Taking responsibility, a trait of government

Written By: - Date published: 9:52 pm, December 7th, 2008 - 13 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags: ,

I was looking back at posts from last year to get some idea of traffic patterns over the December period. I found this interesting post from Tane titled Personal responsibility. It made me think of the poor performance of the National-led government over the last couple of weeks as a government.

Tane’s post was about John Key getting pretty slippery about some topics that were current at the time – he was making rather dirty personal attacks against Darren Hughes and Helen Clark. Then when Micheal Cullen pulled him up on it (describing JK as a scumbag and a rich prick), JK tried to slide away to being a clean politician by attacking the accuser (as mandated by the Crosby-Textor playbook). It does show an interesting pattern of behavior that seems to becoming prevalent by the opposition government over the last couple of weeks.

Tane said

When challenged by Cullen over his scumbag behaviour, Key fled for cover by blaming something he thought he’d read in the Independent, then complained that Cullen hates rich people.

We’re starting to see a pattern here.

It’s always someone else’s fault with John Key. ‘I thought I read that in the paper” ‘It was the production company’s fault” ‘I was technically right.” “I was answering a different question.” “I’ve always believed in climate change.”

Is this man capable of taking personal responsibility for anything?

Ok, so that was in opposition. It now looks like the personal trait has now become the trait of the opposition becoming government.

Over the past few weeks, John Key’s government has seemed to use exactly the same kinds of excuses about ACC, extracting people from Thailand, air-force 757’s1, brownlee and the light, and why they are planning on capping Housing NZ’s housing stock2.

Is this government capable of taking responsibility for anything, without dithering or saying it is the fault of someone else? It appears that we have a opposition that hasn’t realised to perform as a government, you have to take responsibility. When are they going to become a operational government?

1: I haven’t seen a good post on the excuses blaming 757 maintenance for Key/McCully dithering3.
2: Heatley sounds like a total dork on the RadioNZ interview. I don’t think I’ve seen a good blog post on the change in Housing policy yet either3
3: Actually there seems to have been so much of this responsibility shifting, the bloggers appear to have a problem keeping up.

13 comments on “Taking responsibility, a trait of government”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Corporate Surfing Rules

    Rule #1:

    Steal all credit for anything good that happens; blame someone else for everything bad of consequence.

    Rule #2:

    Occasionally do a limited hangout for something minor and forgiveable to make the operation of Rule #1 less obvious.

  2. Look – you don’t understand John’s not slippery – he just likes to please people… No hold on, didn’t the person who wrote that end up working in his office??? I take it back…

  3. Ari 3

    He could try saying “The buck stops here.”, but that’d probably just convince people he was cancelling their tax cuts 😉

  4. Mr Magoo 4

    Ari: That would be silly.

    The buck already stopped there, that is why he is a multi-millionare.

    Sorry, I could not resist.

    I agree with the fundamental principle here. Leadership is primarily about taking responsibility. That is for making decisions, consequences of those decisions AND (whether you like it or not) the actions of those you lead.

    I would not worry that John might “get away” with this sort of behaviour should it persist – which it might not. Once the honeymoon is over, the marriage will have to be based on reality as nothing else works long term.

  5. John Key’s leadership vocabulary: “well yep, I think so…”, “awww look probably…”, “its yet to be seen…”, “Im confident that…”, “well you would think so…”, “its my personal view…”, “We are obviously considering all of our options…”, “we are likely to…”

    I mean come on, does this guy actually commit to anything?!

  6. tracey 6

    I watched him on Breakfast this monring and he still speaks as someone who is i n Opposition.

  7. tracey 7

    Clark was made responsible for a leader of a different party, I think the least we can expect from Key is responsibility for himslef and his own party??

  8. Phil 8

    he was making rather dirty personal attacks against Darren Hughes and Helen Clark.

    Cunningly, you didn’t link back to that thread – it’s the one about ‘the son never had’, right?

    For those of you that don’t remember, the collective shock and disgust of the left got thoroughly b*tch-slapped back to reality – it’s a joke Darren himself made, or at least repeated in good humour, on national television.

    [lprent: I already had far too many links in the post. You’ll probably find the link in the post I was referring to. However that wasn’t the point of my post. I was looking at a government that still hasn’t transitioned from opposition. I find it worrying because the global environs are unlikely to be good for ditherers or unconsidered actions. ]

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    Given that Obama has joked about himself being a mongrel, then that makes it cool for Republicans to break out the ‘half breed’ ‘jokes’ (?)

  10. Akldnut 10

    Phil: re your post above – I draw a comparison to my friends or family relating to each other as niggers when we are all together – highly acceptable in the terms that it is used. But anyone else using it derogatorily (new word made by me) or as an off the cuff “smart arse comment” , would be in for a shit fight or verbal dressing down at the very least! IMO an acceptable reaction!!!

  11. QoT 11

    Well, obviously, PB. Because what the rightwing understands is that the humour value and acceptability of a joke is in no way affected by context or the intention of the joker (or twisting a previous joke into a personal attack with the explicit purpose of saying “it’s just a joke” in one’s own defence).

  12. Mr Magoo 12

    Any use of the N-bomb or such terms used to make me uncomfortable, even when people were using it to refer to themselves.

    I came to the realisation that one of the best mechanisms for destroying a bad word is to use it yourself and thus change its meaning – at least in certain contexts.

    Nigger used to mean a slave, repressed black person etc etc etc.

    Now rap has turned it into a familial reference. Takes the sting out of it and sort of rubs the word in the faces of those that would use it against them.

    A side benefit is to remove repression of such concepts and helps puts them back in the public arena. Always a good thing IMO.

    In relation to the example mentioned, Darren was most likely using the joke as a light-hearted way to cover an otherwise dark event. That does not give others a moral mandate to use a nasty, similar joke to degrade himself!?

  13. After Nationals carry on about section 59 could they honestly ever take a position of principle over populism? (though I guess its beside the point really, I probably should be asking would they ever.)

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