Home' Greymouth Star : October 24th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, October 24, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1929 - Black Thursday — the New York Stock
Exchange loses 12.8% of its value in one day.
1931 - US gangster boss Al Capone is
sentenced to 11 years in jail for tax evasion.
1939 - Nazis require Jews to wear Star of
David in Germany.
1945 - The United Nations officially comes
into existence; Vidkun Q uisling,
prime minister of Nor way during
the German occupation, is executed
by firing squad in Oslo after being
convicted of high treason.
1956 - On the second day of
the Hungarian uprising against
Stalinist rule, Soviet tanks appear on
Budapest ’s streets and Imre Nagy is
named prime minister.
1957 - Christian Dior, French fashion designer
who created the New L ook, dies.
1962 - The US blockade of Cuba during the
missile crisis officially begins.
2002 - Police investigating a spate of sniper
attacks in the Washington, DC, area arrest two
suspects. The tmurder spree left 10 people dead.
2005 - Rosa Parks, who galvanised the US
civil rights movement by refusing to give up her
seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery,
Alabama, half a century earlier, dies aged 92.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
J P Richardson, The Big Bopper, American
musician (1930-1959); Bill Wyman, British
rock musician (Rolling Stones)
(1936-); Kevin Kline, US actor
(1947-); Malcolm Turnbull,
Australian politician (1954-);
Monica, US singer (1980-); Zac
Posen, American fashion designer
(1980-); Keyshia Cole, American
singer (1983-); Wayne Rooney,
English soccer player (1985-).
“Happiness is not a horse; you cannot harness
it. ” — Russian proverb.
“But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my
strength, come quickly to help me.”
— (Psalm 22:19).
A third motorcar
accident in four days
in the Ross area put
two further men in
the Westland Hospital last night after their car
had rolled over twice and come to rest on its
hood. At 10.30pm about two miles south of
Ross the small car went out of control as it was
The two occupants were the driver, Graham
Reynish, aged 26, a veterinary surgeon, and his
passenger, Joffrey James Mills, 16, a student,
both of Hokitika. The men were attended on
the spot by Dr A L Bryant and then taken
to the Westland Hospital. Mr Reynish was
suffering from a back injury and Mr Mills a
slight hand injury.
In other accidents this week, Hari Hari
farmer Aubrey Joseph Delaney received serious
injuries to neck, head and chest following
a collision with a petrol tanker near Lake
Ianthe on Tuesday. On Thursday evening
a Karangarua farmer Walter Arnold Scott,
driving his Landrover south ran off the road at
the top of Mt Hercules, through a gorse bush
and then down a four foot bank. His seriously
fractured jaw has necessitated his being flown
to the Bur wood Hospital in Christchurch.
Cobden’s Thomas James Fentiman had a
lucky escape this morning when his car rolled
completely over after a crash at the intersection
of Ward and Hall streets at about 10.15am.
Neither he nor the driver of the other car, a
Christchurch woman Mrs P Kittelty, was hurt
though both vehicles were badly damaged.
Mr Fentiman’s car did a complete rollover,
coming to rest back on its wheels but the driver
escaped without a scratch.
uFood for thought
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There is an old joke
that goes: Why did
the Canadian cross
the road? Answer:
To get to the middle
of the road. Likewise
(so they say) if you
cut the average
you would find two
words engraved on
his or her heart. One
would be “moderate”. The other would be
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who
was four months short of 10 years in
office when he was swept out of power in
Monday ’s election, was a moderate right-
wing politician, although he pretended to
be a hard right one. Six of his 10 budgets
were in deficit, and he ended up adding
$150 billion to Canada’s national debt.
Even when faced with a global recession,
that is not what hard-right politicians do.
Similarly, the New Democratic Party
(NDP) is a very moderate left-wing party
by anybody’s standards (except those
of Americans) — and Justin Trudeau’s
Liberals have always believed that they
owned the middle of the road. The 78-day
election campaign, which was a tight
three-horse race until the last couple of
weeks, was not about ideology at all. It
was about political style.
Stephen Harper did not do “nice”.
His default setting was “nasty”, and he
positively revelled in it. He was a control
freak who instinctively tried to hurt and
smear those who disagreed with him, and
in his government even the time of day
was a State secret. His attack ads against
rival politicians were vicious, he was
visibly contemptuous of journalists and
the opposition parties, and he almost took
pride in being disliked.
