O’Sullivan v Marvelly: “Media fought for the decriminalisation of homosexuality”

More to ‘Mainstream press’ warned off hijacking discussion around Pride Parade – NZ Herald journalist Fran O’Sullivan took exception to Lizzie Marvelly’s tweet, giving it a sharp response that led to some media involvement in the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

More:

@LizzieMarvelly: Excuse me? Sexual outcasting and a perverse reversal? What on Earth are you talking about?

@FranOSullivan: Go read a history book.

@LizzieMarvelly: Oh yes, that’s a great way to engage in discussion… condescension goes so far 🙄
I understand the terms, I just don’t get what you’re banging on about because you’ve phrased it poorly. But I’d humbly suggest showing people with skin in the game with a little more respect.

Ironic on several counts. A number of people (including myself) have been critical of Marvelly’s ‘poor phrasing’. And one of the main criticisms has been the lack of respect Marvelly showed ‘mainstream media’. Without it her audience would be far smaller.

@DannyNocturn65: The world you are trying to build is a horrible one – you don’t need to be the subject of a societal issue in order to comment on it. this competition where whoever can prove to be the smallest minority gets a monopoly over discussion is the death of productive conversation.

LizzieMarvelly: That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m arguing against the sensationalisation of an issue by people who are, in my opinion, ignorant of the nuances that are essential to this discussion.

That’s nothing like how she put it.  She said ” It’s NOT one to be hijacked by the mainstream press, dissected by straight, cis media personalities and turned into a circus.” She suggested that presumably most media keep out of the discussion on the Pride Parade. (Another irony is the reference to a circus – that’s something like how the extravagant displays of Pride Parades have looked to many).

@DannyNocturn65: “this discussion around the Pride Parade is one for the LGBTQ+ community to work through” your words

And for the police who have been banned, and the public who fund it, and anyone who has aan interest in the discussion in an open and free society.

Another thread in the discussion:

Andrew Mackay @CHCHEastEnder: Firstly I agree with one comment. This stay in your lane crap is another american phrase usurped by someone wanting attention.

And Fran, I WAS born before law reform and the press helped and wrote articles but were not the ones marching in the streets or getting bashed and abused, there is a distinct separation on “how” the media “fought”.

There usually is, that’;s how the media operates. It gives a much wider voice to protesters that is often essential in getting momentum and in changing public opinion on issues like the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

@FranOSullivan: And that is what media do – write articles that fight for change.

Andrew Mackay @CHCHEastEnder: I agree. media fights in its own way, and usually honestly and accurately but when people have bled, been admitted to hospital and arrested for a cause you should choose your words more carefully.

@FranOSullivan: Do you seriously believe the journalists who took up their cudgels on this issue did not have to overcome hostility.

Andrew Mackay @CHCHEastEnder: Absolutely not. However, at that time media were seen as people reporting the news and not fighting for our cause…

@FranOSullivan: So now you think it is OKAY to define other people via an alphabet soup approach to humanity?

Andrew Mackay @CHCHEastEnder: a) I don’t usually get into heady discussions on twitter. I tend to avoid them.
b) Throwing spurious comments about something that I was involved in makes my blood boil.
c) I didn’t make the world I only try to live in it.
d)NO, I don’t. You play games with my comments.

Someone throwing spurious comments about something she may have been involved as a reporter seems to have made Fran’s blood boil.

@FranOSullivan: You deny people their humanity by alphabeticising them and you deny journalism its courage.

Andrew Mackay @CHCHEastEnder: No. You are putting words into my mouth. I certainly now regret commenting on something so stupidly written. Good day “madam”.

So he closed the discussion with a condescending swipe. It isn’t clear which “something so stupidly written” he is referring to, Marvelly’s original tweet or O’Sullivan’s.

Another thread:

Shane te Pou @PouTepou: If I think something is wrong I will say so I don’t have a lane… Thoughts and opinions can not be contained and nor should they.

LizzieMarvelly: Wasn’t saying you need to, I was suggesting it would be good if Hosking and Garner did, given the ignorance I believe they displayed on this issue.

