Having a look through some left-wing blogs, I note that they all post on Key’s “Gaffe”.
Such ignorance is not befitting of a man who would be Prime Minister. I don’t care how nice your smile is; if you don’t know the first thing about New Zealand history, you’re not in a position to be running this country. Being one dimensional is the cornerstone of Brand Key, but it’s not something we can afford in a Prime Minister.
But then, can we really blame him? He’s simply repeating the myths he was told at school back in the 60′s and 70′s, an era when our education system wasn’t exactly known for its accurate portrayal of New Zealand history. And OTOH, this is a man who wants to be Prime Minister, who will have to negotiate with those who suffered those terrible injustices if he is to advance his ambitious Treaty settlement programme. And he can’t possibly do that in good faith while pretending for his almost exclusively Pakeha supporters that those injustices never really happened.
John Key has tainted the week of historic Treaty Settlements by suggesting that “we are not a country that’s come about through civil war or a lot of fighting internally”. The Standard have a good piece here on why Key is so wrong. But even worse, instead of just admitting his mistake, he is trying to spin away his ill informed comment by suggesting that he was referring to the period before the Treaty was signed. But even this comment has been criticised as being revisionist by Pita Sharples.
Tony earlier says “And to National’s credit, they supported the settlements.”. Interesting statement concerning a party that made far more progress than National – it’s Labour who are now supporting the framework that National laid down.
But I digress.
My point here is that Key’s comments were not ignorant of history. Elsewhere in the interview he mentioned the land wars, so he’s clearly aware of their existence. I’m sure that there were skirmishes before the treaty was signed, but they core point is that the foundational document of this nation was signed without civil war or major fighting.
Then we find out that the same point has previously been made by the Governor General and Michael Cullen. (Surprisingly, National Radio’s Checkpoint covered this story the best when it broke.)
But do we have corrections? No.
And it’s not like they haven’t had opportunity. Tony updated his post to refer to NRT’s. The Standard even wrote a post defending Cullen’s comments. It’s bizarre.
There’s a technique that sits at the heart of conjuring tricks called misdirection – the act of drawing attention away from the trick itself. You all know how it works: the conjurer will flourish a brightly coloured handkerchief in one hand, while the trick is quietly taking place unnoticed in the other.
The same thing happens in spin when a politician wishes to draw attention away from an issue, and National are particularly adept at it. Yesterday’s example of producing a decontextualised quote about the treaty from Cullen in order to draw attention away from Key’s comments was a classic example of misdirection in action, …
Like the Electoral Finance Act?
So it’s ok to take a comment out of context if it’s John Key, but if it’s Cullen it’s evil.
I would like to think that most blogs on the right would correct a mistake like this – it’s a fair cop. Sadly, correcting mistakes seems to be a skill that’s not excercised very often on the left.