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NRT: Politics does not have to be dirty

Written By: - Date published: 8:34 am, August 20th, 2014 - 30 comments
Categories: accountability, Politics - Tags: , ,

no-right-turn-256Reposted from yesterdays No Right Turn.

Writing in The Press this morning, Chris Trotter argues that politics is essentially dirty: “Bluntly, “dirty politics” is the only kind there is”.

I reject this proposition absolutely.

I’m not doing so out of naiveity; I agree with Trotter on the essentially Hobbesean pact which underlies democracy, that its a gentler way of solving issues that used to be solved by civil war and murder. And I’ve read my Machiavelli and agree that being an effective ruler may sometimes demand immoral methods. But that doesn’t mean that all is fair and that we should accept what we have seen. To point out the obvious, if being an effective ruler demands immoral methods, one can always choose not to be effective – or not to be a ruler. In the C16th when Machiavelli wrote, that choice was effectively suicide, or at the least impoverishment and exile. In the modern era, the consequences are rather less severe.

Our politicians make choices. How far they are willing to go to get what they want and to stay in power is one of those choices. The ruling clique in the National Party has clearly chosen to delve into the sewer and behave like sociopaths to keep themselves on top. Other parties – and indeed, others in National – would clearly make a different choice. The choice as to which ones get to run the place, and therefore how much of this toxic crap we have in our political system, that’s up to us.

I can’t stress that last point enough. We get to hold politicians accountable for their choices. And in 31 days, we’ll have a chance to do just that. So, if you reject National’s dirty politics, vote the fuckers out. And hopefully, whoever replaces them will get the message that this sort of shit just isn’t acceptable.


 

lprent: Mike Smith asked me to put this post up yesterday. Unfortunately I was helping to fix some late glitches at work so didn’t get a break to do it (and Mike will now earn himself some lessons in clipping posts 😈 ).  But I’d like to add my voice to this.

Over the years at The Standard we have been offered many opportunities to play it dirty. With the exception of a couple of incidents, we don’t. For instance see Steve Pierson’s post-mortem on the 3 posts that this site did on the H-Fee. An incident that John Key routinely lies about as he did on TV3 last night.

We don’t need to perform ritual obeisance to blogging fidelity in the way that David Farrar says he will. Our mistakes have been minor and usually rapidly corrected. That is what real blogging and politics is.  We just need to get rid of the sociopathic arseholes like Cameron Slater, Judith Collins, Jason Ede, and probably John Key who are more concerned with “winning” and their own interests than those of the country as a whole. They have been corrupting both the style of politics in NZ and the right blogs for quite some time.

30 comments on “NRT: Politics does not have to be dirty”

  1. fambo 1

    It was a relief to read No Right Turn after reading Chris’s column which left me a bit depressed

  2. Weepus beard 2

    Can’t understand why Chris Trotter feels the need to drag Labour back into the pit which they’re doing a reasonable job of staying out of.

    Does he do this just to flex his “I remember when,” muscles?

    • Tracey 2.1

      He is part of the what happens on tour stays on tour generation…. That generation thought that was ok, so they are morally tainted.

    • BM 2.2

      Probably because he knows Labour is balls deep in this whole affair.

      Vote positive, good one.

      • Weepus beard 2.2.1

        Lol. Conspiracy theorist. You might be surprised to learn that Apollo 11 did land on the moon.

        • BM 2.2.1.1

          It’s fairly obvious to anyone, which is why I don’t think it’s going to have quite the impact the left is hoping for.

          Like most people I seriously WTF’d when the vote positive campaign was announced, it was like “Who the fuck are they kidding!!!”,

          You can’t spend years throwing dirt, innuendo and proclaiming crisis after crisis then all of a sudden turn around and go “Labour vote positive”, it’s just too unbelievable for words.

          On it’s own, it’s ridiculous, but combine it in with the Nicky [Hager] book and all of a sudden it starts to make sense.

          • lprent 2.2.1.1.1

            Perhaps you could point to all of these incidents of “throwing dirt”

            Then compare it to targeting a public servant as leaking, and then leaking their personal details to make it easier for the nutters to target them…

            There is a hell of difference between opposition parties doing their job and holding the government and ministers accountable, and enabling a sociopathic arsehole who likes hurting people. That is what I see National doing.

          • tricledrown 2.2.1.1.2

            Bought Media
            3 days ago you were threatening the Blow back from Cameron Slater was going to bury the left!
            Now you are saying labour has been doing dirty trick’s
            This is all of your own making dragging others in trying to shift the blame,
            Shows you have been scripted from the very top!
            You have been paid to muddy the waters a pathetic guile!
            Bleak Muddier!
            Blandishing Manipulator!
            go back to your handlers and come up with something original!
            and stop being
            Boringly Monotonous!

