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Dear Mike

Dear Mike,

I want to ask you to stop.

Please just stop.

I get your schtick - your banter, your flippant disregard for others, your sniffiness for that which you stereotype as "PC gone mad" - that thing you do where you listen to others with a slight sneer, and then gently dismiss their opinion by expressing yours last and with a measure of wordy erudition.

It's the Jeremy Clarkson thing, without the Top Gear car porn. It's the grumpy old men thing - without you actually being old. It sells well with a market that is based on a them vs us dialogue - and a radio listenership that will smile and nod in their cars, and think yeah, that's truthiness.

I get it.

But here's a thought.

What if this whole incident had played out like it did, with the original post on The Daily Blog, the reactions on social media, and then the statement from the PM's office.

But instead of an apology - what if the statement basically said "Yeah, nah - it's who I am"

What if the PM's comments to reporters at LAX was along the lines of, "Hey, it was some light hearted banter, that's all it was, and I'm not sorry for being who I am. I won't apologise for being a man and for doing what I did."

Would your position be any different?

Would you still be alright with the PM's behaviour?

Your whole defense of the PM at this point appears to be that it was just light hearted, and "oh, he's such a nerd, this is just his thing" - and he apologised - so let's get on with it. You say that John Key's behaviour is "bizarre" - and then round on social media, agenda driven political self interest, and say that Amanda Bailey is "selfish and has caused needless upset to the owners of the cafe".

And that worries me, because your brushing it off in that Seven Sharp way you do it seems to fit a narrative that the behaviour itself is OK, it's the process by which it was presented or dealt with that's the terrible thing. It's the politics of the thing that matters.

But it's not - and Alison Mau's post totally captures why.

10 years of working in a classroom with children and managing parental expectation around dealing with behaviour has taught me that the single most important thing is to define and determine what exactly happened.

And speak to that.

In this case we know what happened.

Both parties agree that it happened.

Are you OK with a man, any man, doing what the PM did to a woman?

Would you do it to anyone in a cafe that you frequent?

They're simple questions really, but they're what I've asked myself.

And as a Dad with a 6 year old and a 2 year old daughter - I'm not OK with it.

I'm not OK with it.

And so, if you are OK with it, I'll repeat my request.

Please. Stop.

Cheers,

Tim

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