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Frightened old men

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 pm, June 1st, 2013 - 33 comments
Categories: Politics - Tags: ,

Granny Herald pulled out the wedgie omnibus today with old man Armstrong and old man Roughan both taking their best shot at helping Key’s attempts to wedge the Greens and Labour.

They’ve clearly decided they’re not gonna shift the greens so instead they’re going concern-troll on Labour here’s Roughan (a man that has never, ever, had Labour’s best interests at heart):

Shearer is an intelligent fellow, still fairly fresh to politics and must be finding some themes of policy and events particularly interesting. He needs to make the most of those subjects. They might not make headlines, his economic leanings, I think, are orthodox and sensible. It may be that while he is talking to small audiences more combatant parliamentarians in his party will command attention and commentators will start writing, Where’s David Shearer?

Geddit? “David mate, you’ve got a good head on you, come away from those awful Greens. You don’t need all that kooky left wing stuff.”

The only thing more palpable than Roughan’s insincerity is his sweaty desperate fear that the neo-liberal project he’s spruiked for for so long is soon to be no more.

Armstrong also tries to push Labour from the Greens with lickspittle flattery but finishes on a different route:

This weekend the Greens will try to render as null and void Key’s potent line that next year’s election will be fought between “the centre-right and far left” by claiming he is the extremist, not them. It is a claim that is most unlikely to wash, however.

Do you get that? The Greens (who, by international standards, are a social democratic centerist party) are the extreme left and when they try to claim they’re not it won’t work. Not because of any reality but because, like Roughan, Armstrong is panicking as he sees the right wing status quo he’s so wed to disappearing over the horizon and he thinks if he denies it hard enough it’ll go away.

Watching these two frightened old men desperately fighting against the weight of history would be funny if they weren’t so mendacious. The truth is that when Labour and the Greens stand next to each other the electorate see the next government. Which means it’s in the interests of Armstrong, Roughan, and the right in general to try to convince them to stand apart as much as possible.

33 comments on “Frightened old men”

  1. All I can say is that Armstrong can’t have read the Lusk papers …

    If he had he would realise that the next election will be a battle between the left and the far American Funded fiscally dry as a bone take no prisoners right.

    • Commentators or columnists like him is the reason I stopped buying the paper, and just read the occasional piece online instead.

      • Paul 1.1.1

        They write what they’re told to.
        Sad old men whose role it is to spin the corporate lie.

  2. Anne 2

    It wouldn’t really surprise me if both of them were strongly encouraged (by a govt. heavyweight or two?) to write their pieces in a desperate attempt to run distraction stories.

  3. Sosoo 3

    Seems as though both of them have seen the eternal footman holding their coats…

    How can they still have jobs? Both would be more use to society playing the paper and comb on a downtown corner.

    As for the polls. People go conservative in bad economic times, trying to hold on to what they have. That is why National is up in the polls. Everything is favouring them, and they still won’t crack 50% in the next election.

    On the other hand, given that Labour seems committed to modelling it’s leadership group after the gang from the Wizard of Oz, National might just crack 50% (and we all know who’s playing the Cowardly Lion).

    • Rhinocrates 3.1

      Something said once by someone, lost in the mists of memory, about Murdoch’s editors and whether they need to be told what to say – “They don’t need to be told”. Those toadies have already been selected, wound up and left to run. They don’t get instructions any more, they get tit-bits.

      Good doggie! Who’s a nice doggie then? Does precious want a treat? I bet he does! Here, here’s a special biscuit! Mmmm, isn’t that nice?!

      They’re very well trained – they don’t even get so excited that they piddle on the carpet.

  4. The right are scared now and that is good – pretty soon they will be petrified as in all of its meanings

    1. To convert (wood or other organic matter) into a stony replica by petrifaction.
    2. To cause to become stiff or stonelike; deaden.
    3. To stun or paralyze with terror; daze.
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/petrified

  5. QoT 5

    It is a claim that is most unlikely to wash, however.