      • TeWhareWhero 2.2.2

        Grow up BM. If you haven’t got anything intelligent to add to the debate do us a favour and stay shtum.

      • anker 2.2.3

        BM at 2.2. I was wondering where all the trolls were.

        So you admit there is something to be “deep in”………..in which case National are up to there necks. Positively (hopefully) drowning………….

        As yet your evidence Labour has any involvement? If they do and I very much doubt it at least Cunliffe will have the balls to deal with it. Key is looking very weak.

      • Tracey 2.2.4

        Working for NZ

        BM

        if you are not part of the right cohorts of paid interferers then i feel sorry for you.

        Fool BM once shame on National, fool BM over and over and over again, shame on BM

        • Alistair Connor 2.2.4.1

          Indeed. If he’s doing it for free, he’s getting ripped off. There’s clearly plenty of money to be made from right-wing hit jobs.

      • tricledrown 2.2.5

        Bought off Media desperately dirty!
        Broadcasting Muck raker!

    • anker 2.3

      I find Chris Trotter’s writing very unpredictable. It seems to me that he often takes a devil’s advocate stance, which doesn’t do any favours to the left.

      At times in his criticism of DC I have thought he has positively brought the msm spin line. My thoughts at the time were we have enough msm taking the right’s point of view, without what few left leaning journalists joining in.

      Sometimes he is right on the money though, so I still read him.

      In the case of his comments re dirty politics, I thought it was a very unhelpful article and only serves to deflect from what we are dealing with now!

  3. Tracey 3

    Chris’ blog disappointed me.

    His kind of view allows the slaters the collins the edes the keys the carrick grahams to rationalise and justify their behaviour and normalise it to voters.

    Slater is at it again today on stuff. Largely, i hope, to his detriment and those who support him.

    IF Mr Trotter has known about this kind of behaviour, expose it, whoever is doing it. Be part of a shift to reminding people politics can be clean.

    To those like Trotter i say, explain fitzsimmons and donald. Were they failures cos they did politics differently. If your answer is yes, make a dinner date with your kids, look them in the eyes, and tell them they can only succeed with no morals, cos that is what youxare saying.

    • Alistair Connor 3.1

      Thanks Tracey. Whenever there’s a chorus of “all politicians play dirty”, we should always remember Rod. Of course there are others, but at least nobody can deny it in his case.

    • Chris 3.2

      Trotter’s error is in not making the distinction between garden variety political filth, and the kind of evil filth the likes of Slater, Odgers, Key, Lusk, Williams, Collins, Farrar, Hooton et al engage in. Publishing Hager’s address so thugs know where to go? Blackmailing a leader over inappropriate text messages? Keeping tabs on opponents’ use of brothels? The OIA/Slater furore? This goes way further than the run of the mill filth Trotter’s trying smooth everything over with. This is very, very different and the media needs to get to grips with this. Wrong, Chris. You’re very bloody wrong.

  4. Ant 4

    With robust and democratic internal checks and balances in party structure that the Greens, Labour, and IMP all have (to varying extents), we can expect more from politicians.

    We know National have embraced running their party like a business, so they are a lost cause, but if Labour members carry on with pushing their internal reforms, privileging accountability and democracy, it can only be better for politics in NZ.

  5. disturbed 5

    Here’s what happens to those who delve into “Dirty Politics.”

    We do not want this please labour and the others.

    This “business as usual” must stop and we need to vote them out or face a looming catastrophe.

    Government, you as servants of the taxpayer must lead by example, or you will have caused society to collapse into chaos.

    “Nixon in the den”
    Transcribed from the following,
    History channel screening 19/8/14 release of the “Nixon in the den” – history
    hard transcribing it word for word unless you can add to it someone.

    (not all was exactly word for word)

    except the introduction called “Near the end in 1974”.

    Spot the similarities.?

    History channel screening 19/8/14 release of the Nixon history

    Nixon in the den. – History Channel Tuesday 19th August 2014. Excerpts

    1972-74.

    “I’m not a crook”. Nixon 30th July 1973 was described as someone who wouldn’t quit.

    “He couldn’t resign as it would be an admission of guilt”.

    “Near the end in 1974”.

    To save himself the president had had to sacrifice most of the Key Aid’s that had been at his side since the beginning.

    Alderman & Eichmann were forced out.