If that’s what she meant she phrased poorly – in fact that is not what her first tweet conveyed. She said ” It’s NOT one to be hijacked by the mainstream press, dissected by straight, cis media personalities and turned into a circus. Hosking, Garner et al., stay in your lane.”

She referred to “the mainstream press”, to “straight, cis media personalities” and to “Hosking, Garner et al”.

Et al (an abbreviation of et alia) refers to ‘and others – Cambridge Dictionary: “It is used in formal writing to avoid a long list of names of people who have written something together”.

Another thread, replying to O’Sullivan:

@TraceyMacleod: If you were fighting for that Fran you would have seen the behaviour of many of our police. The scars run deep & it is not long ago lgbt officers were bullied out or shrunk into a closest.

George Henderson @puddleg: But not today – today they are encouraged to march in the Pride parade. Until a group of law-and-order activists manoeuvre themselves in charge, and bully out the lgbt officers for reasons that have nothing to do with their sexuality or gender, and that don’t make much sense.

@TraceyMacleod: Why dont they just wear the tshirts. Are you a lgbt person? Cos the scars of police behaviour run deep. If you think all police are okee dokee with gay colleagues and gay folk in society. I have a nice bridge you might be interested in buying.

I’m sure not all police are “okee dokee with gay colleagues and gay folk in society”, and many others in society haven’t accepted our evolution to a more tolerant, accepting and inclusive society. But should all police who want to wear their uniforms to demonstrate a significant degree of normalisation in the police force be excluded from Pride Parade, because some of their colleagues have different opinions and feelings about homosexuality?

Another thread:

@adamsmith1922: Marvelly demonstrates just how divorced from reality some of these people are. Her intolerance of others views and demonisation of other commentators shows that.

@FranOSullivan:@LizzieMarvelly is perfectly entitled to her views. But this argument those occupying her “lane/s” should be the only ones to weigh in on the decision to ban police from “proudly wearing their uniforms” as they take part in the Pride Parade is not only ridiculous but dangerous.

@adamsmith1922:To clarify, she can say what she likes. I have no problem with that. However,she has no rights to seek others from exercising their own rights in this regard. Furthermore, to demonise other commentators because they are ‘cis’ and thus by inference somehow ineligible to express an opinion renders her as prejudiced as any homophobe. We still live in a free society where differing opinions should be respected, not mocked.

Some else enters the thread, switching from a ‘cis’ diss to a ‘mansplaining’ diss.

ben parsons @peaceprone: But if you come mansplaining out of context without acknowledging the premise then you may just be in the wrong lane, shouting into the vacuum of history.

@mrsrosieb: So you’re agreeing with Lizzie’s stupid comment.

ben parsons @peaceprone: i kind of agree bc if you argue from a point of indolence, you tend to miss the point. Hosts should never assume to be experts, even if they are.

I presume that refers to Garner and Hosking as hosts. I don’t think they assume to be experts on topics they talk about. Their jobs are to raise attention and generate discussion something Marvelly et al seem to want confined to initial defined lanes.

Q+A: Helen Clark on why NZ should give up the war on drugs

On Q+A last night Helen Clark talked about why New Zealand should give up on the war on drugs.

“I support the New Zealand Drug Foundation on this, and their position is that there should be a binding referendum in 2020.”

I’d prefer to see a binding referendum before the 2020 election (and that could be done in early 2020). It is important enough to be dealt with on it’s own, without the distraction of a general election. This means having legislation written and agreed in Parliament to put to the referendum for approval or rejection before that.

The Greens have a confidence and supply agreement with Labour to have a referendum before or alongside the 2020 general election.

This isn’t new from Clark. In March 2018: War on drugs has failed – Helen Clark

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark says a bill that would quadruple the maximum prison sentence for people supplying synthetic cannabis reflects a failed war on drugs mentality.

National MP Simeon Brown’s bill would extend the maximum prison term for supplying synthetic cannabis from two years to eight.

It passed its first reading at Parliament last night – supported by National and New Zealand First MPs.

At a conference on drugs at Parliament today, Ms Clark, who is a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, said the global war on drugs had failed, with devastating consequences for individuals.

