Alf has been musing on whether he should modify the masthead on this blog.
The question is whether it would help or hamper him if he added a few words to make absolutely plain something he has always imagined is absolutely plain.
That is, he should declare to his constituents he is a bloke.
This declaration of masculinity – he has been led to believe – is necessary to distinguish him from politicians who happen to be female.
Jackie Blue, a former colleague who gave up her job as an MP to become a champion of equal opportunities, is someone who believes this gender distinction is necessary.
She has been banging on about it in conversation with Paul Henry, who might have become an MP, too, if he had much appeal to voters, which he didn’t.
Come to think of it, he should have made much more of being a bloke, when he was campaigning to become MP for Wairarapa, because he was beaten by a sheila who once was a bloke.
A few years back while he was visiting Masterton the newspapers had this to say:
The man who launched Today FM and hired transsexual Georgina Beyer as his news reader was back in town yesterday for the launch of his book, What Was I Thinking, at Paper Plus, an event that drew a sellout crowd.
While National Party candidate Henry may have lost some fans in Wairarapa in the aftermath of the 1999 general election when he reflected on his loss – to Beyer – by painting some Wairarapa voters as “pig ignorant”, he nevertheless had no qualms about returning to his old stamping ground yesterday.
Since those days Henry has become a national figure through his television and radio work and has been embroiled in much greater controversy.
Alf remembers chiding him at the time for being a graceless loser but now admires him for being able to persuade so many pig ignorant people to join his broadcasting audience.
While doing his stint as a broadcaster this week, as many people now know, he was confronted by dear Jackie.
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue fronted Henry on Thursday in a followup to her open letter to Henry on Wednesday saying his attitude towards feminism was wrong.
Alf has some difficulty with this.
He thinks people have attitudes with which others agree and attitudes with which others disagree.
When Jackie says Paul has a wrong attitude, therefore, it means his attitude is not her attitude.
This is not surprising.
It is very likely Paul’s underwear is thoroughly different from her underwear, too.
The public would be very disquieted, on the other hand, if it transpired he was wearing her underwear and/or she was wearing his.
But Alf is in danger of bemusing his constituents with the profunndity of his deeply philosophic thinking on these matters.
Let’s get back to Jack’s grouch:
“I took umbrage at your comments on Hillary [Clinton] and Helen [Clark] quite frankly,” Blue said on the show.
For the sake of constituents who have not had their attention drawn to these matters, Clinton is vying to be the first female president of the United States, and Clark is campaigning to be the secretary-general of the United Nations.
It seems Henry said in an earlier interview that Clinton and Clark shouldn’t campaign on their gender, but on their ability to lead.
Alf thoroughly endorses this approach.
Merit, not gender or race or anythying else should be what matters.
Jackie thinks otherwise:
Blue said on Henry’s show that being a woman was a point of difference worth stating.
Jackie Blue reiterates the argument of her open letter on the Paul Henry Show
“Women are notorious for not backing themselves for promotion, that’s a well known fact and I’m delighted they’ve [Clinton and Clark] come out doing just that,” she said.
“They should be very proud of the fact they have amazing credentials and they are women.”
Paul – bless him – disagreed.
“You shouldn’t be proud of being a woman just like you shouldn’t be proud of being a man. I’m not proud to be a man – I was just born a man, it just bloody happened,” he said.
“They should be proud of being capable.
“It does nothing at all for feminism if Clinton becomes president because she’s a woman.”
Alf nevertheless is giving deep consideration to Jackie’s point about being a woman being a point of difference worth stating.
If this pays off for sheilas, it should be just as valid for blokes.
The masthead above accordingly perhaps should describe Alf as.the ..
Long-serving, much admired and magnificently masculine Member for Eketahuna North.
The same message will be slipped into all his campaign rhetoric.
Mind you, there is a danger some rival politician of the male persuasion might claim he is more masculine than Alf.
Such a challenge may well culminate in demands for a measuring of rival members in centimetres as well as measurements of their political prowess.
Alf would prefer not to have his shortcomings exposed in this way.