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Nixonian

Today I came across a word I hadn’t seen before (in fact it occurs less than 200,000 times on the whole internet) but which has a very obvious meaning. That word was “Nixonian” and it was used to describe the behaviour of our prime minister, John Key.

The definition is this: “of or relating to Richard Nixon (1913–1994), 37th President of the United States, famously associated with the Watergate scandal” but looking at the use of the word it is obviously more often used to describe someone who uses dirty tactics to attack his opponents. And that certainly seems to fit our prime minister really well!

Nixon was sometimes referred to as “Tricky Dicky” so I guess the equivalent for the New Zealand PM would be my oft-used “Shonky John Key”. If you read back through my entries on Key since he became PM you can see my opinion was initially fairly positive but became more and more negative as time passed.

So initially I thought he might be OK but my hopes were soon dashed when he almost immediately broke a campaign promise not to raise taxes and, to make matters worse, offered the richest section of society a huge tax cut which has had negative consequences on the country ever since.

The PM has been extremely skillful in deflecting any criticism up until now but I think his invincibility (another name I have heard is “Teflon John” based on the idea that he has a Teflon non-stick coating and the dirt won’t stick) is being challenged. His continual denial of obvious facts and his tactic of launching irrelevant attacks on his opponents instead of answering fair questions is really damaging his credibility this time.

Many people have said something like “so what, this is just politics and we shouldn’t be surprised or concerned about it” but I think this has gone a bit beyond just a robust political scuffle. My main concern is the involvement of New Zealand’s spy agency, the SIS. Considering they already have significant powers and the PM wants to extend those even further I think we should all be very concerned.

The SIS assure us that they have prevented several possible terrorist attacks recently but refuse to supply even basic details so that this could be verified. What we do know though is that they have been involved in various political attacks and clearly cannot be trusted to get even the basics right.

The possible outcome of these Nixonian activities is actually quite momentous. It’s possible that John Key’s National party might have won the previous (2011) election as a result of the way the (then) opposition leader, Phil Goff, was smeared by a conspiracy involving the Prime Minister’s office, the SIS, and right-wing blogger Cameron Slater.

So this current bout of dirty politics isn’t just a bit of robust posturing at all, it’s a deliberate and organised attempt at using lies and bypassing laws and regulations to effect the outcome of the democratic process. If that isn’t something the PM should resign over I’m not sure what is. At least old Tricky Dicky did have the decency to resign when he was caught playing dirty. Will Shonky John Key have the same moral principles? I doubt it.

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