A love that will not die

Written By: - Date published: 2:14 pm, March 17th, 2010 - 19 comments
Categories: articles - Tags: ,

I tried to write a satire of John Armstrong’s column today along the lines of the ‘Beloved Key‘ one I did the other day. But I’ve had to give it away. It’s beyond parody.

So, I guess I’ll do some serious analysis instead.

Armstrong’s piece is the journalistic equivalent of a woman standing outside the prison gates as her man is sent away with a sign saying “I know you done wrong Johnnie. But I still love you”. Key’s failings can’t be ignored, they’re too obvious, but for Armstrong they are overwhelmed by what comes across as an unfailing, unshakeable devotion.

Let’s look at those conflicting elements, “I know you done wrong” and “I still love you”, side by side as they appear in Armstrong’s column

Armstrong’s piece acknowledges that Key has failed to deliver on everything he has promised but humans have an amazing ability for double-think when love is involved. Even while aware of Key’s utter failure as a Prime Minister to deliver anything to the people of New Zealand, Armstrong can not see him as a failure, can’t criticise him.

Don’t expect John Key to suddenly become a Prime Minister who delivers on his promises and don’t expect John Armstrong to criticise him for it. They are what they are.

19 comments on “A love that will not die”

  1. Bright Red 1

    It’s just a jaw-dropping piece, eh?

    Armstrong’s real comments would fit in a parody piece.

  2. tc 2

    Armstrong’s unrelenting love of anything the Nats do is a classic example of what the msm have become…..dogs. Dogs thrive on the master/servant dynamic.

    As long as they get a few scraps, the odd pat and ‘whose a good boy’ they’ll wag the blue tail forever…… waiting patiently to please master…..now rollover….aww shucks cute eh.

    • Rex Widerstrom 2.1

      Just as a slightly different set oif journos used to do when Labour were in power.

      There’s two ways to fix this: restore some credibility by appointing strong-minded and strong-willed editors with some integrity and allow them to impose standards of objectivity and impartiality on the MSM outlets, institute rigorous fact checking by seasoned local subeditors and generally spend money to fix it; or abandon the pretence of impartiality and, as they do in the UK, have each MSM outlet declare its partiality and allow the readership / audience to read / view what it publsihes with that in mind.

      Given that option 2 costs the proprietors no money, I don’t see why they simply don’t do it. It’s their newspaper, their money at risk, I have no problem with them being openly partisan.

      What s*its me is when they pretend objectivity – and fool their audience into believing it – whilst doing all they can to sabotage politicians who aren’t aligned to their particular way of thinking and unquestioningly boosting those who are.

  3. SPC 3

    He’s only writing on behalf of the public – they chose him. They won’t admit they are wrong whatever the evidence throws up.

    Change on this will take time.

    And lets be frank here, because Key’s government backs down under pressure, it is still seen as non-threatening, thus remains re-electable.

    Sure that is no consolation to various groups unable to build up wider pressure on the government hurt by callous decisions – the loss of TIA and adult education etc

  4. Blue 4

    Political columnists are much like sporting columnists. They back the winners. Doesn’t matter if the ‘winner’ does some highly dodgy things – they won, and that’s the important bit.

    JK is winning in the public opinion polls with his stratospheric popularity, the only contest in town for political football watchers.

  5. Lew 5

    Eddie, some things are even better than satire (and satire is awesome). Cheers.


  6. just saying 6

    But he raises an important point for the left, because the ordinary rules just don’t apply.

    It’s an argument I keep having with a few previoulsy left leaning people who are normally quite reasonable. A good example is my mother, a pretty savvy working class woman except she voted for him ( and I do mean him, she still doesn’t consider herself a national supporter).
    It usually starts out with me (because I just can’t help myself) saying something like “so what do you think of Key now – still think he cares deeply about New Zealand and New Zealanders?”
    And she’ll reply something like “of course why wouldn’t I”
    I’ll then cite several recent incidents such as examples of outright lying that she wouldn’t ordinarily condone in any politician of any hue – all the latest moves that have seen wealth redistributed upwards etc.
    The thing is she doesn’t deny what I’m saying or try and convince me that I’m wrong about what Key has done, she just doesn’t care, and it’s quite out of character. She steadfastly believes that unlike most politiicians Key is genuine and no matter what he does she has this weird faith that in the long term it will turn out to be in our best interests. Like some kind of benevolent god who sometimes has to do bad things but always for our own good.

