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Perverts in Aircraft


News Reports 2 : Dec 1-3 2005




The Star
December 3 2005

Mike Yardley Column
by Mike Yardley

Itís amazing what can occur without us realising. The exposť of airline seating policies this week has triggered a full-scale backlash. Normally it takes a new proposal to trigger such a reaction. However this controversy is a classic example of the world catching up with a decades-old scandal. The Starís sister newspaper, the NZ Herald, deserves huge praise for exposing this furtive and discriminatory slur on all male travellers. As an avid air traveller, I am sincerely disgusted that the aviation world has surreptitiously elected to segregate men from unaccompanied minors.

This policy reeks of moral panic and clearly pre-supposes that men cannot be trusted in the prescence of unsupervised kids.

If I was ever asked to swap seats in-flight, I would refuse. I would make a fuss, as a point of principle. I appeal to all men to follow suit.

Since Tuesday, itís been extraordinary to track how ingrained this policy has become. To date, I have received emails indicating that Air New Zealand and Qantas are not lone ponies.

Every man has every right to feel alienated. This thoughtless policy casts a broadbrush slur over all men. I am delighted that Celia Lashlie has hit out against this madness. She is a lone voice of hope and commonsense amid the ocean currents of political correctness.

To use a dreadfully politically correct term, men have every right to feel marginalised. It is mass-victimisation.

This policy is yet another example of how our society treats men in the prescence of a children as a threat. The conspicuous absence of male primary teachers speaks volumes. The sense of suspicion and prejudice cast over all priests, youth workers and scout leaders is outrageous.

What about bus travel? Train travel? What about taxi drivers? Should a male taxi driver be allowed to escort an unaccompanied minor?

Where an earth does this moral panic-driven policy end? It starts and ends with commonsense. Donít demonise men.

# Radio host Mike Yardley can be heard on weekday mornings in Christchurch on NewsTalk ZB