Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Michael Laws'

In a moment of wistful contemplation, Michael Laws dreams of visiting the Herald on Sunday


Michael Laws writes to Brian Edwards Media and I respond.

Earlier this evening (Friday), Michael Laws sent three comments to this site. Two were about what other people have said. The third was a direct reply to the two posts I have written about Michael’s column in last week’s Sunday Star Times, A Black Eye for Liberal Bleaters. What follows is Michael’s unedited comment and my response:


Dear Brian

I’m very pleased that you have been prodded out of your liberal senility to mount ceaseless ad hominem attacks upon my person … you join Russell Brown as another who can’t debate issues but must insult first, second and third.

I wrote a perfectly rational column as to why Asperger’s Syndrome is not an excuse for criminality. A point that Arie Smith’s family agree with: their issue was having him denied bail because of his special condition.

You may bleat on all you like AND I note the irony of having your correspondents demand violence against me. I’d say “bring it on” but you would only complain that I was inciting you …

As for the person ‘Dab’ from TV3 Nws … he did lie – my reply to the McLachlan lady was directed at saying she felt the perceived slight, not her son. The hyper sensitivity of such parents to Arie Smith being arrested … is ludicrous.

One other matter: the other central point of my column was that unsubstantiated allegations had been directed against the Police alleging brutality. They remain unsubstantiated. But that’s the liberal mantra, I guess. The Police are always wrong.

Cheers, sport.

Thank you, Michael. I appreciate your having responded to the two posts.

‘Ceaseless ad hominem attacks’ are not really my style. My first post was essentially a deconstruction of your column with a brief critique at the end. I agree that the comments from followers of this site were considerably less restrained and I would personally not have enjoyed being the object of such a barrage of, yes, often ad hominem criticism. But you are surely not so obtuse as to fail to recognise that both the content and the manner of expression of your column about this young man were a provocation and an invitation to precisely the response which it has received from the vast majority of readers of this blog and of many other blogs. If you insist on using terminology like ‘rats, rodents, ferals prepared to feed on the misery of others’ to describe a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome; if you feel the need to write: ‘In fact, the published photos accentuated such feral features – an unusual angularity offset by a blackened eye and the demeanour of one who spends much of his life in the darkness'; and if you recommend that the same (or worse) violence meted out to Smith should be meted out to all looters – then you can scarcely expect to receive a measured response. Your columns make people very angry. It surely cannot be a mystery to you why this is.

I don’t resile from anything I wrote in either post. There is a suggestion in your response to me and to others that we have misunderstood or misconstrued what you were trying to say. That, it seems to me, begs the question: is our understanding flawed or is what you write ambiguous or unclear?

Finally, Michael, accusing others of ad hominem attacks is rich when it is part of your own stock in trade. You have perhaps forgotten that when one woman wrote to you to draw your attention to my first post and to seek an explanation of what you had written in your column, you replied, ‘Brian edwards is a sad old man who teaches people to lie … and gets paid for it.’ That is of course not merely untrue, it is precisely the opposite of everything we believe in and teach. It is also of course highly defamatory.

In some ways I’m sorry that it has come to this. You have in the past written favourably about me; and I have on this site written approvingly about you. But so many of your recent columns have been so angry, so hate-filled and so cruel that it is just not possible to ignore them or to regard them as a temporary aberration.



More Vileness from Michael Laws

This is really not a new post. It is a follow-up to the previous post. It consists of a piece written by Marilynn McLachlan, a blogger and the mother of a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome,  in response to Laws’ column,  A Black Eye for Liberal Bleaters, in last week’s Sunday Star Times.

Marilynn emailed the post to Laws, who responded by email. I really can’t recall reading anything as contemptible, as lacking in human charity or understanding,  as that response.

You can read Marilynn’s post, Laws’ response and Marilynn’s further reply at  It’s important that you do. If you ever had doubts about the odious nature not only of much of Laws’ writing, but of the man himself. those doubts will be soon erased.


A Line-By-Line Commentary on Michael Laws’ Column on Asperger’s ‘Looter’ Arie Smith in today’s Sunday Star Times

Today Michael Laws’ Sunday Star Times Column was headed ‘A Black Eye for Liberal Bleaters’. What follows is a (lengthy) line-by-line commentary on that column. To be fair to Laws you should perhaps read the column in its entirety before reading my commentary.


“In all disasters, the rubble attracts rats. Whether it is physical and fatal, like the Christchurch earthquake, or metaphysical and mystical, like the Paul Henry affair, there are always ferals prepared to feed on the misery of others.

“When these rodents are eventually apprehended and exposed to the light, we are always amazed by how nondescript and petty they seem. As was the case with Arie Smith – Cornelis Arie Smith-Voorkamp to give him his full title – the 25-year-old arrested for looting a damaged house days after the Canterbury tragedy. “


I have no idea what the reference to Paul Henry means.

