David Cunliffe has stood down one of his volunteers for stating the obvious.
Labour activist Jenny Michie said:
. . .”it would be naive to imagine that there would be no resistance to a gay prime minister at this point – I think some people might have a problem with it but I certainly wouldn’t”.
I don’t see what’s wrong with that? Some people would have trouble with the idea of a gay Prime Minister.
It’s even less obvious why that statement of fact should cause anyone offence when it’s put in context:
. . . Rachel Okay, Grant Robertson Jennie says that he wants to be judged on his ability, not his sexuality. How do you think the socially conservatives might view Grant Robertson you know in the year 2013?
Jennie That’s right, I think it’s not a big a deal as it used to be. You know we now have gay marriage, and it actually went through without that much of a fuss, and the sky hasn’t fallen. Having said that I think we’d be naïve to imagine that there would be no resistance to a gay Prime Minister at this point. I think some people might have a problem with it, but I certainly wouldn’t. . .
Michie didn’t raise the issue, she was asked a question and gave a reasonable answer.
Cunliffe had earlier said anyone on his staff who made comments relating to Robertson’s sexuality would be off his campaign team and told Fairfax Media in a live online appearance today that Michie had been stood down this morning.
“I’ve looked closely at that issue, I’ve made a decision to stand a person down from my campaign team just because I think maintaining the appropriate perceptions that we are a united party and a united caucus is really important,” he said.
Maintaining appropriate perceptions? Keeping a grasp on reality would be a better look.
Michie had taken the decision well and understood it was a precautionary move to protect the reputation of the campaign which the three leadership contenders wanted to keep positive, he said. . .
Positive and united aren’t words that readily come to mind when thinking of either Labour or its leadership race.
This reaction to a statement which, in the context of the interview, was answering a question without in anyway being judgemental does nothing to change that.