When something is just such complete and utter shite, it needs calling out. And even worse, it was from the mind of an iconic journalist and sports writer. It was of course the article by Phil Gifford and his twelve boorish (and boring) reasons for his hatred of English Rugby and their national team.
As Miles Davis said on the radio, if it had been written wittily or a bit more lightly, most expats in this country could have lived with it. But it’s so damn vitriolic that it’s only real outcome is to create divisiveness. In fact, Gifford’s rhetoric is so spiteful that it almost brings us back to the days of the shameful ‘Punch a Pom a day’ movement in NZ of the 70s. On that, there would be thousands of under 40s in this country who have never heard of that particular nasty little episode in our history (even though it was promoted by a very isolated minority). But the truth hurts. Our nice little country on occasion hasn’t been quite as milk and honey as we’d all like to think:
‘Immigration is like a tap: a steady drip-drip will hardly be noticed, but turn the tap full on and people start to drown in their insecurities and prejudices. That is what happened in Britain in the 1960s, and in New Zealand in the 1970s.
When my family arrived here 28 years ago as part of a tidal wave of British migrants, we ran into a (thankfully short-lived) Punch-a-Pom-a-Day campaign. It was disconcerting, but with hindsight I realise it was symptomatic of a general unease because there were simply too many of us entering the country too quickly’. (Gavin Riley, NZ Herald, 2 Dec 2002)
And an episode so hurtful by the way, that I could introduce you to a family friend who almost moved back to the UK as a result of horrible abuse he got around that time.
It could be a slight exaggeration to state that Gifford’s garbage was akin to the crap that went on over forty years ago. However it achieves only the very negative outcome of damage and distrust between people and nations. And how about the awful timing as well- right on the cusp of Armistice Day when the two nations involved stood as one.
A really low-rent and embarrassing opinion piece is what I think it was. Nothing more, nothing less. And altogether vile.
Email me: email@example.com (Paul)