Ms Clark said the proposed synthetic cannabis law change was more of the same.

“That is heading in the war on drugs direction which isn’t going to work – but going to a select committee to a bill is one thing, what will come out the other end.

“And I think all the people who know about drug policy, who know what’s happening around the world, need to come to the (select) committee and spell it out how it is.”

Ms Clark said it was time for New Zealand to have a fresh look at its drug policy.

“We have to look at the evidence of what works – and if we looked at Portugal or to Switzerland or any number of countries now we see more enlightened drug policies, which are bringing down the rate of death and not driving up prison populations.”

Full Q+A interview:

 

“If we look at penal policy, clearly it’s failed.”

“I’m personally totally opposed to three strikes and you’re out, I think that’s a ridiculous approach.”

On drug reform:

“That would be the gold standard, to go to the Portuguese model, which is decriminalisation surrounded by massive harm reduction measures.

“New Zealand innovated more than thirty years ago with the needle exchange scheme, and we did that because it was absolutely essential to stop the spread of HIV aids.

“But we haven’t really done much in all the years since, and if we look at what Canada is now doing, you have safe consumption spaces where people who inject drugs are able to inject in safety where their drugs are tested, and also in a number of countries much readier access to the anti-overdose drug Naxolone, which WHO says should be in the hands of anyone likely to witness an overdose.

“So I have no doubt that we could do much better, and we need to look at what’s Norway doing, what’s Canada doing, what’s Portugal doing, who’s doing things that are working.”

Corin Dann: “Again though where does leadership come in here, because this current Government has said they would look at a referendum, but then there’s no guarantee they would act on that referendum. It seems to me that once again politicians are very nervous about leading on this issue. What should they do?”

Clark:

“Well I support the New Zealand Drug Foundation on this, and their position is that there should be a binding referendum in 2020. and for it to be binding you need to prepare the legislation beforehand so people know what they are voting on and you can have an informed debate.

“In referendums the question is always the question, and it needs to be simple, but if it’s a simple yes/no around a law that’s been passed and will be activated by a ‘yes’ vote, that becomes clearer to explain.”

I hope she convinces Jacinda Ardern and Labour on this.

Passing legislation next year that is subject to a binding referendum in early 2020, months in advance of the general election is do-able and should be a no-brainer if Parliament is prepared to lead on this and address what is currently a very poor situation on drugs.

“The current policies aren’t working”.

Do you think the public feels that?

“Yes I do, but I also think what has changed is that around the world we’re seeing a lot of movement on these issues. Certainly on cannabis decriminalisation and even legalisation in US states and Canada and European jurisdictions.

And in the area of the other illicit drugs we’re also seeing a lot of innovation around harm reduction measures. So I think follow the evidence, see what’s working.

Portugal in the mid-late nineties, when it went down this road, had the highest rate of drug related deaths in all of Western Europe. Today it has the lowest, so clearly they’ve got something right.

Decriminalisation or legalisation is the approach that Portugal and others take, but they then have regulation.

Now New Zealand did try regulation of some psycho-active drugs back in 2013, then for whatever reason it got dropped like a hot cake the following year, but I think it is worth going back and looking at the principle of that with respect to that particular group of drugs.

That refers to the legislation promoted by Peter Dunne, passed by Parliament but then dumped by National when they panicked after bad media.

The global drug commission that I’m on will be bringing out a new report in September that will be talking about legalisation AND regulation, you have to have regulation, and you have to have major harm reduction measures.

If Ardern really wants to demonstrate that her Government is truly progressive then they will address drug policies that are currently failing badly.

Minister of Health David Cl;ark seems to have been given the responsibility for dealing with this, and he has seemed tol be far from progressive, he is more conservative, and doesn’t seem keen to lead on it.

 

 

“Marijuana laws don’t make sense”

This is from the USA but similar applies here, our cannabis laws aren’t working well – they are working poorly.

There’s momentum in the US to view marijuana, and it’s being pushed by the President.

Obama: If Enough States Decriminalize Marijuana, Congress May Change Federal Law

President Barack Obama said if enough states reform their marijuana laws, Congress may change federal law that continues to make the drug illegal.

