Dirty, Dirtier, Dirtiest Politics

I’ve finally finished Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics.   I could have read it quickly.  It isn’t long and it wasn’t as though I wanted to savour its contents by reading slowly.  The exact DirtyPoliticsopposite was true.  It took some willpower to go on after getting about halfway through on the first night.   It was the grubby feeling one gets when exposed to war porn or court cases on television and simply switches off.

At the launch Hager spoke haltingly about the books contents:  it’s awful, bloody awful.  The following morning I felt terribly sad for him, driven as he is to expose the dark, ugly side of politics and demand better of our politicians.  And ourselves.  Proud of our democracy we pretend too often nothing too ugly is going on.   One good outcome for me was a sea change in the level of respect shown for Hager’s hard work and credibility in many mainstream media outlets.  It is long overdue but may encourage more investigative journalism which currently requires considerable financial sacrifice and very hard, sometimes unpleasant work.  Not to mention nasty, sometimes threatening personal attacks.

Andrew Geddis excellent piece on the The Pundit blog best describes the book as a Cri de Coeur’.  Oh indeed.   I would advise reading Geddis’ review at the very least as he includes excerpts he considers worst.  Better still buy the book.   Don’t let it get you down and switch off because, as Hager compellingly argues, that is exactly what the perpetrators of dirty politics want us to do.   VOTE, ENCOURAGE AND HELP OTHERS TO GET OUT AND VOTE.

POSTSCRIPT:   Like most media, I got it wrong in regard to the subject of the book.  Great, I’m not into mystical claptrap.   Here’s another crystal ball effort:  Key is waiting, desperately and too late to save face,  for Judith Collins to fall on her sword.

Posted in Media, NZ Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

National Spooked: Sneer, Jeer and Smear

I got fed up with politics and media for a few weeks but my Cousin Zelda persona (she who tries to influence rugby and league games by crying drop the ball, send the thug off, miss the goal) reasserted itself in a state of increasing confusion.  Highly personable John Key who had such charm with electors has gone rogue, sneering, smearing and jeering.  Steven Joyce is an able assistant and his performance on The Nation in over-talking Grant Robertson and  cackling at his own wit may have encouraged Key to make more use of his own unpleasant persona.   Or something seriously bad about National/ Key is waiting in the wings?   I had it confirmed from Nicky_Hagerthe man himself, Nicky Hager, that a book was coming out but contents under wraps.  We’ll know all by tonight.

National victory had seemed a cert so why sully their image?   Modest caution about polls is wise but the hysteria now emerging is jarring, ugly. The main object of their spooked  behaviour  is Internet Mana who, according to their own arguments, is not even worthy of derision and can be ignored on account of the shabby dealings with Dotcom.    Or were National’s dealings to Dotcom even more shabby?

The word  frenzied  has cropped up in respect of Internet Mana’s meeting in Christchurch and the ‘swearing video’.  Gordon Campbell’s delightful piece on this is on the Scoop website.  It confirms my memory of living through a significant culture change in god’s own country.   Less delightful was the blonde on TVNZ  News almost foaming with frenzy as she recycled the word.   The way Nats recycle such words makes me wonder if they have zombie implants in their brains.

Labour’s Think Positive: a stunningly good slogan.  Cunliffe just has to stop apologising (great piece by Jane Clifton in The Listener) and the party pull together.   Some hope.   Out comes male identity politics of the sort best exemplified by Shane Jones.  It’s seems to be a a compulsive form of narcissism requiring men working in a collective to cause trouble if they don’t get their own way.   Nobody expects the left wing to behave as if they have brain implants a la National but airing divisions and infighting in mainstream commentary and on the internet  in an election year is not acceptable.

Internet Mana: Wow.  Lots of publicity as National magnifies their ‘threat’ and shifts the focus from their own failed policies.   This should backfire.

Greens:  Working hard.  Should enjoy and have earned a late run in the polls.

The Rest:  wouldn’t be missed.

