Soldier of Fortune & Scholar was present at the creation of global co-operation shift
A soldier of fortune turned humanitarian and increasingly recognised pivotal figure in the last Balkan wars is now thought to have had New Zealand origins.
Major Bill Foxton (pictured) who served with the European Commission Monitoring Mission was present at the hinge of history when it became obvious that United Nations by its structure was unable to deal with conflicts such as those in the breakup of Yugoslavia.
The fall of Srebrenica and other towns that the Security Council had identified as safe areas, but then refused to authorize enough troops to defend can be viewed now as the decisive moment for the UN.
United Nations now switched its emphasis away from policing and instead turned to non-partisan idealistic causes that transcended ethno-politics and belief systems and above all sidestepped dangerous interventions in nationalism.
Its fixation on Climate now evolved as its standard-bearing campaign
It was this Balkan vacuum, the one left by United Nations, into which now plunged Major Bill Foxton.
One of the hottest spots in Bosnia was the Bihac Pocket and it was there that Bill Foxton immersed himself for two years of fratricidal in-fighting. “Bosnia’s Forgotten Battlefield-Bihaj” by Brendan O’Shea is dedicated to Major Foxton
After this Major Foxton moved to Sarajevo as the European Commission Monitoring Mission’s training officer.
After Bosnia, Bill Foxton became in May 1998, an unarmed observer for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in northern Albania, gaining the trust of the local leaders and of the refugees from Kosovo who were pouring into his area.
“Major Foxton ensured that the OSCE headquarters received a steady stream of accurate information and intelligent analysis from throughout the Kosovo crisis in early 1999,” recalls a general officer in the Balkan theatre
“Bill could not abide unfairness and injustice. As such he was a natural peacekeeper, a peerless unarmed monitor and a perfect candidate for humanitarian work. What made him so effective was his determination to act, in addition to his ability to spot and report accurately on injustice and humanitarian need,” noted the same general officer.
Major Bill Foxton in his career served in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe itself ever since in fact he joined the Foreign Legion as a 17 year old.
As a soldier of fortune he can be seen now as a transitional figure in the profession of arms, a practitioner whose sword became forged into a ploughshare.
With his red hair, barrel chest, and waxed moustache Bill Foxton started his career with the Legion in the last of the colonial wars in Algeria and continued all the way to Afghanistan and in doing so traversing in a personal way modern history.
Along the way he had become one of the English-speaking military sphere’s foremost linguists conversant with the variegated Balkan languages among many others. He is the compiler of the standard Baluchi-English dictionary.
In June 1999, he was made an OBE for rescuing a child from a minefield in Bosnia.
He had earlier lost his left arm while trying to de-fuse an unexploded shell while serving in Oman, a British protectorate. His forearm now became replaced with a prosthetic with a hook on the end of it.
No stranger to military symbolism Major Foxton was to use this hook which had several Swiss Army knife-style attachments as his own trademark.
After continuing to serve in the Balkans for several years after hostilities ended, Major Foxton took one last assignment, this time in Afghanistan reprising his humanitarian assignments.
He was eventually persuaded to leave this war zone only after intelligence reports signalled that he had become a marked man, and was therefore a magnet to attacks which would inevitably involve his civilian charges.
A former intelligence officer with the British army in Ireland during the Troubles he knew exactly what this meant and after an active military career approaching half a century he reluctantly and finally hit civvy street.
His extraordinary life in three armies would beyond the military sphere have gone unnoticed had not Major Foxton become irrevocably bound up with the Madoff scandal in which he lost his life savings and which caused him in consequence to take his own life and which conferred on him a kind of posthumous celebrity.
He had crawled through minefields, disarmed unexploded ordnance, yet ultimately he was done in by the people he trusted, his investment advisers – civilians.
Now there are indications that this soldier of fortune, humanitarian and scholar sprang from New Zealand origins.
It is thought that his father was a New Zealand serviceman who had married in Britain during the war - and stayed there . Major Foxton, the son, was born in 1943.
Meanwhile Major Bill Foxton’s humanitarian operations during the last Balkan wars are considered to have been extensive.
This was particularly so in his ability to deploy regional languages as NATO rapidly took over operations from United Nations.
Asked on one occasion how he was able to assimilate so many diverse languages he said simply that it was a matter of listening to them.
Meanwhile, there is a strong indication that as the Balkans once again became the tinderbox of history there was at this pivot a character who could have walked out of any adventure book and who had a New Zealand connection to boot.
Jason Connery 2009 film proves that Life does follow Art
Graham McTavish might not be everyone’s idea of a travelling companion. A grotesque dwarf in Sir Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, the grizzled fiery lead in Preacher, the only actor to play opposite to Sly Stallone in both Rambo and Rocky…..
