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Who’s the Real Traitor?

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

In my last blog entry I said I was fairly relaxed about who will win the general election – which is now only a few days away – as long as the nutty Act party aren’t involved in the new government. But now I’m not so sure. Our current prime minister now seems more sleazy, more dishonest, and more untrustworthy than ever before.

Now I know that I shouldn’t have high expectations of any politician, but in the case of Key I think we have someone who takes the art of political spin to a new level. We have someone who fully embraces the dishonest and cynical techniques mastered by his American friends. And we have someone who is primarily driven by enhancing his own political aspirations – and maybe getting to play golf with Obama again!

So I think it is important to remove Key and his sorry bunch of supporters from power. Probably the most hideous of them all, Judith Collins, has already suffered what is hopefully a fatal political failure, but like a foul zombie she could rise from (political) death to wreak havoc on the country again if we aren’t careful. Clearly we need to consign the rest of the Tories to the political scrap heap as well.

But that is unlikely to happen because despite everything, John Key (because the current popularity of the political right is due to him and has little to do with his party or policies as a whole) just doesn’t seem to suffer much from any of the attacks brought against him. All the dirt just doesn’t seem to stick to “Teflon John”.

But in the past I haven’t been quite so critical of the PM – so what has brought about my rather sudden political change of heart?

Well it’s a combination of things. There’s Nicky Hager’s revelations in his “Dirty Politics” book (which I haven’t finished reading yet). There’s the disclosures at the “Moment of Truth” event. There’s the increasingly unconvincing denials by the establishment. And there’s the sudden realisation I had when listening to a podcast by political journalist Wayne Brittenden that the manipulative tricks used for years by American politicians are exactly what the Nats are using successfully here too.

Briefly, here’s how the trick works. You lie. Yes, that’s it really. The nuance is that while the issue is new and everyone is paying attention you make up whatever exaggeration, obfuscation, or outright untruth is necessary to take the heat off. Then as the crisis passes and something else takes people’s attention it doesn’t matter if the lies are revealed because something else will have come up where the technique can simply be repeated.

The classic example cited was the invasion of Iraq based on the claims of weapons of mass destruction. No one who looked at the facts really thought they were there, and American politicians must have also realised that, but the ruse has been so successful that many Americans still think the weapons (which never existed) have been found!

An interview this morning with “Sir” (I use that title with all the incredulity I can muster) Bruce Ferguson just didn’t seem to have a lot of credibility. His political bias was really clear when he referred to Edward Snowden as a traitor to his country, in what was as close to a rant someone like him was ever likely to experience. Maybe he has never hear that famous Edward Abbey quote: “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”

As Ferguson said, if we wish to believe a traitor then we have good reason to think mass surveillance is happening. Well yes, I do believe a “traitor” actually. He has had the courage to do the right thing, even if it is technically against some sort of theoretical duty. Some of us think morality transcends duty, but I guess people like Ferguson just wouldn’t understand.

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