Posted in Media, NZ Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Palpable Threat of Dotcom

Coverage of Dotcom at an  Internet Mana meeting in Christchurch delighted me.   Two public relations experts, both women, didn’t see the fun however.   A new low, said one,  like a Nazi rally.   The crowd, young, laughing, exuberant chanted ‘Fuck Dotcom_NZHJohn Key’.  Quelle horreur!  Dotcom roared: “Are you ready for revolution?”  He concluded with the threat to come down (from the stage) and give everyone a big hug.  Now that could be of concern given his size.   Curiously the detail of this awesome threat to public safety wasn’t mentioned by either the of the women or the  journalist reporting their comments.  I thought the crowd looked so happy and clean living  I wondered if a few young Nats hadn’t gone along for the ride.  I can’t quite reconcile chanting ‘fuck you’ with a Nazi rally and clean living Hitler Youth.   If there were any elements of the hard left there (is there one in New Zealand other than in John Key’s fevered imagination) I think they would have been wincing or snarling in despair.  I guess it is all in the eye of the beholder, an aged crone in this instance, for whom the term ‘fuck you’ is daily fare in respect of all manner of irritations.

Posted in NZ Politics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Is John Key the Real Heir to Muldoon?

Power has apparently gone to John Key’s head.  Nothing exemplifies this better than his initiation of a witch-hunt against the public servant allegedly responsible for the mishandling of the case of of the Malaysian diplomat accused of sexual assault.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 18.53.28In consequence there is now a second victim, coincidentally a woman, and that is  the public servant.  Silence is her only option.  The Prime Minister has effectively called for her to resign.  That is constructive dismissal.   He has exposed her to trial by public opinion.  That flouts our employment laws and her  right to natural justice.   His words were:  “Justice should be undertaken in New Zealand through our legal process, not offshore.  If that person doesn’t have clarity about that position, then they ought to think very strongly about their exact position”.   Within 24 hours of his ‘assault’ on her competence, she was named in the media.  How her name was obtained was not explained.

Only this morning, I was pleased to find that the Public Service Association had issued a statement pointing out that Key’s comments breach the Cabinet Manual and the State Sector Act.   No big headlines however.

The Prime Minister’s call for an inquiry to be headed by John Allen, the head of Mfat, is ludicrous.

Continue reading

Posted in Media, NZ Politics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Funny Old White Men & Internet-Mana

Where do funny old white men come from?   Caves?  (Sorry, I’m trying to belatedly improve my speed of smart response so I can be as funny as a man). I know where some funny (in the funny peculiar sense) old white men are nestling nowadays – in Granny Herald’s commentary coop, namely Bob Jones and Rodney Hide.

9o7n6Another nestles in an armchair close to hand and used to enjoy reading out Jones’ comments in the old Dominion.  I guess Bob was funny some of the time but  one very bad morning he got stuck into the Māori welcome ceremony.   So backward.  “Huzzah” shouted my mate. That released a torrent of adrenalin into my brain.  “Where do you think ceremonies involving gun toting soldiers came from?”  I brilliantly responded.  “Foreign ambassadors and local bodyguards go hand in hand in history.  Popping a large knife under a cloak and into your host could do quite a bit of damage, political and personal.   Ambassadors even took along food tasters in case mine host popped poison into them.”  Or somesuch.

Later, or maybe earlier, witty  Bob accepted a knighthood and overlooked its mediaeval trappings.   I presume he knelt, got smitten with a sword in a ceremony straight out of Ivanhoe, a slightly  fanciful tale with jousts galore written by Sir Walter Scott in 1820.  In the not very good film the knight hero was played by handsomish Robert Taylor who was getting on, had a remarkable widow’s peak and a wooden acting style.  Elizabeth Taylor was the lovely persecuted Jewess and second fiddle heroine.   The first fiddle didn’t rate but got the man.

Another occasion of brilliance which led my son to christen me Cousin Zelda after I joined the ‘boys’ to watch afternoon sport on TV.  (Too old to garden in rain and a penchant for crashing down slimy steps).  My first response to the action was “great thighs”.  Following the stunned silence I got into the spirit of things and yelled ‘miss the goal,  drop the ball, send him off etc’ in support of thighs’ team, and had unexpected success. My powers have weakened and the thighs vanished but my unpatriotic sense of fair play still finds some favour with the gods.

My latest vision came after seeing Laila Harre looking very elegant indeed on television about a week before the announcement of the Internet Mana party.  I wondered if she was be thinking of standing as an independent MP in Epsom.  I thought that would be fun.

Which brings me back to Hyde and Jones: both succumbed to a lack of originality and no little bile in regard to Internet-Mana in this week’s columns.  I rarely read their efforts but something out there said I must.  Hyde got stuck into Laila Harre.    She had been bought by Dotcom.   Keep up old man, Laila told all, detailed her comfortable financial position and said money had not been discussed.   It has been decided that candidates would be paid at backbencher rates.  Old Bob chose John Minto as his main target.    Both men nearly choked on their harrumphs.

