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Written By: - Date published: 11:29 am, August 5th, 2008 - 9 comments
Categories: assets, bill english, john key, national, privatisation, slippery - Tags:

After a stunning attack on John Key last night, Bill English is now reverting to more standard National techniques for handling ‘accidental frankness’. Initially, deny. When played a recording, claim not to remember it. When that doesn’t kill the story, claim to have ‘mis-spoken’. Finally, attack the source. It’s the same pattern we saw with Kate Wilkinson on Kiwisaver, Key on his “we would love to see wages drop” quote and we’ve seen in other Crosby/Textor run campaigns in the UK and Aussie.

English is now at stage three. He has put out a press releaseclaiming he chose his words poorly and did not mean to attack Key’s competence on TV1 last night (yeah, sometimes you just accidentally repeat four times that a policy is complicated and refuse to say your leader understands it).

I think what is important to remember that in the tape English is just talking to a few delegates at a normal National party function. This is a normal conversation for him and what he’s saying is nothing that is out of the ordinary in the view of himself or the audience. If he really doesn’t remember which specific conversation it was, its probably because he had a number along similar lines – reassuring delegates that National is still National, despite adopting an array of Labour policies for political reasons; letting the delegates know that this is still the National they joined and, once in power, would return to it’s normal agenda.

I titled the last post on this topic ‘Meltdown‘. English’s lame attempt to cover for his comments in the tape and last night on TV1 (and never forget he is National’s most politically-savvy and experienced MP, if his excuses are lame it is on purpose) reminded me of the concrete ‘sarcophagus’ the Soviets attempted to encase the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in after its meltdown. Hastily constructed, it has continued to leak radiation. Experts say its only a matter of time before it collapses releasing another toxic plume.

9 comments on “Sarcophagus ”

  1. outofbed 1

    Mr EnglishNational has had no discussions about Kiwibank and has no plans to sell it.
    Why haven’t they had discussions about Kiwibank
    Its the Govt owned bank with 600 000 customers seems strange not to talk about it
    Also Key at the conference underlined a promise about Super with a promise to resign Why ? Is this the measure we need to tell if they are telling the truth ? or else why say it?
    I’m not sure I believe anything they say now

  2. Of course they’ve had discussions about it – Enlgish would not be telling National delegates that it would be sold eventually if that wasn’t what he thought would happen based on internal discussions.

  3. Scribe 3

    Bill English is now reverting to more standard National techniques for handling ‘accidental frankness’. Initially, deny. When played a recording, claim not to remember it. When that doesn’t kill the story, claim to have ‘mis-spoken’.

    I think you’ll find those are standard political techniques that are used by people on both sides of the House. English is just moving through the stages more quickly than some others, who take days or weeks to even make a concession like “I chose my words poorly”.

  4. Scribe. When do you think he chose he words poorly?

    When he said they would ‘sort out’ WfF, when he said they didn’t want the campaign with families of four on the TV coplaining about losing their Wff, when he said ‘the punters’ think ‘that nice Mr Key’, or when he said Key didn’t get Kiwisaver? Or when he repeated that attack four times on TV last night?

  5. Felix 5

    He chose his words poorly when he said “That’s cool, I didn’t really want to be leader anyway” a few years back.

  6. Scribe 6


    English is the one saying he chose his words poorly (quoted as such on The Herald’s site). Not knowing the inner workings of the National Party, I can’t judge if they were poorly-chosen words or not.

    But I do hope the next government does do some analysis of WfF to see if it’s delivering money to the people who most need it. Some experts in this area, like the Child Poverty Action Group, say it’s not. They can help “sort out” the scheme.

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