The Best Of 'NOT PC'
Brash's Agenda, & Lawyers Trotters
Two opinion-pieces by Peter Cresswell from his Blog Not PC
1. Brash's Secret Agenda
2. Lawyers with their Trotters in the Electoral Trough
1. Brash's Secret Agenda
Is Don Brash a radical?' asked the Greens' Frogblog recently. Yes!!! trumpets in answer a thousand Labour billboards, press releases, PM press conferences and activists and candidates out on the hustings. Brash is, in the words of 'neutral' journalist John Campbell, "a wolf in sheep's clothing."
It must be true because so many people are saying it, right?
"National are social
anarchists," said Russell Fairbrother in parliament
yesterday. "Radical policy change is what is on offer from
National," says Madame Helen. A Brash government would be
"preparing for privatisation" everything from the beaches to
the government's high country land to all of its schools,
hospitals, and energy trusts -- so say respectively various
iwi, the twitterers at Forest and Bird, and the Dullard who
is beginning to quack as the election date draws ever closer
(and Bwash the wadical no doubt begins to haunt his dreams).
The nuclear ships ban would, under Brash, be "gone by
lunchtime"; Brash would have NZ troops in Iraq; Brash is
having his policy written for him in Washington... Blimey,
the man starts to sound like some sort of a libertarian
That's a lot of hatred to have engendered, and a big radical agenda for a quiet Presbyterian like Brash to accomplish... and sadly none of that alleged agenda is true. I for one wish much of it were true. Brash is a social liberal and an honest conservative, but by his own admission he's not a libertarian, and unlike the Libertarianz (who do openly advocate much of the above, particularly the wholesale privatisation), radical reform of the kind that Labour are suggesting so hysterically is the secret Brash agenda is not even on National's radar screen, and I say that with sincere regret.
Brash himself denies in interviews being anything other than Labour-lite; their RMA proposals, are, in their own architect's words, just window dressing; the beaches they've promised to nationalise, not privatise; and privatisation, even of Kiwibank, TVNZ and Air New Zealand has been ruled out. So where the hell is the radicalism when you really want it?
It sure as hell ain't in the National caucus room, whatever the Labour Party and its various mouthpieces might have you believe.
Q: So will a National-led minority
Government be fundamentally different to the present
A: No. On every fundamental point of policy, you could hardly slide a sheet of blue policy paper between their respective positions. See.
Q: So why does everyone get so
excited when National goes up in the polls?
A: Because after six years of her bossing around the sheeple, a lot of people have had enough of Madame Helen.
Q: But voting her out won't
fundamentally change anything policy-wise?
A: No, it won't. People generally vote to get governments out, rather than to put new governments in. That doesn't stop new governments thinking they have a 'mandate' of course. And it doesn't stop people exciting themselves over the prospect of seeing new faces in the same old offices, even if they are doing pretty much the same old things.
Q: You don 't sound very excited at
the prospect yourself .
A: Well spotted youngster.
Cartoon by Richard McGrail, courtesy The Free Radical
[NOTE: Clicking onthe cartoon will open a legible versi0n thereof. :-) ]
2. Lawyers with their Trotters in the Electoral Trough
I have a letter in front of me from "the official publication of the NZ Law Society," that bastion of rectitude, probity and worthy self-importance that looks after the interests of all New Zealand's lawyers -- except of course when their name is Rob Moodie.
They've noticed that there is an election coming up, and they would like me to respond on behalf of the Libertarianz to the issues that concern them this election year, especially Libertarianz's "policies in relation to the law." Foolishly, I began thinking what I could say about our support for the Rule of Law and of slashing legislation to make the law more simple and more accessible, of our enthusiasm for Common Law and its principled protection of property rights, and of our proposed Constitution protecting individual rights ... I say "foolishly" because reading on it quickly became apparent that none of these things are of any interest to the Assistant Editor of "the official publication of the NZ Law Society."
What he is specifically interested in is our attitude to legal aid. Specifically, he is asking me for our attitude to the following: 1) "changes to eligibility ...so that more people can obtain representation through legal aid"; 2) an increase in rates for legal aid; 3) a bigger budget for legal aid; and 4) more experienced lawyers needing to submit bigger legal aid bills if they're going to be interested.
Put simply, what Mr Frank Neill, Assistant Editor of LawTalk wants to know is this: Are we promising to to give lawyers more money if elected? That's it really. Are we promising more for all the snouts in the legal trough, and a bigger trough for all those snouts to go into? That's the substance of the "election special" in Frank's upcoming issue -- and you can bet all the parties bar Libertarianz will be falling over themselves to promise increased gobs of your cash to be handed out to lawyers, who as we all know are in a parlous state nationwide, poor dears.
Take poor Deborah Manning for example, whose law firm McLeod & Associates have only manage to pull down a paltry $2 million or so from the taxpayer in defending Ahmed Zaoui's bid to stay in New Zealand. Surely we can help Deborah and McLeod & Associates, can't we? She herself might question "the importance of money as a motivation to succeed," but you can be sure the rest of her partners aren't complaining about the largesse being flung their way.
So on reflection, the best answer I can give to Mr Frank
Neill (email: email@example.com) and the readers of
LawTalk -- "the
official publication of the NZ Law Society" -- is to point
him to the Libertarianz
With some very few noticeable exceptions, the more I see of lawyers and their venality, the more I find myself in favour of nationalising the lot of them. Put that in your official journal, Frank. Or maybe just print these two quotes from H.L. Mencken for your members and see if they get the point: 1)"An election is an advance auction of stolen goods"; and 2):
Unemployment under Libertarianz would increase dramatically: among politicians, lawyers, accountants, resource management consultants, iwi consultants, town planners, arborists, politicians, bureaucrats, tax collectors, WINZ staff, and salaried busybodies of every stripe. With the dead weight of these parasites out of our way the rest of us can get on with our lives, while the moochers re-educate themselves for life in a world that no longer owes them a living.
All the extravagance and incompetence of our present Government is due, in the main, to lawyers, and, in part at least, to good ones. They are responsible for nine-tenths of the useless and vicious laws that now clutter the statute-books, and for all the evils that go with the vain attempt to enforce them. Every Federal judge is a lawyer. So are most Congressmen. Every invasion of the plain rights of the citizens has a lawyer behind it. If all lawyers were hanged tomorrow, and their bones sold to a mah jong factory, we'd be freer and safer, and our taxes would be reduced by almost a half.Should there be any further questions after that, Frank, then please do not hesitate to write them on a small piece of stiff parchment, fold it until it's all sharp corners, and then insert it where the sun doesn't shine. It's an exercise lawyers such as those you represent should do more often.
[UPDATE: Here's an interesting footnote that's been sent to me: Deborah Manning, star of the Ahmed Zaoui travelling circus and recipient of that $2 million of legal aid, is herself on the Auckland Law Society's Legal Aid Committee. Can anyone spell 'conflict of interest'?]