Just had a read of Colin Espiner’s latest opinion piece. He certainly doesn’t pull any punches. Here’s what he has to say about the EFB:
But despite attempts by Labour to patch up the worst of the bill’s flaws, it remains a shoddy piece of legislation that should be consigned to the dustbin.
And, in the interests of balance, here’s what he had to say about the Nats:
There can be no doubt that National is every bit as motivated by self-interest as Labour over the bill. While the Opposition in public keeps its comments focused on the impact on legitimate public debate, it is deeply concerned its ability to campaign will be constrained by this legislation.
So far so ordinary but then…
There is also no doubt that the debate has been effectively hijacked by Right-wing supporters of National such as David Farrar and John Boscawen, who have even appeared in the media as “independent” commentators, despite one being National’s Wellington Central campaign manager and the other an Act Party fundraiser.
Excuse me? Did I read that right? “hijacked by Right-wing supporters of National such as David Farrar and John Boscawen”?? But this was a grassroots uprising wasn’t it? It’s not about partisan politics or big money at all. Surely?
I’d thought the tide was turning for these astroturfers after nearly every media story covering last Saturday’s march mentioned how much money they’d pumped into it but to have it called by a senior political commentator is pleasing indeed. The anti-EFB campaign has hurt Labour. There’s little doubt about that but for DPF it’s been a Kamikaze run in terms of his credibility and his usefulness. Oh, he’s trying to inoculate it with the old “Aw shucks they just asked me what I thought and I told them” angle but given DPF’s work at National’s HQ and his years working for them in Parliament nobody but the blindest KB disciple would believe that. And it looks like the media has rumbled him.
It all reminds me of something an old hand in this game once told me, “backroom boys should stay in the backroom”. There’s a lot of slight of hand in politics. Always has been, always will be. Nearly every political story you read or view has been orchestrated by someone in the background – it’s all about tactical leaking, running lines and generally shaping the discourse and one of the things about being a backroom “boy” is you never get the credit for it publicly. But if you let your vanity get the better of you and step out into the media spotlight you’re marked. People know you as the face of a single issue or political position and bring that idea of you to everything you’re involved with. And that means you’re a one-trick pony and your value as an operator is shot. Who knows whether that’s fair or not, but DPF is learning about it now.