DIRTY POLITICS - PART 1: Chapters 1 & 2
The rise of negative campaigning, and Key’s Black Operation Man in the Beehive.
[Compiled, researched and quoted from “Dirty Politics by Thakur Ranjit Singh]
In a newspaper report, Nicky Hager said Mr Key had "cultivated a very respectable image of being friendly and relaxed" but in his view there was an unseen side to his politics the public needed to see before voting. He said links to bloggers by staff and ministers who answered to Mr Key meant he should be "accountable for ... using such an ugly tool as part of his political management".
|Key (pun intended) players: From left-Cameron Slater, Simon Lusk, Jordon Williams, Carrick Graham and Cathy Odgers ( NZ Herald photo)|
Negative Campaigning that became trademark of George Bush’s election to White House in 1988 was adopted by team Key. There was unauthorised and uncoordinated campaign that would say things and run advertisements that could not be said by the official Bush organisation (18-19). For National, this became a model on how to use outside groups to deliver hard-hitting “mongrel –type” messages on behalf of the Party.
This became hallmark of National party election strategy. This in nutshell, was the thinking behind the national party’s two-track approach: strenuously protecting the party leader’s friendly and approachable image while relying on other people for a continuous barrage of attacks and negative campaigning.
|Nicky Hagers Dirty Politics that may cause change of a government in New Zealand, and which reveals New Zealand appears to have a Third World Prime Minister in a First World clean country.|
This commenced in 2008, with amassing of right-wing bloggers when they started tasting the power of blogging that was little known to the world. The first attempt was to try to smear businessman Owen Glenn, who donated money to Labour party (19). Relationship developed in 2008 elections between Slater and other bloggers and prime minister’s senior adviser and attack politics coordinator, Jason Ede. Other bloggers include Cathy Odgers and Aaron Bhatnagar, a close friend of Slater, who is named in the book as the one who “wandered “into Labour party’s unprotected website and stole information, which they used to damage Labour party (20).
The strategy was that there would be no official links between Key’s office and the right-wing bloggers, but Jason Ede would become the ongoing connection. Ede became key (pun intended) player and having daily conferences with key (again, pun intended) bloggers and other influential bloggers to mount their action plan. Ede became known by his Beehive colleagues as the Black Ops man, co-ordinating the smears against Labour and other opposition party.
As earlier stated, plan for attack politics took place in 2008 when bloggers were not too visible. Ede-Farrar-Slater, with Lusk in the background formed the tag team, and fed stories to a series of journalists and under-resourced news organisations willing to take easy scoop. Farrar’s brand was independent, rational analysis and Slater’s aggressive attack dog, but the consistent mission week after week was defending their party and mauling its opponents.
Succession plan for replacement of John Key was hatched in 2011 when it was discussed that “a Crusher (Judith Collins) – (Steven) Joyce combo would smash the shit out of Labour for at least another two terms.” Plans were then hatched to ‘destroy” Winston Peters if he came in the way.
The strategy of “attack campaigning” and “two-track” approach was for John Key to cultivate a very respectable image of being friendly and relaxed but at the same time have another part of his politics which New Zealanders do not come to see. Being seen engaging in attack politics would not fit the plan and strategy, so negative campaigning was left to his parliamentary staff, their political allies and mongrels and mauling dogs that came in form of vicious and offensive bloggers. A survey of 400,000 comments at Whale Oil blog between 2008 and 2014 showed the volume of abusive attack language , including in diminishing order of occurrence: fuck (about 20,000 times), idiot, bullshit, corrupt, homo, prick, cock, hypocrite, liar, c**t, scum, bitch, bludger, wanker, vile and commie.(142)ouse in 1988in
Jason Ede and Slater both accessed Labour’s insecure site ( 32), but the details on donor list, credit card details etc were “taken” by the part Indian Aaron Bhatnagar. John Key has publicly given interview that it was okay for somebody to “take’ anything if they are not protected, and prove a point that internet security was wanting. However, this was NOT the aim of Bhatnagar, Slater and the part of the “hit” group who did not merely want to prove a political point, but to do as much damage as possible to the Labour party, undermining its ability to maintain its membership and campaign for its policies. It also proved another objective of causing massive distraction, where they embroiled the opposition in petty crisis and scandal so that they cannot get on with promoting their own message, policies and plans. It was exposure, attacks that distracts political opponents. The real goal of information release was to try and scare off Labour’s donors and activists.
It is unusually grubby to have a member of prime minister’s staff digging around in their opponent’s computer system for dirt. Ede was doing all this in his role as “senior advisor” to the prime minister, based in his ninth-floor Beehive office, number 9042, only two doors away from John Keys. Senior party officials were involved as well as the senior advisor, and it seems improbable that either would do it without informing the prime minister. (35)
John Armstrong, New Zealand Herald columnist summed revelations of Dirty Politics very aptly:
|John Key may adopt an Ostrich Syndrome, or discredit the author, but no one has ever produced the evidence to question the veracity of the content of Hager's book|
“If John Key wishes to avoid being labelled the Richard Nixon of New Zealand politics, he is going to have to do more than deny knowledge of what was going on in a neighbouring office. The same applies to any attempt to denigrate Hager - as Key did on Tuesday - by describing him as a "screaming left-wing conspiracy theorist". The left-wing bit is correct. But no one has ever produced the evidence to question the veracity of the content of Hager's books.”
In short, Hager is credible. It is thus Key's credibility against Hager's.
The question is: do Kiwis want this type of Third World prime minister for a clean First World New Zealand? Go ahead, make my day, and make that change.