Sidekick Sam Heughan presents a milder aspect as the two Outlander stalwarts hit the glens in their Clanlands travel book aided by a strong tailwind in the form of a forward by Outlander creator the American author Diana Gabaldon.
All a bit other worldly you might think as the footloose buddies emerge from behind the footlights to hit the traffic lights in road book on the Highlands.
If Outlander takes viewers through ethereal epochs of time travel, its two real life stars take readers on a feet-on-the-ground terra firma traverse of the highland highways and byways interspersed with the unreconstructed characters who populate them.
Graham McTavish in fact divides his time between Scotland and New Zealand traversing time zones instead of epochs.
He had a big role in a 2009 film called Pandemic in which he played Captain Riley whose mission was to “save the world.”
The film was directed by Jason Connery.
Just this year Britain’s Radio Times readers voted for Sam Heughan to take over the James Bond role from Daniel Craig.
Jason’s dad, Sean, was of course the first James Bond and who is generally considered the first celebrity superpatriot to take up the cause of Scots independence.
This leaves us with Graham McTavish who as he travels between Scotland and his New Zealand-based family and as he cools his heels in managed isolation in the process must be wishing that his film Pandemic had been taken rather more seriously.
Rotten Tomatoes did. It’s verdict on the 2009 film Pandemic was:-
“Moving this exciting thriller along at just the right pace, director Jason Connery builds considerable suspense concerning how it will end…..”
So in relishing their rollicking trail through the Highlands we can discern in the travelogue duologue a foggy whisp of ghostly and indeed deadly Outlander-grade supernatural forces.
Encouragingly for these rowdy latter day Monarchs of the Glen and their publishers, Hodder, is the fact that New Zealand boasts the largest consumption of printed books per head of population and is only rivalled by Norway.
The itinerant actors find themselves pathfinding a print/cinematographic blend in the form of Clanlands being a prequel to Men in Kilts which his described as a docuseries.
Meanwhile, in Scotland’s Highlands the past is the present and so the travellers’ japes and capers are interspersed with historical context.
The authors note that the lockdowns attendant on the current pandemic, the real one, had the effect of putting a sock into their reminiscing and forcing them into the serious business of actually getting their book written.
Time travel is one thing and nowadays true travel is something else involving as it does necessary quarantine hibernation, an interruption absent in the science fiction version.
Not too outlandish then to suggest that Graham McTavish for one will have the time on his hands to start work on Clandlands volume 2?
New Zealand is often described as the Scotland of the South Seas and it is a country that Graham McTavish has visited for the past 30 years.
Since in fact Alice Fraser, granddaughter of the nation’s defining prime minister Peter Fraser, arranged for him to stage his touring Van Gogh show there.
Liberal Leader Malcolm Turnbull’s true belief in Opposition policies haunts Australian politics
The Turnbull Test is designed to show the degree to which a political party leader has their heart in their own party. Or in the other side’s. It is named after Australian Liberal Party leader and federal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
He consistently demonstrated that far from being a conservative his leanings were anything but conservative and that in fact that his heart was very much with the Opposition in the form of the Australian Labour Party and the Green Party.
Mr Turnbull’s inability to disguise his preference for leftist causes notably republicanism and climatism continues to haunt the Liberals.
National Press Club NZ president Peter Isaac now analyses the New Zealand party leaders against the Turnbull Test and does so as the New Zealanders tool up for their imminent general election. Do they really believe in their own party? Really?
Let’s look at them:-
- Jacinda Ardern Labour Leader and Prime Minister. Turnbull Test score: 100 percent. Her obvious delight in identitarian politics and the whole United Nations line singles her out as a true socialist looking for underdogs with which to empathise. Her motto is “Be Kind,” and she means it.
Judith Collins Leader of the Opposition and the National Party: 100 percent. She is the governess of Parliament, impatient with mawkish sentimentality, and demonstrably stern with those she views as indulging in it.
- Winston Peters Leader of the New Zealand First Party and deputy Prime Minister: 60 percent. Once a stalwart of the National party he broke away to form his own party. He is at heart what is known in the United States as a Prairie Populist. He is non doctrinal and will dip into other party’s policies as he did with his off-peak travel and discount Gold Card scheme for pensioners.
- James Shaw co- Leader of the Green Party: 65 percent. His buttoned down look continues to betray the corporate financial figure he once was. This in a coalition party whose members often give the aspect of having strolled out of a rock concert. The Green Party heavying of the rest of the Labour-led coalition cabinet in diverting money to a no-no private school, even a Green one, indicates a doctrinal fissure.
