Welcome to any new readers checking out this blog today as a result of the “dirty politics” segment on The Nation. (Update: For those that didn’t see The Nation, there is a summary in The Herald.)(Update: The Nation story is here).
This blog started in August 2007. Our About page really needs updating, but basically The Standard is a bunch of people who write on the same blog. There is no central organisation, there often isn’t agreement. We come from a variety of backgrounds and have many political affiliations, some support Labour, some The Greens, some Mana (and some no party at all). The administration (and most of the operating costs) of the blog is all the work of lprent (Lynn Prentice). Although it is a lie often told about us this is NOT a Labour Party blog, and there is no control from Labour – the way we have disagreed on, disagreed with, and attacked various Labour leaders should be proof enough of that. Almost every current author is someone who started out commenting on the site, and drifted in to writing. We are the loosest possible collective, a group of lefties / progressives who care, and write, and respect each other’s opinions even when we disagree. There’s a list of currently active authors at the end of the post.
Thanks to Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics we all now know that the National Party have been running a sustained dirty tricks campaign, largely through attack blogs such as Whaleoil and Kiwiblog. One of the things that John Key frequently repeated during the dirty politics saga was that “Labour does it too”, and that left wing blogs such as The Standard were engaged in dirty politics too. Those were pretty desperate lies. There’s no point in phrasing a reply when another blogger, Danyl McLaughlan at The Dim-Post (who incidentally thinks we’re all nuts!) has already replied so effectively:
John Key did a media stand-up yesterday about Dirty Politics in which he mentioned the words ‘left-wing conspiracy theorist’ about twenty times, and insisted that everything in the book is a lie, and that the real dirty politics comes from the left.
From a communications point-of-view that’s a sensible approach. His audience is not the journalists at the stand-up, but rather the television viewers who haven’t read the book and who will see excerpts of the statement and be reassured by the PMs words.
But some of the reporters listening to the PM have read the book. And when Key insists that the real dirty politics comes from the left, I think, or hope, that they’ll reflect that no one on the left is publishing the addresses of journalists online in the hope that someone assaults or murders them in revenge for writing about tax-havens, which is what Cathy Odgers, Cameron Slater David Farrar and Matthew Hooton discuss on page 91. Also, no one on the left is going around brothels trying to find out whether journalists have visited them, so they can be blackmailed, which is what Cameron Slater, the Justice Minister’s close friend, and long-term collaborator with the Prime Minister’s office is up to. No one on the left runs smear campaigns against attempted rape victims, or publishes graphic affidavits describing their political enemies having sex. There’s no one comparable to Slater on the left of politics, or blogging. He is a phenomenon unique to the National Party. Key can insist that this is all just a lie, just a conspiracy story, but people who read the book know that this is simply documentation from Slater’s emails and that the Prime Minister is lying to their faces.
There’s no way The Standard has ever had (or ever wanted to have) the inclination or the contacts needed to play the dirty politics game. But that doesn’t stop real dirty politics players such as Cameron Slater, David Farrar and Matthew Hooton from obsessing about this blog, to the extent of trying to snoop around our internal discussions or even attempt to have the blog “hacked” (if The Nation didn’t cover this you can read about it on Scoop). These people really really need to find a better hobby.
Anyway, welcome to The Standard. It’s just a blog. Stay and chat a while…
About 70 people have written for The Standard over the years. For the record, here’s a list of those who are currently active (have written at least once this year). Those who write under their own names or are well known are: Mike Smith, lprent (Lynn Prentice), Helen Kelly, Bryan Gould, Mandy Hager, Stephanie Rodgers, mickysavage (Greg Presland), Anthony Robins (r0b), Ben Clark. Those who prefer to write under partial names or pseudonyms are Tracey, Bill, te reo putake, Bunji, BLiP, KJT, RedLogix, Natwatch and stargazer (sincere apologies to anyone I have missed!).