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Where would you get that idea?

Written By: - Date published: 9:55 am, March 22nd, 2009 - 19 comments
Categories: flip-flop, john key, Media - Tags: ,

John Armstrong March 21 2009 –

“So the National Government is variously inching, shifting, drifting, veering or lurching to the right, depending on where you stand on the political spectrum. Surprise, surprise… John Key may have portrayed himself as a moderate pragmatist in Opposition – indeed he is still doing exactly that as Prime Minister – but he is still the leader of a party, the fundamental ethos of which is firmly centre-right…The clues that National would not be a Labour clone were present before the election… Much else of what the Government is doing – such as privatising prisons – was equally well-signposted in the party’s election manifesto… If anyone thought National was going to be some pale reincarnation of Labour minus the political correctness, then they were fooling themselves.”

Yeah, the general public were fooling themselves if they thought Key was a centrist, pragmatist. National’s true right-wing plans were all clearly hinted at in policy documents that the media didn’t bother to cover. If the public didn’t know about those plans, that’s their own foolish fault.

Where could the fools get such a foolish notion that Key was a centrist?

John Armstrong Feb 14 2009 -“Key keeps eating into Labour territory by demonstrating his centrist credentials”
John Armstrong November 18 2008 – “National entering a new, fresher, more inclusive and more centrist era”
John Armstrong November 15 2008 – “In Key’s mind, National’s long-term grip on power hinges on the party also becoming more centrist”
John Armstrong November 7 2008 – “Key’s push to the centre on policy”
John Armstrong November 1 2008- “The centrist Key is a far more difficult political animal to demonise”
John Armstrong October 28 2008 – “Key will be as centrist as Prime Minister as he says he will”
John Armstrong June 21 2008 – “his centrist inclinations”
John Armstrong February 2 2008 – “rather than swing hard to the right with his youth crime package … he followed his centrist instincts”
John Armstrong January 31 2008- “the more moderate, more centrist and more reassuring figure of John Key”
John Armstrong February 3 2007 – “National’s solutions are to be more centrist”
John Armstrong November 28 2006 – “The more moderate, centrist approach of Key and English”
John Armstrong November 27 2006 – “Key is far more centrist than Brash”
John Armstrong May 23 2004 – “Key cannot be pigeonholed as some silver-spoon-in-his-mouth Tory high priest of market economics…he is seen as something of a pragmatist”

Of course Armstrong was far from alone. All the mainstream political media have been swallowing and regurgitating Key’s ‘I’m a pragmatic centrist’ spin since Day 1. They all hyped him. They largely ignored the “clues” of right-wing plans hidden behind the vague policies and ‘aw shucks’ smiles because they didn’t fit the narrative. A few, including The Standard, examined National policy in detail, put it in historical and ideological context, pointed out that Key is no centrist and argued that National hadn’t changed. We were attacked by the likes of Armstrong as hysterical scaremongers.

Does anyone else see a parallel between the political media here and the role of the business media in the States in hyping up the market then blaming the ordinary people for getting hurt when it came crumbling down? After years of cheer-leading the myth of Key the Centrist, Armstrong has the cheek to turn around and call the public fools for believing the lie. It’s disgraceful.

19 comments on “Where would you get that idea? ”

  1. the sprout 1

    nice work Eddie.

  2. Ianmac 2

    Eddie: Well done. It is the analysis that should be present in MSM. The question will be does the Public notice or care?

  3. RedLogix 3

    And when National betrayed its own real agenda with the so called ‘secret taping’ episode, the media instantly pushed the Nats’s damage control/distration, Crosby/Textor lines …. focussing almost exclusively discrediting the motives and ethics of the taper… rather than the content of what Bill English and other senior Nats were saying when they thought the public was not listening.

    Armstrong’s last para’s are interesting too:

    In short, the Key Government is hard to pigeonhole. It is likely to remain so. Its excursion to the right may only be temporary as the dictates of a three-year electoral cycle make themselves felt.

    When that happens, National will – as always – not be so much inching back to the left as charging back.

    Or in simpler terms Armstrong is predicting that National will pretend to be as center-left as required to win elections, but will act as center-right as if feels like in between. The word for someone who promises one thing and does another is …untrustworthy.

    Maybe Armstrong could have the decency to acknowledge that Helen Clark had a point to make about trust after all.

  4. bobo 4

    Nice one 🙂 John Armstrong has just been Jim Cramer’ed.

  5. BLiP 5

    Good work Eddie. This is just the sort of material required to show up the hand-in-glove work of the media and this government.

  6. Quoth the Raven 6

    Congratulations brilliant work. Shows just why we should never trust what read from the MSM. You could do the same for just about every other MSM hack.

  7. Appropriate for a Sunday that we have a sermon for the converted.

    What is it with you guys and the Herald anyway? Do you expect every paper to lie down and follow you line like the SST?

    The reality is that Key has done pretty much what is expected policy wise but done the unexpected in terms of building relationships.

    Mind you, I agree that after a while the public will get sick and tired of a political party doing largely what they expected them to do. We can’t have that can we?

    • RedLogix 7.1

      but done the unexpected in terms of building relationships.