- David Seymour Leader of the ACT Party: 110 percent. The leader of this one-seat Parliamentary Party is in a de-facto voting arrangement with National. Mr Seymour has come into prominence through his right-to-die legislation which is subject to an integrated referendum at the general election. Mr Seymour’s upper lip curls in contempt at the mere contemplation of the United Nations omnibus agenda which plays such a large part in the ruling Labour-led coalition doxology.
The Turnbull Test reveals that for the most part the New Zealand political leaders sidestep the perils of the syndrome in which leaders find their sympathies lying in fact with their opponents instead of with their own parties.
Even so, and with the New Zealand leadership emerging convincingly from the Turnbull Test, we find a selection of intriguing ironies and contradictions, some of them centred on the Labour Party’s imperative to inhabit the moral high ground.
Bizarrely New Zealand’s heart-string pulling Labour Party must suppress the ardours of its most activist devotees who are prone in their zeal to tossing their second vote, the party one, to the Greens.
Neither does Labour want to have to forge together another coalition with the Greens, dedicated as the Greens are to the aspirations of an elite constituency that is light years removed politically from Labour’s own face-value worker base.
Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party must somehow deter the Labour Party’s ultra activist devotees from tossing this second vote, their ideological vote, once described as the conscience vote, to the Green Party.
This second vote is a huge bloc and includes for example those involved in education at any level and a large slice of professionals including quasi professions such as the media.
This elites vote as it is often described is earmarked for the Greens in the justified belief that the Greens will enforce a hard left agenda while Labour of necessity must implement bread and butter policies if only to keep the economy going in order to keep Labour in power.
Skilfully, the Greens use their influence with the mainstream media to take both sides of their load-bearing climate policy plank. Thus, if there are floods it is due to “carbon” as they describe carbon dioxide. If there is a drought, then it too is due to “carbon.”
The New Zealand proportional representation system is based on the German one. There are two votes. One for a candidate. One for a Party.
Our test indicates the absence in New Zealand party politics of a Malcolm Turnbull whose stewardship of the Australian Liberal i.e. conservative party was conducted while in his breast beat the progressivist heart of a university social sciences undergraduate.
NZ Herald takes up eccentric infectious diseases scientist’s trolling retribution
Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles publicly advocated the required national response to Covid-19 and at the same time estimated the effect of this response.
Having nudged the nation toward sidestepping the worst of the virus the clinician has taken on the power of making uncomfortable the very people who should be grateful to her.
Phillida Perry’s documentary Siouxsie and the Virus www.loadingdocs.net/Siouxsie intriguingly taken up by the New Zealand Herald has taken the scab off this undercurrent and will ensure that the bizarre outcome will remain a suitable case for study.
In the event Dr Wiles entered the Covid-19 debate when casualties were being forecast in tens of thousands.
Her widely publicised forecasts turned out to be correct and having successfully in advance calibrated the deadliness of the virus and how the nation could sidestep all but its fringe effects Siouxsie (say it “Suzy”) Wiles could have expected to have been elevated into the pantheon of respect and admiration reserved for New Zealand’s over achievers in a few other fields of endeavour…..sport and the accumulation of wealth, for example.
Instead she has become the epicentre of another type of viral attack, the electronic variety, in which she is pilloried for having spoken out in the first place.
Had she been a political scientist then few doubt that Miss Wiles would now be accorded adulation of the type accorded to women who stick their necks out and that she would be receiving much institutional covering fire and protection.
How different attitudes might be had Miss Wiles’ science doctorate from Oxford had been let us conjecture a sociology doctorate from Waikato?
Miss Wiles who is married with children has trade mark flowing pink hair of the variety often associated with fair grounds.
The infectious diseases transmission specialist is of a fuller figure with a round youthful cherubic countenance and dismisses her own startling appearance seized upon so avidly by her trollers as evidence of sorcery and witch craft and self-deprecatingly says she is merely “fat and middle-aged.”
There the matter might have rested had not the New Zealand Herald taken up the documentary which illuminates the darker underside of human nature and the smouldering envy and corresponding resentment detonated in so many breasts by the achievements of someone such as Miss Wiles with her dumpy figure and candy-floss hair-do.
A salient point is that Dr Wiles cannot dispense with social media and thus the trollers just because her brief is in communicating public health imperatives in the causes and the effects of an insurgency such as the Covid plague.
This expertise was why she was recruited in the first place via Edinburgh and Oxford Universities and Imperial College.
The trolling connected with Miss Wiles has about it characteristics often associated with quite a different moral stereotype to the ever-present generalised social injustice one.
This is not the routine drumbeat of the social justice signallers with their ready access to mainstream mass communication.
This is a new claque that has found a common voice and a common target. It is composed of those who find it hard to reconcile the purple-haired clinician’s eminence in relation to her otherwise ordinariness.
Their message to the clinician? If you are so smart, why don’t you go home?
