His weekly column (also published at Bowalley Road) is entitled White Knights; Dark Arts. And after a few paragraphs about the leaks at the MSD kiosks, Trotter gets down to business; check this out:
The Bailey/Ng revelations weren’t the only example of less-than-perfect state security to enliven the past week. It would seem that the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has more than its fair share of “disgruntled former employees” – and maybe even one or two still on staff.Once again, however, the recipients’ exploitation of covertly acquired information was enough to make our Master of the Dark Arts throw up his hands in horror.“This is, quite simply, unbelievable!”We must imagine at this point a shame-faced David Shearer shifting uneasily in his office chair.“It’s Political Destabilisation 1-0-1, Mr Shearer. Page One of The Beginners Guide to Political Scandals. Evidence first. Evidence second. Evidence above all else. You never – and I mean never – launch a political scandal unless you are in possession of all the evidence required to prove it. Do you know what I’m talking about, Mr Shearer? No? Then, let me spell it out for you.“If you claim the Prime Minister joked about Kim Dotcom’s arrest, in a cafeteria full of GCSB operatives, and there’s video evidence to prove it, what do you absolutely, positively, have to have in your possession, Mr Shearer? That’s right, you have to have the bloody video!Did you have the video, Mr Shearer? Did you have any evidence to back up your claim? No, Mr Shearer, you did not. You walked out to confront the most popular Prime Minister in New Zealand’s history holding nothing but an accusation. By the battlements of Barad-Dur, Mr Shearer, what were you thinking!”To which those past masters of the dark arts of politics: Michael Laws, Richard Prebble, Pete Hodgson and Rodney Hide would undoubtedly add: “Amen”
Trotter is right on the money here. David Shearer failed dismally. And one cannot help but wonder what part Labour's strategic genius Trevor Mallard played in all this; also whether Shearer's chief press secretary Francesca Mold is still employed.
If this was the issue about which David Shearer was going to get down and dirty and prove that he really did have an appetite for confrontational politics, he has failed in a spectacular manner. The story suddenly became not about John Key but about David Shearer's own goal. Even the journalist who broke the story having been leaked it by the Labour leader's office turned on Shearer when he could not produce the evidence he claimed to have.
And in closing, Chris Trotter suggests that those who live by the Dark Arts can also perish by them:
An idealist might argue that Mr Shearer’s ineptitude in these arcane matters is rather endearing.A realist would simply conclude that the next victim of the dark arts is likely to be Mr Shearer himself.
Whither now for David Shearer?