I can understand why Sue Bradford wants people to get out
and vote yes to the upcoming referendum, and why she’s
disappointed that neither John Key nor Phil Goff intends to
vote at all. She even says that it’s a copout by Goff, who
should, like Key, be giving a lead. Naturally she fears that
an overwhelming ‘no’ vote, even if the Government doesn’t
act on it, will be seen by the pro-smacking lobby as national
endorsement of their cause and used to further promote it.
I can’t agree with her, however. The referendum question
‘Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a
criminal offence in New Zealand?’ is so loaded, so freighted,
such an insult to the intelligence, that to address it at all is
to allow oneself to be co-opted into a political charade. The
best thing is to ignore it and not vote. The more of us who
abstain, the less meaningful the referendum becomes—if it
could be said to have any meaning in the first place. Total
abstention by everyone who wants an end to smacking or
any other form of ‘reasonable force’ will make a mockery of
the result. The real copout would be to join the charade.
And if you still think that nonetheless it would be the
responsible thing to vote, just try applying your mental
faculties to the question and actually trying to answer it
with intelligence and integrity. It can’t be done. The Thumb
says: bin the ballot paper.