She has shifted and diversified the paradigm of the outrage industry by showing how quickly it can reframe itself from signalling generalised injustice to a contemporary fixation on someone who rises above the noise level and also what is seen as their station.
The lesson of the niche Siouxsie as Sorceress unease boils down to the perils of being different.
In this new and still less obvious sullen electronic chorus there lies a much deeper and more personal signalling bubbling up of resentment and envy.
This devolves onto the “issues” many have here with internationally qualified scientists who break their stereotype by becoming public figures.
As an expert in transmission Dr Wiles must be contemplating her own transit from that of laboratory scientist to high profile public cultural touchstone, icon for some, witch for others.
Political Class Activism Eclipsed Quarantine priorities
Identity politics submerged climate change as the overriding moral issue in New Zealand, often considered a global weather vane of moral causes.
Mass marches switched from the extinction-rebellion climatic catastrophe ones to those vilifying the colonial era and those seen as benefiting from it, then and now.
The political-class rendition of this mild-mannered, fair-minded, and considerate nation as being in fact the repository of a bigoted, tyrannical majority, the kindest categorisation being racist, often delivered in the local dialect as “rashe-ist,” writes National Press Club president Peter Isaac.
This followed on the heels of the extinction-rebellion marches which saw city councils actively encouraging demonstrations seeking to portray a nation dedicated to hygiene, method and order as one of feckless polluting and contaminating.
This U-turn in causes was theatrically-defined by the mea culpa proclamation of the governing coalition’s cabinet who, in one instance, saw one of its members in front of an audience flagellating himself for having enjoyed what he saw as the advantages of being from a white middle class and thus pitifully unfair background.
This hair shirt exhibition was only one of many bizarre such displays as the political establishment turned itself inside out to signal its support of the freshly supercharged identity campaign in which for example senior police representatives were encouraged to attend in mufti solemn ceremonies of atonement.
Greens, by now suffering from acute publicity deprivation, seek to wrestle climate back on the agenda: notably by encouraging the mainstream media to make connections between Covid-19 and man made climate change.
Identity politics in washing man-made climate change out of the popular forum has given agribusiness an opportunity to regain a front foot at a time when its productivity is crucial.
Identity’s subsuming of the political class’s backbone cause of causes, the climate one, in another opposing interpretation has left this particular wing of the media political class, the climate one, pretty much free to implement its agenda, and do so unseen.
The centrepiece of this agenda is to hobble with international-grade show boating political correctness the nation’s underpinning primary and extractive industries.
In the shorter term, few doubt that the media and political class take-up of identity causes and the vitriolic righteousness inherent in this accelerated mass guilt transfer diverted official attention from the myriad details involved in the administration of the nation’s Covid 19 quarantine management.
The viciousness with which this same class, sensing blood, now turned upon elements of public health administration and on the prime minister Jacinda Ardern was itself a lesson on how virtue in its eyes becomes transformed overnight into villainy.
The prime minister and her officials who had successfully implemented a campaign that thrust the nation into the top rank of the Covid-free must have felt a bit like the primary producers who delivering year after year a successful economy, find themselves denounced as threats to human survival.
To what extent did the United Nations’ preoccupation with the Greta Thunberg campaign divert it and, so fatally, its agency WHO from the true threat: the looming one in the form of Coronavirus?
To what extent did the aftermath of this United Nations-sponsored extinction campaign, the one which so hypnotised this same media political class, devalue the meaning of “emergency?”
There followed the regional climatic emergencies, the ones which otherwise responsible local governments, egged on by the equally gulled mainstream media, fell over themselves to endorse and support.
This particular round of institutional mass hysteria has been eclipsed by the real thing, a true emergency in the form of the pandemic.
Moral movements exert a strange force, one of extreme excitability, on otherwise sober sectors of New Zealand society.
Authority figures such as politicians once sought public gatherings to promote themselves. Now, however, in these new-era collective guilt gatherings, these same politicians still do this, but do so in reverse.
They heap guilt upon themselves, about their skin colour, the advantages bestowed upon them by the accident of birth….the word “privilege” recurs…..
They pepper this with selective statistics designed to underline this undeserved head start.
The personal outpouring is a litany starting at the apology which is for being a thoughtless contributor to the destruction of civilisation (climate). It is for being a man (feminism). It is for being white (identitarian). It is for being middle class (poverty).
It is subtle self-praise of the type in which this class excels.
The impression is conveyed that the apologists in their penitence are, or have been, in a position to influence all these. That they have striven to alter the drift of mankind but, having been caught in the tide and that they have been unable to turn it back. That their lives certainly mattered, still matter. Will matter even more.
