Nicky Hager (rhymes with lager) alleges that politics is dirty. He alleges it as if that’s news. As if the corpses of a thousand political victims never happened.
He further alleges that John Key uses a friendly blog, mainly Cameron Slater‘s, to help get his message out. As if that’s unique. As if not one in a thousand leftwing blogs have any affiliation whatsoever with unions, Labour Party, Greens or the German Billionaire Marxist Maori nationalist party.1
He even further alleges, on the basis of emails and webs hacks he alleges were stolen (somehow) while Cameron’s website was hacked (which doesn’t explain how Cameron’s offline emails would be hacked, but there you go), that (and here I quote from Hager’s press release):
During the 2011 election campaign … the prime minister’s office used its knowledge of secret SIS documents to tip off Slater and arrange an attack on the Labour leader.
That last paragraph of mine is as tangled as Hager’s usual reasoning. Nonetheless, if true, it is political dynamite.
But is it true? Can he prove it? Has he proven it? Is this really news? I have no idea. None whatsoever. And neither does anyone else who hasn’t read the book – but expect a slew of commentary by those who have by this hour tomorrow morning, and a to of innuendo from every politician on all sides of the electoral divide whether they’ve read it or not.
It’s no accident it’s released so close to an election that few will bother to check if the mud has any bottom – nor that Hager’s focus on dirt in politics shines a light only on Team Blue, when Teams Red, White, Brown, Black and Green have been and are no angels. Nor has Hager himself (once again, these are stolen communications he’s relying on, right? )
And it’s true too that Cameron has been happy all along to downplay the importance of the SIS and GCSB being granted powers to bug and surveil without warrants, mostly on the basis that it’s okay if his mates are doing it, or it’s being done their behalf, or they’re the ones in power while it’s done. But if he had been leaked material from SIS with which to attack Phil Goff in 2011, it must have been pretty bloody innocuous since not one member of the commentariat can remember anything remotely larcenous raised against him.
So it’s entirely probable that, as with every other Nicky Hager book since publishing began, he is making too much stew from too few onions.
If however he can prove it, and if that proof is actually and only contained within the pages of his book, I’m sure you’ll hear about it– without having to pay him any money – in every headline between now and Christmas. And it will be an outrage.
And Cameron will still enjoy every headline,interview and new blog reader that he gets. Which by September will probably be counted in their hundreds, if not the thousands.
1. Liberty Scott’s quip was so good I had to borrow it.