Good sense shows in talk about upholding hotel owners’ right to ensure against unmarried coupling

June 21, 2014
Give a dog a bad name and....

Give a dog a bad name and….

The Brits have shown us the way – or at least, one Brit has – in recent days.

No, not the England soccer team obviously.

The lesson in this case comes from a judge able to admit she was wrong (or may have been wrong) when she condemned a Christian couple for turning away gay guests from their hotel.

More important, this judge has invited an audience of legal luminaries in Ireland to have another think about matters of conscience and the protection of our rights in an awfully PC modern world.


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PM’s chat show highlights the absurdity of differing interpretations of electoral law

February 10, 2012

Alf was more than a bit miffed, when Radio Eketahuna (also known as 2ZE FM) declined his suggestion they give him a stint behind the microphone for a few hours a month or so ago.

He promised his chat show would be an election-free zone – he would steer clear of political stuff and talk instead about his cat, Coronation Street, Mrs Grumble’s gardening prowess and the secret of her prize-winning pumpkins, how to pour a whisky and so on.

He would conduct a few interviews with the likes of Colin Meads, The Mad Butcher and Fred Dagg.

Buckingham Palace advised him Her Majesty never did media interviews with anybody as a matter of strict principle and hence would not be available.

Never mind. Alf hoped to get Lucy Lawless in her stead.

He thought this idea was a shoo-in.

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It will be a bugger of a job trying to work out which J.McSweeney should be given a wide berth

January 29, 2011

A great role model - except, perhaps, for J.McSweeney.

Somewhere around New Zealand is a bloke or sheila known to Alf and the public only as J McSweeney.

It’s a pity we don’t have a better fix on the identity of this J.McSweeney – a particularly precious and prissy person, it would appear – because there are bound to be heaps of admirable J. McSweeneys out there, and the whole point of this post is to warn all sensible folk to give the J.McSweeney in question a very wide berth.

It’s almost as perlexing as trying to work out which 46-year-old celebrity had been done for disorderly conduct after his name had been suppressed and before he outed himself as Martin Devlin.

Similarly, without knowing one J.McSweeney from another, it is hard to take heed of Alf’s warning. Accordingly we might accidently bump into the J.McSweeney who is best avoided and – too late – find that, yes, this is one who is boorish and totally and utterly lacking in a sense of humour and fun.

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Oh no – not another bloody inquiry into what Paul Henry said about Susan Boyle

January 22, 2010

Alf sighed with exasperation on learning that an outfit called the Broadcasting Standards Authority has been nudged into activity.

He supposes this gives the buggers on the authority something to do and keeps them off the streets.

At the same time he wonders why they can’t find something better to do. And if they can’t, then perhaps they would be more socially useful doing nothing on the streets.

If they must do their thing for the BSA, at least they could do it in a timely way.

But no. Several weeks after the event, the Herald tells us, the authority is investigating Breakfast host Paul Henry over comments he made about singer Susan Boyle.

The authority has received five complaints following TVNZ’s finding against Mr Henry, last month.

The Breakfast presenter referred to Ms Boyle as “retarded” in November last year, sparking complaints.

“Here’s the really interesting revelation: she is in fact retarded … and if you look at her carefully, you can make it out,” Mr Henry said on his Breakfast show.

The Herald goes on to point out that Ms Boyle was born with minor brain damage and has learning difficulties.

Yep, she sings well enough. But it happens to be true that she is backward.

You could say retarded, if you were uncharitable.

So what’s going on here?

TVNZ upheld the complaints on the grounds of “good taste and decency” and Mr Henry issued a written apology.

But five complainants were not satisfied with the apology and have appealed to the BSA.

BSA head Dominic Sheehan said some of the complainants have also appealed on the grounds that Mr Henry’s comments were discriminatory.

“We’ll be looking to see if [the apology] was sufficient in this case and if it wasn’t, of course we might order something within our powers to occur. The discrimination complaint is a brand new thing and we’ll be looking to see if [TVNZ] should have upheld that,” Mr Sheehan said.

This is bloody preposterous.

How can broadcasters not discriminate?

They do so every time they broadcast this bit of news and throw some other bits of news into the waste-paper basket.

They do it every time they go to John Key or Phil Goff for a quote about this, that or the other, but don’t ask Alf what he thinks.

And so on.

Anyway, Alf is a strong believer in the right to be discriminating.

But here’s the thing.

The bloody BSA can be punitive on this stuff and fine TVNZ up to $5000 or take advertising off the broadcaster if they find in favour of the complainants.

The Herald goes on to tell us today –

The TVNZ complaints committee found that although Mr Henry meant his comments to be “humorous”, they found that the language and manner of Mr Henry would have offended a “significant number of viewers”.

Well, boo-hoo.

Mr Henry has previously been taken to the Broadcasting Standards Authority when he made comments about a Greenpeace spokeswoman having facial hair.

She did have facial hair.

The complaint was not upheld by the BSA who found that TVNZ had already taken sufficient action.

Quite right.

And anyone who finds Paul Henry bothersome, tasteless, boorish or whatever can exercise their right to disciminate by turning the bloody TV set off or switching to another channel.