Curiously it is the money issue that appears to obsess National devotees.  Lefties are more bothered by the political principles involved.   I’m delighted with my own swift adaptation (no money involved) to accepting Mana’s strategy.   A strategic roadblock has been exploited by National.  Internet-Mana decides to try the same ploy and prissy Tories cry foul!!   Internet Mana has announced support for abolition of the coat-tail clause as part of its policy.  Has anybody heard National hollering with joy and pinching this policy too?

And not quite on the subject did you see the blonde TV1 newsreader  turned vampire frenziedly salivating for Cunliffe’s blood last night?  What should have been a question – was he advocating for Liu’s citzenship wayback – was put as a fact.   Maurice Williamson went down for this.   Well, no, he didn’t.  He went down for ringing the police on Li’s behalf when he was a Minister not a backbencher.  Quite a different constitutional position.

Cunliffe doesn’t learn from his mistakes.   Or have Key’s smarts.  Hey man, National’s pinched your policies so why not appropriate his brain fades?   Many of us need to learn to preface events we rely on memory to describe with the words ‘I think’.   Me too, please note.

I had a quick glance at Seven Sharp and was transfixed by Mike Hosking’s messianic injunction  to exercise my choice and get rid of Cunliffe.    I missed the gloves off stage.  Sounds just like the State of Origin league match later where it was all on in the first half but, as the commentators lamented, no football.  Do TV1’s front people need to take a lesson from sports commentators in non-partisanship?   Oh how the world is changing!

Posted in Media, NZ Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Papal Inanities and our Worshipful Media

I thought I had moved on from raving about Popes and their unforgivable attitudes to women’s sexuality.   Then this current one whose style and thinking had won some favour with the media lets loose about how couples who chose not to have children but have a cat will be lonely and bitter in their old age.   If women enjoy sex without giving birth look what they will bring down on men!

Does our media demonstrate some socio-political bias against childless women in particular when it runs this sort of claptrap?  Why weren’t reporters on the phone to the Catholic Archbishop seeking more elucidation.  A supine media response may reinforce harmful views about women and their sexuality.   They are not fulfilling their proper role.   Remember the Roastbusters,  our local shame?  And internet trolls?  We need to teach empathy and respect for women?   Well it won’t come while such diatribes, open to ridicule as they are, flow unchallenged from priestly palaces and pulpits.

What blithering vacuity of life experience inspired this papal insight?  The wilful ignorance of backstreet abortion in Catholic countries?   The deplorable attitude to marital rape that holds married people are in such a blessed and blissful union no wife would deny a husband sex?   The blindness to abusive priests to avoid bringing scandal on the church?   Some papal comments seemed to imply the silence was sacrificial!

What about the cruelty of denying  of a godly burial to the children of unwed mothers, the numbers of which appear to have been much higher under the care of nuns over the centuries.  Ireland now has to face the mass grave of 800 babies and young children in the 1950s.    I have a flickering memory of the neonatal death rate being in the order of 100%  in France under their care in the previous century.  Surely not.   But high it certainly was.  This is not to say Protestant history is clear of some of the same taint and ugly  abuses.

Posted in Child Welfare, Media, Motherhood | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mana Internet: Wow, What a Deal!

As soon as I heard Laila Harre was to head the Mana Internet party adrenalin kickstarted my now less emotive mind into asking itself itself  who is going to be voting for Mana Internet around here.  I guess it will have to be him indoors.*   He lacks the political  junkie gene and is more flexible on this sort of thing.  Later I rang helpful son (who has the political gene) to check on his response and that household had already  agreed on the same strategy!

The deal between Mana and Internet is amazing and in case you missed another major plus ends six weeks after the election.  So it is nowhere near as cynical as I feared.   It’s  two-fingered “You  asked for it” to National and Act (I hope a huge one) and a wee cannonball across Labour and Green bows.

Pity the Epsom clause (riding on the coat tails of one electorate MP) wasn’t gotten rid of when National had the chance hey?   Dare I suggest that the two main parties need to treat the public with more courtesy?   Labour’s response to the Greens’ questions about working together during the campaign was harsh even if the Greens approach was injudicious.  And both these parties seem to be wobbling more on social issues or just lacking the skills and teeth  to do their jobs properly.

GO LAILA!!

3 News Image

GO LAILA!!!

*  “err indoors” is the reference to George Cole’s wife in TV series Minder (Dennis Waterman was Minder).  ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed’ is the reference to Rumpole’s wife in the Rumpole series.   Too lovely to lose!

Posted in NZ Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment