- Date published:
9:24 am, June 20th, 2014 - 24 comments
Categories: bill english, david cunliffe, election 2014, john key, national, same old national - Tags: Donghua Liu, michael woodhouse, polity, UN security council
Rob Salmond at Polity offers this advice to the National smear team.
As the confusion settles this week, it has become clear that the Beehive was central in enlarging and promoting the Cunliffe / Liu letter story.
National certainly knew about it well before anyone else, and were gloating about it on online forums over the past weekend. I’m betting National also had a hand in cajoling reporters to ask very particular questions of Cunliffe just hours before the incriminating OIA would be released.
And, to be blunt, there’s nothing really wrong with that.
We on the left blogs would jump to congratulate Labour MPs who goad Ministers into misleading the public. Think Robertson on Collins, for example. Given that, we can’t really cry foul when National does the same thing to us, at least if we care at all about our ethical consistency.1
Be a little slow, be a little late
Having said that, I have some advice for National. If you are going to orchestrate a smear against your opponent, but hope to fade into the background while the smear unfolds, it really pays to have your cover-up stories straight. Did you ever hear about Labour’s role in forcing [redacted] of the [redacted] party to resign back in [redacted]? No, I bet you didn’t.
When you screw up and start contradicting each other’s stories, you look like a pack of low-rent numpties. And it reveals your tactics for all to see, which is what you were trying to avoid in the first place.
It is bad enough that we had the Deputy Prime Minister intoning shock and surprise, just as the Prime Minister is gloating that he’s known about the letter for weeks. But yesterday we saw the added spectacle of Michael Woodhouse changing his mind within hours about when he first saw the letter, and what he did with it.
And, with that Inspector-Clouseau style caper going on in the background, John Key wants to climb onto the Security Council! Good luck with that. If they can’t pull off a decent smear when they’re in charge of all the information domestically, imagine how clumsy and counterproductive they would be when negotiating with the P5.