The political establishment and the media have been determined to strip the Wellington demonstration of any political legitimacy.

I'M DOUBLE VACCINATED. I've been 'boosted'. As someone with an 'underlying health condition' it was the sensible course of action for me to take. I also think everyone else should be vaccinated. But I can also understand why some people may not want to be vaccinated and object being treated as second class citizens because they won't play ball. I can understand why they might be angry and want to protest. 

The demonstration in Wellington is driven by opposition to mandatory vaccinations but the political establishment and the media have worked hard to strip the protest of any political legitimacy. While former Prime Minister Rob Muldoon liked to demonise legitimate demonstrators as 'not proper New Zealanders', the Wellington demonstrators have found themselves being labelled everything from 'anti-vaxx', 'conspiracy theorists', 'Trump supporters' and 'dole bludgers'. Or they are just plain nuts.    

TVNZ even interviewed 'far right expert' Byron Clark who warned of the danger that the demonstration might turn violent. Although that doesn't quite fit with a demonstration that has been playing songs like John Lennon's 'Give Peace a Chance' and John Farnham's 'The Voice'. 

Meanwhile the Speaker of House, Trevor Mallard, thinks it quite appropriate for him to instruct the media not to talk to the protesters. Good on Newstalk ZB's Barry Soper for blasting Mallard for wildly overstepping his authority. 

The media, however, has mostly sneered at the demonstrators and banged on about how 'normal life' has been rudely interrupted. But the journalists who have made no secret of whose side they are on (hint: not the demonstrators) are also exactly the same journalists who can't understand why the protesters hate the media so much. Don't they understand they are just doing their job? 

In the end, as veteran socialist Don Franks has observed, 'these are ordinary working people with grievances'. Like the woman, for instance, who rang talkback radio a day or so ago. She told the host she was protesting because she had been dismissed from the army because she refused to be vaccinated. She had served for nine years.

And she's not the only worker who has lost their job because they have refused 'the jab'. Yet not one politician or trade union official has been prepared to speak out on their behalf. They must be crushed for showing dissent. They have been abandoned by the liberal left and we have to put up with the insufferable self-righteousness of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern or Wallace Chapman and his middle class guests on RNZ's The Panel wailing about the sheer awfulness of it all. Or former trade unionist, Labour friendly Robert Reid, trying to claim there are 'proper' protests like we saw during the 1981 Springbok Tour and 'improper' protests like we are seeing in Wellington. 

The political establishment should be reaching out to the demonstrators, hearing their concerns, addressing the issues that are important to them. I would of thought that  persuasion is a far more effective and ethical means of administering public health policy than coercion and punishment. But it seems the political class prefers to beat dissenters over the head with a blunt instrument. Another triumph for our 'liberal democracy'. 


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