You can always tell how desperate National has been hurt by a scandal by the ferocity of the counterattack that it and its allies respond with. Based on this it seems the Hager book has done a lot of damage. And it has done so by confirming as a myth the idea that the John Key persona, that kind affable leader who will not engage in politics as usual or dirty tricks and who will seek to build consensus and agreement, is nothing more than a Crosby Textor designed construct.
The response has been multi faceted. Obviously staffers started to load social media with suggestions that Labour was just as bad and this was just politics as usual, even though Key promised a different way. This particular comment by someone called Mark posted at 1 am the day after the book was released attracted my attention, not only for the lateness of the comment but as an example of one part of the counterattack. To equate the Standard with Slater’s hate filled website is ludicrous. Posts are policy and not personality driven and the only time personalities are involved is when there is a political angle to the story.
For the record I blog under my own steam. My posts are often as Green friendly as Labour friendly. They are not part of some cunning political media strategy. The Standard site survives on the good will of a number of dedicated and unpaid people. No Fonterra or Big Tobacco or any other sort of money is used in the writing of posts.
Other responses from the right include a rather strange attempt by David Farrar to gain sympathy (I won’t link) and the hauling out of the right wing media mouthpieces to claim that there is nothing in the book and it is much ado about nothing. I wonder if any of them have actually read the book.
Slater continues to try and present a world view where everything he has done has been legal but everything done against him is part of an illegal conspiracy. Such complete and utter confidence in oneself is jaw droopingly spectacular.
TV3 have done the country a favour by posting a 20 minute video of Key responding to questions about the book. The content is fascinating. I challenge Standarnistas to fact check everything that Key says because there seems to be a number of holes and Key should be called to account for this. I’m thinking about BLiP in particular.
What is even more interesting is his body language. I have never seen or heard John Key sound so sick. And there is an intensity in the mood of the reporters perhaps caused by a dawning collective sense that Key is not being straight with them.
We live in very interesting times. The reverberations from Hager’s book are going to continue for a while.