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A Nice Cup of Tea!

November 16, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

They say that if you can’t stand the heat you should get out of the kitchen. Politicians are the ultimate seekers of easy publicity and you would think that a well publicised public meeting would be likely to attract a lot of attention. If that’s the case why would those same politicians then be concerned or offended that people took a interest in what they said?

I am of course speaking of the infamous “tea pot tapes”, a recorded conversation between prime minister John Key and Act candidate John Banks. The recording was made without the politicians’ knowledge, accidentally according to the person who was responsible, but now the PM seems to want to take legal action over the recording even though he claims there was nothing of any importance said at the time.

Meanwhile people are becoming almost paranoid wondering what the tapes (whether they actually are old technology like a tape I’m not sure but I’ll stick with that description) really contain. Key and Banks won’t give permission to allow the material to be released because they claim that would encourage secret recording in the future, but that has just fueled speculation even more.

The fact is the meeting was in a public place, it was well publicised ahead of time, it was an obvious ploy to garner political publicity, it was of unmistakable relevance to the voters of this country, and (if the journalist’s story is true) the recording was only made through an error and as a result of intimidation by the extensive security personnel the PM employs. I say release the conversation whether Banks and Key like it or not.

And the symbolism of the meeting over tea is also interesting. In the US the “Tea Party” is a collection of far right political nutters, rabid libertarians, and some other more moderate (mostly) right wingers. Does this sound familiar? Maybe the choice of meeting over a cup of tea was more than just coincidental!

A second political issue where the government seem to be over-reacting is over the so-called vandalism of their political hoardings. A group changed the messages on National’s billboards by adding what they say are more realistic comments such as “The Rich Deserve More” and “Drill it! Mine It! Sell it!”. It later turned out that the “attack” had been coordinated by a member of the Green Party, but wasn’t officially endorsed by them.

In fact the Greens have also over-reacted on this issue and have fired a staff member involved as well as exposing another person responsible. I guess the Greens are trying to gain a more mainstream and respectful image but surely this is unnecessary.

The changes were made with removable stickers and they seem to be very much a reasonable form of political commentary. Any threat by the National Party over this just shows them for what they really are: a petty bunch of hypocrites totally lacking in any real ideas.

National is very much about making the rich even richer and exploiting our resources and selling our assets without much appraisal of the consequences. Drawing these obvious facts to people’s attention seems perfectly reasonable.

Interestingly, as the election approaches, it actually seems possible that National might really lose it. Yes, they really might snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Sure, National are still by far the most widely supported single party but their coalition partners are disappearing fast and a collection of more left oriented parties, especially Labour and the Greens, looks increasingly viable.

National would still have to be clear favourites to win but if Key continues to be so incompetent who knows what might happen? He really might throw it all away! When it comes to asset sales when will he understand: no means no!

I certainly hope that a miracle happens and National are defeated, because the last thing we need now is more of the inept, unimaginative, unfair policies they have already introduced and are promising to give us much worse of in their next term – if we are stupid enough to let them!

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