Friday, 4 July 2014

Gotcha Politics: A Cautionary Tale

Know Your Enemy: John Key and his National Party colleagues want New Zealanders to believe that Labour under David Cunliffe, the Greens and the Internet-Mana Party represent the "Hard Left". Those truly deserving of the title would probably say, paraphrasing Crocodile Dundee: "That's not a Hard Left. THAT'S a Hard Left!"
 
THE DOORS TO THE LIFT closed behind the Special Commissioner for State Security with a barely audible sigh. Before him lay the spacious reception area of the Minister of the Interior. A young man, dressed in the muted grey uniform of the Senior Public Service, glanced up at him briefly and then returned his gaze to his computer screen.
 
“Good evening Comrade Commissioner, the Comrade Minister is expecting you – please go in.”
 
The Special Commissioner nodded curtly at the Receptionist and pushed open the heavy Rimu doors.
 
“Bruce! Good of you to come at such short notice. Sit down, sit down. Can I get you something? Tea, Coffee, something a little stronger?”
 
“Perhaps some water, Comrade Minister.”
 
“Call me Harry, Bruce. After all these years, I think the Party will forgive us dropping the revolutionary formalities.”
 
The Minister pushed a button and summoned up a bottle of sparkling water and a generous measure of McCallan’s.
 
“So, Bruce, you finally got him!”
 
“That we did, Harry. That we did.”
 
“And he’s safely interred with the rest of his party?”
 
“Suffice to say, Harry, that there is a little plot of the Central Plateau that will be forever John Key.”
 
“Heh! So it’s done.”
 
“It is. But I must say, Harry, I was somewhat surprised that the Central Committee decided against putting him on trial. There are still plenty of Aotearoans who remember him.”
 
“Precisely, Bruce, precisely! That’s why we thought better of it. He was, after all, an extraordinarily popular Prime Minister – served more terms than Keith Holyoake! Taking everything into account, the Central Committee thought it best not to remind people – let alone permit him to demonstrate – why that was. So, snatch him from Hawaii, bring him home, shut him down. That was the plan, and Bruce, you carried it out to perfection.”
 
“The Americans won’t be happy.”
 
“The Americans still don’t know what happened, Bruce. Oh sure, they suspect – but they don’t know. It could just as easily have been the neo-Maoists in Beijing – they have even longer memories than we do!”
 
“True enough.”
 
‘So, what did he have to say during his interrogation?”
 
“Not a lot. Confirmed a lot of what we knew already. There was nothing of any real significance. We got the impression he went through his time as Prime Minister trying very hard not to know what was going on.”
 
“Any famous last words?”
 
“Well, he did say that he wished the SIS and the GCSB had briefed him more accurately on who was – and who was not – a part of the ‘Hard Left’. Apparently his National Security team had no idea that people like us, or our party, even existed. You’ll find this difficult to believe, Harry, but he actually asked me what happened to people like David Cunliffe, Russel Norman, Metiria Turei, Hone Harawira, Annette Sykes, Laila Harre and John Minto!”
 
“Oh, Bruce, the naiveté of the man! Did he really have no idea that they were the very first people to be shot?”
 
“Not a clue, Harry. Not a clue.”
 
“What did you tell him?”
 
“Well, since he was so fond of American presidents, I quoted JFK.”
 
“Go on.”
 
“I said, John, you’re right, it is a pity that your security advisers didn’t tell you that those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable. He gave me a sad smile, and then we loaded him onto the truck.”
 
This short story was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Monday, 30 June 2014.

22 comments:

Jigsaw said...

Glad to hear that there is no more calling ACT a hard-right party.

jh said...

By apologising for being a man David Cunliffe has shown that he has bought the world view of radical feminists and "the mob" who despise and are in turn despised by the general public.

Victor said...

Interesting that Matt McCarten is not on your list of executed Mensheviks.

Loz said...

Jh: Most violent crime is perpetrated by lower socioeconomic groups, maybe those born poor should apologise for how they are born next? The overwhelming statistics of child abuse come from Maori households, is an apology from Maori New Zealanders for being identified as part of an ethnic group visibly associated with abuse justified?

The apology is ridiculous and refutes any principle that every person in society is entitled to be viewed free of prejudice and on the merits of their own action. I refuse to accept that this continuing assertion of rightful condemnation on the basis of ethnicity and gender is progressive or “left wing”… whatever that means anyway.

If “the left” is now associated with collective guilt and, ipso facto, the appropriateness of collective punishment, the “Cautionary Tale” does indeed serve a real warning. Mr Cunliffe’s grovelling couldn’t be further from a principled assertion in the inalienable rights of fairness and equality that the old left once stood for. I genuinely hold fear for what those labelled “hard left” could actually do to the principles of equality under the law and democracy itself with collective guilt being accepted so readily by the leader of the opposition.

CarbonGuilty said...

And what is your point?
That you support a murderous revolutionary path?
That you fantasise about murdering John Key. Police may be interested in that.
Revolution is mostly a failure for progress, history teaches us doesn't it? Evolution is more successful, as in nature. The odd meteorite may change everything but it takes ages to recover from. More harm is done than good.
Surely you don't think the American, French, Russian, Chinese or Iraqi revolutions were better than slow evolution would have been?

CarbonGuilty said...

On another subject, but where revolution maybe best, I could not believe Mallard's Moa distraction was other than sabotage this last week. Or was it actually a cunning plan put up by Cunliff's camp to get the media to lighten up on Labour, and Mallard was the sitting duck to do it?
Even dumber if so.

Kat said...

“Can I begin by saying I’m sorry,” he said.

