The tearoom – the one where only the men go – is a place where unpolitical correctness reigns. And so do strong opinions. And shared stories, made more alive by kinetic retelling.
It’s the place where grassroots thinking exists, and where all the liberal left-wing PC stuff seems to have barely made a dint. What it’s like for these men outside is another matter; in the tearoom opinion is at its most forthright.
The anti-smacking bill, for instance, got a clobbering, and lots of witty remarks about what the men did or didn’t do to their own children, or had done to them. For the most part it wasn’t nearly as bad as Helen Clark and her cohorts would like to think. Most men these days are not given to smacking their kids with any degree of regularity.
The stadium issue, here in Dunedin, gets aired almost every other day – because something turns up in the paper about it every day, and the newspaper is shared around the room in section (after the one who always reads it first has had a go). Opinions on the need for a new stadium are both pro and con, and strong in both directions. But everything is seasoned with good humour, and no one comes to blows over any of the issues.
But I think the matter that surprised me a little today was when it was announced that the Privy Council had deemed David Bain’s first trial to be a mistrial, and therefore his conviction was overturned. What it will mean for Bain in reality is another matter. It seems unlikely the police will let the matter lie. Someone who was convicted of murdering the other five members of his family early one morning isn’t likely to be let go scot free, whatever the Privy Council states.
The tearoom, almost to a man, is convinced that he was guilty anyway. Why? There’s no obvious reason.Even those who’ve read Joe Karam’s books on the subject are still not convinced of his innocence.
I was surprised because I’ve never believed that the case was as cut and dried as the police made out. There have always been flaws in the whole thing, and there’s absolutely no motivation for David Bain, a mild-mannered youth, to suddenly strike every one of his family down in a few short minutes. Only one other man in the room felt less comfortable with the general verdict, and he’d actually known Bain at school.
There was talk about all the compensation Bain would get – the millions! One wit said, Well he could pay for the new stadium with all the money and then, instead of it being called the House of Pain, it could be called the House of Bain.
At the time, the Labour Government brought in a bill to stop parents smacking their children. It wasn't as popular as the liberals made out. Helen Clark was the Prime Minister at the time.
The Dunedin Stadium cost the city a fortune, and is still costing. It's never paid its way, and was the dream-child of people who didn't take responsibility for the cost.
David Bain was accused of murdering his father, mother and siblings but the evidence was circumstantial and he has since been freed, and, very recently, paid the relatively small sum of $1 million, mainly to cover his legal costs and such that have accrued over various trials and re-trials. NZ is still very divided on his guilt/innocence.
The House of Pain was the name for Carisbrook, which was replaced by the Stadium.