More such movements will wash up on these shores to be swiftly taken up by the political class whose representatives will turn themselves inside out in self-abasement with finely turned apologia which as we have seen is simply a reverse form of big noting.
Mass guilt transfer movements with their nurtured hysteria will continue to be imported here, and they will continue to arrive at times when nerves are under strain as they are now, by a pandemic and the economic consequences of it.
United States remains first and only nation founded to do good in the world
President Trump’s brandishing of a King James Bible in front of a church was a unifying signal which the mainstream media perversely chose to interpret as a divisive gesture, a stab at the soul of the union, even idolatry.
In fact the King James Bible ranks with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as an underpinning United States document.
It was carried by the original Mayflower pilgrims and became the founding moral handbook of the United States, writes National Press Club president and sometime White House visitor Peter Isaac.
The mainstream is determined to portray President Trump’s symbolic and silent display of the bible as representing the heart of darkness, as being un-American.
In the event and with the King James Version as its centrepiece the United States was the first and still the only nation to be founded in the belief that it was created to do good in the world and enlighten it
President Trump’s waving of the bible was an only lightly encoded message reaffirming this moral authority of the United States and its founding purpose of doing good.
Inflamed itself by its own contemporary interpretations of righteousness the media now sought to engineer the backfiring of the Trump gesture.
This is in spite of the mainstream being overwhelmingly controlled by those who claim adherence to two of the Abrahamist religions – Christianity and Judaism. These are also known as “the book” religions. (The third Abrahamist/book religion curiously enough is Islam.)
The bible incident served to underline how in the popular culture elite urban context contemporary techniques of seeking to be seen to display righteousness have modified and usually replaced those based on the bible.
Trump understood this and the way in which this stylised personal street level moral concoction borrowing only from orthodoxy in terms of fire and brimstone is seen by his own base as posing a long and short term threat to their own security, and to that of the nation as a whole.
This replacement new and ersatz street belief draws its power from a welter of modern and technology fuelled bespoke and free style cravings in the field of segmented virtue display imperatives.
The double symbolism of the Trump gesture was similarly missed. This was that for his bible-waving he had strolled across the lawn to St John’s church, demonstrably scorched by roving rioters.
Trump is no stranger to the religious backbone of the United States, an immersion emphasised by the teachings of his Gaelic-speaking mother Mary Macleod raised in Scotland’s Western Isles and which the mainstream throughout the English speaking sphere cannot bring itself to acknowledge.
While the fashionable urban politico-media class exults in the formula of targeted mass hysteria wallowing in its reflected virtue, president Trump knows that in the productive United States hinterland there remains a sense of revulsion centred on the short and long term effects of the orchestrated over-excitement, and the applied havoc in its wake.
Trump stepped into this beliefs vacuum with his bible moment.
This is the vacuum amplified as it is by the established church through its conviction that it must accommodate and ultimately absorb competing doctrines, ones with a persuasive following. It is the reason for example that it allowed things like the days and months of the year to be classified with the heathen names we all use today.
It is the reason now why the established church backs down from acknowledging the gratuitous mayhem detonated by these single-point ignition to multipoint and now globally viral civic violence eruptions.
It is a mayhem actually visited on working and god-fearing people, such as the proprietors of small businesses and those who cannot afford to move to the suburbs along with those others who are singularly unblessed by being poor.
The established church anxious to appease the well-placed agitators sidesteps the whole problem with incantations centred on mantras of revolving words such as peace, equality, justice, divisiveness…
It is the reason why petrified pastors fearful of losing the support of such influencers simply identified the bible incident as being “blasphemous.”
Meanwhile the arrival of the consignment of King James Bibles on the original Mayflower is one of history’s great coincidences.
The accelerating application of moveable type meant that the King James Version now quite suddenly became available and a consignment was rushed to the Mayflower only hours before it sailed from Plymouth.
The mainstream media in its quest for hip modernity has long dispensed with its once standard god-spot broadcasting segments and published homilies from clerics.
In the looking glass world of the media the bible has gone the way of the Whole Earth Catalogue.
And yet…and yet presidents are still sworn in on them.
President Trump was sworn in with two King James Versions
His own and President Lincoln’s.
President Trump knew as he sauntered to the by now boarded up St John’s church that in today’s era of orchestrated opinion journalism that his bible semaphoring would be reduced to showboating.
Or at best statements posing as questions such as, Was he holding it upside down, and whose bible was it anyway?
His signal though was tuned to a longer distance destination the one beyond the confected rage of the self-regarding mood makers of the coastal enclaves and beamed at the heartlands where once a week Americans still clutch the King James Version.
This hinterland tends also to be comprised of people who do not applaud, condone, concur and generally excuse the setting alight of parish churches such as St John’s.
In 1956 schoolboy Brian Bourke found himself in an Ashburton hospital ward, a victim of New Zealand’s annual and brutal polio wave.
