So, what have we learnt from the 18,000 words on John Key the Herald published with so much fanfare over the last two weekends?
We’ve learnt that, even if you devote a good portion of three senior journalists’ time to study the matter for six months, it’s still bloody hard to get any clear idea of what the man stands for. That in itself speaks volumes. It means he and his minders do not want his underlying beliefs to be public knowledge.
This makes sense for several reasons. First, when Key talked about differing only in ‘tone’ from Brash. Secondly, early in his career when he was less tightly controlled by himself and Crosby-Textor he said things like “DPB mothers are breeding for a business”, “we’re missing in action in Iraq”, “climate change is a hoax” “we would love to see wages drop” and comments about the labour market being too tight and wage inflation too high (= unemployment is too low and wage increases too high). Thirdly, this quote from the second part of the Herald coverage:
Key admits to being more cautious about the phrases he now uses …he likens it to being a magician with a magic wand. “You know, you don’t quite realise how powerful it is until you get to pick the wand up and you realise very small movements have quite strong and far reaching reverberations,” Key explains. “My underlying philosophies remain the same.” So his beliefs remain the same, the difference is in the language? “Yeah, I think that’s largely correct.” This is a startling admission which suggests that the real John Key is actually the John Key who originally entered Parliament, not the version we see today.
The magician’s cloak under which Key hides his true beliefs is akin to National’s under the radar policy releases. There’s only one reason why you would purposely keep voters ignorant of your policies and political principles – you think they won’t vote for you if they know about them.