In fact, Harper once joked that he could
not even get his friends to like him, but
that was only a half-truth. He had no
real friends in Canadian politics, even
in his own Conservative Party. Yet he
stayed at the top of national politics for
almost a decade because he actually ran
a reasonably effective government that
shielded Canadians from the worst effects
of the post-2008 recession. His manner
was unpleasant, but he was no radical.
Harper never won even 40% of the
popular vote, but that was not necessary in
a three-party system where no party ever
achieves that holy grail of politics. Even
in the midst of the current pro-Liberal
“ landslide” — 186 seats out of 338 seats in
parliament — the Liberal Party won only
39.5%% of the popular vote.
What finally defeated Harper was the
fact that enough Canadians had grown
sick of the nastiness that they were willing
to vote for whichever party had the best
chance of beating him. At the beginning
of the election campaign that looked
likely to be the NDP, but a typical piece
of Harper nastiness took them down.
The great niqab debate was what did
the NDP in. Only two Canadian Muslim
women have ever insisted on wearing
the face-covering during a citizenship
ceremony, but the Conser vatives turned
banning niqabs into a “ wedge issue” —
and NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said
Muslim women should be allowed to wear
So did the Liberal leader, actually, but
it did not hurt Trudeau because identity
politics is not a big thing in most parts
of Canada. It is a huge thing in French-
speaking Quebec, where the politics has
been mostly about Quebec nationalism
and separatism for two generations.
Rival identities are not welcome in such
an environment — and almost half the
NDP’s seats were in Quebec.
Eighty per cent of Quebecers wanted
to ban the niqab, and when Mulcair said
he opposed a ban the party’s support
there collapsed. A typically nasty piece
of political manipulation, but in fact
the Conservatives had been too clever.
Previously undecided voters whose only
objective was getting rid of Harper swung
behind the Liberal Party when it
appeared to be the only party that could
do the job.
Harper might still be in office today if
he had just let the two opposition parties
split the anti-Harper vote evenly between
them. There are times when nastiness just
does not pay.
In the end Trudeau won just by being
sunny, positive and nice. He talked a great
deal about “change”, because that was
what the anti-Harper voters wanted
to hear, but he did not go into much detail.
Trudeau promised a few flagship
policy changes to get people’s attention
— pulling Canadian warplanes out of
Iraq and Syria, slightly higher taxes for
the rich and slightly lower taxes for the
middle class, maybe legalising marijuana
— but his core social and economic
policies are not going to be radically
different from Harper’s. They cannot be,
because otherwise he would have to leave
the middle of the road.
He will, however, be much nicer than
Gwynne Dyer is a independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Stephen Harper, right, and and the man who will replace him, Justin Trudeau.
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Canada: Back to the middle of the road
On Monday we celebrate the success of
the campaign for workers’ rights which saw
the introduction of the eight hour working
day. The campaign was led by Samuel
Parnell, who was an English carpenter, who
on arrival in New Zealand in 1840 insisted
when negotiating the terms of his work,
that he would only work eight hour days.
He is reported to have said:
“There are twenty-four hours per day
given us; eight of these should be for work,
eight for sleep, and the remaining eight for
recreation and in which for men to do what
little things they want for themselves. I am
ready to start tomorrow morning at eight
o’clock, but it must be on these terms or
none at all.”
Because there was a shortage of skilled
tradesmen, Parnell had a strong bargaining
position. When other employers tried
to increase working hours he organised
the workers to only work eight hour days
so that none of the other tradesmen or
labourers could be exploited. The Labour
Day Act of 1899 gave us the statutory
holiday that we still enjoy today, but it took
further campaigning for us to achieve the
legal protections for workers that we have
As we enjoy our long weekend, let us
remember Samuel Parnell and the others
who were willing to stand up to those in
positions of power to protect those who
worked in unpleasant and dangerous
conditions. O ur society has come a long way
since then in terms of worker’s rights, but
there are still areas that need improvement.
The recent controversy about the zero-
hours contracts that some employers
use highlights how those who work in
lower paying jobs are more vulnerable to
exploitation. We should also remember
those in other countries who are used as
slave labour, often making products that we
buy in our local shops. A question for us is
whether we are willing to stand up for these
people who have no voice themselves?
