Monday, February 26, 2007

Hollaback man

Poor Matthew Hooton; he really does try hard. As news broke of the Brethren story I mentioned below, Matthew found himself on National Radio (sorry, Radio New Zealand National) slugging it out with Kathryn Ryan and Laila Harre (podcast). It's a regular gig but this morning's topic was a little more up-close and personal than usual.

Matthew, to his discomfort, was in the National Party campaign team at just the same time as the Brethren were going about their sinister business with Dr Brash and Mr Key. He is a key figure in The Hollow Men. He was responsible for a lot of policy and strategy ideas, some of them very good; somewhat unfairly, in one of the notorious emails, a superior describes him as an idiot. Yet still, he feigns a certain detachment from the issues. Take, for example, this article from the Sunday Star Times. You would never know that he was in the office from which these emails were supposedly stolen.

This morning, Matthew found himself batting for the Brethren. Of course, he said repeatedly, it was just seven individual members, not the church hierarchy, who were responsible for the leaflets that attacked the Greens, (those leaflets which Don Brash and others in National's own hierarchy knew all about, all along). It was just a coincidence that similar random acts of electioneering were breaking out in various Australian states. Matthew tried to make this claim continually, inserting it awkwardly into otherwise syntactically pure sentences. He tried to say it often enough that it would be accepted. He failed. Laila Harre made mincemeat of him.

Poor Matthew is one of several who have taken on the task of trying to divert attention from the real issues in the Hollow Men. The first tactic they used was to express grave concern about the emails supposedly having been stolen. Mr Key and Mr English tried this themselves in their interviews with Ian Wishart, who handed them the question on a silver platter: "...there seems to be a growing suspicion that there was no leak out of National, but instead somebody hacked into the Parliamentary servers and stole your emails. What are your views on that?" Of course, in replying, Mr Key and Mr English both expressed grave concern. So did certain opinion writers in sundry papers. It was a matter of grave concern that the emails had been released from captivity. The content of those emails, not just about the Brethren but Maxim and a whole gang of nasties, was ignored.

Now the tactic seems to have changed to one of serious worries about religious persecution. This government, you see, is oppressing a religious minority. They said so themselves but others are saying so as well. Matthew is concerned that the Prime Minister should dictate who is involved in politics, although he is equally worried that the Brethren should be smeared by the actions of a few members.

Poor Matthew; it is all very confusing and he is very confused. What can you say, when the Elect Vessel himself has expressed regret and his Spokesman cannot put enough spin on the issue to make it fly away? Matthew admitted that "there were issues around transparency" but these are just about putting an address on a leaflet; he has no apparent concern about the truckloads of money that went Nationals' way and he is not interested in how it was used: $1.2 Million would buy a lot of leaflets. He has no concern either about the contents of the package that a senior member of the Brethren arranged to hand to Dr Brash. Perhaps he should be, because it does not look as if the Brethren are going to go away.


David Farrar said...

Paul - you really need to do some basic research.

Matthew was not a member of the National Campaign Team, nor was he a staffer for National or the Leader.

Incidentially I agree it is a nonsense to claim the Brethren were no involved, just a few members.

Paul said...

I would do some basic research, but my copy of the Hollow Men is elsewhere. Hooton had a role - he sent emails that are recorded in the book.

Anonymous said...

"The Hollow Men" did not make it very clear what Hoots was doing. Early in the book it says he was involved as advisor/strategist.

Here is fascinating press release from NZ First. Funny really. It talks about National bringing in lots of defence cuts, and looking for a defence policy. Why don't they talk to the Exclusive Brethrens - they distributed pamphlets immediately before the election presumably believing they knew what National would do.

Here is Ron Mark for you now:


Reports that National are seeking ideas for a new defence policy is final confirmation of the fact that they are clueless and totally lacking in policy in matters of defence, says New Zealand First defence spokesperson Ron Mark.

“National has proven that they cannot be trusted with the defence of this country,” said Mr Mark.

“Historically they have overseen the biggest cuts and failures to modernise our defence capability, and only when in opposition do you ever hear them standing up for the men and women of our defence forces.

“The fact that National are reneging on their so-called commitment to restore the air combat capability confirms that they only used it as an election platform, with no intention of ever seeing it through.

“We always suspected their loud protestations at the disbandment of our famous 75 Squadron in 2001, along with No 2 and No 14 Squadrons, were nothing more than hot air and grandstanding. Now we have the proof.

“If ever we doubted the fact that they have no idea or credibility when it comes to matters of defence, here is the evidence,” said Mr Mark.


stephen said...

Paul, when are you going to provide an email address?

In the meanwhile, here is a treat for you:

Sapolsky is a great guy - I recommend _A Primate's Memoir_

Anonymous said...

The EB's should know that politics makes for strange bedfellows (hell, ask Ian Wishart)but I kinda like the pairing of the Nats with the EB's. Throw in the Destiny yobs some black shirts and hey presto! - government of the people, by the rich & bigotted, for themselves & their great god mammon. Here's what Hannah Arendt had to say about totalitarianism, it fits well with the vision of the Nats for NZ & with the way the EB's conduct themselves (esp. within their 'church'):
"Totalitarianism is never content to rule by external means, namely, through the state and a machinery of violence; thanks to its peculiar ideology and the role assigned to it in this apparatus of coercion, totalitarianism has discovered a means of dominating and terrorizing human beings from within."

Anonymous said...

any criticism from the vicious lying leprechaun DPF has got to be a major endorsement for truth and sanity. good on you paul.