The doyens at the Herald got their (no doubt large and sensible) knickers in a twist the other day about Labour’s attacks on John Key claiming Labour needs to focus on the big issues.
The same day Key had a wee whinge about the opposition focusing on trivia.
Now you could be forgiven for asking whether there was some irony in this missive coming from the same paper that regularly prints celebratory gossip stories and beat ups about Hone Harawira and his extended family.
But that would be mean.
A better question to ask is why would the opposition focus only on the big complicated economic questions when the government gets away with not fronting on them.
As an example, the same day the Herald ran that wee editorial John Campbell spent two minutes of his show describing how the Prime Minister had refused to front on the economy again. And that he had only fronted four times in the last year. Two of which were about the earthquake.
Similarly the next day morning report ran a story about the upcoming budget. Their talent? Cunliffe and Brash. That’s right – the finance minister didn’t front (and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard Geoff or Simon use the phrase “the prime minister was not available for comment”).
But a story about BMW deals and National Party donations? Well that gets met with an immediate media release from John Key.
Y’see the thing is you have to fight the ground you get when you’re opposition and this government has repeatedly refused to address the big issues.
To be honest I don’t think they could do it even if they wanted to – just look at Key’s abysmal performance on the big issues on the BBC’s Hardtalk.
Frankly until they show they can front on the economy, on unemployment, on their lack of any real plan, on their failure to do anything but photo ops and dirty politics this government has no authority to whinge about being attacked on “trivia”* at all. By running a strategy of avoiding the real issues and depending on shallow controlled photo op politics the Nats have made their own bed.
But it’s pitiful to see them complaining about having to lie in it.
* I’d also point out that the “trivia” that they are being attacked on is certainly not politically trivial as it goes to the heart of what their worldview is. And it certainly isn’t a worldview predicated on Kiwi egalitarianism.