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Tranzrail eyes

Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, October 17th, 2008 - 23 comments
Categories: election 2008, john key, maori party, national, slippery - Tags:

It’s possible to win a battle but, in doing so, lose the war.

Like most commentators, I thought Key came off best from the debate on Tuesday. It was a good format for him to parrot his lines, all he had to do is deliver them well. As he said himself, 2 years of training from Crosby/Textor has turned him into a reasonable speaker when he is on script. And the PM was below her best.

But, like the general who throws his reserves in to win a battle leaving nothing to defend the counter-attack, Key’s debate performance left him dangerously exposed. His weak, vacillating response to the question of whether for not he had made private promises to the Maori Party on dropping his party’s Maori seats policy pricked up the ears of every news hound in the country. Clearly, there was a truth he wanted to avoid telling. Instead, he went with what seem to be his first instincts when caught out – try to obscure the issue in technicality (he repeatedly said there was no ‘formal’ agreement) and tell the lie that he thinks his audience wants to hear.

Problem is, Pita Sharples and his party are adamant the promise has been made. The result has been disastrous. He has been revealed to Maori as a double-dealer; another Pakeha willing to butter them up while promising his own people anti-Maori policies. To the people whom his Maori seat policy is meant to dog-whistle he looks like he’s all talk; what’s the point in a bigot voting for someone who is then going to turn around and work with the Maori and isn’t serious about his anti-Maori policies? To everyone else, Key is revealed once again to be untrustworthy; he stood in front of a million of us on Tuesday and lied through his teeth. No candidate for Prime Minister that I can think of has ever lied to the people on camera so often and been caught out on it. Ashcroft, Tranzrail, the Maori seats, Kiwisaver, Kiwibank… all those images of him with what Audrey Young calls his ‘Tranzrail eyes’, that spark of fear when he realises his lie is sprung.

Being caught out in all those lies, the constant slippierness, not only brings into question his trustworthiness as a leader it undermines everything he says. For instance, in his blog today, Key has a cry over some Labour protestors doing a skit of him auctioning off Kiwi assets. He insists he wouldn’t do sell them but he has been caught out in so many other lies that a denial isn’t credible. What might otherwise be an ineffectual topic of protest actually resonates.

Sure, Key won the debate but the image from that debate of his ‘Tranzrail eyes’ may end up being the iconic image of his defeat.

23 comments on “Tranzrail eyes”

  1. Felix 1

    From Key’s blog:
    “One sure way of being only a one-term Government is by breaking your word, and I have no intention of breaking my word.”

    Yeah John, but which word?

  2. randal 2

    I would not say Key “WON” the debate. Just because natoinal had their troops organised to phone in does not mean they won. who won was TV! who put on a circus that was piss poor basically and now think they are pretty good because it was such a disorganised freak show. If this is the best that they can do then it is time the whole structure of TV! was examined and rectified. It is just not good enough that the issues of the day are presented in this manner by incompetents and boobies looking to fill up their skite reels with crap.

  3. gobsmacked 3

    Responding to the protest is really dumb. Who’s advising this guy?

    Basic, basic rule of campaigning: don’t give a platform to your critics, don’t give their efforts an impact they hadn’t had. Few people knew about some fringe protest by a few students in Dunedin, fewer still would have cared what it was about. Now they know.

    This is dumb too:

    “One sure way of being only a one-term Government is by breaking your word, and I have no intention of breaking my word.”

    Therefore, Key is saying that from 1999 to 2005, Helen Clark kept her word. That’s very generous of him!

  4. Matthew Pilott 4

    “Tranzrail eyes” Cue no.8wire doing the John Key is lying video to Kim Carnes… That would actually work really well (except it’s about a ‘she’)…

  5. ak 5

    MUSICAL INTERLUDE: TRIBUTE MEDLEY

    You caint hiiiide……them lying eyes…..
    And your smiiiiiiiile, caint disguise…..
    Thought by nowwww….. you’d realise….
    You caint hiiiiide…..them TransRail eyes…..

    Tories in the sky-eye with di-a-monds…..
    oooooooooo……..oooooooooo…….
    The man with Key-lied-a-scope eyes………

    Help! They need somebody!

    I read the news today, oh boyyyyyy………

  6. Tara 6

    Key “won” the TV debate ?

    I scored it as a draw. They’d not debated previously (AFAIK) and it was the first head to head debate in a longer campaign .. with a global crisis in the background.

    The next one will be interesting.

  7. Ianmac 7

    Tara:”Key “won’ the TV debate ?
    I scored it as a draw. ”
    Me too but I think the reason was that whenever John was on the defence he shouted over the top, thus hiding Helen’s words. Therefore the few times that Helen did have important points to make, they were lost. If she can be heard on important points next time…..
    I have noticed that when Key lies he either flickers his eyelids as the false words come out (tranzrail eyes!! HA), or he laughs as though the point is totally unimportant. (Wot does a money trader actually do? Is it like poker?)

  8. milo 8

    gobsmacked: That is a fallacy, and commits the logical error of affirming the antecedent.

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    “Wot does a money trader actually do? Is it like poker?”

    It’s often more like pass the parcel in a Baghdad market.

  10. “As he said himself, 2 years of training from Crosby/Textor has turned him into a reasonable speaker when he is on script. And the PM was below her best.”

    When exactly did he say that Steve?