    Since when did arguing politics become like arguing religion?

    Frankly I find this really worrying.

    • coolas 6.1

      Astute observation.

      I too have otherwise rational friends with the same ‘religious’ devotion to St Johnny. It’s scary and reminds me of cult followers blind to their beloved leader’s manipulation.

      Maybe Key is a symbol/archetype many people aspire to or admire, because in many ways he epitomizes the C21st century successful man. Like the Action Heroes, he’s a Material Hero, who takes on the same mythic status.

      $50m and HE isn’t really one of us. HE never has to worry about money. HE doesn’t need to work. So HE must here to lead us to the Promised Land.

      What’s curious about my freedom loving friends devotion to Key is they’re worshiping the very things they say they despise: abuse of power, manipulation, lies and deceit.

  7. Tigger 7

    Key as ‘Dirty Harry’? My god, Key is such a fop he makes Tinky Winky look tough.

    • Rex Widerstrom 7.1

      Imagine Key and Rudd in the same room. There’d be more testosterone in the air at a CWI scone bake-off 😀

  8. Tiger Mountain 8

    Political journos are easy targets, but the unfortunate Armstrong is one that virtually demands a good towelling and a ‘kick me hard’ label on his backside, as anyone who has heard the simpering sycophant on radio would know.

  9. Lanthanide 9

    “If Labour wanted to campaign on “ripping up the cycle trail”, then they were welcome to make his day.”

    Of course Labour wouldn’t campaign on throwing good money after bad. Why you would spend money to *un-do* something physical, when you could simply halt the money that was going to be spent doing it?

    Instead Labour should campaign on ceasing work on the frivolous cycleway and diverting the $50m to causes where it is needed:
    – Adult night classes
    – Ensuring RNZ budget isn’t frozen
    – Re-instating the youth rehabilitation programme National shut down

    National has made a lot of petty cuts the amount to peanuts that could all be covered by the $50m that is going to the cycleway.

    There was a mention somewhere that National would include extending the cycleway (with another $50m) as one of their campaign promises in 2011. Seems a perfect opportunity for Labour to single-out that promise, if it is made, and counter-promise to spend the money on helping New Zealander’s get ahead in life, not giving cyclists a joy ride.

    You could even do a 2005 style billboard:
    National spends $50m on:
    – Cycleway

    Labour spends $50m on:
    – Radio New Zealand
    – Adult night clasess
    – Youth rehabilitation
    – [add other examples here]

  10. Salsy 10

    I’ve mentioned here previously how peculiar I find the relationship between Armstrong and Key. For example when confronted by alarmed Kiwis regarding his new position on Whaling, rather than fully explain his position, he instead redirected viewers on both his personal govt site and facebook page to the John Armstrong pro-commercial whaling piece as published in the Herald. I found it completely dubious that the Prime Minister points to a one-sided journalist report in order to explain an important policy to the population.

    Does this not strongly suggest that Armstrong is actually a National party Spin Writer paid for by the Herald?


    Its one thing being a supporter, but hang up the pen Armstrong, you cant get away with your FOX news style, unobjective BS here. Little wonder Key got voted sexiest politician, as a woman I find him creepy and vile, but I hadn’t realized how deeply he appealed to little bald men.

  11. Adrian 11

    I think this has been misread here, along with Garth George this morning these critisisms (veiled as they are) would not have have been written 6 months ago, and remember these guys were JK and tha NACTs biggest spruikers.

  12. Olivia 12

    Hey guys yup its weird. I find him nothing but a big nobody and I will only say that anonymously.
    I’d be stoned by a crowd of crazed Key fans for daring to criticize jokey boy.

    Here’s a great documentary about derivatives and the fight in 1998 – 2000to regulate them.

