One of John Key’s first rebranding exercises after he took over the National Party was to dump Wayne Mapp from his position as PC Eradicator and try to distance the party from some of the more reactionary rhetoric that had become its stock-in-trade under Don Brash.
This makes a lot of sense from National’s perspective, because while constant bleating about political correctness running riot might rally the base, it’s somewhat harder to present a moderate face to swinging voters when your MPs are mouthing off about Maoris on the gravy train, attacking the Human Rights Commission and threatening to abolish the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
But on Tuesday both National Party insider David Farrar and our old mate David Bennett let the mask slip, with Farrar using the tried and trusted “PC gone mad!” to attack VUWSA on his blog, while Bennett pulled out the classic ”more PC nonsense from Labour” to criticise new rules covering agricultural contractors.
This is all rather low-level stuff, and given their recent performance there’s a good chance that Farrar and Bennett were both just horribly off-message. But it does beg the question of whether National is trying to quietly bring back its anti-PC rhetoric and, if so, for what purpose? Watch this space.