'Is Don Brash a radical?' asked the Greens' Frogblog recently. Yes!!! trumpets in answer a thousand Labour billboards, press releases, PM press conferences and activists and candidates out on the hustings. Brash is, in the words of 'neutral' journalist John Campbell, "a wolf in sheep's clothing."
It must be true because so many people are saying it, right?
"National are social anarchists," said Russell Fairbrother in parliament yesterday. "Radical policy change is what is on offer from National," says Madame Helen. A Brash government would be "preparing for privatisation" everything from the beaches to the government's high country land to all of its schools, hospitals, and energy trusts -- so say respectively various iwi, the twitterers at Forest and Bird, and the Dullard who is beginning to quack as the election date draws ever closer (and Bwash the wadical no doubt begins to haunt his dreams). The nuclear ships ban would, under Brash, be "gone by lunchtime"; Brash would have NZ troops in Iraq; Brash is having his policy written for him in Washington... Blimey, the man starts to sound like some sort of a libertarian legend!
Bloggers and their commenters are even more hyperbolic, clearly having been leaked Brash's "secret agenda," to which only they at present enjoy access. Joy at the Frogblog is concerned at his plans to "squash worker protection," and his RMA plans that are "slash and burn and bulldoze." Paul at Just Left is all over the park in fright at the prospect of a Brash government: "If this guy was 'commander in chief' at the time of the ILLEGAL invasion, he would have sent Kiwis to war and most possibly their death... Kiwi's home in bodybags vs Doonegate"! And good old Left Wing Nutter Millsy is so scared he wants to see concerted action to stop the election of a Brash government, "even if it means industrial paralysis...breaking the law ... and blood on the streets" to do so. Ooh er!
That's a lot of hatred to have engendered, and a big radical agenda for a quiet Presbyterian like Brash to accomplish... and sadly none of that agenda is true. I for one wish much of it were true. Brash is a social liberal and an honest conservative, but by his own admission he's not a libertarian, and unlike the Libertarianz (who do openly advocate much of the above, particularly the wholesale privatisation), radical reform of the kind that Labour are suggesting so hysterically is the secret Brash agenda is not even on National's radar screen, and I say that with sincere regret.
Brash himself denies in interviews being anything other than Labour-lite; their RMA proposals, are, in their own architect's words, just window dressing; the beaches they've promised to nationalise, not privatise; and privatisation, even of Kiwibank, TVNZ and Air New Zealand has been ruled out. So where the hell is the radicalism when you really want it?
It sure as hell ain't in the National caucus room, whatever the Labour Party and its various mouthpieces might have you believe.