  11. rave 11

    Key doesnt have to sell assets when he can milk them with PPPs.
    Bit like big oil in Iraq milking oil.

    Meltdown man with the milkme eyes.

  12. James 12

    Seeing Key in Dunedin confirmed everything negative you hear about him and the impression you get from the Tranzrail episode. When he was walking past i called out saying ‘50,000 or 100,000’, he just shrugged at me. My mate asked about the ‘wages drop’ quote and he just smirked.
    When walking through the airport he did not interact with any of the public in the terminal, no shaking hands or waving as the media suggest he does all the time.
    No one seemed interested in him either, with most people whispering, asking themselves if that was John Key.

  13. randal 13

    PB read LIARS POKER by Michael Lewis to find out what money traders do. Basically they are betting with other peoples money. their mates get the best odds and the rest get to pay off the bets. Dont forget. LIARS POKER.

  14. milo, That is a fallacy, and commits the logical error of affirming the antecedent.

    If I didna kno you better I’d say that wasna very nice.. for instance ante called me up and asked WTH was calling her cedented..

  15. Anita 15

    James,

    When walking through the airport he did not interact with any of the public in the terminal, no shaking hands or waving as the media suggest he does all the time. No one seemed interested in him either, with most people whispering, asking themselves if that was John Key.

    Yeah, I saw him in Wellington airport and shared a flight with him a couple of weeks ago and was amazed by just how lacking in presence he was. The adviser travelling with him stood out more and was better at eye contact and smiling (and he wasn’t great either).

    I guess he has the ability to turn on charisma/presence, or maybe just to have it constructed for the camera.

    Has anyone here seen him speak in person? Does he get the spark right?

  16. Phil 16

    When he was walking past i called out saying ‘50,000 or 100,000′, he just shrugged at me.

    Yeah, I’ve often found the best way to get a response from someone is to yell/call-out at them when I walk past…

  17. Anita 17

    Phil,

    Men have been doing it to women for centuries; clearly it must work.

  18. exbrethren 18

    Anita,
    Has anyone here seen him speak in person? Does he get the spark right?

    I know someone that saw Key speak at a recent conference (Bragato?) and swears that he made a weird lisping / hissing noise at the end of most sentences. Maybe he was drunk that night or it doesn’t get broadcast for the masses.

    I remember a Steve Braunias article where he said that Key was the most uninspiring speaker he could remember. Also said he reminded him of Nixon.

  19. Phil 19

    Anita,

    Men have been doing it to women for centuries; clearly it must work

    It’s called the “shot-gun” approach. It should really be considered the predecessor to email spam.

    Has anyone here seen him speak in person? Does he get the spark right?

    As a stand-alone speaker, he’s no MLK. However, is Helen? Some fan-boy’s from around here might fawn over her every word, but lets be realistic about who/what we are comparing in terms of ‘charisma’.

  20. Gnomic 20

    Does John Key have charisma? Having seen him speak at a National Party meeting prior to the 2005 election, I thought he was entirely charisma-free. I was struck by how banal his presentation was, in fact since then I call him No-New-Ideas Key. In the 1980s I saw Muldoon at a public meeting, and no matter what one thinks of Muldoon he undeniably had presence. Key was a glib nonentity by comparison. One wonders what NZ’s last socialist would have made of him. In one interview Key said Muldoon was his political inspiration, though I have since seen other articles in which Rob was not mentioned in this light. However it is clear that Key changes as the wind blows.

    On reflection I may be doing the would-be Prime Minister an injustice. He did have an idea I haven’t heard proposed elsewhere. When one of the party faithful asked him what new economic directions NZ could take, Key suggested that mining in national parks could be an option. Is this part of the secret agenda? I think we should be told.

  21. Pascal's bookie 21

    In one interview Key said Muldoon was his political inspiration,…

    Some journo should really ask him what he meant by that. Was it the bullying?

    He did have an idea I haven’t heard proposed elsewhere.

    “I love to see [Australian?] wages drop”

  22. lprent 22

    Gnomic: Cool name esp since I’m on Gnome at present

    In the 1980s I saw Muldoon at a public meeting, and no matter what one thinks of Muldoon he undeniably had presence

    Oh yeah. Listen to him in a meeting and you started to wonder about your whole world picture and want to drift back into the mythic past

    Phil: it is a strange thing. I’ve listened to Helen for many years because I usually live in her electorate. She is compelling in halls with a couple of hundred people, and charismatic in small groups. I frequently have to spend quite an effort in thinking about code to keep my usual levels of centre-right cynicism intact.

  23. Gnomic 23

    Using Gnomic did come in part from using Gnome 🙂 Somehow always liked the Gnome approach more than KDE, though the latest iteration of the latter has some merits, I had a run with the live version of the Turkish distro Pardus lately which was the first time KDE4 proved usable for me. Of late I have been having a dalliance with the Mint XFCE version. There is a new contender, LXDE, which can be found on a live version of Arch Linux. See http://arch-live.blogspot.com/, or the rather garish http://arch-live.co.nr/ which some enthusiast has created (caveat – irrelevant pop-up ad window).

    However, enough of that. I would really like someone to ask the shifty one about his views on mineral exploitation in national parks. He suggested there was wealth locked up in the hills, and mining wouldn’t do much harm really. Anyone know someone who could ask the question, preferably in some public forum?

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