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Who’s the wokester?

Written By: - Date published: 7:57 am, February 24th, 2021 - 41 comments
Categories: Judith Collins, national, police, same old national, Simon Bridges - Tags:

It is good to see that National is still in chaos.

Its caucus discipline is still shot and Judith Collins clearly has no control over her MPs.

The latest piece of evidence is Simon Bridges attacking Police Commissioner Andy Coster by describing him as being “wokester” and saying he is soft on crime.

Bridges’ portfolios are Justice, Pike River reentry, water and Maori Crown relations.  Simeon Brown has the responsibility for Police.

So it is pretty surprising that he is delving into personal attacks on the country’s top police officer.

The detail is described by Thomas Manch at Stuff:

National Party MP Simon Bridges has taken aim at “wokester” police Commissioner Andy Coster, claiming he is more concerned with being nice than “actually catching criminals”.

Bridges, the party’s justice spokesman, on Tuesday told reporters the commissioner had put being “nice” above “the law of the land and actually catching criminals”. He first labelled the commissioner a “wokester” on Twitter last week.

“What you see is, right from the top, an agency or police force that’s much less about arrest, much less about catching gangs and criminals despite huge problems in our society at the moment, and much more about being hip and doing things to impress a bunch of other wokesters,” he said.

A National Party spokesman says the stance is not the official party view, and the Government has hit back at Bridges’ claims.

This is not the first time Bridges has had pot shots at Coster.  Last week Bridges tweeted this:

The strategy is weird.  Does National think that there is a benefit in attacking the top Police Officer?

And it reinforces how weak Judith Collins’ leadership is.  Normally disciplinary measures would be taken.  You cannot have MPs trespassing into areas that are outside their responsibility and engaging in risky divisive publicity campaigns that have no official sanction.

All that happens is it makes your caucus look like a bunch of clowns.  Maybe that is the intent.

41 comments on “Who’s the wokester? ”

  1. lprent 1

    All that happens is it makes your caucus look like a bunch of clowns. Maybe that is the intent.

    Active self-interested destructive fractionalism. The true face of National.

    This was pretty apparent when Cameron Slater was taking potshots at everyone based on leaked information from National MPs – probably including the current National leader. But at least it was outside of the party and not overriding their formal opposition shadow cabinet processes.

    Perhaps National needs to develop a blog that isn’t part of the party apparatus again (ie not kiwiblog). Then they can leak without attribution. They just need to not put it in the hands of a raging idiot.

  2. Macro 2

    Sleepy Simon needs to wake up to the reality that bigotry and attacks on respected people is a loosing strategy. He only has to look at the recent demise of the village idiot in America to see how his bile and vitriol led him to oblivion.

  3. Heather Tanguay 3

    Simon is a buffoon, he is always looking to draw attention to himself. Judith is in complete disarray. In fact, National as a whole are meaningless. Watching them in the house, shows they have nothing to offer

    • bwaghorn 3.1

      Did you see collins on the am show this morn?

      The garbled jibbering waffle she spouted sounded like some loser from talk back radio .

      Labour are safe as houses from her and simple simon.

      • NZJester 3.1.1

        I think you are underestimating just how rabid some of their supporters are. If they told people that grass was blue and that it was a plot by the Green Party to say it was green, there is a core base that would stick by that statement and claim it to be true.

  4. mac1 4

    First, it makes Bridges look a clown and that helps Collins as Bridges is a possible recidivist National leader.

    Second, there’s always political capital in being tough on crime. Collins is doing that with her call to send the Australian test-refuser home. The trick for them is to be seen as tough but not plain stupid.

    National has to secure its right as ACT threatens on that flank.

    National also faces a further election in 2023 with pundits foreseeing a further collapse of their vote.

    National faces ongoing difficulties with the quality and stability of its MPs, and faces a realistic reappraisal of its party organisation especially as it affects candidate selection and indeed it faces a dilemma that it needs to do all this renewal with the MP products of their flawed organisation as the agents of change.

