COMMENT: Does this year's award for cocking up, destroying goodwill, and reputation, go to Auckland's Gay Pride Parade organisers?
The police are out, the Defence Force is out, funding is cut. You could not have orchestrated a greater, or more spectacular, undermining of your brand if you were the enemy and had launched a PR jihad.
The Pride Parade has always struck me, especially in recent years, as slightly incongruous. I think it's broadly accepted that the dark days of overt discrimination, segregation and general weirdness around being gay is long gone. And as such the broad based campaign that gay people are regular, everyday people has been won.
In other words the debate is over - so let's get on with it.
But on an annual basis we still needed to have specific, and deliberate events that reminded us that perhaps it wasn't over, that perhaps gay people needed to be seen as different, unique or whatever it was they were parading about.
You can't have it both ways: being gay is either no big deal, or it is still a big deal. Given it isn't, why draw attention to it down a main street?
It's why we don't have gender marches or religious parades, people are who they are, we are all happy with that, so argument over.
But no, in a sign that in so many of those modern, touchy-feely sort of issues, it's never over. We have what are clearly an incendiary group of people, riddled with angst, anger, resentment, and presumably a whole series of issues a psychiatrist could busy themselves with for years, who are determined to blow the whole thing up.
And the police of all people? The police are nothing but supporters, they make as great a community contribution as you could ever possibly expect. But no we hate the uniform, so they're out.
That decision was never going to win anyone over, and tragically is proof that there are those that don't want to let go of the past.
Were there issues? Presumably yes. But they're long gone, and most of us recognise that.
But for those who give time to these sorts of arguments and debates, for those who are perhaps lulled into a sense that time is progress, in too many cases, for too many people that simply isn't true.
They don't want closure, they don't want resolution, they don't want all the things they pretend to want, like cooperation, understanding, support, guidance, and acceptance.
They want to be bitter, and they want to be bitter forever. They want to be defined by their misery.
So they end up with a parade in tatters, a reputation wrecked, and a fight they could never win.
The rest of us shaking our heads, and seeing them for what they are.