Nicky Hager’s book, The Hollow Men in many respects contains no great revelation to those who have witnessed National Party politicians’ behaviour over the years.
The major differentiator between Labour and National has always been that Labour is an inclusive party with fundamental values based on supporting a greater number of people. National on the other hand champions the ideal of the individual, sometimes at the expense of the community, which is why they’re always happy to sell off the assets belonging to all New Zealanders, to a few wealthy New Zealanders.
Of course the problem for National is that, in order to get elected, they need to pretend to support the interests of the majority, which is entirely the point of The Hollow Men. Don Brash deeply-held beliefs were incongruent with what he was saying to the electorate and he ended up looking silly – the ultimate Hollow Man.
So what’s the difference with John Key? Well the answer is probably not much, and quite a lot. He’s very like Brash because there is plenty of evidence to show, in his past statements that he would be very much in favour of selling many public assets – as just one example. But I believe that the difference is in how he delivers the message. Key has no difficulty in holding one view and presenting an entirely different line. The Standard is full of examples and I believe, as the campaign unfolds towards 2008, many more will become apparent.
It could be argued that at least Brash held some principles and values, which in the end tripped him up. Key on the other hand appears to have no such difficulty.
It would seem that THE HOLLOW MAN
has been replaced by THE SHALLOW MAN.