As no doubt you've already heard, yesterday under Parliamentary privilege Rodney Hide and Judith Collins attacked David Benson-Dope, not for being a blandly authoritarian tosser with nary a clue (which he is) but for being a thug and a bully years when he was a schoolteacher (which Rodney has now said he wasn't).
"I didn't put these as allegations I put these as questions," he told National Radio today. Disgraceful.
"Is it true you've stopped beating your wife, Rodney?" That is a question, by the way, not an allegation. "Are ACT and National a complete waste of parliamentary time?" That is both an allegation, and a rhetorical question.
As I've asked before, where the hell is the real opposition?
[UPDATE 1, 12:05pm: Berend has an MP3 of Linda Clark's interview with a former student of Benson-Dope's. Decide for yourself whether it supports the specific claims made yesterday, and whether it is up to Linda Clark et al to dig for the evidence RH and Judith Collins haven't bothered to provide, ie., "Rodney Hide: Will he resign as Minister if it transpires that, indeed, he did throw tennis balls at his students in the classroom, and tie their hands up and stuff tennis balls in their mouths, as punishment for talking?"]
[UPDATE 2, 12:35pm: Russell Brown suggests in Hard News here that "I wouldn't put too much stock in Rodney Hide's apparent speedy withdrawal of his claims of historical classroom bullyingagainst associate education minister David Benson Pope. I'd say the whole idea was to extract denials on multiple allegations in the House from the minister - so that if one of the alleged victims does come forward to claim anything in public, the Opposition can merrily kick around the idea that Benson Pope has misled Parliament." As yet, neither Collins nor Hide have fronted with anything remotely approaching evidence.
Says Russell, "Good grief. Is this the sort of election campaign we're going to have?" It is if this is all the opposition we've got.]