Laws includes Smith, a 25-year-old who has Asperger’s Syndrome, among the rats, rodents and  ‘ferals, prepared to feed on the misery of others’.

His reference to ‘Arie Smith  –  Cornelis Arie Smith-Voorkamp to give him his full title’ seems gratuitous, particularly the surely inappropriate use of the word ‘title’. What point is he making? That the name is pretentious or that it sounds South African?

 “In fact, the published photos accentuated such feral features – an unusual angularity offset by a blackened eye and the demeanour of one who spends much of his life in the darkness. Overnight, Arie Smith became the face of looting, and a figure of public contempt.”


According to Laws, Mr Smith has ‘feral’ features. These include ‘an unusual angularity… and the demeanour of one who spends much of his life in the darkness.’ The comment is worthy of Joseph Mengele. There is no evidence of any sort to support the suggestion that Mr Smith ‘spends much of his life in the darkness.’ ‘Feral’ is among Mr Laws’ favourite words to describe his fellow man. It means: ‘Of, pertaining to, or resembling a wild animal, savage, fierce, brutal; untamed, uncultivated; ultimately descended from individuals which escaped from captivity or domestication; born of such an animal in the wild.’  Read the rest of this entry »



“Viewed through a parliamentary prism, there is nothing overtly brilliant about the man. He lacks the personal charisma of a Rob Muldoon or a David Lange. He does not have the after-hours bonhomie of a Winston Peters nor the intellectual menace of a Helen Clark.

“Indeed there is a touch of the Chauncey Gardner about him – the Peter Sellars gardener that charmed everyone in the classic movie satire Being There.

“Others graft their aims and aspirations on to the benign countenance of the prime minister and see themselves reflected back.

“This is the first prime minister who is actually liked. Not respected nor admired nor feared. Liked. You would have to go back to Labour’s Walter Nash to find another prime minister so routinely inoffensive.”

Michael Laws in today’s Sunday Star Times


Reflections on the Laws/Sperling Affair

I’m conflicted about Michael Laws. He’s brilliant – a brilliant writer, a brilliant broadcaster, a brilliant thinker, a brilliant political strategist and, when I first met him at a celebrity debate in Dunedin several decades ago, brilliantly funny.

But I abhor most of what he writes in his columns in the Sunday Star Times. Or rather the way he writes. I have the feeling that the intemperate language, the provocative posturing, the seeming determination to outrage and offend have less to do with the real Michael Laws, whoever that may be, than with the near requirement on tabloid newspaper columnists to shock their  readers into penning apoplectic letters of protest to the editor.

None of this sits comfortably with a man who could write so lovingly and movingly about his young daughter or confess in his column today that the prospect of her death from cancer brought him to thoughts of suicide.

‘I could see no point to my existence if she were not a part of my life.’

And now we learn that Laws had a sexual relationship with a former prostitute and P addict. Laws has told us so himself, on his radio show, and now extensively in the press. He did it because he expected to be outed.

Wearing my media consultant’s hat, I can say that he did exactly the right thing. I have been in a similar situation myself, though the circumstances were different and had no sexual context. But the principle was the same: getting  things out in the open pulls the teeth of an intended media exposé and ensures that your version of events appears first and is accurately reported.

So, can the revelation of a brief affair with someone who describes herself as an ‘ex crack ho’ ever be a good look? You would have thought not. But somehow the story of Michael Laws and Jacqueline Sperling which has emerged over the past couple of days has a quality which sets it apart from the usual celebrity exposé or mea culpa. It is a fascinating story, well told, and with a happy ending. Read the rest of this entry »


Laws Loses The Plot

Wanganui Chronicle

Wanganui Chronicle

I’m rarely shocked by anything Michael Laws says or writes these days. His columns in the Sunday Star Times range from the merely intemperate to the odiously offensive. I’m never entirely sure whether these bilious outpourings represent the columnist’s  deliberate intention to outrage or are the fulminations of a deeply disturbed mind. The common factors in everything he writes and almost everything he says are irrationality and rage. In television interviews he increasingly comes across as someone who has completely lost the plot. His aggressive forward posture, his wild eyes and angry mouth, his belligerent answers all suggest a manic personality whose only response to those who criticise or oppose him is to seek and destroy.

The Laws I once knew had a brilliant mind, displayed an incisive wit and was possessed of a wonderful sense of humour.  That man no longer seems to exist. I have no idea why this should be or what it is that has turned Laws into a caricature of himself. At one level, I find the transformation deeply saddening. At another, I am angered by his often withering attacks on groups and individuals. Read the rest of this entry »