1981 was the first time I became aware I was a political animal. Aside from reading Orwell's Animal Farm for the first time, it was the year of the Springbok Tour. It would be years before I was forced to read Foreskin's Lament in Seventh Form, by which time the plot proved irrelevant to me. I already loathed rugby.
My growing antipathy towards rugby hit something concrete in Form One; the alienation of human rights in South Africa. That, and the final test in Auckland that looked like a live re-enactment of the Crunchie Bar ad. Although I was too young to make it to the Palmerston North Springbok game, I won my first argument with Dad over the topic, a rare event in itself.
So it is fascinating to read Redmer Yska's Listener article on the police side of the Tour equation. Yska has written the only authoritative history of cannabis in New Zealand, and the police's reaction to non-conformity is put under similar scrutiny here.
It makes one wonder just what preparations the authorities have taken heading into the Heineken Mastercard Rugby World Cup. There's nowhere near the same level of public anger, and no stronger reason to protest then the usual non-violent means warrants. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that when the police force is stretched to its limit, airport security staff get temporary deputy badges. Strange Customs Indeed.
Putting aside the politics, there's a twinge of strategic pride in reading about the Palmy game, seeing as I knew the guy who supplied the rubbish bin barricade, and I might know the guy who supplied the cops with the idea.