    National's caucus is also limited in size, in ethnic diversity, age and gender.

    National has a popular and performing PM and government to compete with, notwithstanding doom sayers and a very real housing shortage.

    What we see from National is diversion and the reintroduction of dirty politics with personal attacks upon civil servants who are limited in their ability to respond.

    It’s also destabilising in these Covid times to attack the leader of our law enforcement. Trumpian political behaviour, even- dangerous and disturbing.

    • Anne 4.1

      @ mac 1.

      You and I are of the same generation and I think you were also politically active in the Labour Party during the Muldoon premiership.

      You will remember the time with clarity and it seems to me Collins is attempting to follow the same set of rules as Muldoon – albeit from the Opposition benches. As PM however, Muldoon had unbridled power and he used it to destroy the careers and even the personal lives of people he deemed to be a threat to him – witness Marilyn Waring. He was a bully and a tyrant who would happily turn on his own if he thought it was to his advantage. He also used the power of the state (eg. the SIS) as his personal tool when it suited him.

      And he got away with it all.

      Judith might not be so lucky. She doesn't hold the reins of power and is limited to what she can actually do, so I expect reintroducing “dirty politics” is her only option. Bridges of course is a clown but she will use him when it is convenient.

      We can look forward to a bumpy three years.

      • mac1 4.1.1

        " I think you were also politically active in the Labour Party during the Muldoon premiership."

        I was, and am still. Muldoon bullied and could be very nasty, gratuitously so, as I saw on the campaign trail in the early Seventies. He met his match in Lange who used humour and superior wit to disarm the bully.

  5. RosieLee 5

    Collins didn't quite throw Bridges under a bus on Nat Radio this morning, but it was certainly a fairsized minivan.

    • Sanctuary 5.1

      True, but in admitting she couldn't do much to discipline him she revealed she has lost control of the happy clappy mob in her caucus.

  6. Incognito 6

    Listening to an interview with JC on RNZ this morning, I got the strong impression that it was another poor execution of National’s Law and Order ‘strategy’ and to attract some media attention. JC said that National MPs need to go after Ministers because they “set the agenda”. However, SB was criticising operational matters and decisions. JC and National are right behind SB. Don’t be fooled by JC.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018784897/judith-collins-would-absolutely-bring-back-armed-response-teams

  7. Sanctuary 7

    "…JC and National are right behind SB. Don’t be fooled by JC…"

    Ummm… Ok.

    Occam's razor informs us that Bridges is a) reflecting the clearly held views of the evangelical culture warriors who form a mighty faction in the rump National caucus and are frantic to whip up a culture war on anything and b) he doesn’t give a shit if in the process of doing so he is white-anting Collins, who spent most of her RNZ interview discussing Bridges comments, caucus message discipline and admitting she has little control over Bridges utterances. She got a minute or two at the fag end of the interview to question the government handling of the Papatoetoe covid cluster – an outbreak almost adjacent to her electorate!

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    It's likely a reasonably productive line of attack – there is no doubt a core of punitive oldschool cops that resist change (else the Nicki Hager raid wouldn't have happened), and a bunch of folk who are readily alarmed by gang activity.

    Whether it will resonate widely is something else. Further gang problems is a safe prediction, but Simon burnt a lot of capital going troppo on Covid response – he may struggle to get folk agreeing with him, or admitting to agreeing with him.

  9. woodart 9

    terms like wokester and virtual signalling show just how out of touch many in the beltway are. out here in the real world 95% of people dont know what they mean. simon is in an echo chamber, and the breathless reporters trailing after him ,looking for easy headlines , are pretty much in the same echo chamber.

  10. Stephen D 10

    Bryan Gould has the answer here. Simon's audience is his own caucus. The internal polling must still be rubbish, and knives being unsheathed and sharpened.

    https://bryangould.com/party-games/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=party-games

    • alwyn 10.1

      I'm not sure whether I would consider Bryan Gould to be a very good judge of these matters.

