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Granny’s blue woolly slippers

Written By: - Date published: 5:02 pm, November 17th, 2007 - 21 comments
Categories: brethren, election funding, Media - Tags: , ,

Granny’s campaign against the Electoral Finance Bill started with a bang and ended with a whimper. On Monday there was a banner headline “Democracy under attack”, complete with a front page editorial, a fuzzy picture of a masked woman, and a serpent cartoon. By Friday our crusading heroes had reduced the protection of democracy to the rights of cranks to spend their own money. Benazir Bhutto and Imran Khan would be impressed.

And what a rewrite of history. According to dear old Granny, (and it may be a sign of early Alzheimer’s), the Exclusive Brethren were just a harmless bunch of tieless men and women with bad haircuts wearing hankies on their heads, so their money wouldn’t be a problem to anyone. And if the bumblefoot National party leader just happened to let slip what the world wasn’t meant to know, well no harm was done because we found out about it (but not via Granny).

It is a pity that New Zealanders are so badly served by the quality of most – not all – political comment in our media. The Australians do it much better. If you want a couple of decent analyses of the Brethren’s covert political activities around the world, read David Marr in the Sydney Morning Herald here, or watch the ABC’s recent Four Corners programme here. At least the Fairfax media repeated Marr’s story in the Sunday Star-Times.

The covert collusion between the National Party and the Brethren (among others) to avoid the spending limits of the Electoral Act was by far the biggest political story out of the last election campaign. Brash was caught lying in the campaign, but it took Nicky Hager to tell the full story of the extent of that collusion in the Hollow Men.

The second biggest political story of recent times is just who were the group in the National Party who provided that immense quanitiy of leaked material to Hager. Leaks of that scale and size are very rare in politics, and are evidence of deep-seated division and malaise in the National Party. Since the reef fish in our political media don’t seem interested in the really big stories, thestandard will bring you all the facts and the questions over the next little while.

21 comments on “Granny’s blue woolly slippers ”

  1. MikeE 1

    I guess the 2000 people today, who have never protested in their lives before must have been full of shit eh?

    Or perhaps they simply don’t exist.

  2. Ray 2

    It is good that there is a letter writing campaign to support the EF Bill
    Especially from this disinterested gent
    Dr. Peter Davis, take a bow

  3. the sprout 3

    well at least they’re consistent i guess

  4. Snelly Boy 4

    2,000 people? MikeE you’re having a laugh.

    I was in my office* this morning looking down upon QEII square and there was less people there than when we have a fire drill!

    *yes, lefties are in fact diligent, hard working individuals.

    There was 1,000 people in that square absolute max. Did the other half bugger off and not stay for the speeches?

    1,000 out of a city of 1.0m. That is a seriously pathetic turnout. Especially when the ’cause’ and march were so heavily promoted all week by the herald.

    That simply shows the hysteria generated by the nutters on the right, consumed by total self-interest, has not caught on with the public at large.

    Interesting to note that on the same day, an estimated 30,000 at least free thinking individuals turned up for a local community festival.

  5. Leftie 5

    Exaggerations. You only have to look at some of their posts.

  6. illuminatedtiger 6

    There were certainly more at the marches against the Iraq War, against Racism and of course on the Foreshore and Seabed Hikoi. The demographics on those marches seemed far more diverse too. Looking at the news footage the vast (could I say outright) majority of people were from white middle to upper class backgrounds. The organizers tried to encourage the migrant communities to come along with their national flags (I’m guessing to make the march look more representative) but judging by the news footage there were none to be seen.

  7. gobsmacked 7

    Only a week ago, there were far more people (even on a per capita basis) on the streets of Australia protesting about climate change. I don’t know if they had the cities’ newspapers campaigning for them on the front page.


    Today’s turnout in Auckland would be very good if it was to save a local school or hospital from closing. But to save democracy from being destroyed by New Zealand’s Answer To Hitler (TM), it was feeble.

  8. Leftie 8

    Comparing Helen Clark to Hitler. Can it get any more rediculous?

  9. James Sleep 9

    Fabulous! Finally some descent coverage of what really is going on, AND the reasons behind the drafting of the EFB.

    We hear National complaining – but lets not forget it was them that deliberately disobeyed the electoral bill to BUY themselves the election in 2005.

    Let’s not forget the lies from the National party in 2005 to win the election.

    May the party, which focuses on stopping parties like National from buying the elections, be returned to Parliament stronger!

    That being the Labour party!

  10. illuminatedtiger 10

    Nice to see a someone so young blogging James! I wish I was as onto it as you when I was your age.

  11. Policy Parrot 11

    “I guess the 2000 people today, who have never protested in their lives before must have been full of shit eh?”

