Liam Ashley is dead, no one is to blame, and everyone who is to blame is invoking the Denis Marshall principle.
Denis Marshall may have been a useless waste of space, as so many of politicians are, but he introduced to public life a new political principle: Rather than resign his job as Minister after the Cave Creek tragedy -- as Ministers had been doing in similar circumstances for decades -- Marshall instead took the line that he needed to stay in the job to fix the utter disaster that his department so clearly was. At left is a picture of Marshall fixing his department. (To be perfectly fair, the Minister for Contaminated Blood, Simon Upton (left, below), may have given him the 'courage' to take this line.)
The record will show that Marshall held out for a year before eventually being quietly asked by Jim Bolger to fall on his sword and piss off. (Upton himself avoided the honourable line altogether and continued to haunt Helengrad for many years thereafter -- he now has a cosy sinecure at the OECD in Paris.)
Damien O'Connor has clearly learned from our Denis and our Simon in the tenor of his responses to the report that has just made crystal clear that a) his department is a shambles, and b) it was that shambles that lead to the death of Liam Ashley.
Says O'Connor: "My resignation won't solve the problem." "Walking away would be the easy option." "I have a job to do." "I'm a fuckwit." (Spot the responses that don't fit.)
Echoing O'Connor is his boss, Helen Clark (left), who says he is "responsible, but not to blame." Responsible, but not to blame. (Naturally, Clark already knows something about this line from her own involvement in the Contaminated Blood scandal, over which her papers are sealed for thirty years.)
The protection of politicians goes on. The attack on the English language continues. And Liam Ashley and the other victims of government incompetence are still dead.
Orwell would have understood.
LINKS: Corrections: Ashley's death preventable - TVNZ
PM: No need for minister to resign - TNVZ
Cave Creek - Wikipedia
Ban Stymies Blood Probe Clark Backs Papers Secrecy - HCV Advocate
Contaminated blood: Will Clark deliver this time? - Not PC (April, 2005)
Ministers for Contaminated Blood - Not PC (April, 2005)
RELATED: New Zealand, Politics-NZ, Politics-Labour, Politics-National, Politics