Written By: - Date published: 11:05 am, September 6th, 2014 - 139 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, election 2014, john key, labour, Media, national, newspapers, same old national, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
Two weeks to go in the country’s most interesting election campaign for a while.
Recent polls suggest that National’s slide has been halted. I do not accept that this necessarily is the reality because the polls are all over the place and I believe that the polling methods used are becoming increasingly unstable as more and more people get rid of landlines. In the last few days we have had polls suggesting that National’s support is anywhere between 45% and 54%. Also the on the ground feeling is way better than previously. And there is a surge in early voting way above the previous election which is at odds with the claims that the election is all over.
It may be that Key has temporarily halted National’s slide by getting rid of Collins. Some kiwis like this sort of “strong leadership”. Often such action is met with approval. But generally after a temporary relief the underlying trend continues.
Again according to the polls Labour is marooned and is faced with a campaign which is being starved of airtime and also having to deal with a targeted National assault on the prospects of a left coalition. National is betting that this particular framing will make timid centrist voters stick to National rather than face the prospect of a reasonably left government being elected. Time will tell if National is correct. Although I still believe that the corrosive effect of Dirty Politics will continue and more and more people will decide that business as usual under this government should end.
One adverse effect of Dirty Politics is that so far this election has been relatively policy free. National has announced some policy, generally involving a modest amount of money being spent over an extended period attached to a slogan. Labour has screeds of policy. The contrast is startling.
Some media commentators are making unusual claims. After a series of articles attacking dirty politics John Armstrong has had a bit of a relapse and claimed that David Cunliffe’s wanting to check on detail is somehow a failure. Get this. John Key lies about Labour’s policy saying that the family home if owned by a trust will be subject to a CGT. He then keeps repeating this lie even though he is told repeatedly that his claim is not true. Cunliffe hesitates in the middle of a debate before answering because he wants to be absolutely sure. The lie is rewarded and the caution is condemned. Armstrong thinks that this could be a turning point in the campaign. How all the news of the sleaze emanating from the Prime Minister’s office can be trumped by a moment of caution is beyond me.
And I wasted precious minutes of my remaining life by reading Vernon Small’s latest article. He remarked on how on the campaign trail the seemingly trivial can take on huge meaning and then proceeded to talk about exceedingly trivial events. Such as the colour of one’s scarf. And that his staff may not watch Masterchef. And the election should be determined by the number of selfies each leader generates. A less satisfying contribution to the MSM discourse on the election campaign I cannot imagine.
After a few weeks of righteous outrage over Dirty Politics it seems that some in the media are falling back into old habits. But don’t let them fool you. As even National concede this election is poised on a knife edge and will be fought vote by vote. If we want a change from this particularly vile business as usual then there has to be a change of government.