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Espiner nails it

Written By: - Date published: 11:49 am, March 11th, 2009 - 15 comments
Categories: same old national, spin - Tags:

In his blog today Colin Espiner points out how National has quickly moved a lot further to the right than they portrayed themselves as pre-election:

After following the script for the First 100 Days to the letter, National is now branching out into things that, um, weren’t in the script. Labour Lite? Not any more.

He also remarks on the failure of the government to be honest about its intentions:

I’d just like some intellectual honesty, that’s all. Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? Rather than inventing a financial crisis at ACC, just admit there’s too many unionists on the board and you want to take the corporation in a different direction.

Same goes for the Environment Ministry. Don’t blame Labour for cutting its funding. Just say there’s too many boffins earning too much money sitting around worrying about their carbon footprint, if that’s what you believe. And don’t leave it to the chief executive to announce Government policy.

Reading through Espiner’s post, two of Bill English’s quotes from that infamous cocktail party came to mind. The first was that one about not selling the Iraq war properly and the second was about “that nice man Mr Key”.

That highly PR-focused approach may work when you are in opposition but unfortunately for National, government is a lot more about actions. Right now their centrist spin isn’t matching their hard-right actions. And profile puff pieces can’t change that.

15 comments on “Espiner nails it”

  1. BLiP 1

    Espiner is playing it a bit cute, don’t you think. He’s not really surprised that National lied to the electorate, surely. More likely he’s covering his slippery arse in an effort to commence re-writing history to show he was on to it from the start.

    Still, better late than never. May this day mark the end of the MSM’s virtual felatio of John Key and his vultures.

  2. Ianmac 2

    I think Conmen get alongside their Marks and are friendly smiling and sympathetic. Once established it becomes very difficult for the Mark to change their mind and doubt the Conman. So the Conman has bought time to do his worst.

  3. Kevin Welsh 3

    And yet another journo has a “road to Damascus” experience.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at these clowns. Maybe if he hadn’t spent so much time polishing John’s knob before the election he might have cottoned on to it quicker.

    • Quoth the Raven 3.1

      Absolutely agree. Both Espiners were positively fawning over Key prior to the election. I bet Colin would’ve said “I’m not gay but I wouldn’t kick John out of my bed.” All the signs of how National were going to behave were there before the election. Colin knew exactly what was going to happen. It’s a bit late for him to be criticising National now and it’s definitely a bit rich coming from him – one of National’s ardent cheerleaders.

  4. TomSe 4

    Ah yes, the press gallery. They combine the groupthink of hyenas with the hubris of Wall Street traders.

    Anyway, I don’t the voters are quite as stupid as the sneering Hooten-clones who appear to inhabit the National spin machine think they are. Everyone I know, including the Nats, have seen right through the ACC puffery from Smith.

    National almost certainly have mis-read the public view over reverting to British honours. Note that down – their first slip up.

    And a LOT of people are feeling a growing sense of unease over the swaggering arrogance of people like McCully, Ryall and Collins – not to mention all the jokes about Nick Smith’s mental state which are coming out again. Jokes about Nick Smith being crazy might not be tasteful, but like the vicious anti-Helen jokes they are an interesting canary in the opinion coal mine.

  5. roger nome 5

    Wasn’t kiwiblog’s pet “leftie”, Bryce Edwards, harping on about the “paranoia” of people who claimed National was planning to implement a secret hard-right agenda (ala “The Hollow Men”)? For a man who studies politics for a living he sure is naive.

    The neoliberals have never had public support for their hard-right agenda, they simply lie to the electorate and implement it anyway, then try to smooth it over with an expensive PR campaign. The difference now however is that it’s not FPP anymore. You can’t win with 35% of the popular vote like National did in 1993, so Key will have to tread very carefully or he’s doomed to be a one-term wonder.

    • Pascal's bookie 5.1

      “The difference now however is that it’s not FPP anymore.”

      …and the neoliberal playbook is no longer the flavour of the month internationally. There is another Chicago boy on the court…

      TINA ain’t at home this time around.

  6. TomSe 6

    Bryce Edwards is the CLASSIC ivory tower left wing academic who hates the right, but hates the left even more for engaging with the real world.

    That I suspect he has never got over being a loser with a capital L when the Alliance got shafted.

    It is a pity really, because a lot of what Bryce Edwards says is well researched and interesting. After all, he has got all day to think about it. But like Michael Bassett, who in tone he resembles more than a little, everything he says has to be seen through the lens of a certain life altering bitterness.

  7. colin espiner 7

    Hang on a minute, guys. Can you point to all this “virtual fellatio” I’ve supposedly committed on John Key? All my blogs are archived. Go back and have a read. Show me where I’ve been fawning. And where I’ve had a sudden change of heart. I’ve always been critical of National – and Labour, I’ll admit. I give credit where it'[s due. But to call me “one of National’s most ardent cheerleaders” is bloody hilarious. Given the loathing with which most in National regard me, I’m staggered by that comment.

