THEY WEREN’T the most important events of the past week. In fact, in a world racked by economic crisis and intractable conflict, they weren’t important at all. But, as is so often the case with small, seemingly trivial events, they were highly instructive. They told us why John Key’s National Party will have to work so very hard to lose the forthcoming election, and why – barring a miracle – Labour hasn’t the slightest chance of winning it.
Trotter then goes on to compare the Mech Suite video at University of Canterbury with Trevor Mallard's extraordinary attack on Otago University academic Dr Bryce Edwards, and Mallard's attempt to suggest that Bill English was surreptitously funding Dr Edwards' NZ Politics Daily.
And in dealing with the latter, Trotter raises some very valid questions; read on:
It is difficult to know where to begin with this outburst.
That it was made by the caucus’s chief strategist raises a whole host of questions about the nature of the election campaign Labour is intending to run.
Does Phil Goff sanction this stuff? We can only hope that he does not endorse the sort of crude ad hominem arguments featured in Mr Mallard’s posting. We must hope, too, that Labour’s appeal to the electorate is fuelled by emotions considerably less disreputable than the petty spitefulness and partisan hostility which it displays.
Needless to say, Mr Mallard’s outburst did not go unnoticed by Labour’s opponents – or its friends. The blogosphere was soon buzzing with negative commentary and, like the You-Tube clip from the “Mech Suite”, the posting’s audience began to expand. Within days, the number of people in receipt of Mr Mallard’s “wisdom” had grown exponentially.
There's still some doubt over exactly what Trevor Mallard's role is in Labour's 2011 General Election campaign. Lately, Mallard has seemed to distance himself from suggestions that he is Labour's campaign manager. It may even be possible that he WAS at one point Labour's campaign manager, but that others influential within Labour have had a re-think.
The attack on Dr Edwards by Mallard was bizarre, and he has not produced a skerrick of evidence to support the allegation he made; namely that Bill English was funding attacks on the Labour Party via money paid to David Farrar who is one of Dr Edwards' publication's sponsors. Mallard's allegations have been treated with a mix of anger and contempt from right across the political spectrum. More damaging for Mallard; his allegations are now being mercilessly lampooned. If you're a Twitter user, check out the hash-tag #bryceedwardsconspiracy
Chris Trotter has one final barb, and we'll conclude with his conclusion; after all, it's his story that we are drawing attention to. His words will receive widespread attention, as they constitute one of his newspaper columns for the week. Here's his wrap:
ALL ELECTIONS have a “tone”: a mode of address to the voting public which (largely unconsciously) “cues” their response to the competing parties.
If we compare and contrast the tone of the You-Tube clip of the PM’s visit to the “Mech Suite”, with the tone of Mr Mallard’s “Red Alert” posting, picking the election result becomes a cinch.
Sometimes, little things generate big consequences.