Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


G Campbell: ACT horror show (& Ground Zero Mosque)

Gordon Campbell on the ACT horror show, and the Ground Zero mosque

There’s one way for the ACT Party to solve its current financial problems – surely there must be a top rating reality TV show hiding in that rough 82 page draft that Heather Roy and her assistant Simon Ewen-Jarvie have helpfully sketched out for us. What a cast. The menacing bully boy leader, the lamington-wearing cyborg, the stocky, moustachioed anti-crime nutter, the aged paterfamilias puttering around the halls of Bowen House in his golf cart – and at the centre of it all, the blonde naïf /waif with big ambitions. Think Kendra in army boots, with a clipboard. Working title : ACT – As If Your Life Depended On It !

Is it too early yet to write a – gosh, we’ll miss Rodney Hide – farewell appraisal? On the current evidence, possibly not. The omens are ominous. Membership down to 1,000, finances not so hot, polling in Epsom not so good. Sir Roger sitting alone in his room and wondering whether this is the sort of thing a chap should be doing at the age of 73. Party president Michael Crozier sending in an awkwardly regal goodbye note – he would ‘prefer not’ to stand for another term, adding this masterly assessment: "Politics is a rough game and from time to time things sort of reach the point where there is a bit of a tidy-up.”

No-one knows of course, how all this is playing out in the fore-brain of the Tidier-Up-In-Chief. Somehow, Hide has managed to inflict mortal injury on his party because he couldn’t manage his way through a spat over party direction and his access to a defence document. Hard to see a road back from here, given that the party scored only 3.65% of the vote when the tide was running high in 2008. That 5% threshold must now be looking positively Himalayan. Partly because in the ACT citadel of Epsom, centre-right voters can now cheerily cast their vote for a popular Prime Minister rather than for the nemesis of an unpopular one.

Moreover, since becoming part of the John Key government, Hide has been responsible for the most divisive and unpopular local government reform in the history of Auckland. It won’t get any better. Incredibly, in his first interview since being appointed, newly minted Supercity CEO Doug McKay is already asking the public to be patient with the early ‘screw-ups.’ that the Supercity will inevitably entail. Yep, that’s what the public hires someone and pay them $675,000 a year to do – to promise them screw-ups. I thought these people were supposed to bring vision and motivational skills and management ability to their well-paid posts –not timidity and the forebodings of inevitable failure.

Thankfully, the ACT party does have one way out. Hide has been trying to paint Roy’s assistant and former ACT Party candidate for Otaki, Simon Ewing-Jarvie as being the dark manipulator of the helpless Roy (In Hide-think, she’s blonde, and a woman after all). Yet I wonder if Hide has really taken the time to read Ewing-Jarvie’s thesis from 2002, available online here. In this document, Dr. Ewing-Jarvie offers this sage advice, which I’m sure he wouldn’t mind Hide making use in his time of need :

Well named as the selfish generation, they (we) are largely focussed on short term personal and organisational strategies that help to solve or distract from their self-imposed (and largely imaginary) personal dilemmas…..A healthy serving of spiritual development added to some mind and body work is the only way forward for this group, but they are taking our organisations down through the connection between their power and personal needs.

If it takes Chris Carter two months to recover from what was largely self-inflicted damage, Roy may be optimistic in taking only a fortnight to recover from this battering at the hands of her colleagues. Nothing seen so far justifies the treatment she has received. Can she really come back to those same toxic corridors and work co-operatively with the same people who attacked her personally and trashed her career? It sounds like a horror story. Hi Rodney, I’m back. Cue ominous music. Well, hell–o, Heather. Cue anxious pizzicato strings, fade to orange. Bring up alternative title : Centre Fright!


The Ground Zero Mosque Flip Flop

I was going to write about President Barack Obama’s amazing turnaround – from principled position to pandering, almost overnight – over the proposal to construct a mosque near where the World Trade Centre once stood in lower Manhattan. Core point being, you don’t discriminate against an entire religion because of the actions of a few of its extremists. The US is at war with al Qaeda, not Islam – as candidate Obama once understood.

As usual though, Jon Stewart got there first with this terrific piece of journalism on the Ground Zero mosque madness. This says it all, really.

Maureen Dowd in the NYT also made a couple of good points:

Have any of the screaming critics noticed that there already are two mosques in the same neighborhood — one four blocks away and one 12 blocks away. Should they be dismantled? And what about the louche liquor stores and strip clubs in the periphery of the sacred ground? By now you have to be willfully blind not to know that the imam in charge of the project, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is the moderate Muslim we have allegedly been yearning for.

None of which will matter much, given the crazed tone of current political discourse in the United States, thanks to the combined efforts of the Teabaggers, Fox News and a President who seems more comfortable attacking his own left wing base than dealing with the Republican Party and its rabid fellow travelers.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Binoy Kampmark: A Looting Matter: Cambodia’s Stolen Antiquities

Cambodia has often featured in the Western imagination as a place of plunder and pilfering. Temples and artefacts of exquisite beauty have exercised the interest of adventurers and buccaneers who looted with almost kleptocratic tendency. In 1924, the French novelist and future statesman André Malraux, proved himself one of Europe’s greatest adventurers in making off with a ton of sacred stones from Angkor Wat... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Labour Leadership Speculation Premature And Facile
Speculation that the Prime Minister’s leadership of the Labour Party may be at risk because of this week’s adverse poll results is as exaggerated as it is premature and facile. While her popularity has plummeted from the artificially stellar heights of a couple of years ago and is probably set to fall further to what would be a more realistic assessment... More>>

Ian Powell: Colossal ‘Porkies’ And Band-aids Don’t Make A Health Workforce Plan

On 1 August Minister of Health Andrew Little announced what he described as the start of a plan for the beleaguered workforce in Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system: Government’s 5 year late health workforce announcement. In October 2017, when Labour became government with its two coalition parties, it inherited a health workforce crisis from the previous National-led government... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: The Fuss About Monkeypox
The World Health Organization has been one of the easier bodies to abuse. For parochial types, populist moaners and critics of international institutions, the WHO bore the brunt of criticisms from Donald Trump to Jair Bolsonaro. Being a key institution in identifying public health risks, it took time assessing the threat posed by SARS-CoV-2 and its disease, COVID-19... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Time For MPs To Think For Themselves
One of the more frequently quoted statements of the Irish statesman and philosopher, Edmund Burke, was his observation that “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement, and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”... More>>