Well, all I know, REDACTED, is that you scare the hell out of me!
EXEC-COM TELE-CONFERENCE REDACTED TRANSCRIPT
( ON THE CALL: REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED )
REDACTED: Are we all here? Good. I thought it would be useful to arrange a quick update on the progress to date of Operation Hotspur.
REDACTED: Before you do, REDACTED, Why Hotspur?
REDACTED: Oh, well, JLR reminds me so much of Harry Hotspur in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part One – the headstrong knight who refuses to be humiliated by the King and rises in rebellion against him.
REDACTED: Oh, right, very good. Sorry – go on.
REDACTED: Well, as REDACTED predicted, SB’s refusal to grant JLR everything he asked for back in February sent him into a black fury and made him extremely receptive to the idea of getting his own back. It really was very clever of you, REDACTED, to identify JLR’s acute sensitivity to even the slightest of slights. I’ve seldom encountered anyone more willing to allow their passion to over-rule their reason.
REDACTED: Yes, he really has proved to be the perfect patsy, hasn’t he?
REDACTED: However did you persuade him to tape his conversations with SB?
REDACTED: I simply told him it was necessary to prevent SB reneging on any more promises made to caucus colleagues and party members.
REDACTED: Your assessment of the recordings’ worth?
REDACTED: Oh, they’re dynamite. Not only in relation to SB, but to the whole party. If JLR is able to release even a handful of them before the by-election, then National’s going to be left looking pretty tawdry.
REDACTED: And, therefore, in even more need of a new, no-nonsense leader. Someone with the experience and the toughness to restore a sense of purpose – and discipline – to the Opposition.
REDACTED: Precisely, REDACTED. And exactly what Operation Hotspur was set up to achieve.
REDACTED: To expose and discredit the milksops and dunderheads who will never understand that “extremism in defence of liberty is no vice”.
REDACTED: Or that “moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue”.
REDACTED: Back to JLR’s recordings for a minute. What’s next?
REDACTED: The next conversation will really set the newshounds off. They’ll all be replaying All The President’s Men in their heads. All determined to “follow the money”.
REDACTED: Good. Good. It always pays to let the journos think they’ve uncovered the story all by themselves.
REDACTED: Like JLR’s victims. I don’t imagine Newsroom found them without a little help from their “friends”.
REDACTED: Quite a lot of help actually.
REDACTED: Remind me again why that was necessary. Their story left JLR looking like a complete arsehole.
REDACTED: My dear REDACTED, that was the whole point! After all, we don’t want him to win Botany, do we? His primary use to us is as a dirt-thrower: against SB; against the front bench; the caucus; the whole poisoned party. We want the public to be in the market for a very stiff new broom. Someone determined to sweep every last trace of muck out of the cowshed.
REDACTED: May I inquire as to what happens when JLR finally twigs to the fact that he’s been set up? That he’s been acting as REDACTED’s stalking-horse all along? If he lost it over SB’s “treachery” – how do you suppose he’ll react to ours?
REDACTED: Something tells me that by the time JLR realises what has happened to him he’ll be so discredited that no one will believe a word he says.
REDACTED: Dear God, REDACTED, that’s cold. Are you really willing to see the man disintegrate completely?
REDACTED: Yes, who knows what he might be driven to?
REDACTED: Honestly, who on this call would be all that upset if JLR did do something foolish?
REDACTED: Jesus! This is all getting a little too “House of Cards” for my liking. It’s REDACTED’s leadership we’re promoting here – not Frank Underwoods!
REDACTED: That’s enough! Of course we’ll look after JLR. No one who stands with me now – even unwittingly – will go unrewarded. This party is going to be lifted – by the scruff of its neck if necessary – out of the mire into which that mincing currency trader led it. If you only knew how much I hated all that “Labour-Lite” poison we were forced to swallow. National’s not here to be the executor of Labour’s will. It’s here to draw out the best, the brightest and the strongest from New Zealand society. You don’t achieve that by being soft – by being weak. You do that by being strong. By not surrendering to the nay-sayers and the nimbys and the bleeding hearts! What was it Machiavelli said: “It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”
REDACTED: He also said: “Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are.”
REDACTED: Well, all I know, REDACTED, is that you scare the hell out of me!
This satire was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 19 October 2018.