    The Warning PBS Frontline

    Someone might like to embed the movie on the standard’s website as PBS allow this so we can all see what the MSM here are not going to televise. That can be shown everywhere else including the US. . I,ve asked them and they are probably frightened for their jobs or “luv that guy (conman)..
    and we know
    “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’
    That’s why were all here.

    The movie centers around a woman named “Brooksley Born” a lawyer who topped her class at Yale and went on to become a fiinancial litigator specializing in Derivatives.

    In 1996 she landed the job as head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission which legally had the sole legal right to regulate derivative’s which is what she attempted to do in the midst of opposition from Greenspan, Rubin and Sommers. Rubin, starting from within the president’s (Clinton) working group campaigned against her power to do this which was frozen and then in 2000 the Commodities Futures Modernization act was passed even after the collapse of “Long Term Capital Markets” which Merrill lynch lost heavily to. Yep our PM’s company Merrill Lynch put vast amounts of money into that black box. No one investing in Long Term Capital Markets was given any information about how the high returns were achieved. Just a big gambling scheme and our PM must have at least known that deviates were dangerous after his company made a big loss on them which later translated into job losses at Merrlii lynch. Key the smiling assassin was aptly named during that episode.
    . Warren Buffet called derivatives “the Weapons of mass Destruction”.

    At one stage Brooksley had Larry Sommers on the phone claiming that he had 13 bankers in his office telling him if derivatives were regulated it would cause the worst financial crisis since world war2. This was in 1998 and had others supported Born we would have avoided the financial crisis which is now 600 trillion dollars worth of these scam ponzi scheme derivaties.
    Had John Key had an ounce of common sense or decency he would have stood beside Brooksley Born and Warren Buffet who also favored regulation which might have saved us all. She resigned when it became evident there was nothing she could do. John Key did not stand up for anyone but himself. He must have seen this like many others. He’s not fit to be a Prime Minister.

    There are six million Americans now living on nothing but $100-$200 worth of food stamps per month. Many once employed people are homeless and John boy was at the heart of this.

    You can watch “The Warning’ by PBS Frontine online at

    While all this was going on John Key was a member of the Foreign Exchange Commission of the Federal Bank Of New York
    His specialty was derivatives.

    Committee Members

    You can see he worked for Merrill Lynch and lived in London as he told us when trying to distance himself from the scandal he would have been surrounded by.

    However in the parliamentary record of 2003 in his own words


    Key, John: Border Security Bill — First Reading

    “I spent 6 years, from 1995 to 2001, living in the United Kingdom, but spending every second week in New York’.

    Letter to congress co signed by the “Foreign Exchange Committee urging them to Sign the Commodities Futures Modernization act of 2000 which two purposes one of which was to ensure derivatives were left as they were being totally unregulated.


    Yes John Keys agency urged the US congress to pass a bill to make sure derivatives were not regulated. He was an expert on derivatives. His own company Merrill Lynch had just suffered massive losses connected with the sudden unexpected failure of “Long Term Capital Markets”. The failure was unexpected becuase derivatives were unregulated and no one new it was happening. The commodities futures Trading Commision only found out becuase companies filed suit against “Long Term Capital Markets”.
    LTCM was bailed out by the US’s four biggest banks and everything swept under the carpet for years to come. This was in 2000. In my view Key has no shame in declaring he knew nothing. Truth is he did nothing and continued to let the world spin toward financial destruction and impoverishment for many many people who he seems to place no value on. How does he sleep at night I wonder.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      How does he sleep at night I wonder.

      He’s a psychopath. When you don’t have a conscience ruining people for your own benefit doesn’t cause lack of sleep.

  13. Olivia 13

    Sorry. Here’s that link to “The Warning”.


    I’m having some very weird computer problems when In go to post. Like progams start opening and closing as if theres a ghost remotely in charge if my puter. Truth, happened just when I tried to post that comment.

    • lprent 13.1

      Nothing in the page source that I’m aware of could do that (just had a look). Most likely it is just a glitch in your browser or OS. Best idea is usually to shift browser (eg firefox or safari) or shut your existing browser completely, because there may be some stray javascript from a previous web page lurking about.

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