Wait, what’s working?

Written By: - Date published: 6:26 am, August 13th, 2008 - 17 comments
Categories: bill english, john key, national, privatisation, slippery, spin - Tags:

ENGLISH: So we’re sitting here saying the punters are keen to keep it. They’re facing a recession. The last thing we want is to spend the whole election campaign with families of four on TV saying ‘Mr Key’s taking money off us’. You can’t do that. So later on we’re gonna have to have a bit of a sort out. Yeah, we’re gonna do something, but we can’t do it now…
DELEGATE: What about getting rid of Kiwibank, I mean
ENGLISH: Well, eventually, but not now. Well, its working. A lot of our supporters get a bit antsy about it, but it’s working. It’s like a lot of things

The common interpretation of the “but it’s working” quote is that English is talking about Kiwibank. It is the interpretation John Key gave on Monday morning last week and most people simply followed him, but that’s wrong. Look at the context. English has explained to someone who purportedly opposes Kiwibank and Working for Families that National is accepting them, for now, because they don’t want to (in Lockwood Smith’s words) “scare the horses”, they don’t want to raise opposition to that “nice Mr Key”. It is this strategy that English is saying is working – the strategy of “swallowing dead fish” (Lockwood again), being “in neutralise phase” as Nick Smith put it. How is it working? By getting those “Labour plus voters” supporting National. English acknowledges that some National supporters are “antsy” about taking on so many Labour policies but he argues winning those Labour plus votes so National gets into power is more important. The Labour policies can then be “sorted out”, “eventually”.

Now that the strategy has been exposed by English so cynically in his own words, the question is: will it keep on working or will National find itself minus those ‘Labour plus’ voters?

17 comments on “Wait, what’s working?”

  1. Dan 1

    The Nats have the same problem as the Chinese with the national anthem at the Olympics. It’s called lip synching. There are other simularities too as the Chinese didn’t want the less attractive face showing and preferred to show the pretty little girl to the punters (sorry, world).
    The pretty face of national may have been working, but once the mask is down, the ghosts of Hollowmen return.

  2. Well done for spotting that. It makes more sense. A bank doesn’t “work”.

    I’d also like to know a bit more about the meaning of, “So later on we’re gonna have to have a bit of a sort out. Yeah, we’re gonna do something, but we can’t do it now ” How much later?

    It does look like English was even more loose-lipped than people think.

  3. monkey-boy 3

    So, it turns out that the transcript now is not about ‘selling’ kiwibank?
    It now appears that this is a transcript of English stating what Key said – That WfF is not under threat?
    I thought yesterday and last week you were saying that English is engaged in a covert operation to undermine John Key?
    But this week it appears they are in cahoots to roll out a long term secret agenda to dismantle WfF?

    Are you suggesting that should they win the election that they just sit on their hands for three years and make no effort to get to grips with the present situation?
    What if they come up with a better alternative? Will you still cry wolf?

    Or is this just this just setting the theme for this week’s paranoid rant about Nationals ‘secret agenda’ from the Standard?

  4. monkey-boy… they’re accepting the policies for now, and planning to sell them later… nothing inconsistant there

  5. monkey-boy 5

    “Or is this just this just setting the theme for this week’s paranoid rant about Nationals ‘secret agenda’ from the Standard?”

    sorry that was unjustified. I meant planned, premeditated ‘faux paranoia’ designed to dupe your good readership.

    Because I am of the opinion that you are not paranoid, but only pretending to be This ‘campaign of fear’ started last August, and will run until the election.

    [lprent: Why do you think it will stop at the election. Regardless of the outcome of the election, we’ll still be examining politics, and the right and the nat’s will tend to be a focus. For some reason we don’t think they are benevolent towards the areas we value. The MSM surely don’t seem to be very good at looking at politics critically.]

  6. infused 6

    “nothing inconsistant there”

    So why all the hot air?

    [nothing inconsistant between me saying there’s a secret agenda to sell Kiwibank, gut Wff, and me saying that by “it’s workin” English is talking about the strategy of accepting these policies for now. SP]

  7. Matthew Pilott 7

    monkey-boy, what has this to do with WfF? The question is about kiwibank, the answer being eventually, but not now.

    Just because English wants to roll Key doesn’t mean they can’t agree on anything.

    You’re looking really paraniod these days.

