National’s attempt to contain the meltdown from Bill English’s secret agenda comments at the National conference and on TV1 collapsed when it emerged Lockwood Smith was also talking about a secret agenda at the conference. Now, the fallout is raining down on them. So, National has moved to stage four of the Crosby/Textor technique for covering ‘accidental honesty’ – attack the source while ‘feigning anger’, as Brash was advised to do over the Exclusive Brethren.
The Nats seem to have no evidence as to who did the recording but that hasn’t stopped an apperantly furious Key from blaming Labour. Labour denies all knowledge and frankly they wouldn’t have the balls to do something like this. In desperation, Key also suggested that the tape is somehow doctored, which is ludicrous, seeing as English has already confessed to his comments and anyone can listen to the audio here and here.
Don’t forget that this is just an attempt by National to distract from the actual issue, the secret agenda that senior Nats were discussing with delegates behind closed doors.
To recap: English says they will sort out Working for Families and are consciously choosing try to shut it down as a campaign issue, ie not seeking a mandate for changes they intend to make. He says Kiwibank would be sold eventually. He says the “punters”have been taken in by “that nice Mr Key’ like country bumpkins taken in by a con-man. He says Key didn’t understand basic maths in Working for Families. Lockwood confirms that there are policies National intends to put in place that it will not make official policy now, for fear of “scaring the horses”.
That’s a secret agenda. And don’t think for a moment that two senior Nats just happened to be caught on tape the only time they said these things – this is clearly an agenda that senior Nats regularly reassure their members is in the pipeline, despite Key’s moderate facade.
I can understand if Key genuinely is furious, he is seeing his chance to put PM on his CV melt before his eyes, but he shouldn’t be looking to blame the person who caught his senior MPs telling the truth. National would not be in this position if they had just been honest with the public. They have no-one to blame but themselves.