Rev Victoria Askin
Anglican Parish of Cobden-Runanga
Remembering campaigners for workers’ rights
eard the one about the
lord, the gangster and
the prime minister’s
An old scandal from
the 1960s re-emerges in
lurid new detail from declassified British
intelligence files featuring prominent
politician Lord Boothby, his mistress, who
was the wife of Prime Minister Harold
Macmillan, and notorious racketeer
They reveal that Kray had procured
Boothby a young gay lover, that Kray and
Boothby were both “hunters of young
men” who had attended illicit parties
together, and that Boothby’s hidden
life was causing concern in the highest
echelons of government.
Boothby, a Conservative, was elected to
parliament in the 1920s, resigned from a
ministerial job in the 1940s over his role
in a financial scandal, but continued in
politics and was elevated to the House of
Lords in 1958.
It was an open secret among London’s
chattering classes that he was the long-
term lover of Lady Dorothy Macmillan,
whose husband Harold was Conservative
prime minister from 1957 to 1963.
An entry in Boothby’s MI5 file, dated
October 1940, said he was “very fond ”
of Dorothy and the pair “see a great deal
of each other”. Harold Macmillan was
“closely concerned”, it added.
That side of Boothby’s life remained
unknown to the wider public, however,
and by the 1960s he was a household
name due to his frequent appearances on
television chat shows.
In July 1964, Boothby’s career almost
blew up in a sensational scandal when the
Sunday Mirror newspaper alleged that
he was in a gay relationship with Ronnie
Kray, who with his twin brother Reggie
ran one of London’s major criminal
networks. Homosexuality was illegal at
Admitting that he had met Kray to
discuss some potential business but
denying any affair, Boothby threatened
the Mirror with a lawsuit, obtaining
$62,000 and an “unqualified apology ”.
Press coverage quickly petered out.
But the MI5 files on Boothby, released
this week, show there was more to his
dealings with Kray than he acknowledged.
The matter was considered so serious
that the head of MI5, Roger Hollis, was
summoned to a secret meeting with
Home Secretary Henry Brooke, who
conveyed ministers’ fears that “this might
develop along the lines of the Profumo
This was a reference to the mother of all
British sex and politics scandals, a saga
involving a young topless model who had
been involved with both a secretary of
state for war in Macmillan’s government
and a Soviet naval attache.
Hollis was able to reassure Brooke
that despite his close ties to Macmillan’s
wife, Boothby did not have access to
government secrets, so national security
was not at stake.
That did not stop the spooks from
accumulating a wealth of details about
Boothby, whom they described as “a kinky
One agent reported that Ronnie Kray
and Boothby had been to some illicit
gay parties together, but noted that “they
are not likely to be linked by a queer
attraction for each other: both are hunters
(of young men).”
MI5 wrote that the Kray brothers had
asked Boothby “if he would like them to
provide him with a nice young chauffeur
whom they described as pleasant and
fair-haired”. The man was former boxer
Leslie Holt, alias “Johnny Kidd”, one of
the Krays’ men.
Boothby employed Holt as his part-time
chauffeur, gave him an E-type Jaguar car
and even took him to the opera, “which is
rather bold ”, according to a wry comment
“They are genuinely attached; this is no
fly-by-night affair,” wrote the agent of
Boothby and Holt.
The affair ended badly, however, when
Boothby sacked Holt a few months
after the Mirror story. MI5 heard from
a source that a furious Holt wanted to
“ blow the story in the press” but had been
threatened by Ronnie Kray on Boothby’s
In the event, Boothby paid Holt money,
let him keep the Jaguar, and the lid stayed
shut on the peer’s secret life.
That was a remarkable achievement,
given Boothby’s well-documented
propensity for gossip.
An earlier part of his MI5 file includes
a curious exchange of notes, written on
paper from a waiter’s notepad, between
Boothby, then a junior minister, and an
MI5 agent who happened to be dining
at a nearby table in a restaurant in March
“If you will forgive me for saying so, you
are talking too loud and too much,” the
agent wrote, trying to be helpful.
“I certainly do not forgive such a piece
of unwarranted impertinence,” Boothby
scribbled back furiously. “I happen to be a
Minister of the Crown, and I would have
you know that we are not yet a Nazi state;
that the methods of the Gestapo do not
apply in this country.” — Reuters
The lord and the gangster
Thames House, the headquarters of the British Security Service (MI5). Inset: Lord Boothby, left, and Ronnie Kray.
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