Right-wing bloggers made much of the "peaceful" march by Sir Richard Taylor’s technicians. But to describe a column of people who headed into downtown Wellington with the intention of intimidating – and quite possibly invading – an Actors Equity meeting as "peaceful" is disingenuous. Nor was I the only one to find the querulous, passive-aggressive video harassment of Simon Whipp, Frances Walsh and Robyn Malcolm as they attempted to return to their hotel from Wellington’s Matterhorn Restaurant late on the night of 20 October, deeply, deeply creepy.
This is what happens when the news media is permitted to use its enormous power to whip up public antagonism against a designated "enemy". That it ended in death-threats against Whipp and Walsh, and the verbal intimidation and harassment of the other Equity representatives was entirely predictable.
We were struck by the rich irony of Chris Trotter complaining about intimidation and harassment. Where were his complaints about "harassment" when Joe Carolan (who has commented on the other Trotter ost we blogged about) and John Minto picketed TVNZ demanding the sacking of Paul Henry, a worker? Where were his complaints of "intimidation" when unionists stormed Sky City earlier in the year at the National Party conference. Where were his complaints of "deeply, deeply creepy" behaviour when Kees Keizer infiltrated the National Party conference before the 2008 election, secretly recorded private conversations and then leaked them to the media? And where were his complaints when 'Megaphone Len' Richards assaulted a protester outside the 2007 Labour Party conference?
The simple answer to that is that there were no complaints from Chris Trotter, and that's the rich irony of his blog-post yesterday. The likes of Trotter and others on the hard left will doubtless argue that the examples referred to above are legitimate means of protest by the working man against the filthy capitalists.
Intimidation, harassment, and deeply, deeply creepy behaviour is the same, regardless of who it is perpetrated by. The unions have got used to having things their own way, and to dictating the rules of engagement. If The Hobbit dispute has shown us one thing, it is that the old-style bully-boy tactics of the trade unions can be rendered ineffective when the bullied party fights back.