    Does anyone else read that in a really Armstrong-being-self-centered way? Like “You may try to fool people, Greens, but the great John Armstrong shall not be moved! I shall reject your arguments! And by god, if I am not on your side, no one shall be, for am I not the great John Armstrong?????”

    • Pete 5.1

      My name is Armstrong
      Pundit of pundits!
      Look on my works, ye mighty and despair
      Nothing beside remains.

    • I always read papers like I am reading a piece of cold war propaganda. It is an easy job to do, when you are being paid to be stupid and narrow-minded. 😉

    • emergency mike 5.3

      That’s how I’ve always read him. He skims his opinions directly from the surface of his brain, then serves it up as if it must self-evidently be a top drawer opinion he’s graciously gifting to you. Because it’s his opinion, John Armstrong’s.

    • David H 5.4

      And if the Left win, then the Great Armstrong, accompanied by the Great Roughan, could find themselves embarking on a journey, to the dark never never land, that they only used to write about.

      Yep they are scared

  6. ak 6

    for am I not the great John Armstrong?????”

    Onnit, my Queen: tired old hacks sclerotic from decades of flattery and cajoling; pompously rasping final faded pearls for their ermine-clad swineherds as the tides of history lap at their florid necks. Sleep well, loyal scribes for the forces of misery and hatred: we will not remember you, nor the bitter fruits of your tiny, withered hearts.

  7. xtasy 7

    The New Zealand Herald used to have more opinion piece and also political commentary article writers, but they seem to have got rid of many over the last couple of years. It seems to have been rather more of the liberal and socially minded writers that no longer write for the Herald.

    I have seen John Armstrong in the background when journalists were swarming around certain politicians in parliament, to ask some questions, and when this was shown on TV news. He is indeed an old man, looking increasingly frail and also less mentally capable than he may once have been.

    With age some strengths do wane.

    As for Roughan, he is such a right winger, I seldom bother reading anything he writes. He has written some of the absurdest kind of commentaries in the Herald. I have no time for that man.

    Most writing for the Herald now seem to be right wingers, and only Matt McCarten seems to be a regular who is left of centre. They have instead madman Rodney Hide write his nonsensical crap, and also do they have Bob Jones spend his retirement days on writing a weekly “contribution” with bizarre topics and opinions at times.

    I see much drivel and lifestyle stuff written on these days, and I am missing contributions of quality and investigative journalism, which the younger generation do not seem to bother much with.

    I am sure it is partly due to them not being encouraged to investigate and to write anything critical. They are likely not given time and resources and told instead, to hash up some press releases as “stories” they then publish.

    No wonder then that we have only these two old, grumpy men write such critical commentaries about the Labour Party and of course the Greens.

    The editors at the NZ Herald must all be more or less in the government’s pocket, it seems.

    • JK 7.1

      This is not a defence of John Armstrong …. but in reply to Xtasy, he (JA) IS frail, he’s got Parkinson’s Disease.

      • xtasy 7.1.1

        JK – thanks for that information. I did not know that. I am sorry to hear this, as I do not wish any person have any such illness.

  8. millsy 8

    Expect more of this in the next 18 months.

  9. wyndham 9

    I’m sure we will find Slippery John taking a leaf out of Dr. Goebbel’s book over the next eighteen months . . . . keep repeating, over and over again the most outrageous lies and people will believe them. They are ‘far left. Far left. Far left – – – – – – .’

    Key’s knife is out for the Greens. Lets prepare ourselves for the vitriol.

    • veutoviper 9.1

      Key’s knife has been out for the Greens for quite some time and very noticable when he replies to questions from them in Question Time. He seems to have a “thing” about Meteria Turei in particular since her brilliant Planet Key response last year, with his answers to any questions by her displaying IMO a level of vitriol and spitefulness that outweighs his answers to anyone else. I really admire the calmness and fortitude that Meteria manages to maintain in response to his vitriol.

      • Roy 9.1.1

        Well in his mind she is not just the wrong party, but the ‘wrong’ colour and the ‘wrong’ gender as well.

