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The view from Southland

Written By: - Date published: 9:23 am, June 29th, 2017 - 41 comments
Categories: bill english, Ethics, useless - Tags: , , , ,

A Southland Times editorial has a pretty blunt assessment of the PM:

English wasn’t there for us

In what he has done and in what he has failed to do, English has himself become a party to the deception of the public.

For months Todd Barclay was publicly insisting he had no involvement in, nor knowledge of, any covert taping of his Clutha-Southland electorate agent, and antagonist, Glenys Dickson. Yet by English’s own account Barclay had told him about the presence of such tapes, and even made a rebuffed offer to give him a listen.

So from English’s perspective either he or we were being sorely misled, for a long period. His reaction was not to make the MP come clean with the truth. Nor, by his account, to find out what the truth was.

Apparently that would have been wildly inappropriate, even after English was elevated from Finance Minister to Prime Minister. Because, see, this was just part of a “complicated employment dispute” in which he had no business meddling.

Which is rubbish. As is English’s initial assertion, when questioned by the media, that he couldn’t remember who it was who had told him about the tape. This claim does violence to common sense.

Even now English emphasises that, even though Barclay told him the tape exists, he doesn’t know for sure whether it does. Such is the Prime Minister’s view of the trustworthiness of an MP who, had this not blown up, he would have been willing to see remain in public office.

But politics is not a game in which bluffing and misdirection are to be placidly accepted as tactical necessities. Especially when straightforwardness is such an important part of your brand. It’s a brand English himself has perceptibly debased.

Bill English has even lost his own heartland.

41 comments on “The view from Southland ”

  1. roy cartland 1

    And yet it’s always just rot within the party isn’t it, never the Party itself.

    • That’s right, Roy, like farmers blaming the “cowboys in the industry” for effluent spills, rather than the industry itself. It’s an old, old blame-shifting, responsibility-denying, reality-avoiding ploy.

      • bwaghorn 1.1.1

        is that same as maori blaming white people for their ills?,

        • weka

          only if you think the cowboys colonised the rest of the farmers, stole their land, suppressed their culture, and forced them to assimilate into a different world view and way of living.

          hmm, did I just describe Federated Farmers?

          • greywarshark

            No b waghorn it’s the same as farmers blaming the townies sewage spills in certain places for a nationwide rort that farmers – in general – are enabled to get away with.

            Maori are caught up in the whole nation culture, and are oppressed by it. Farmers are part of the culture and have been upraised by it, and the culture has been changed to suit them.

            Maori have been busy trying to regain some of their resources that the farmers sequestered long ago and threw Maori off their land and imprisoned them. Similar to the Highland Clearances where the people were left to catch cold starve be homeless or be settled on the coast where storms would lash their front doors etc. and they were expected to live off farming kelp but the market wasn’t big enough to support all the crofters who needed it. Many of them came to NZ and were part of the push to push Maori off land. Like a nasty tide that rolls around the world.

            So those are a few more thoughts to add to the ones that people have of Maori and their difficulties. And I haven’t even referred to the closing down of businesses in favour of importing all our needs where we once would have had employment and respect and wages in the pocket and the community.

          • Tricledrown


          • bwaghorn

            ”hmm, did I just describe Federated Farmers?”

            more likely the banks

        • Robert Guyton

          I don’t think so, bwaghorn; it’s more like choosing a scapegoat from among one’s own, rather than blaming another “tribe”.

        • marty mars

          Why go there daggy why introduce Māori into your argument – are you a wanker?

          • bwaghorn

            on occasion yes, but it was to highlight the obsessive nature of the likes of R G s attacks on farmers , it’s almost a quasi racism .
            I mean what part of the post was about dairy farming ffs?

            also if you want to get something noticed here you need to go nuclear at times. sorry for the offence

            • Robert Guyton

              “quasi racism” to use an example from the everyday world?
              Curious interpretation, bwaghorn. Farming is a dominant culture in New Zealand – you feel we shouldn’t use as a measure it to describe other behaviours?
              Oddly defensive position you have there.

              • weka

                Although within farming there are different power structures. Can’t compare the corporate owner of a large farm with a life style block farmer nor again with a farm worker.

            • marty mars

              Mate you just did a Hone â˜ș all good

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    But politics is not a game in which bluffing and misdirection are to be placidly accepted as tactical necessities.

    But that is how National treat it. Lies and misdirection are their normal MO as can be seen from the list of their documented lies.

  3. Heather Grimwood 3

    I applaud the courage of the editor of the ‘Southland Times’.

  4. The Southland Times editorials are sometimes provided from outside of the region through the Fairfax network. Local stories though, like this one, are most likely to have been penned in-house. Michael Fallow used to write witty, perceptive editorials, though no author is ever cited, but he’s working “on other things” now, I believe. The editor of the Southland Times is Natasha Hollands, a Southlander raised in Winton, I think. Most of her friends will be Southlanders, I imagine.

    • Heather Grimwood 4.1

      To Robert at 4: thanks for informing that Editor of Southland Times is a woman. I had fey feeling that was written by a woman!

      • “fey feeling”, Heather? That’s lovely!

        • Heather Grimwood

          to Robert at 4.1.1 : Ah yes..some of us witches have an inbuilt sixth sense. My Celtic ancestors used term being ‘fey’ …today we’d use having ‘vibes’. None of these realities should ever be ignored! ( off topic I guess)

          • Robert Guyton

            Off topic? Not at all. Funny though, “some of us witches…”
            Haven’t you all? In fact,haven’t we all?
            In any case, great sub-thread. I’m all ears, like a hare 🙂

    • Dang! Wrong again – must give up commenting from the hip. Michael Fallow still writes witty, perceptive editorials and I’m thanking my lucky stars for that. Natasha’s last name, note to self, is Holland, not Hollands. It’s the hair-shirt for me. Two days should do it. That, or ask Bill about Hail Mary’s and if he can contract those out, though he must have his on spin cycle, full speed at the moment. Perhaps when things calm down and Bill’s back on the farm. 🙂

  5. McFlock 5

    This claim does violence to common sense.

    And that line is pretty cool. Probably lifted from that plonker Dawkins, but goes back to at least an 1838 speech in New Hampshire House of Representatives. Still bloody good, though.

  6. Karen 6

    “In what he has done and in what he has failed to do, English has himself become a party to the deception of the public.”

    This is really interesting and very subtle. Practising Catholics (like Bill ) will know the words “in what he has done and in what he has failed to do” very well as they are part of the confiteor and said as part of mass every Sunday.

  7. Grafton Gully 7

    So English has debased the “straightforwardness brand”. So fucking what ? When did straightforwardness matter to the slime that run National ?

  8. Graeme 8

    Poll on the webpage of our local weekly in Queenstown, Mountain Scene http://www.scene.co.nz

    “Will the Todd Barclay scandal change your vote in the election?”

    Last I looked when posting this, 53% Yes and rising, was 50% at 6pm

  9. greywarshark 10

    I like this bit:

    And it’s whispered that soon, if we all call the tune,
    Then the piper will lead us to reason.
    And a new day will dawn for those who stand long,
    And the forests will echo with laughter.

    Thanks AZ Lyrics.

    The last bit with Robert G in mind.

    • left_forward 10.1

      and appropriately,

      “Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run. There’s still time to change the road you’re on.”

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