      He was of course the man who had so much faith in his own ability, and popularity, that he thought he could win the vote for leader of the UK Labour Party. In the event he actually got less than one tenth of the vote that the winner, John Smith received. Smith got 91.1% of the vote. Gould got 9%.

      Anyone who could be that far out in his judgement is unlikely to have got any better as he gets older.

      • Incognito 10.1.1

        You’ll be the judge of that.

        Sounds like you’ve got nothing but to have a go at the man sad

      • Drowsy M. Kram 10.1.2

        Anyone who could be that far out in his judgement is unlikely to have got any better as he gets older.

        Couldn't agree more. One day we will all be but memories, and then not even that.

        In the present we can reward ourselves with thoughts that we're making a positive difference, although some here seem more positive than others wink

        Objectively, Gould is an accomplished individual, with many strings to his bow – right up there with the notable alwyn, I reckon laugh

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Gould

  11. Treetop 11

    Bridges is treating Coster like Coster holds the ministerial police portfolio. Coster does not have the same power as a government minister.

    In saying the above I would like to see Bridges and Coster debate some of the issues Bridges has.

  12. Hanswurst 12

    That photo always looks as though Willis is operating Bridges like a glove puppet.

  13. Tiger Mountain 13

    Heh, a top tory MP attacks the appointed leader of a division of the state forces!–excellent class unity there Simon.

    Mrs Collins ran the traditional stay on message strategy–“Labour weak on crime”–ignoring the evidence RNZ put to her, such as a gang leader copping a 10 year sentence days prior.

    National is still in disarray, but time is running out for this unprecedented majority MMP Govt. to start delivering for working class New Zealanders.

  14. EE 14

    A change from Benefit-bashing to Cop-clouting.
    Who says the National Party are short on ideas?

  15. gsays 15

    I caught a news clip about this on the tele.

    Bridges could barely contain his glee at seeing the press wanting to talk to him.

    He has achieved his aim, his utterings made a news cycle, got a blog post written about him and the leader of his caucus talking about him.

    • Incognito 15.1

      Chris Bishop is giving him a run for his money; he even made it to the Privileges Committee. Now that’s the kinda talent they’re looking for in National: dirty, sly, cheap & lazy but just under the line of getting officially reprimanded AKA ‘pretty legal’.

  16. Craig H 16

    Policing by consent is not ‘woke’ — it is fundamental to a democratic society – The Conversation

    Policing by consent was the creed of Sir Robert Peel when he set up the Met in 1829, so Bridges might be a bit late with his complaints about that…

  17. greywarshark 17

    Here is Simon being the forthright moral defender – Simon Bridges – the one to look to in the Party that stands for moral rectitude – the Gnashional Party! Here he is questioning our Commissioner of Police Andrew Coster as he probes for newsmaking crumbs in the iron hand of justice of the police as they attempt to consider effectiveness in serving our goddess of justice – Laura Norda.

    Feb.25/2021 https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/437153/gang-crackdown-simon-bridges-police-commissioner-andrew-coster-face-off-at-select-committee

    Has Bridges a similarity to Joseph McCarthy I wondered? Had a look on Google to get some background. These paragraphs about Joseph McCarthy do remind me of Bridges; short on integrity, a chancer who can inflate what he has dramatising as he goes.

    At the start of 1950, Joseph McCarthy’s political future did not look promising. McCarthy had been elected senator from Wisconsin in 1946, after switching his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican and running as a decorated Marine veteran with the nickname Tail Gunner Joe. Even then, he had a reputation as a scofflaw. He had exaggerated his war record. He first ran for Senate (and lost) while he was still in uniform, which was against Army regulations, and he ran his second Senate campaign while he was a sitting judge, a violation of his oath. Questions had been raised about whether he had dodged his taxes and where his campaign funds had come from.