He was one of 897 victims in New Zealand that year of the polio virus.
It cost him his left leg, writes National Press Club president Peter Isaac.
Nationwide that same year 50 other victims were not so lucky. They lost their lives.
Mr Bourke a chartered accountant recalls now that his nurses were completely shrouded in sterile material and he was not to identify any one of his carers until many years later when one of them Monica McCormack recognised him at a church service and introduced herself.
When after 192 days in hospital he eventually returned to school Mr Bourke recalls that fellow pupils were wary of him, fearful that they might catch the polio virus from him.
In the event Mr Bourke (pictured) went on to establish himself in New Zealand’s North Island with an accountancy practice and a number of directorships.
Challenging the disadvantages presented by his withered leg he embarked upon distance swimming and represented New Zealand at a Masters’ tournament in Brazil.
More than 800 New Zealanders died from polio also known as infantile paralysis between 1916 and 1961 when the annual epidemic waves finally succumbed to the vaccine developed by Dr Jonas Salk.
The most deaths in one year in New Zealand was in 1925, when 173 people died.
The virus was associated with respiratory ailments and those most severely afflicted often required artificial breathing support.
Conversely and curiously in the light of the current Covid-19 plague taking its biggest toll on the unfit and the elderly the polio virus in contrast attacked the young and the vigorous such as Mr Bourke.
Equally conversely, the polio virus thrived in summer rather than in winter said to be the favoured transmission season for Covid 19.
The introduction of the Salk vaccine intercepted the polo virus prior to the era of mass travel which has proved such a contagion thoroughfare for Covid 19.
Pivoting agilely on the stick which compensates for his prosthetic left leg Mr Bourke who is now 78 knows that he is among the last who can testify through experience to the annual summer polio waves which left in their wake the paralysis of which he is a living victim.
The annual summer intervention of the polio virus which put him in the isolation ward of Ashburton hospital is fading over the institutional memory horizon he notes. Social distancing in the polio era for example centred on shuttering schools, swimming pools, theatres and amusement arcades.
Mr Bourke with his wife Margaret went on to have seven children and he remains a signal figure in community activity.
A lean, tallish fellow with the engaging smile of those sensing their own gift of life redeemed, Mr Bourke a carpentry buff by day and who at night dabbles in poetry believes that the fear and trembling evoked by Covid-19 should be put into human perspective………
“In 1956 we all feared polio because it had a preference for children. There is nothing like it around now. The symptoms were like a very bad dose of the flu with a severe fever. The effects were very different. The paralyses were swift. We were utterly defenceless against it. Doctors had no answer. ….
“When I arrived at hospital they were not sure if I had polio and they put me in a small room with green walls and no window to the outside. They gave me a lumber puncture in the late afternoon and then left me alone. That’s when the paralyses started. I could feel it coming on. I had a strange feeling in my left arm and my left leg. The nurses did not come to check on me. I got out of bed and walked up and down that small room until I could not walk anymore and I collapsed on the floor…
“The others in my family were not allowed to go to work or attend school. Nobody came to visit them and they only went out to buy food. They sat around in the dreary nor-west heat of early 1956 and wondered if they could drink from the same cup or if they should wash all the dishes again……”
In the meantime and declining to succumb to the ravages of age any more than he did to those of polio Mr Bourke nowadays in a self-imposed act of defiance hosts an annual swimming gala in which he personally swims an extra pool length for each additional passing year of his life.
Antipodeans instinctively keep their distance from each other. Right or wrong?
Wrong. The inhabitants of the thinly populated South Pacific outpost of British reserve and stand-offish-ness cannot in fact keep their hands off each other
Touching and feeling is the raw material of social codes of behaviour new and old.
These range from modern introduced sporting activities through the run of hugs, kisses, and handshakes to greetings ancient characterised by the Polynesian hongi or rubbing of noses.
The myth is that of the man-alone. The reality is that of the direct opposite. Males of all provenance embrace a tribal lifestyle often described as mateship in which they adore congregating and will commingle together as closely as they can. Whenever they can.
Mandated distances between non familial or non-bubbled humans in New Zealand as elsewhere is two metres and when proclaimed the distance was promulgated in a vein of this being a natural state of separation, removal, anyway.
Yet as we have seen the fervently-followed collection of ancient and modern social customs and practices runs counter to the notion of New Zealand males naturally keeping their distance from each other.
A more recent example of a socially–licensed custom which by definition encourages males to commingle are the officially sanctioned and even encouraged gay parades characterised by males intertwining with each other in order to demonstrate quite literally their solidarity.
Society issues its licence for such parades in what as seen as the public interest of “diversity.”
