arm around her and kiss her on the cheek. A doorman is seen walking through the area twice while they are at the bar but does not stop or look closely at the couple.
The couple remained at the bar kissing each other affectionately and hugging, before moving to a corner of the bar out of view of security cameras, Mrs Mills said.
A spokeswoman for the couple said they were standing behind their claims that they were kicked out because they were gay.
So the couple aren’t speaking for themselves on this matter?
Their cause is being championed by – would you believe? – the queer officer at Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association, a Genevieve Fowler.
She has been speaking on their behalf.
And she says they have dropped their complaint because of all the publicity they had received.
“We’re pleased that although we’ve dropped the complaint we’ve managed to achieve our goals of raising awareness of homophobia which still goes on in our city,” Ms Fowler said.
But the mood is different at the bar where the fuss was caused.
Mrs Mills said that while she was relieved the ordeal was over, she was still upset over what her bar had been accused of.
“Their whole complaint was that they were kicked out of the bar for one gay kiss and that they weren’t drinking,” she said.
“But we have quite extensive footage of the opposite.”
Fowler has not won brownie points – or pinkie points – in the gay community for her media role.
At least, not among all gays.
HOUSTON BARAKAT tells us why he thinks Victoria University Queer Officer Genevieve Fowler is public enemy number one, following the PR disaster she pushed about alleged, but ultimately unfounded, homophobia at a Wellington bar.
The queer’s officer’s role in this was fascinating to Alf.
He has been living a sheltered life, apparently, because he did not know there was such a post.
But it seems lots of universities have queer officers and the National Union of Students in Australia has a Queer Department.
Dunno what Dad would have made of it.
If he fought for our freedom, then Alf would like to think that freedom includes the right of the students to have a queer officer.
But it should also include the right of Alf to think whatever he wants and to discriminate against whomsoever he chooses.