It's with much pride and excitement that Up Front can reveal it has secured its first scoop. Due probably to a mix-up with names, an email intended for Ian Wishart has come to me instead. Claiming to have originated from Lockwood Smith's parliamentary in-box, the email contains a copy of the legendary Gay Agenda.
There are things about the email that indicate it might have genuinely originated from within parliament. For a start, all 320 000 recipients' email addresses are disclosed in the header. Also, the actual agenda is attached as a MS Word document. My team of elite geeks is analysing the revision history as I type, and it's fascinating – particularly the point at which the phrase 'toaster oven' is replaced in the document with 'ipod touch – the pretty purple one'.
After considering the moral dilemma at length and shaking my Sense of Ethics several times, I forwarded the email on to its intended recipient. On later phoning the Wishart household, I was informed that Ian had been so devastated on reading the document that he'd taken to his bed.
"He barely made it through the preamble and affirmation of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi," his wife Heidi told me. "He keeps thrashing about and muttering to himself. Last night he woke up screaming something about Volvos." I was assured that Ian would be publishing a scathing exposé of the Gay Agenda in his magazine Invigilate as soon as he had 'got a grip on himself'.
So my time to undermine the Master was limited. This job was so important it would push even writing Allison Janney slash-fic onto the back burner. (Coincidentally, 'Allison Janney' is item #124 on the Agenda, just after 'make John Barrowman Minister of Foreign Affairs'.)
After contacting everyone on the email list, I managed to find one person who would discuss the Gay Agenda with me – but only if I concealed her identity and interviewed her in the dark, a process which proved more than satisfactory for everyone involved. To further protect her, I've replaced her with an actor called Mark for the rest of this column.
It was, Mark assured me, all true, despite its breath-taking scope. "It's probably not too disastrous that it's coming out now when we're nearly finished. I mean, forty years since Stonewall, what could be left to do? Gays can almost get married, and it's nearly illegal to use someone's sexuality as a defence for murdering them. We figured New Zealand's pretty much sorted: why else do you think we had Helen Clark elected to the U.N.?
"We'd have got further, too, if it wasn't for the Gin and Tonic Fruit Schisms of the eighties. Things would certainly have been simpler if Fran'd had the backing of the Liminalists as well as the Lemonazis."
Not all of the agenda is as straight-forward as simply pushing, well, the agenda. Some of it is impressively Machiavellian. One item in particular was so astounding I just had to get confirmation.
"Well duh," John Tamihere told me, "of course I’m a plant. To be honest I thought we were going to get caught a lot earlier. I mean, we just kept on pushing the envelope, getting more and more puerile and ridiculous. When I made that dickish remark to Simon last week I was thinking 'this'll either bring gay marriage a few months closer or it'll blow my cover completely'. To be honest, I'm glad it's over. The strain of behaving like a drunk fourth-former all the time was really starting to tell."
Having the inside story of the Gay Agenda (or to be fairer the GLITTFAB Agenda) has made a lot of things make sense. A previously-curious lull in Kiwi gay activism is now explained by the designing and construction of Daniel Carter. "Rugby was a problem for us for years," Mark explained. "But once our insider in the NZRFU persuaded them to try to market the game to 'straight women', we were set. Why do you think they train in swimming pools? The 2.0 model was doing really well too, but it seems to have some kind of design fault in the shoulders. We're working on it."
The silent, cunning efficacy of the Gay Strategy is breath-taking. Once you know, it's quite terrifying. There are Queer people everywhere you go. They're in every business, every school, every government department. No wonder Ian Wishart's had to have a little lie down.