Obama, during an interview with Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith released in full on Monday, said he’s encouraged that liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans seem to agree that current U.S. marijuana laws don’t make sense.

“We may be able to make some progress on the decriminalization side,” Obama said. “At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may then reschedule marijuana.”

Meanwhile our Ministry of Health and our Parliament keeps claiming there’s insufficient evidence to support changes even on medical cannabis.

Last week, Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced a billthat would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug, which has high potential for abuse and no medical value, to a Schedule II drug, which has lower potential danger and recognized medical benefits.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Twenty-three states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Four states, as well as D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana.

And much of the shift in stance is recent.

Obama cautioned that legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, or any other substance, isn’t a panacea.

“I think there is a legitimate concern about the overall effects this has on society, particularly vulnerable parts of our society,” Obama said. “Substance abuse generally, legal and illegal substances, is a problem. Locking somebody up for 20 years is probably not the best strategy, and that is something we have to rethink as a society as a whole.”

And out Parliament should be rethinking their inaction seriously too. If they don’t they are failing to address laws on cannabis in New Zealand that are failing.

We have led the world on innovative ways to deal with synthetic drugs and trail growing change around the world by doing nothing on natural cannabis.

Currently our cannabis laws don’t make sense.

Cannabis deserves a decent debate

Don Brash has raised the decriminalisation of cannabis as an election issue, but it’s far more complex, and more important, than to rush policy in the heat of a campaign. Various issues around cannabis use – social, legal and medical – deserve decent public exposure and debate.

It would be a mistake to simply decriminalise cannabis and hope that the change will make things better. If the inevitable problems turn out to be greater than any benefits of giving people more free choice on use of drugs it would be difficult to undo.

The Act Party is deeply divided over Brash’s thoughts. The Green Party gives low-key support to relaxing drug laws. The rest of parliament does not support decriminalisation of cannabis and has no plans to change the status quo. The best way to test if this is the best stance or not is to examine it with informed debate.

There’s much more to the cannabis issue than giving a few recreational users the legal right to smoke as they please.

Kate K, who has just published a book called “Matters To A Head: Cannabis, mental illness & recovery” suggests on Dim-Post that “the decriminalisation argument is far less important to NZ than the real issue of providing and resourcing appropriate treatment and services to those who become unstuck by the drug.”

Russell Brown agrees and asks “this is actually the debate we should be having: how do we prevent early use of cannabis?”

Young people are much more susceptible to the adverse effects of drug use – it is unlikely there would be widespread support for unlimited use of cannabis for all ages. We need a process were we can debate and decide as a society what we want, and put that to the politicians.

I’m going to initiate more debate on cannabis. There are too many distractions for the rest of the year, so I propose planning this for next March, once the University year has restarted. In the meantime I will find what organisations and interest groups want to contribute information and want to participate in debate.

I will promote this debate on two levels, online and based publicly in Dunedin:

  • publish an initial discussion document
  • public meeting involving any interested legal, medical and social inputs, and local and national politicians
  • debate in local media
  • a possible organised public debate
  • utilise online media extensively for discussion and debate – this can extend nationally
  • close the debate period with a public meeting
  • poll or referendum on what the people of Dunedin prefer to be done, if anything

Other regions would be welcome to link in with this process.

Politicians will be involved as much as possible with the results. Ultinmately any action will be up to parliament, but this will provide a good indication of public preferences.

This will be a good test for establishing better ongoing community involvement in the social/political process.

Notes:

I am the UnitedFuture candidate for Dunedin North. These plans for cannabis debate will proceed regardless of the outcome in the electorate or via the list.

Current UnitedFuture policy includes “Oppose the decriminalisation of cannabis for recreational use.”

UnitedFuture party leader Peter Dunne has “no problem at all” with this debate proposal – the party encourages debate on issues as is open to alternate opinions.

My personal position is to support the status quo unless good evidence and informed public opinion supports change. I have never smoked cannabis, but I have inhaled party bong pong.

I don’t have a strong stance either way, I’m interested in helping determine what people want and supporting the popular view.

If anyone wants to join the planning of this debate please contact me at petedgeorge@gmail.com