Rugby football in the event is a reprise of mating rites dating back to the dawn of time.
In its modified and current form it bestows social license on males to achieve a physical proximity otherwise denied to them and confers simultaneously license for a wider spectrum to observe them in this process, and to shape a conversational philosophy around it.
Opponents of this above conclusion when they feel free to discuss the issue, which is rare, say that the other Anglo Saxon-origin sport of cricket in contrast is designed by its nature to keep men apart, at a distance from each other.
A similar pattern of attraction however is now emerging and is in plain sight. It is now observed that an underpinning mating-cum-fertility ritual has begun to assert itself in the form of onlooker spectators seeking every opportunity for physical proximity to the team players.
For example, spectators deliberately position themselves close to team entrance and exit tunnels in order to grasp and then cradle and cuddle the heads of certain players, otherwise total strangers, as the players pass to-and-fro.
The head-hugging now so familiar in cricket and its derived sports such as softball is a conundrum bearing in mind that in so many countries the human head is a true taboo.
In short, far from being keep-your-distance types, the average Antipodean cannot wait to deliver a man-hug.
An approved contact sport (note the word “contact” as the sanctioned generic description) delivers the proximity permission.
For further evidence to support this conclusion we can examine the behaviour of people during the height of the recent Coronavirus lock down which permitted supermarkets to open as essential service providers.
But this came with the caveat that shoppers do so singly, one family member at a time, rather than on a familial group basis.
In the event otherwise responsible members of the community were observed as couples determinedly doing their shopping together, regardless.
In other words, the social license conferred by their pair bonding arrangements of these couples, ones such as marriage, superseded external commands centred on viral contagion.
In the military distance between individuals is rigidly codified and enforced. Elsewhere in the public service attempts to promulgate and enforce a distance cordon sanitaire between the genders has had only varying success.
In life as a whole we can see that contrary to the established myth, universally believed, individuals will trash artificially imposed distance taboos and huddle as close as they can providing they believe that they have social license to do so.
Far from being stand-offish Antipodeans given the social licence instinctively want to be up close and personal and the closer the better.
International artistes marvel at the gigantic audiences they get in sparsely populated Australasia failing to realise that a large part of this is the compound mass proximity attraction – the more, the closer, the merrier.
Nobody doubts that mandated social distancing has been central to Australasia containing the contagion.
Its continuing success will rely on an understanding that this degree of separation is not a natural state of affairs and that people will still have to be levered apart to keep their distance.
Lethally Dangerous Policeman-turned-Preacher Prepares to take tithe
United Nations at one and the same time has enthralled and betrayed New Zealand and now it fully intends to collect from the beleaguered nation a sum considered to be in the region of 1.5 billion dollars as a climate contribution.
This is after its wholly controlled subsidiary World Health Organisation utterly failed to warn New Zealand about the imminence of the Covid 19 virus and continues to actively block from WHO membership Taiwan the one nation capable of giving early warning of this and other such pathogens.
Unapologetic about its shocking failures such as failing to sound the alarm about Covid 19, United Nations considers New Zealand an easy mark for the billion plus contribution for a climate alarm which has failed to materialise.
United Nations is similarly unapologetic about other false campaigns most notably its globalisation one in which it encouraged smaller nations to outsource production thus rendering them vulnerable when a true crisis happened.
United Nations and its apparatus has enjoyed one signal success and it was and remains to present itself to the activist political class of nations such as New Zealand as a semi mystical moral inspiration and authority.
Now though the worry everywhere in governmental and commercial circles in New Zealand is that United Nations will be successful in extracting its climate money from the very politicians it has so consistently and successfully mislead.
The only supra national organisation that can compare with the power of United Nations in terms of keeping countries such as New Zealand in its thrall is the Roman Catholic church in its heyday.
While New Zealand politicians sling off at governments such as those of Australia or the United States, these same politicians become piously reverent in any reference to United Nations, and to anyone bearing one of its high titles.
This state of demonstrable awe was manageable while United Nations carried out its original peace-keeping role, the one for which it was formed.
United Nations transition from policeman to preacher ran parallel with its own conversion from law-and-order keeper to a gigantic self-serving bureaucracy trying to please its growing membership in order to stay in business.
An early diversification was into identity issues and it was now that it began to play to the activist gallery by blending the fashionable with its functional purpose of peace-keeper.
It knew it needed an over-arching cause in order to reinforce its evolving central doctrine of globalisation, binding all nations together in the synergy of a common purpose.
This suited China which was now tooling up as the world’s workshop.
United Nations by now accommodating more and more freshly-created nation-states now tilted toward placating China.
It found common cause with China in excluding from United Nations-controlled world forums, notably the World Health Organisation, the island state of Taiwan.
