It must be pretty sweet when your full-time job is to write 4 500-word columns of opinion a week.* It’s even sweeter when you can use those 500 words to have a whinge at your critics rather than write about things that your audience, you know, gives a crap about. The weird thing about Armstrong’s article is it first attempts to refute the critics (I did too write other than government line at APEC), then provides excuses (it was really hot in Japan and the lifts didn’t work in Russia).
But, in truth, it’s a just personal tirade by an old Tory who doesn’t like it when his pro-National line is challenged. And the place for that kind of writing isn’t a national newspaper column: it’s a blog.
Note that Armstrong identifies the former political allegiances of Campbell and Edwards and looks down his nose at them as “Aro Valley-style socialists” but won’t say what his own political leanings are. He wants us to believe that he – and his elite clique – are, alone among humans, above political bias and only report the objective truth.
Except that, then, he goes and ruins any pretense to objectivity when he writes that Edwards’ columns is “starting to develop a much more political dynamic that is unlikely to please National”.
Hmmmm, maybe we’ve hit on the problem. All these centuries, Armstrong’s been labouring under the misapprehension that it is the job of a newspaper columnist to “please National”.
(*Armstrong has written 100 pieces since mid-February. I’ve written 130, as it happens. More comments on average too. And the political commentary at The Standard doesn’t get to piggy-back on sports and crimes stories to get an audience – it has to stand entirely on its own two legs. But what would I know about writing interesting and informative political analysis?)