Editor’s note: This piece ran today as an opinion in the Wanganui Chronicle. It is in response to some complaints by the (radical) right that there are too many ‘libral’ columnists. This should give you a laugh.
Saturday was the summer solstice, the longest day of the year: a time for celebration and the harvesting of garlic; a time for BBQs and surfing (although, always is also a good time to catch waves); a time to bask in light before the long and slow slide back into the darkness of winter.
Exactly three months ago – 21st September – I wrote the first of five opinion pieces that have appeared in the Chronicle. It may have been beginners luck, but I consider that piece, which linked research on income inequality to social problems, and then to the WDC rates structure, as the best of the lot. On the day it ran, I got a text from a surfing buddy that went something like this: “Awesome article in da paper, bro. Chur. Chur.” Another friend told me, “The Chronicle shouldn’t have labeled it as an opinion. That’s the type of investigative journalism they should be doing.”
Working with the editors of the Chronicle, I had planned specifically for the piece to run on the vernal (spring) equinox as a way to reflect on balance and imbalance in our world and in our city. If you believe the international research that shows a correlation between income inequality and social problems (The Spirit Level, Wilkinson & Pickett, 2009), and can perform basic addition, multiplication and division, you will easily recognize that the WDC rates structure serves to increase the wealth gap in our city, and the annual Council rates rises widen the gap each year. (More on this, hopefully, in 2014.)
The reasons I think it was my best effort include: it is based on respected research and clear local data; it is relevant to everyone who lives in Whanganui; it was written as objectively as possible; and, the equinox was a fine metaphorical launching pad for a critical discussion on this important local issue, although from what I can tell that discussion has not really been happening…yet.
But equinoxes are easy to write about, and peer-reviewed research and replicable data is so boring. Objectivity – Shmogjectivity! The solstice is a time to be bold, opinionated, controversial!
And in that spirit, I would like to point out what has become glaringly obvious in the pages of the Chronicle: So many radicals writing so many opinions. The Chron is clearly out of balance and needs more conservative voices like mine!
Who, besides me, will stand up for conserving natural resources, other than Nicola Young and the throng of writers in Monday’s “Conservation Comment”?
Who, besides me, will advocate for a conservative position on climate change, other than Nicola Young and the gaggle of writers in Monday’s “Conservation Comment”?
Who, besides me, thinks that selling high performing government assets to foreign private investors is risky, other than Nicola Young and the pride of writers in Monday’s “Conservation Comment”?
Who, besides me, embraces the precautionary principle when considering the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing, offshore drilling, iron sands mining, and genetic engineering, other than Nicola Young and the flock of writers in Monday’s “Conservation Comment”?
I mean, give me a break! Am I the only one, along with all of these other conservatives, who thinks wasting energy, wasting money, and wasting resources while taking radical positions on the economy, society, and environment must be addressed in a public forum?
We need more conservative voices in the Chronicle to address the radical policies of extremists that put our economy and social structure at risk.
Please join me, fellow conservatives, to stand up for risk aversion, fiscal responsibility, and the precautionary principle. Together, our combined voices and the power for the press may be able to move this new Council toward truly conservative positions. Let the radicals take the Letters page, if we can dominate the Opinions!