    Good for them that they got there and protested. I always admire a protest march, even if I disagree with its cause.

    What, for me however is more worrying is exactly what you just said “who have never protested in their lives before”. Where the hell have these people been? It’s like they just woke up from their happy self indulgent lives for one morning.

    There have been so many good and important causes to demonstrate against in the past 20 years (2003 Iraq, 1998 Hikoi of Hope, 1991 Benefit Cuts to name a few) and yet these people only got out of their comfort zone once their ability to distort the electoral system came under threat.

    And 2000 people in a city the size of Auckland is a complete farce. They’d been better off from a PR standpoint from NOT MARCHING.

  12. Nih 12

    The organiser thinks the turnout was 3000 , while an observer who had a high vantage point that wasn’t obscured by latent insanity puts it at less than a thousand.

    I would think it’s a safe bet to go with the latter, more pragmatic view.

    You have to remember that in the end, to support opposition to this bill you either have to be one of the people it’s aimed at, or a natural toady. The numbers sound low enough that it might actually be the former protesting, but it seems more likely they’d just pay someone to march in their stead. $50 a head sounds right. That’s probably where his supposed $50k went, although I think he’s just blowing smoke out his arse when he says he’s spent any money. Always remember to account for the Lie Lie Lie angle.

  13. Billy 13

    “We hear National complaining – but lets not forget it was them that deliberately disobeyed the electoral bill to BUY themselves the election in 2005.”

    Who was it that promised to include $800k of pledge card spending in their return, then cynically changed their minds when they thought they could get away with rorting the election?

    Buying the election indeed.

  14. the sprout 14

    umm billy, re-read the 2nd paragraph of your post.
    it doesn’t make sense.

  15. burt 15

    Do you guys actually read the Herald or are you just sent links from head quarters to denigrate?

    This story comes from a source you would seem aligned with on all but matters of the EFB.

    Matt McCarten: Media gain more power when voice of democracy is muffled

    And the Herald also published a letter that DPF links to here:

    Finally an Electoral Finance Bill Supporter

  16. milo 16

    I don’t agree with the view that people who disagree with Labour are thereby necessarily cranks.

    Nor do I agree with the subtext of many comments that those who protest against Labour are thereby worthless wankers (unlike other protestors).

    In fact it seems to me that many posters and commentators on The Standard are confusing political beliefs with democractic principles. That is a real pity.

  17. r0b 17

    Milo – I’m in agreement with your sentiment in the first 2 paragraphs.

    You then wrote: “In fact it seems to me that many posters and commentators on The Standard are confusing political beliefs with democractic principles.”. That may be true, but to be fair, it’s the way the human mind works – we have a strong tendency to perceive our own beliefs as objectively true and correct. It’s a trap almost no one (on either side of the debate) can avoid.

    Still, interesting post. How would you rate behaviour on other blogs? Are you intending to make a similar post, on say, KB?

  18. Nih 18

    I don’t agree with the view that people who disagree with Labour are thereby necessarily cranks.

    I don’t think anyone here thinks non-labour people are cranks. You’re reading too much into the fact that we quickly identify and put up a strong defence towards some of the unbalanced idiots that come here to post. It works too, you can tell at exactly what point bruv and 3bags decided they couldn’t take their own medicine anymore.

    Apart from yourself and a couple of others we get very few non-rabid right wing posters here. That doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten what it’s like to have them around. I wish we could get a few more of the good kind and a lot less of the sociopath kind.

  19. the sprout 19

    milo, i think a lot of people here (Labour supporters included) sometimes disagree with Labour or even protest against Labour. it’s just that some of the more obviously dyspeptic commenters are very clearly anti-Labour for cranky or wanky reasons.
    as for confusing politicla beliefs with democratic principles, well they are intimiately intertwined, the former influencing one’s conception of the ideal of the latter, so it’s not surprising the two are often conflated.

  20. Nih 20

    Burt, if you’re going to troll try to be less boring. I know you have nothing of value to add, so aim for the interesting bubblegum post angle.

  21. gobsmacked 21

    Many of the Saturday marchers invite a dismissive response because they pretend to be what they are not. It was a partisan, political demo. That’s fair enough, I’ve been on those myself. But if they’re going to masquerade as just ordinary, apolitical New Zealanders (see also “mainstream”, 2005), then they’re going to get called on it.


    Memo to Lesley Opie: they have invented Google. That’s quite a history of conservative activism you got there. So why the outrage when the PM simply describes you as you are?

    Again, people are fully entitled to join the political debate. Democracy depends on citizens doing just that. But spare us this constant line of “the other side are paid-up political protesters, but we’re just typical Kiwis”. That’s a very old trick, and it fools nobody.

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