  8. Quoth the Raven 8

    Colin – You can’t expect (adjusts cloth cap) us lazy lefties to go to so much trouble to prove a point we’ve already decided on. You can look through the archives here. SP had some good critical posts on you’r work. OK so maybe you’re not so bad. You’ve got to understand that if you’re not ceaselessly critical I personally don’t think, as a member of the fourth estate, you’re doing your job. I could go on about you fobbing off the English tapes and so on, but it’s this kind of stuff that annoys me the most:
    I think I speak for all of us here in Hokitika when I say that Mick O’Donnell’s whitebait sandwiches have been the highlight of the day so far. Mick owns ABC Quick Lunch in Tainui Street, Greymouth. He makes his sandwiches with fried whitebait patties and thick, fresh, white bread with a sprinkle of salt and some lemon. It’s the greatest sandwich I’ve ever had.
    Key thought so too, rashly promising “free whitebait for all” if National gets elected. I reckon that’s one campaign promise that would definitely hit the mark with voters.

    and
    Auckland, on a Monday afternoon. I’ve been following John Key around again. As if to answer his critics who claim his campaign is hermetically sealed, he’s done two walkabouts today while on a big cheesy campaign bus way out in the city’s sprawling western suburbs.
    What is the point in this crap? You’re a political commentator.
    Now, celebrity endorsements aren’t always cool – think Paris Hilton and George W Bush. Frankly I find Robyn Malcolm endorsing the Greens a little bit of a stretch. But Labour’s always had it over National in the hip celebrity stakes – think Goldenhorse, Elemeno P, and the aforementioned Kapisi and Kightley.
    But getting Inga and Michael Jones on board is a stroke of genius. The pair are absolute legends amongst their communities – well, the whole country actually – but particularly in South Auckland.

    Again, what is this? You’re just talking about their PR. Why do you even pay attention to it.

    It’s this kind of surface shit, never digging very deep, that makes many of us lefties despise the MSM. I stopped reading the Press ages ago it’s just useless.

    Now we have you here. Please tell us what are your personal political ideals are. What political theorists are you particularly endeared to? That sort of stuff. I know you have ideals. It’s impossible not to. I don’t buy this objective media stuff I need to know where someone is coming from. That’s why I read blogs and socialist news sites and libertarian political commentators and even some liberals. We know everyone has a bias so why pretend you don’t.

    Here’s another classic from you:
    Finally, after 12 years of MMP, a clean result. So clean that so far John Key is making it all look like a doddle. Told by officials he couldn’t go to Apec next week because there was no way a new government could be formed in time, he answered “nonsense” and has set about trying to set a new record. Ahhh felatio.

    …right now, John Key is looking and acting like a winner.

  9. BLiP 9

    Espiner on ACC:

    “To say ACC is in strife is like saying India is a better cricket team than the Black Caps. It’s kinda staring you in the face. But the cost blowouts we heard about this week beggar belief. We’re talking about an organisation so hopelessly insolvent that if it was a private company it would have been shut down a long time ago. . . . . On this one, personally I’m with Smith. While I’m fully in favour of the no-fault system and happy to pay my car rego to pay for rehabilitation for anyone unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident, there are limits. I think if you want to ski, or play rugby, or sky-dive, or skateboard, you should be prepared to pay a little more if you are injured” http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/blogs/on-the-house/

    Spoon-fed, factually incorrect National Party talking points with zero independent invesitagation, let alone, analysis, of the facts all tucked into folksy blokey chit-chat – a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down.

    Of course, its easy to pick out the obviously obseqious bits here and there but, in an effort to be fair, Espiner does every now and then pretty much get things right, the piece on Waitangi being a so-so effort.

    So, perhaps, “virtual fellatio” is a little harsh – his style is more akin to a quickie handjob in the Belamy’s bogs.

    • IrishBill 9.1

      It’s fair cop to point out issues with a journalist’s journalism but quit with the sex act metaphors please. We do like to think we have better standards than some other high profile blogs.

      • BLiP 9.1.1

        In this instance, the sexual metaphor is particularly apt because the MSM has become the National Government’s escort and has prostituted the values that were once the foundation of the Fourth Estate.

        Has someone got to you Irish, or have we morphed into Nanny Blog? Are the old dears in your rest home tut-tutting? Why is a sexual metaphor less acceptable than, say, a sporting metaphor?

  10. BLiP 10

    Hey Irish, I had to laugh today. A New Zealand Herald journalist who planted the Crosby/Textor line about ACC being a risk to the nation’s credit rating, well, his last name was . . . wait for it . . . Cumming.

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