In the Herald today, Bill Ralston sticks up for poor John Key who has been the subject of
personal political attacks recently. Like Key, Ralston wonders what is “the cost of the Government using countless bureaucrats to endlessly scour records in an attempt to discover inconsistencies in any utterance [Key has] made”.
Ralston needs to stop parroting Key’s lines and think for a moment. Does he really believe there are “countless bureaucrats” tasked with trolling everything Key says? Of course there aren’t. In reality, you couldn’t keep any large number of people occupied looking at Key’s statements for inconsistencies: he doesn’t say much and when he does speak he usually sign-posts the lies and contradictions for you by starting to um and ah, a classic sign of a mind ill at ease. And, of course, it’s not “bureaucrats” who find Key’s stuff-ups it’s Labour’s research unit (which I understand is fewer than half a dozen people and does much more beside look at Key’s words), journalists, if they can be bothered keeping track of things, and bloggers.
I suspect that when others find inconsistencies, contradictions, and lies in what Key says they do it the same way I do: not by endlessly trawling the records but by relying on their own memory and political knowledge. For example, last week when we discussed DPB numbers I had a vague recollection of Key saying something about women ‘breeding for money’ or something equally as stupid. A few minutes on google later and I had found the quote “breeding for a business“. When Key lies and says New Zealand is growing slower than Australia, I remember looking at Reserve Bank statistics that prove the opposite is true, and can make a post accordingly. When Key said he would “love to see wages drop“, we knew that he was just saying what any business first/people second politician quietly believes. When Key lied about what was said we contacted people close to the story to get the truth. Showing Key as the slippery fellow he is child’s play. And it needs to be done. The man wants to be Prime Minster of New Zealand. Choosing him would be a major decision and his credentials for the job need to be examined, even if Ralston just wants to roll out the red carpet.
So, Ralston is wrong on both counts: the attacks are not personal and they don’t require a lot of work. In fact, Key is such a slippery figure that all you have to do is pay a bit of attention and the lies leap out at you. Sorry, Bill, that’s called journalism. You should try it sometime.