For me; retired, no mortgage, good health, a section to wander around, family near-by and pleasant surroundings, the shut-down is nothing more than a mild inconvenience. A far cry from the experience of the many people who don’t know how they’ll get by without savings, job or secure home, never mind anxiety about the looming economic depression.
Category archive: Viewpoint
We’re in a state of national emergency and it’s having a dramatic effect on how we live our lives.
I simply want to highlight a number of human rights issues that have arisen as a result of the lockdown. And I’d like to flag a number of my concerns about possible long-term human rights implications, after the pandemic is over.
Before television, families gathered each night around the essential piece of lounge furniture – a stylish floor level radio console (perhaps branded Atwater Kent or Gulbransen) – or faced the ornate mantle model (Philco), waiting with expectation for the crackling radio valves to warm up.
At first they nodded and smiled as usual on our daily walks. Nothing unusual there, it’s our neighbourhood.
But then the pandemic arrived and didn’t leave. For a few days we were confused and offered the same greetings, though we all knew nothing would ever be the same.
The Centre for the Future of Democracy at Cambridge University recently stated that: ‘Democracy is in a state of malaise.’ It’s not been like this since the 1930s. Now, Facebook refuses to police its political ads which aid and abet liars. And the world’s democracies are not seen to be doing much about it.
It was John Cleese who made the above comment famous in regard to German guests in the 1960s television show, Faulty Towers. The theme; attempting to keep silent about guests whose behaviour or history you think deplorable is universal, which is what made the show so brilliant.
Outside it’s sunny, a hot, muggy Auckland day. A plump Tui swings on the untidy flax bush by the bedroom’s open window; slothful clouds drift past in a china-blue sky. But inside the bedroom it’s cold, chilly enough to raise goose-pimples. Despite the golden light outside, the room is shadowy, its corners dim and blurry.
A very long time ago when I was an NBR media commentator, a senior Treasury official asked me what I thought about the future of TVNZ. I told him that its hyper-commercialism was driving viewers away; that people were sick and tired of ads and much of the network’s ratings-driven programming.
He paused, stroked his chin and looked into the distance. “Hmm” he said. “Here, we would call that a long term strategic loss.”