As readers will know I’m hardly a defender of this government, mostly because of its timidity in saying or doing anything that’s worth a damn, but neither am I partial to people talking utter nonsense.
And for months now this government’s opponents both on blog and in parliament have been talking nonsense about this government’s “hidden free-market agenda ” about its plans to “gut the welfare state,” about its plot to sell off all of Auckland’s Councils’ assets – talking about these plans, plots and agendas as if everyone knows them to be true.
Now I for one would be awfully happy if any of this were true – hell, when even Cuba can implement limited privatisation you’d think it might get some consideration here at home – but there’s frankly no evidence for any of it, and no sign at all that any of its true.
A pack of politicians less interested in anything radical hasn’t been seen since Britain’s John Major went to the polls on a policy platform of a hotline for stray road cones and a new complaints department for the NHS.
Anyway, the latest media maven raising this fantastical free-market spectre is pro-Labour luminary and former Prime-Ministerial adviser Brian Edwards, who peddled all three myths to his blog readers on Wednesday – myths that were picked up and peddled further by his followers.
Eager to find evidence that I’d grievously misjudged that nice but dimwitted Mr Key, I asked each of the blog writers who recycled Edwards’s claim to give me the evidence for it, just as I’ve done before. And lust like when I’ve asked before, neither had anything to offer, not even a reply.
So I asked Mr Edwards himself to justify his claims with anything approaching evidence, and he admitted eventually that he was entirely out of it – that, quite frankly, he has no more evidence for any of these claims than your religionist has for his god. That, like the religionist sitting waiting for the rapture, or Pirate Jenny for her ship, he’s basically just sitting there waiting for the black freighter of privatisation to come floating in – and he has absolute faith that it will. Faith, but not even a shred of evidence.
What a sad place for an atheist like Brian to be.
So why not help poor Brian out. Do you have any evidence of National’s radical free-market agenda? Do you have any evidence of these supposed plans for privatisations and asset sales? Because if you have you should throw what you have up on stage and help your man out. And if you haven’t, you should – like Brian – just stop telling porkies. Either throw it up or shut up.
1. Its not so long ago the line from Labour was that Key was the secret idealogue and English was the moderate pragmatist. There has been a flip over since because people seem to like Key. But one of them has to be a secret, hidden combination of Pinochet, Richardson, Thatcher and Vlad the Impaler. Apparently.
2. Lange/Douglas parallel? So all Labour has to do is wait until the second term? This is like singing old songs from your childhood to comfort you (no, wait....). If Edwards is offering this sort of advice to Labour, and they're taking it, they're (a) paying him far too much and (b) in very big trouble. If English is an ideologue I'm a small patch of flat ground just outside Ngatea. There are only two idealogues sitting in National seats: one is now Speaker and the other one is a minister outside Cabinet in charge of leaky homes.
And if those two are what passes for free-market ideologues in the National caucus, then Galt help us.