Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's all a matter of perspective

Heather Roy (MP?) has claimed the headlines twice in the one week. First was this sortie into the realms of the Dadaist absurd: "Mt Ruapehu – our highest peak?" Wherein she breathlessly reported that a group of year 10 maths students had calculated that the summit of Mt Ruapehu is in fact further from the centre of the earth's core than that of Aorangi/Mt Cook.

She faithfully reports that the caluclations have been verified by a "physics research fellow from Canterbury University", which, of course must mean it is correct and irrefutable.

She goes on to claim that "In geography, as in politics, it seems that perspective is everything." And she is mostly correct. After all, a simple bit of research into the debates about the relative merits of differing map projections, Mercator's or Peter's, would have revealed Geographers have known this simple truth for decades. It is staggering to think the penny has only recently dropped for Ms Roy.

Of course, Ms Roy should already have known another simple truth: always read the fine print! After all, maps which record mountain heights, and almost all other documents, always specify that the peak of the mountains are "above sea level" - note: NOT "above the center of the earth". So did the lads from Christchurch Boys High calculate that? or claim that?

Sorry, Ms Roy - Aorangi/Mt Cook holds the title until someone does THAT calculation.

And then she burst into the headlines again: Boscawen new ACT deputy leader. It seems "Heather Roy is the latest MP to be dispatched on leave after she was today rolled as the deputy leader of the Act party and forced to resign her ministerial portfolios."

One of the outcomes is that "[Rodney] Hide takes Roy's old role as Associate Education Minister and another of Roy's former roles - Associate Defence Minister." That will make Hide responsible for Special Education - Oh dear! Maybe he has personal experience of the services?

The imbroglio prompted political journalist Colin Espiner to call his opinion piece "Dumb and dumber" saying "So two white, middle-aged, balding, barrel-chested men are in charge of the Act Party. How electorally appealing." He puts the boot into Hide for the debacle, but I blame Roy. Espiner claims she has, amongst other things, "political savvy." Is that why she sided with Roger Douglas?

Last year Mrs Roy was accused of working with fellow MP Sir Roger Douglas against Mr Hide's leadership.

It doesn't take much insight to see the hand of Act's founder and prime philosopher behind her posturing and comments. And she was like a sacrificial lamb!

Never mind, at least she'll now have two weeks enforced 'leave'. Should give her time to follow up on the Christchurch Boys' High calculations. She might even have a go at climbing both peaks to see first-hand which is the higher!