Sunday, January 6, 2008

ZenTiger Trotter lowers both standards

Chris Trotter is a man of standards. He has at least two of them. And double standards equip the left so very well to argue their way to electoral victory. But like some errant teenage car enthusiast, he lowers both standards to gutter level. He's proud of his street mods, but I'm left thinking he is just another boy racer.

Trotter starts his article off with a rev up. He speaks of the 1951 election being the dirtiest ever, coming out of the exhaust fumes of the infamous waterfront dispute. He mentions that "emergency regulations" had made it illegal for New Zealanders to speak, write, publish, broadcast or demonstrate in favour of the locked -out workers. Gee, now we know where Labour got its inspiration for the Electoral Finance Act.

Of course, Trotter attempts a drive by shooting on National for those times, but he needs to focus on who is actually doing what this election. It is Labour that is attempting to run down free speech Chris.

This moment in history leads to Chris Trotter's first prediction - that this election will be the dirtiest ever. I think we can form a general theory to support Chris Trotter's claim:

How dirty an election will be, is directly proportional to Labour's perceivced chance of losing.

It's a good theory. And unlike Chris, I'm not going to misdirect the true credit for this theory. I'm willing to call it "Trotter's Theory". Thanks Chris, for making this prediction. Obvious when you think about it, really.

From here Chris starts to spin the wheels a little. Risking burnout he comes up with claims so outrageous, you know he drives a Subaru. I think the model is called Impressiona. But only the impressionable would believe these claims:

[National's] contrived outrage over Labour's [mis]use of Parliamentary Service funds

No Chris, they were genuinely upset Labour deliberately mis-used tax payer funds for the supposedly "nothing to do with an election expense" Election Pledge Cards. Then Chris makes another whopper:

as [Labour had previously spent] without let or hindrance in both the 1999 and the 2002 elections

That's almost like a thief being caught on the third burglary claiming that they should get off because they got away with the first two. But just to clear up the confusion (and this 'contrived confusion' by Chris and Labour), there were rule changes made to absolutely clarify spending bounds in 2004, and this information clarified to all parties so that there would be no 'confusion' in the 2005 election. If the door was locked, then it was definitely 'break and enter', even though any child knows an unlocked door is not tantamount to an invitation to steal.


Part II - The mouthpiece of Labour

4 comment(s):

Psycho Milt said...

Zen, much as I agree with you about Trotter's dodgy spin re the pledge cards and the EFA, I can't let the stuff about 1951 pass.

If you think the Emergency Regulations of 1951 are where Labour got the inspiration for the EFA, all I can say is you can't know much about the 1951 Waterfront Dispute. Those regulations, passed by a National govt, are one of the main reasons no-one on the left can take the hysteria over the EFA seriously. We've seen much worse from a right-wing govt, and the world didn't end.

For the same reason, Hooton makes himself unintentionally amusing in his column to the right of Trotters (literally and politically to the right, of course). Hooton, like Fran O'Sullivan, fondly imagines an outraged citizenry standing up for liberty and turfing out the govt responsible for the EFA this year. All sounds very inspiring, until you note from Trotter's column that the 1951 National govt, guilty of far worse assaults on NZers' liberty, was returned in a landslide. Never underestimate the ineptitude of the NZ voter...

ZenTiger said...

Hi PM. With all due respect, I am just sooo tired of the argument "if National did something bad 56 years ago, then 'the right', and by inference, myself, are not supposed to be outraged by the EFA."

That is just wrong.

And it also doesn't follow that I (as part of the right) would support National's actions back in 1951 (just in case that was where you were going).

But I take your point about me saying "that is where Labour got its inspiration".

In keeping with your logic, I should really change it to "and this bill is really about utu for Labour. They are angry with the Exclusive Brethren and they are still angry with National about the Waterfront Strike.

So they created bad legislation that diminishes the ability to attack the government, on every topic, not just strikes.

That sounds better, doesn't it?

And you could easily argue war time freedom restrictions 'are much worse', and the world didn't end.

That's not the point.

The world didn't end when Stalin killed 60 million people.

The world didn't end when we started putting lead in petrol.

The world didn't end when America went into Iraq.

The world didn't end when Korea announced it had nuclear weapons.

The world didn't end when man made CO2 emissions went up between 1980 and 2005.

But they all caused varying degrees of harm (well, maybe not the last one, but the Greens argue it's best not to take chances).

However, I fully agree with your final point: Never underestimate the ineptitude of the NZ voter.... This is why I have little confidence National will win the next election. They have a chance, and if they make it, then I can start worrying that they will prove to be as bad as Labour.

This point is also one Trotter discusses in his article. I'll be sure to mention his spin on that in part II of my Double Standards post (which obviously, demands a two part post!).

Psycho Milt said...

...I am just sooo tired of the argument "if National did something bad 56 years ago, then 'the right', and by inference, myself, are not supposed to be outraged by the EFA."

Wasn't quite what I meant, Zen. I just find the melodramatics from DPF et al overwrought, when we compare the EFB with this example of a genuine attack on our freedoms.

I've posted more on it here.

ZenTiger said...

Great post Milt.

However, you haven't really shown to me why using a machine gun in 1951 is somehow worse than being shot in the chest by a hunting bow in 2007.

On one hand, the State came down hard on freedom in one specific area, and now they are coming down softly softly across a broad spectrum.

This isn't entirely about the EFB though - it's the changes they made to their own funding during the EFB noise; the retrospective legislation to avoid a court challenge and make something illegal, legal; it's the police having enough evidence of law breaking according to the then current Electoral Act, but blathering on about the deadline to prosecute having passed, or it not being in the public interest or whatever; it's their vocal attacks over that time on the position of the Auditor General for expressing his very pertinent opinion; then reinforced with the same attacks on Setchell; it's the way they over-hyped the Exclusive Brethren campaigning, even as the Unions annoucned "people will die under National" and Labour were sending out fake eviction notices; it's the way they introduced the EFB legislation and failed to address the anonymous donations issue completely (whilst using it as an excuse to take action against the EB); it's the way they backed down on the anonymous donation issue and then changed their stance again to ensure Owen Glenn could still donate his $500,000.

When the system is being changed by a death of a thousand cuts, it is very hard to respond in a calm measured voice about one small cut. It is easy for the opposition to write the concern off over such "trivial" matters as overly paranoid.

Equally, to show all of the links and the mash up of several cuts requires that ones audience has an attention span of greater than...greater than...hey Milt, are you still reading?? Oh good, thought you had nodded off for a moment. Now what was I saying? Oh yes, I think the EFB may prove to be more serious (ie, provide better examples) than many on the left are prepared to admit. It is an election year, and we shall see.

Probably the most dangerous thing Labour could do to itself at this point is attempt to enforce the Electoral Finance Act.

If they bite their tongue, the "look nothing happened" camp would have a powerful position.

The only problem is they are unlikely to resist, because for their sins, many on the right will provoke them to cry foul.

As I said, you post is good. It raises good points. For you to expect the right not show outrage over the EFB would only make your post like so much empty wind.

Do the right thing Milt. Agree with yourself, and make it mean something.

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