    And I think you’ll find, for the most part, that people would want National to act on a mandate that has been spelled out in the bloody election campaign! What do people find so spectacularly hard to understand about that? Is it somehow a mysteriously hard concept to grasp, monkey-boy, please, explain! That proponents of open democracy would want a party to act upon what they have said they will do – what is wrong with that idea?

    They’ve had nine years to come up with a better alternative – they’ve been doing a hell of a lot of hand-sitting if what we’ve got thus far is any measure – boot camps that are proven failures, a $50 rape, murder and pillage fee, a half-arsed boradband plan the industry doesn’t want and a regressive DPB plan that isn’t needed and even the E-bloody-MA don’t like!

    Paranoid? Get a grip.

  8. monkey-boy 8

    ‘They’ Steve? I thought it was ‘He’. It’s all very confusing.
    Besides, ‘sell’ is confusing and nebulous when employed in political debate isn’t it? I mean, when someone wants a minority share in an airport, then that seems to be ‘selling’, but when someone wants to buy up all of the electricity grid in Wellington that seems somehow more acceptable doesn’t it? (can you hear the silence)
    Are you proposing they will ‘sell’ WfF? or tender it out? or dismantle it?
    YOu seem a little obsessed (if I may) with the idea that National are going to ‘sell’ everything from workers’ rights to the beneficiary system? To foreigners/ foreign bagmen.
    Wouldn’t it seem a little bit – well- paranoid to an objective observer?
    They are evidently centre-right, with littel desire to lose whatever grip they may get on power. Surely under any democracy they are entitled to consult with the electorate and then go ahead with the mandate they get.
    You know like s59, the EFB, making WP Foreign Minister…. I mean there was no ‘secret agenda’ then. Was there?
    Or is ‘secret agenda’ another nebulous term?
    Matthew you seem like a decent sort, but I did amend my ‘paranoid’ remark to ‘faux-paranoid’. have a look at monkeys with typewriters post for my take on it – I will not link-whore as it may get spat back…

  9. Scribe 9

    From MP: Just because English wants to roll Key doesn’t mean they can’t agree on anything.

    What’s the Crosby/Textor strategy called when you keep repeating something nonsensical with the hope that people will believe it?

    Whatever it is, congratulations to MP and others. You’ve got it mastered.

  10. Matthew Pilott 10

    Monkey-boy – I’ll have a look, cheers.

    Scribe, just as it isn’t paranoia if they’re really after you, it’s not ‘truth by repetition’ if it’s really the truth!

    Do you honestly think there’s nothing in it?

  11. Andrew 11

    Oh you guys are seriously scraping the bottom of the barrel to read that into what English said. Let it go guys. You can read into it what you want, but anyone with more than half a brain will see it for what it really was.

    [lprent: Read No you must…

  12. forgetaboutthelastone 12

    If you just read the text there is nothing in it other than the obvious, unless – on the audio there is some sort of intonation in his voice that would suggest otherwise.

    And anyways – this alternative interpretation doesn’t make much of a difference as we already know that English thinks in this way.

  13. Hey monkey boy – nice conspiracy theory. I really think you are becoming a bore with it though. Perhaps a some kind of pressed aluminium headgear is in order…

    Andrew – here’s an idea. Instead of whining about the subjects chosen by SP why not start your own blog and then write about what you think should be said. I’m sure if your editorial opinion is as great as you clearly regard it to be then market forces will ensure readers flock to your missives at the expense of the Standard’s readership. Especially those with more than half a brain…

    Or on the other hand you could just STFU.

    [lprent: good point – noted on the comment that Andrew should read No you must…. I should add that to the preprogrammed responses.]

  14. Scribe 14

    MP: Do you honestly think there’s nothing in it?

    If you’re asking about the prospect of English rolling John Key, then no, I don’t think there is anything to it.

  15. Phil 15

    Hey Sod,

    Your blog gets as many comments as mine.

  16. You’ve got a blog???

  17. Andrew 17

    I am just expressing my opinion. Thats what blogs are all about arn’t they? Even though Labour has all but banned free speech in this country with thier ‘secret adgenda’ also known as the EFA.

    If you dont like what i have to say then dont listen to me. I obviously got your back up over my comments and i have no idea why. My comments are nothing compared to your scathing attack on the National Party.

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