National’s first dirty tricks operation of the 2011 election campaign has ended in an embarrassing own goal.
Cameron Slater claimed to have all sorts of “top secret political information” that he was going to “release”. In the end all that appeared was a boring set of meeting minutes that was about as politically explosive as play dough. Just as Eddie predicted it was all:
… one of his conspiracy theories -you know, the ones he runs every couple of months that never go anywhere.
Slater also had a list of individuals who had made donations to Labour. But once the IP records identified the National Party head office as the original source of the data access, the game changed suddenly. Slater’s repeated threats and deadlines came to nothing, as the thoroughly implicated Nats reigned in their pet blogger. Very wise decisions all round, neither Slater nor the Nats needed the legal liability that maliciously publishing a list of innocent private individuals would have incurred. So a grubby and amoral little operation ended in silence.
The other voice notably missing in action over the last few days has been the voice of DPF’s moral outrage. As the Nats’ primary blogger DPF was thoroughly “outraged” at the use of the Hollow Men emails (actively leaked by National insiders), and thoroughly “outraged” at the use of conversations recorded at the Nats’ 2008 conference, but strangely OK with (indeed encouraging of) the access of obviously confidential information on Labour servers. More than a few commenters at Kiwiblog (and Dimpost) have received very curt replies from DPF when pointing out his oddly selective sense of moral outrage. Between Slater and Farrar, if they ever make a movie of this affair, perhaps they can call it “The silence of the poodles”.
So fortunately on this occasion a National Party dirty tricks operation was nipped in the bud. The ineptitude of their head office (leaving their fingerprints all over the data access) meant that they couldn’t hide behind one of their blogging fronts as usual. But it’s just the beginning of the campaign, they’ll be back with more of the same. Because the last thing National wants is an election campaign focused on the issues.