    And he was loosing all authority..

    Nixon constantly harried in press conferences, about the tapes the cover-ups, and even his personal finance.

    “People have got to know whether their President is a crook or not, “well I’m not a crook”

    Now the lone ranger really was alone.

    Forced to release the self incriminating tapes and face imminent conviction, Nixon finally resigned.

    In August 1974.

    He told his staff in a tearful rambling farewell,

    “Never be petty, always remember others may hate you,

    But those who hate you don’t win, unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself”

    The ultimate irony with his hate had become the adrenalin of the Nixon Presidency.

    The ambition & ruthlessness that had driven Nixon to the top had spiralled into a consuming rage and mistrust of others,

    That had indeed destroyed him.

    Nixon wasn’t the first President nor will he be the last to end his tenure compromised.

    The relentless pressures of office drilled down to the venerable heart of the incumbent..

    Exposed it to the media’s remorseless gaze.

    END OF “Near the end in 1974”.

    Background of Richard Nixon.

    Described as “He was also a warm liable guy”

    Frank his father was a violent father, and mother showed no love, as a cold person so Richard grew up as a withdrawn person always desperate for success.

    Gloomy guy he was coined as at university.

    Nixon wanted to always make decisions in private.

    He wanted to remain as a leader of the world.

    Henry Kissinger was saying he didn’t enjoy people.

    Like as an extravert in an introvert body.

    Hard work was his forte.

    Gloomy guy he was coined as at University.

    He devoured History books.

    Loved Abraham Lincoln.

    He imagined he was a philosopher President, and he wanted to Shape the world.

    Nixon developed a relationship with USSR & China.

    He believed an opening to China was the way forward.

    The world cannot be safe with China on the outside.

    Nixon would on his first day in white house was to handwrite a plan to rewrite the future of the world with China included.

    “Nixon had early on learnt dirty tactics to win his first Presidential win”.

    “He was ruthless, and loathed East Coast rich establishment.”

    “Nixon’s background was to get his way because as a child he was left out of life with others”. .

    Nixon hated the media. He was going to screw over the press when he got into power.

    As a governor of California, he left on bad terms.

    He planned to come back and was then a ruthless mover to call himself as a saviour of the silent majority, when the Vietnam war becoming unpopular.

    He began a campaign as a nice guy but behind the scenes he arm-twisted any one to get his way he was using shady tactics to win.

    As president he had to resolve Vietnam then get on with China and Russia.

    Nixon was the key to success in politics’

    He engineered a backchannel, a spy network.

    Nixon was upset Kissinger was getting the limelight.

    Nixon used Backchannel operations and covert operations on everything he did as an advantage.

    Bugging and recording everyone, he ordered high security operations in1972.

    He was always with a smile and a tough talker but soft on face

    Kissinger went to Russia and arms and trade deal becoming first to break the cold war.

    1972 Nixon won the election after Kissinger’s plan for Russian deal and Nixon was upset because Kissinger got the credit.

    Nixon got resentful and paranoid so Nixon taped all calls, and eventually got himself in trouble for this.

    Then Nixon’s obsession with spying on everyone got him caught when after the election, the results of a court case in Washington revelled some plumbers were convicted.

    Five men were caught trying to bug the opposition Democratic Political Party’s headquarters offices.

    Nixon in response to the Democratic Party H.Q. break-in news break Nixon dismissed it as “Overzealous people always overdo things during election time!”

    Nixon had actually tried to cover it up it up. The tapes they found did place him as part of the plot.

    He may not have known Watergate at the time of the election.

    His response when they found the incriminating tapes was “We’ll get them on the fields and crush them.”

    The beginning of Nixon’s paranoia with taping everything begun after Nixon was paranoid that everyone was out to get him so Nixon in June 1972 ordered a tightening of security and surveillance was part of this plan.

    He was fending off the impeachment enquiry that tied him to the tapes showing he was part of the plan to bug the Democratic party’s HQ..

    His advisors found that we found Nixon was running himself down and drinking heavily.

    A fighter he ploughed on, and sealed his own fate with his crime with his own tapes.

    Nixon 30th July 1973 was described as someone who wouldn’t quit.” He couldn’t resign as it would be an admission of guilt”.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    The line has shifted from “the left blogs are just the same” to the “the left blogs would do it if they could”. As an argument it is just about as weak as you can get.

  7. karol 7

    I was pleased to see NRT publish this response.

    Trotter just seems desperate to make copy and take a unique angle some times. Just a couple of days ago he wrote this.