“I don’t often say it. I’m sorry for being a man right now, because family and sexual violence is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men against women and children.

“So the first message to the men out there is: wake up, stand up and man up and stop this bullshit!”

The MSM spin on quoting just a few selective words out of context is appalling. That John Key called Cunliffe "a bit silly" for saying what he said is even more appalling and I would imagine raise a few eyebrows out there in the electorate.

JanM said...

Which, in my opinion, jh, makes him a man of integrity and courage. I'm sure he was under no illusion about what the great unwashed would think of his statement.
"An unbelieved truth can hurt a man much more than a lie. It takes great courage to back truth unacceptable to our times. There's a punishment for it, and it's usually crucifixion.”
― John Steinbeck, East of Eden.

jh said...

Bryce Edwards on The Nation
“there is a wider disconnect between what he [David Cunliffe] said and what the wider party think. There are two ideologies that are really important to them and that's this ideology of identity politics and rape culture”
http://www.3news.co.nz/Panel-Willie-Jackson-Bryce-Edwards--Trish-Sherson/tabid/1348/articleID/351457/Default.aspx

Doesn't conjure up chaps in overalls.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Victor.

Well-spotted, Sir!

To: Carbon Guilty.

The posting is satire, CG. It attempts (and clearly fails in your case) to demonstrate what a genuinely "Hard Left" government would look like, and how absurd it is for right-wing politicians and commentators to lump honest constitutional democrats like David Cunliffe and Laila Harre in with totalitarian monsters like Joseph Stalin.

As for your comments regarding revolution, I simply refer you to the quotation from John F Kennedy in the short story:

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable."

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Chris, the right have always been good at imposing labels on people. Hard left, Helengrad, champagne socialist all that sort of thing. It is pretty much meaningless, but they are very, very good it at :-). I suppose it keeps them happy.

markus said...

Given that some of the comments have gone off-topic, I'll head in the same direction...

I'll be very interested to see the sex/gender breakdowns from the next round of opinion polls. There's already a bit of a chasm between men and women in terms of party support and It'll be interesting to see if that chasm's just become a little wider.

I'm wondering if Cunliffe's apology is a sign that Labour strategists have decided there's no hope of victory and so it's time to batten down the hatches and consolidate their core constituencies. I hope not.

markus said...

I'd add that if this little exchange between Harry and Bruce is supposed to take place in about what ? - 10 or 20 years time ? - then you'll need to make some stylistic changes. These revolutionary leaders are presumably in their 40s or 50s, so born at some point between the late 60s and the early 90s. Unlikely, I would have thought to be named "Bruce" (a bit old-fashioned - not too many Bruces currently in their 20s or 30s), although "Harry" (also a little archaic in my estimation) probably came back into fashion following the birth of Diana's (though not necessarily Charles') second child.

Also, the greeting from this new generation (once they've got the Comradely formalities over and done with) is much more likely to be "Chur, Dude !!!", possibly followed by "Cowabunga !!!" rather than the more 1950s "good of you to come at short notice".

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Dude! Cowabunga is so 1950's :-).

Victor said...

Chris

A few further points.

Firstly, I'm intrigued at how little we hear of Mr McCarten these days, seeing that he's meant to be "Chief of Staff" of a major political party engaged in an electoral campaign.

His name seems rarely to figure in the plethora of media discussions concerning Labour's organisational and presentational woes, albeit that I would have thought these were very much his department.

Have I just not been reading the right stuff or is there something rather more complex going on here?

Secondly, returning to your counter-factual, why aren't you on the list of the regime's victims? I naturally dismiss the thought that you are insufficiently significant to be shot.

Are you now the editor-in-chief of the new regime's propaganda services? did you perish heroically on the barricades as revolution swept through Wellington and are now deemed an appropriate subject for commemorative masonry in the heroic manner? are you, alternatively in Western Australia as a token leftie working for Colin Craig's self-styled government in exile?

And, finally, does the capture of John Key take place before or after the sequestration of Fonterra and the extermination of the Kulaks as a class? If the latter, how many Chekists did their pump actions take out?

Chris Trotter said...

I'd like to think, Victor, that like Cicero I would be among the new regime's first victims.

On the other hand, someone has to play the role of Gorky.

The cockies would, of course, have to go. But, you're right, it would be a hell of a job. Still, once those young Greens got a taste for it ....

Debbie Sullivan said...

you may all eat cake

Victor said...

"Still, once those young Greens got a taste for it ...."

The plot thickens!

Richard Christie said...

The cockies would, of course, have to go. But, you're right, it would be a hell of a job.

simply drowned in the lake of milk of their own creation.

Anonymous said...

As a footnote, of course: if New Zealand ever were to slide into overt authoritarianism, it is infinitely more likely to be of the right-wing variety than the left-wing variety. It wouldn't be too hard to come up with an alternate history where the Left is more united in support of the 1951 watersiders, so the Holland Government's reaction is an order of magnitude nastier. By contrast, the deep state is too entrenched for anyone short of a Seddon-style demagogue to overthrow from the Left.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the revolution would certainly eliminate you Chris as a mere gatekeeper and well paid pseudo leftie employed to give the proletariat the illusion that there is a genuine left wing debate. You would be considered but a necessary part of the clown drama of NZ politics which ultimately changes nothing.Key is a soft core fascist who hasn't a clue, and isn't interested in, the democratic voice of the people. replying to John Kerry he praised the U$ fascist state's destruction of Iraq and the Ukraine fully supporting the U$ criminal state's full spectrum dominance agenda which includes Corporate dominance over atrophied democratic control.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Hell, we're all fucked:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/07/capitalism-rich-poor-2060-populations-technology-human-rights-inequality