Dear Don - in response to your Dear John letter
How's it all going then? After attempting to implement your garden variety bigotry as Economic conservatism last time with Exclusive Brethren money you tried to deny, you are back from your cryogenic chamber fuelled on the tears of the poor to take over ACT in a corporate coup to proclaim Maori privilege and denounce John Key on his performance to date.
On this last bit we can agree.
John Key has done nothing to help the poor of NZ and has only succeeded in handing over more tax to his wealth class while increasing corporate welfare at the cost of public welfare.
We both agree on that Don, where we part company is in what to do about it. You Don want to implement hard right economic policy as social policy. Economic Darwinism where the rich will advance while the poor fall won't adjust our crooked social justice imbalance. I accept that the 2008 crash is a crises of capitalism and that the full social impact of that collapse has not yet hit us fully and that a radical agenda is needed. That radical agenda however is Keynesian managed capitalism, not more of the free market dogma that led the planet into this economic collapse in the first place.
To bypass any of this criticism Don, you have resorted to race baiting bigotry that made the hollow men such a fascinating read. I pointed out last week some of the outrageous behind the scenes chicanery you and your spin Dr's adopted when trying to convince NZers of the lie that 'Maaaaaaaaori get too much' in your Orewa speech...
The speech gave a sole concrete example of Maori privilege. This was the Nelson-Tasman Public Health Organisation (PHO), which, it said, 'is required to have half the community representatives on its board representing local iwi, even though the number of people actually belonging to those local iwi is a tiny fraction of the population covered by that PHO'.
The interesting thing about the example is that the staff in the National Party leader's office knew that the Nelson PHO was not typical. They discussed the risks resulting from this 'one good example' in fact being an exception. But it still went into the speech and no effort was made to explain that most PHOs are different and that their structures are decoded by local GPs and other representatives, not by government requirement.
Having generated public reaction and outrage from the subject of race-based privilege, Brash's staff found themselves being asked by journalists for evidence and examples of the supposed widespread abuses. You might imagine that the staff would be eager to hammer home the most powerful allegations in the speech. Instead, the internal communications show them urgently trying to bat enquiries away. The power of the speech had come from emotional lever pulling and button pushing, not factual accuracy. As soon as the media started asking about the facts, the staff started dodging and ducking.
For instance, a couple of weeks after the speech, Brash's media staff received an email New Zealand Herald reporter Ruth Berry who was writing a backgrounder on 'race-based funding'. She asked National to say what it meant by this term and to name the top 10 examples of race-based funding which it would prevent. Instead of being pleased, Richard Long was immediately defensive. He forwarded her email to Peter Keenan and Murray McCully saying, "Can you confer? We need to come up with a credible holding answer for these, that will avoid "National gone to ground and can't answer" type articles. The DomPost is doing similar, as you are aware.'
Long proposed that they say the information was not yet ready or available - 'Something along the lines of this week we commissioned the first in what could be a series of professional reviews of legislation to judge the full extent of the infiltration and what needs to be done to remove/correct etc. This will not be hurried and we are not prepared to address this in a piecemeal fashion.'
Media assistant Phil Rennie chipped in that they needed to talk the media out of expecting that major examples of race-based funding existed. 'Isn't the point though not the amount of money,' he added in an email, 'but the principle, and the resentment that this racial differentiation creates? We need to dampen down media expectations that we are going to uncover big monetary figures.'
Don, you knew your 'Maaaaaori-get-too-much-one-law-for-all' rhetoric was a lie and you had a set disinformation campaign to throw mainstream media off scent if they started questioning the veracity of your dog whistle. We know this because the Hollow Men emails clearly catch you out discussing how to lie to the media over the 'Maaaaaori-get-too-much-one-law-for-all' race-baiting.
Luckily we have Tapu Misa to cut through your bullshit...
Tapu Misa: Myth of the persecuted white majority
Legend of the Persecuted White Guy, as American writer David Sirota noted in Salon.com last month, is the latest iteration of "the most resilient parable in American cultural mythology".
From the 1980s, "when it was alleged that civil rights initiatives (affirmative action, busing, etc) were persecuting whites, to the last decade which lamented whites as 'America's forgotten majority', to the present political moment in which the first African-American President is accused of caring only about his fellow minorities and harbouring 'a deep-seated hatred of white people'," it's been an enduring narrative.
But while recent prominent stories in Newsweek and USA Today have claimed that the economy was rigged against white males, and that older white males were hurt more by the recession than anyone else, the evidence has told a different story.
The black unemployment rate in March, for example, was almost double the jobless rate for white workers.
"Far from being 'forgotten', persecuted or 'without a freakin' prayer'," wrote Sirota, "white men still very much retain their cherished privilege, so much so that their problems are presented by the media as the most pressing national emergency - even when, on the whole, white men still occupy a comparatively enviable position in our economy."
Where does this "unquestioned-yet-unsubstantiated" trope come from? Sirota suggests that it's been fed in part by a backlash - white anxiety in the face of a changing world in which white dominance is no longer guaranteed - and in part by "naked political opportunism".
Symptoms of the same paranoia can be found here. Paul Henry wanting a governor-general who "looks and sounds like a New Zealander". Labour MP Damien O'Connor bitterly complaining about ordinary (white) blokes like him being left out in the cold by the apparent domination of the Labour Party by unionists and a "gaggle of gays".
And The Myth of Maori Privilege, which was put to such good use by Don Brash in 2004 after he wrested control of the National Party leadership from Bill English.
You are dusting off this technique and playing the same old game to wrap your hard right economic agenda in populist bigotry rhetoric in the hope the race baiting smokescreens your fundamentalist free market madness.
For those rednecks who love to hate, your race baiting will be music to their ears and I have no doubt you will get over 5%, but for the moderates who flocked to John Key's big blue tent strategy of moderately holding the middle ground, you will be as popular as a cancerous growth. Moderates who may have indulged Key's wildly undefined mantra of 'change' last time won't lend their party vote to a far right Brash-Key Government.
Thanks for helping NZ see John Key for the mock moderation he has always pretended to be and highlighting what would be gone by lunchtime if you became Finance Minister.
Please keep it up.