Editorials 12 April 2010

The Herald looks at the UK elections:

Thirteen years of Labour Party rule in Britain has taken its toll. Indisputably, a desire for change is in the air. Yet the outcome of a general election on May 6 is by no means certain. Doubts linger about the capability and substance of the Conservative Party’s 43-year-old leader, David Cameron. Polls show that voters rate the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, more highly on almost all leadership measures. They also suggest that a likely election outcome is that most unwelcome of circumstances, a hung Parliament.

Which is not a big thing in NZ< but still a rare event in the UK.

The Conservatives, however, have been unable to make the most of this most propitious of opportunities. In part, this is because they, like Labour, have been tarred by the ongoing scandal over fraudulent and inflated expenses claims that has encompassed members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The beneficiaries have been minor parties, most notably the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg. They look most likely to play the kingmaker role in forming the next government if there is a hung Parliament. Part of the price for their support would undoubtedly be moves to terminate the first-past-the-post electoral system in favour of one based on proportional representation.

I believe the Conservatives would look in the first instance to Scottish, Irish and Welsh parties before the Lib Dems.

The Dom Post is cautious on Whanua Ora:

It is hard to be critical of the detail of the Whanau Ora policy. That’s because there is precious little of it, and that is why the scheme should be treated with scepticism.

It is easy to see why the scheme has a superficial appeal. The old saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” does not apply to welfare, especially when it comes to Maori. The current system clearly is broken, with a plethora of agencies, a voracious appetite for cash and little sign that it is doing anything to provide long-term cures rather than temporary Band-Aids. Adopting an approach where the needs of the whole family are looked at together makes sense.

However, it is not the concept but the detail which will determine whether Whanau Ora is a success. That detail must focus on accountability and transparency, and on ensuring that Whanau Ora does not become an expensive add-on.

I agree.

The ODT discusses the Catholic Church and :

It is regrettable that Pope Benedict XVI made no reference in his Easter homily to the sex-abuse scandal that has globally for several decades beset the Roman Catholic Church, for which throughout that period the heirachy has strenuously concealed details from the knowledge of the police, let alone its faithful adherents.

There had existed a reasonable expectation the Pope would make some comment – even apologise for the church’s incompatible behaviour or at least accept personal responsibility as head of the church- but none was forthcoming. …

At Easter, his personal preacher likened the criticism to the “more shameful aspects of antisemitism” – a ludicrous claim for which he later apologised; and the dean of the College of Cardinals asserted that the controversy amounted to petty gossip; others have suggested or implied the whole business is a media “beat-up”, a charge so removed from the truth as to be delusion: it was in fact the print media that exposed the hideous crimes of the past 20 years.

More acceptable might be a public instruction to all bishops to refer allegations of abuse to the secular authorities, such as the police, as soon as they are made.

That would be a very good policy. The Police are the competent authorities to deal with such allegations.

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