    When McCarthy got to Washington, he became known as a tool of business interests, accepting a loan from Pepsi-Cola in exchange for working to end sugar rationing (he paid it back), and money from a construction company in exchange for opposing funding for public housing (which he eventually voted for). He plainly had no ethical or ideological compass, and most of his colleagues regarded him as a troublemaker, a loudmouth, and a fellow entirely lacking in senatorial politesse.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/03/joseph-mccarthy-and-the-force-of-political-falsehoods

    and

    McCarthy sleazy? He certainly wasn't top drawer: Sleazy, repugnant politics – Opinion – Sarasota Herald-Tribune …
    http://www.heraldtribune.com › opinion › sleazy-repugnant-…

    A woman was the first and strongest critic and analyst of McCarthy's communist scare tactics!
    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/senator-who-stood-joseph-mccarthy-when-no-one-else-would-180970279/
    22/01/2020 — But Joe McCarthy turned politics itself into a lie by stringing together insinuation, hearsay, labeling and outright defamation.

  18. Tricledrown 18

    Bridges a former police prosecutor tries to dish a far more competent leader who was a police prosecutor and was previously a police officer.

    Bridges was most likely a career prosecutor who is a very average politician who seems to have self destructive tendencies .

    Collins has nothing to fear here except every time Simple Soimon opens his mouth National loose support.Time to send off to Borisville like he wanted.

    • aom 18.1

      Bridges and Coster were both Crown Prosecutors, not Police Prosecutors. There is a significant difference.

  19. Morrissey 19

    Woke versus Moke.

  20. millsy 20

    According to National, anything short of summary beatings and executions by police officers is soft and woke.

    • Peter 20.1

      They want authoritarian, ruthless approaches.

      If it's suggested however that people should have to wear masks or they are dictated to be worn at certain times in certain places to to stop or slow a pandemic, they are wimps. The cries pour out about Stalinesque methods.

      Bridges is trying to be outspoken (like Trump), knowing he'll have a receptive thick audience (like Trump).

  21. Sanctuary 21

    Bridge's behaviour is extraordinary. He is in open rebellion, refusing direction from his leader who appears utterly powerless to discipline him. He seems to have decided to give a full airing to his sense of grievance – In Simonland he was on track to be PM by now and he now appears to have a fully developed stabbed-in-the-back storyline.

    National's unity is utterly shattered right now – Labour had exactly the same issues (but with horse traded identity politics candidates), it is what happens when politically inept but ideologically suitable candidates are parachuted into safe electorate seats for purely party reasons and an electoral rout leaves you with a pile of incumbent has-beens and a bunch of bad politicians. It is even worse for the Nats, because they've also largely eviscerated their liberal faction and have no diversity to speak of.

    The general state of the powerlessness in the right is making for some unedifying reading, David Farrar is another once respect smooth "liberal" neocon Nat who has been reduced to a constant quivering rage and bulging blood vessels, nowadays using large number of exclaimation marks and Slater-esque contortions of the truth in increasingly frantic attempts to whip up a culture war for his distinctly crank readership. Brash and Hide and co write some cringeworthy stuff re-fighting the 1980s and 90s and of course you've got the likes of the increasingly bewildered Prebble waving his fist at clouds.

  22. georgecom 22

    Around the time of the gun buy back scheme I heard a number of people complaining how the police should go after gangs and their guns. Well I am pleased to report that the police are regularly taking guns off criminals, fairly often alongside drugs and ill gotten assets as well. those who were required to turn in their guns got paid and gangs and other criminal elements have had their guns and other assets seized. Anyone who tries to claim otherwise simply needs to take their hand off it.

    Of some more realistic concern however might be an over cautious police response to high speed chases. Failure to stop should be more than a fine and police should be empowered to chase fleeing vehicles. Of course, where a serious risk is presented to the public and the police themselves a chase should be called off.

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