Taiwan was founded by the Chinese under Chiang Kai-shek (pictured with fellow UN founders Roosevelt and Churchill).
General Chiang Kai-shek had actually fought the Axis powers, thus entitling China to become a founding pillar of United Nations in the first place.
All this was overlooked by the international political class especially in the English-speaking zone, as the United Nations now carried the most virtuous collective banner of the era which was the climate one.
United Nations now subtly conveyed the message that until it took up the climate cause, nothing had been done at all to save what had hitherto been described as the “environment.”
Among the most avid of the adherents to the United Nations climate doctrine, an omnibus one packaging in the globalisation theme among others, was and is the New Zealand political class.
This class remains so enraptured that it is still prepared to wreck its main industry, agriculture, in order to please the gigantic policeman-turned-preacher behemoth.
The United Nations-sowed cult of imminent climate catastrophe was the central distraction from the true threat, the virus one. This in turn was braced by the UN’s refusal to do anything construed as displeasing mainland China.
Even so, it remains very likely that sometime in the quite near future a dismaying starry-eyed New Zealand government will meekly hand United Nations for its non-performance a staggering sum of money allowing it to still further propagate its lethally dangerous prophesies.
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things?”
Constant repetition by climate campaigners of words signifying conceptual disasters of great magnitude debased these words and diluted their meaning and their impact to the point at which when taken up by Fleet Street they failed to deliver the required message in the event of a true calamity, the Coronavirus one.
Peter Isaac the president of the National Press Club conjectures that initial warnings about the damaging effects of Coronavirus were blunted and lost impact just because so many of the words used were associated with moral cause propaganda rather than with an actual disaster such as the present rampant viral contagion.
Isaac rated as the “three horsemen” of the climate movement word bending apocalypse as being these words: crisis, emergency, and extinction.
The outrider of this trio was the word dying.
This word routinely applied by the climate change movement and then taken up by the media remains an encoded way of describing the failure of western society to do anything about the alleged changing climate with the result that people were perishing, “dying.”.
The confected alarmism structured around these re-purposed words had its Commonwealth genesis in what Isaac described as only several members of what was once known as the Fleet Street “quality” newspaper category.
The word-bending constructions now assumed what Isaac described as a “royal charter” of approval though usage in one of the qualities, a kind of Stamp of Good Housekeeping.
They were now taken up by public broadcasting, embellished with a gravitas of delivery, and then after gathering additional credence with every mile they travelled from London were reiterated in Australasia.
The result on the audience side of the camera and microphone was confusion
This centred on the crisis/emergency/extinction that under the agenda of a moral movement and one with ready access to the media could theoretically happen with the crisis/emergency/extinction that was actually happening at that moment and was heading toward the population at large.
Isaac originally drew attention to this problem in www.nationapressclub.org.nz and did so with particular reference to what he saw as the proneness of several Australasian newspaper chains to re-iterate the London-sown propagandised vocabulary and terminology.
The latest report from Britain’s Social Mobility Commission demonstrated that in spite of industry sector vaunted and much proclaimed “diversity” that in fact journalists are increasingly drawn from a privileged and university educated background that added up to a sameness of outlook.
The university common room bias was more insidious in public broadcasting because of a much stated impartiality and also because audiences were less aware of the socio-economic human forces behind the constant weaving-in of the theoretical climate “crisis, emergency etc.”
Curiously, noted Isaac before the climate syndrome mutated into one of “change,” it had been labelled as one of global “warming.”
In the event the Coronavirus threat was said to be reduced in a warm climate, while flourishing in the cold weather. A reversal of a popular notion that germs multiply in the heat and get killed off in the cold.
Isaac said that journalists now describe their vocation as a professional one and as such should be expected by the public to use words correctly.
The calling, he said, having robed itself in the mantle of professionalism must be seen to treat moral movements for what they were and do so by putting their propaganda and slogans into context rather than re-iterating and transcribing them as matters of fact.
Journalism whether trade, craft, vocation, or profession was now made up of graduates who had a duty to clearly define for their audiences the difference between a theoretical environmental global alarm and an actual, real-time one, the real thing.
Journalism had not attained its homogenous graduate-grade professionalism without “growing pains.”
The main one was that the elevated journalistic practitioners, seasoned as they were in academic theory, sought as a counterweight to position themselves as contemporary tribunes of the plebeians, as representatives of everyday folk.
They did so by shouldering and arming themselves with what they saw as a noble cause notably the climatist one, and blending their own lofty inculcated values with what they saw as the welfare of the common people.
It was now in this tangled skein of confused values that flourished the agenda masquerading as reporting and requiring the bending of words to accommodate this duality.
Isaac is the author The New Gobbledygook, and The Bureaucrat’s Survival Guide to Workplace Jargon.