        • veutoviper 9.1.1.1

          Agreed – it is very obvious; but he seems to be able to mask that with others but not with Metiria.

    • Paul 9.2

      Best way to do this is to take it to the government by turning tables on them.
      They use term Planet Labour, Turei says Planet Key.
      They call the Greens extreme, Norman describes their extremism in his speech.
      A timid approach will not work in front of such extreme propaganda.

  10. George D 10

    It was a trio, actually. I’m surprised you missed the third one, in which Labour insiders told journalists they’d rather work with Peters.

    This is despite the membership. In my experience they seem themselves as far closer to the Greens than NZFirst. There are still some who’d rather work with ‘pliable, and reliable’ Peters, much as they did with Peters and Dunne previously. This is despite the huge role that the perceptions of NZFirst and Peters (many of which were grounded in reality) had in destroying the Clark Government’s hold on power and making the country thirsty for fresh leadership.

    You also missed the other major takeaway from this, which is the open musing about pushing Green MPs to the side of the Cabinet table. This reinforces the above point. Get the Greens in, if we have to, but don’t respect them as partners. It’s counterproductive for many reasons, but the most concerning one for Labour members should be that it’s counterproductive to creating the New Zealand they want. On current polling, the Greens would get 1/3 the votes of Labour. The suggestion is that they get less than 1/6th the Cabinet positions. Not every MP has the right skills to be a minister. But this is true of every party, and people frequently get pushed above their means because Parliament lacked/lacks talent. MMP is an opportunity to circumvent that. Unless insiders are power-hungry and defensive.

    There is some exceptionally poor political advice being given right now. It should be a sacking offense to even _think_ that “it is better to ignore the vitriol and venom on the basis that that line of attack will have been exhausted by the time next year’s election campaign rolls around”. This person does not understand a thing. It is just beginning.

    • IrishBill 10.1

      I don’t see what you’re talking about in that article. In fact I’ve heard and read a few people talking about how Labour would prefer Peters but I haven’t actually seen or heard anything to verify this. I’m wondering if there’s an element of political trolling going on here. Can you point me toward anything that substantiates the claim?

      • George D 10.1.1

        Sorry, that was the wrong link. Correct one: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10887716

        This article is by Armstrong and thus comes with a large amount of opinion, but I assume he hasn’t made up absolutely everything and that at least some of his assertions about attitudes are based on actual conversations with actual people.

        • IrishBill 10.1.1.1

          Ah, that’s the one Zet linked. I should have read it. I think that’s Armstrong engaging in some seriously flawed tea-leaf reading.

          The phrase “But it is also becoming clear that Labour increasingly thinks it might be preferable to strike a deal with Winston Peters.” is so heavily couched it’s almost meaningless.

          Don’t think for a minute if someone from Labour had actually confirmed this, Armstrong wouldn’t use a phrase like “labour insiders” or “senior labour figures”.

          • George D 10.1.1.1.1

            Thanks for the reassurance. In time I’ll see whether this the was informed opinion of someone with access, or speculation disguised as fact.

            This paragraph was actually rather funny:

            “[coalition prospects will] no doubt will get some airing at the Greens’ annual conference in Christchurch this weekend, though it will be difficult to know because the party which claims to be passionate about the concept of open government has shut the media out of just about every session.”

            Thanks for the laugh, John.

            • karol 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Armstrong talking about the MSM as if they are enablers of “open government” is surely a joke.

          • JK 10.1.1.1.2

            I’m not so sure – George D and IrishBill – Armstrong might be rightwing etc etc but he usually talks to the people “in the know” . And there are definitely people in the Labour caucus who are opposed to the Greens. Jones is the most obvious one but there are others.
            Looks like Key’s tactics to divide (Labour and Green) and then conquer – are starting to work !!

            • Alanz 10.1.1.1.2.1

              Jones is in the wrong party. He should exercise his integrity to his own principles and political ideology, and walk away from Labour and towards whatever he reckons better suits him.

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