      What with the Maori Party? That will likely turn out to be a cynical exercise in what is called ‘having a Plan B’ in the case of ACT insisting on pushing some puddle of ideological vomitera even Key cannot stand the stench of.

      the public will get sick and tired of a political party doing largely what they expected them to do.

      While Armstrong’s article goes about telling just how Key’s govt is NOT doing what we were told to expect. Go figure.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      We expect them to report the truth and not to lie for the benefit of their preferred political party.

  8. gingercrush 8

    Hmm sorry for side-tracking but i was hoping one of the writers here would write something about it. But what did you lot on the left thought of Q&A this morning?

    Funnily enough Russell Norman on Q&A said something to the effect, that Labour had been gazumped by some of National’s polcies as they veered to the left. Thus Naional while being to the right many times, has also encroached on the center Leaving Labour in a position where either they veer left or regain the center.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      that Labour had been gazumped by some of National’s polcies as they veered to the left.

      I would suggest that Russel was thinking in terms of all the ‘dead rat swallowing’ that went on BEFORE the election.

      Now it is Armstrong telling us AFTER the election, that the chunk of middle NZ who swung to National on the basis that Key was so very pragmatic and centrist were a just big bunch of fools.

      • gingercrush 8.1.1

        Did you watch Q&A? Because had you watched it, you would realise Norman wasn’t talking before the election.

    • Pascal's bookie 8.2

      Well I didn’t see it, what specific things was he talking about?

      I can’t think of anything that National has done that outflanks Labour. What they did was accept that the centre was were Labour governed from and promised not to ditch too much of Labour’s work.

      That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t shift the centre. Labour is still there and doesn’t need to move to the left to hold that spot, it’s essentially National’s to lose at the moment. The further Nat moves to the right, the more they hope to drag that centre with them, but it’s not easy, it takes time, and people pay a lot more attention to the things you do than the things you leave in place. If they go to far, or too fast, even without touching wff, student loans, privatisation, and all the other rats they swallowed, they may lose that centrist tag quite quickly.

      If they want to hold on to a centrist tag while making the tax code less progressive, treating the soe’s as revenue gathering devices, deregulating the environmental and corporate oversight sectors and playing bad cop to Labour’s nanny state, then they will need to find some sugar to sweeten the taste. Where is it?

      • gingercrush 8.2.1

        Well the panel which consisted of Therese Arsenau, Phil O’Reilly and Russel Norman were talking after Holme’s interview with Andrew Little. And they were talking about Labour’s role now in opposition. And what Labour needs to do in the future to win-back support. TVNZ has a few clips of Q&A. Key’s interview. The panel after Key’s interview and Little’s interview. But they don’t appear to have the panel speaking after Little which is where Norman said this.

        I disagree with you somewhat. In that Labour actually needs to shift left to differentiate themselves from National. But more important to regain the support of lower income urban workers who in 2008 did not go to the polls. Labour lost hefty ground there and it needs to be picked back up. National in themselves, have shifted that centre. Sure, they have to be careful to veer too right. But Labour simply can’t hold a centrist position when they’ve lost that central position.

        • Pascal's bookie 8.2.1.1

          Can you remember what specific things Russell was talking about when he said National has gazumped Labour? Seeing you brought it up? (I’m much more interested in that, than in which particular horse race fetishists they had on to make Holmes look good this week. 😉 )

          On the rest, I think you are as wrong as can be. You do not hold or regain the centre by shifting away from it. If National can hold the centre, then differentiating yourself from them cannot help you regain the centre. By definition. The low income stay at home vote stayed at home not because they thought labour was too right wing, (if this was the case they had other, more left wing voting options) They stayed at home because they didn’t care who won. ie, National succeeded in not differentiating itself too much from Labour on issues that affect those voters. For them to stay at home next time will be as much National’s challenge as Labour’s is to get them out.

          Labour’s task, as I see it is to hold the centre, you say it has already gone, but remeber that National campaigned on not changing much in terms of economics. For non political junkies it was all about a few points in tax, nanny state and arrogance, with a twist of ‘it’s National’s turn’ for a garnish. National succeeded convincing people that there was little difference and that were not the party of Brash etc.

          To effect what Labour needs to do, I would have them use the following words and phrases, a lot:

          Did you vote for this?
          Ruth Richardson.
          Out of step with current thinking (comparing to o’seas)
          Tail wagging the dog (with respect to ACT)

          National will try and shift the centre by pretending that they aren’t really doing much. Labour needs to counter that by poointing out what they are doing, and saying why they wouldn’t be doing it. The differentiation already exists in reality, they just need to communicate it, holding on to the idea that where they are at, is where National campaigned on as the centre.

        • BLiP 8.2.1.2

          Paul Holmes!

          Has politics now become entertainment?

  9. Quoth the Raven 9

    This is an absolutely brilliant video: Corporatism and Survival. The guy is what I’d call a right wing libertarian, he’s from the Ludwig Von Mises crowd, but clearly he doesn’t like corporations. So he must be fairly principled unlike the mental Actoids here. It is a great video and anyone from the left or the right would like it and learn a thing or two. I highly recommend it. A quote from it “corporations are state enforced unions for the rich.”

  10. Snail 10

    Armstrong has the cheek to turn around and call the public fools for believing the lie. It’s disgraceful.

    Has the look of a John the Apologist.. yes?

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