  8. karol 8

    The Steve Pierson post is very interesting. Who was trying to spin the H-bomb story?

    • lprent 8.1

      It was odd. We had a author put up some material on the H-fee early in October in what should have been a guest post. The other authors looked at it and said that it didn’t look like anything useful and stopped the remaining posts in the “series”.

      In part that is a consequence of how we operate as a coop. Authors get a login and the right to write what they like. Admins can add authors if they want to. We check a bit more these days and I tend to hold whatever I feel is suspicious.

      Late that month the NZ Herald repeated the story. Tane, presuming that the NZ Herald had researched it further, wrote a post saying that maybe it has legs? By the following day it appeared that there was nothing new. Steve wrote a post saying the damn thing was dead,

      What motivated the NZ Herald to do a front page on something that we (as a lowly blog) had rejected as not relevant, and doing it just before the election – well I have my suspicions about why that happened….

  9. Paul G. Buchanan 9

    The stability of democracy is based on mutual contingent consent, not only between capitalists and workers but between opposing political factions. Mutual contingent consent requires that all actors accept mutual second best outcomes (that is, no gets their preferred outcome all of the time), something that is evident, for example, in compromises over wages and employment conditions at the bargaining table or in the lobbying of political parties over legislation. “Winning” is therefore temporary and tempered by the pursuit of self-limiting strategies in pursuit of the mutual second best. Otherwise the political game descends into zero-sum self-interested maximisation of collective opportunities. That is not democracy, even if there are those within the democratic system who adhere to such views.

    This is why Chris is wrong. He mistakes the venal pursuits of a political few for the general substance of democracy as a political form. The pursuit of dirty politics represents a fundamental corrosion of democratic principle and practice. It reflects a fundamental contempt for the foundational tenets of this type of governance. That this contempt is channeled into underhanded tactics by some does not undermine the core values upon which democracy rests and in fact serves to underscore what democracy is not. That the resort to dirty politics in NZ has at its core a group of people with pathological tendencies and profoundly disagreeable personalities is further proof that their style of play is not politics as usual.

    Chris may be a bit jaded by years of fighting the good fight in losing wars. He seems to given up all hope that politics can be played cleanly. But he and many others (including some on the Right) would not have fought, and continue to fight, if they did not think that there was a better way to do things in pursuit of a just society. Mr. Slater, Mr. Ede, Mr. Bhatnagar, Ms. Odgers, Judith Collins and John Key clearly do not, but that does not mean that democracy as a whole is reducible to their contemptible view of politics.

    • Tracey 9.1

      Plus 1 Paul

    • disturbed 9.2

      Paul Buchanan,

      What a brilliant piece, – that just blew our socks off thank you for that synopsis of what truly is properly the only path of politics.

      I am 70 yrs. old and always saw both principal parties anywhere I lived around this globe, engage together in collective efforts to pass legislation and plans to benefit the people for whom they surely represent.

      But during these last six years and before we have seen arrogance and a steady erosion of these values on which a sound democracy thrives. Thank you Paul.

    • tricledrown 9.3

      Paul some states in the US have anti corruption departments I think we need one here!
      But the weight has shifted markedly in favour of the globalized capitalists who have unlimited resources!
      Guardian UK show 5 eyes network is trying to usurp democracy!
      I think your dead wrong and Chris is right!
      You just have to look at the reporting on Ferguson in the US their is a Kiwi freelance journalist on the ground who is giving a completely different account of what mainstream media are reporting!
      To male disparaging remarks about Chris doesn’t do your argument any good!
      Chris is a very moderate commentator!

    • Saarbo 9.4

      Thank you Paul. I hope our politicians/politics/media et al all learn from Dirty Politics.

      Maybe Nicky Hagar will be nominated for New Zealander of the Year 2014, things still have a way to run before we see a shift in attitudes.

  10. disturbed 10

    Paul & Trickledrown,

    Trickledrown suggested – “Paul some states in the US have anti corruption departments I think we need one here!”

    TD is so right, I screamed out about this less the a week ago as my mate in Australia heard of this Nicky Hager book and called me and said post about the ICAC (Independent Commission against Corruption) in Australia which investigates corruption inside Government also.

    Apparently they have a big case against NSW Ministers on corruption charges this week!

    We need one seriously before we become the most corrupt country in the developed world.

    This current corrupted system is to big to fix with a corrupted Government.
    Investigating Corruption

    http://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/

    The ICAC has significant powers to investigate corrupt conduct involving or affecting the NSW public sector.

    This includes state government agencies, local government authorities, members of Parliament and the judiciary.

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