Saturday, September 25, 2021

Bob Edlin: Classism and the pox weren’t the only exports sent here by the Poms

ACT​ leader David Seymour (who is doing nicely in opinion polls) irked many people when he sent out priority vaccination access codes intended for Māori.

The critics (no surprises here) included

  • Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson, who said the move was “despicable” and she would be writing to Speaker Trevor Mallard about it.
  • Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, who said it was a “low-life move” aimed at intentionally sabotaging the Māori vaccine campaign.

This week, former Stuff reporter Joel Maxwell pitched in, too, to huff:

I’ll admit, Māori like myself were pretty angry about it. Some might accuse us of being ideologically driven, and that’s true – if the ideology was not wanting our whānau to die.

Having told us what he thinks of Seymour and his politicking, Maxwell proceeded to a bout of Pommy-bashing:

I mean, Seymour aside, Aotearoa has become a bit of an obsession for people based in places like the US and England. Pundits, private citizens, want us to adopt their approaches.

“I don’t want to seem rude, but from an indigenous perspective the only thing England successfully exported was classism – oh, and syphilis. England didn’t even provide penicillin – the eventual syphilis-fixer was a Scot, Sir Alexander Fleming, and fungus. But seriously, despite a magnificent past, the likes of the US and UK have thoroughly messed up modern life.”

The only thing England successfully exported was classism and syphilis?

This crass remark, tongue in cheek or not, rankled a writer whose grandmother hailed from Brighton.

My initial inclination was to wonder about the contribution made to Maxwell’s genetics – because his is not an obviously Maori surname – by his English forbears.

A quick check established that Maxwell had cleverly railed against the English, not the British.

Maxwell Name Meaning

Scottish: habitational name from a place near Melrose in Roxburghshire. The place name is first recorded in 1144 in the form Mackeswell ‘Mack’s spring or stream (Old English well(a))’. Irish: this surname is common in Ulster, where it has sometimes been adopted as an alternative to Miskell. Jewish: arbitrary adoption of the Scottish name, or Americanized form of one or more like-sounding Jewish surnames.

 Hence Maxwell could mention syphilis and the penicillin that dealt to it, which was the discovery of a Scottish scientist.

But hey.  Maxwell’s article deals with a vaccination programme and a list of English accomplishments – let the record show – includes

The Vaccine and Discovery of Immunology – 1796

Edward Jenner was an English physician and scientist, who, in 1796, pioneered vaccination (of smallpox if not in general).

Jenner is commonly known as the “father of immunology” and his discoveries in the latter half of the 17th Century has saved countless lives since.

Edward was declared one the 100 Greatest Britons of all time by the BBC in 2002

 Anything else?

We are apt to venture that Maxwell’s denunciation of Seymour was published in a newspaper, and – so far as we can find – the first British settlers imported the printing press and newspapers because the Maori hadn’t got around to inventing these yet.

Moreover we found Maxwell’s article on the Stuff website and…

Guess what?

The World Wide Web, the First Website, and the First Web Browser – 1989

Tim Berners-Lee had a dream, one that came to fruition in the latter half of the 1980s.

As an independent contractor for CERN in 1980, he developed a project using the concept of hypertext to facilitate sharing and updating information among researchers. He built ENQUIRE, a prototype system, to showcase his information web project. 

In 1989, after lending his talents to a private company, Berners-Lee saw an opportunity to join hypertext with the internet as CERN became the place to be. 

Berners-Lee wrote his proposal in March 1989 and, in 1990, redistributed it.

His ENQUIRE system provided the basis to create the World Wide Web, for which he also designed and built the first Web browser

Anything else come to mind?

Parliamentary democracy looked like a great import to us, here at Point of Order, but it’s fair to say it’s not everybody’s idea of a good way to run a country and maybe we should take our cue from the way Maori chiefs run their tribes.

Let’s go for something more popular.

The Chocolate Bar – 1847

Without a doubt, the absence of chocolate bars would be a real tragedy for the modern world.

Thankfully we will never know thanks to the work of JS Fry and Sons in 1847. 

Their formula for mixing cocoa powder, sugar and cocoa to form true chocolate bars would change the world forever. 

And here comes the big one.


Where would the Maori All Blacks be without a curiously shaped ball to kick and pass according to the rules of a game imported from …

Say it, Joel.

It came from ENGLAND!

Bob Edlin is a veteran journalist and editor for the Point of Order blog HERE.


Janine said...

Also cowboy hats. I suspect the good ol' Southern men would have something to say about wearing those inside and especially with women present.

Terry Morrissey said...

Just finished reading this very true account of the situation as it was around the time of publishing (1993 remember it well.)
This book should be compulsory reading for first year secondary school students (if they can read), politicians(if they can read), corrections facilities (inmates and staff), Oranga Tamariki staff , Maori institutions and ALL journalists and their editors.
The problem is that they have regressed a whole lot further since then with a whole lot more “woke culture vultures” being taken on board and an even worse lot of kaumatua with pot and meth afflicted brains telling the stories. There are also very dangerous politicians in critical Ministries who are more than happy to push things a little further down the track to reinforce the sense of entitlement.
Since the publishing of the book the education system has been dumbed down so that students do not even necessarily leave school with literary skills so how the hell does that help the situation.
A very enlightening book from someone who has “been there done that.” Wish I had come across it years ago. Certainly explains a lot of past events and present aspirations of the tribal elite.

DeeM said...

"The laboratory in which Fleming discovered and tested penicillin is preserved as the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum in St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington." Fleming was educated at Imperial College London.

Clearly, Joel thinks where you're born decides every achievement you make in life.
Fleming was British as well as Scottish. The Act of Union 1707 saw the creation of Great Britain when Scotland and England/Wales became one country.
He's obviously sensitive about his own genealogy and wants to disassociate himself from the sins of colonialism.
Sorry Joel - it doesn't wash. Fleming was Scottish but all his research was funded by the British establishment.
Joel's just another woke journo jumping on the pro-Maori gravy train.

Phil said...

I read Maxwell's article in Stuff and actually considered it would meet the definition of Hate Speech. It had the intent to stir up hate against both David Seymour and the English. David is a big fan of the CANZUK idea so I thought this was part of the motivation for the attack on him. A couple of weeks ago an NZ journalist described the concept of the Anglosphere as white supremacy. If NZ building relationships with other English speaking countries is racist does this imply our natural allegiance is now with China to these journalists.

Ray S said...

Almost everything we have here came from somewhere else,
From the first arrival of people from Europe to today, almost all we have today started then, be it good and bad. Like it or not, everybody, including all Maori, have benefited directly or indirectly
from those beginnings.
Many Maori realise this and have made capital.
On the other hand, those of them who want to take a leap back in time want to take averything with them.
Not sustainable.

quattrohl said...

In these querulous times of speaking out about the development of New Zealand and issues of colonialism, I wonder what New Zealand would have been like today if it had not been "colonised" by the British?
What would New Zealand be like if it had been "colonised" by the French or the Spanish, the Portugese, the Dutch or the Belgians. These nations all had, over time, ambitions to explore and subjugate truly indigenous populations. There would probably not have been any form of treaty providing sovereignty and protection (remember the French were already in Akaroa) for the other resident occupiers, the Maori.
None of the other countries mentioned have covered themselves in glory over the centuries so why would New Zealand have been treated any differently by them.
Fred Dagg's song - "We don't how lucky we are" should be re-released for all sections of New Zealand Society to reflect on and get on with life.