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Is David Cunliffe nasty?

  • November 6th, 2011

Maybe, but not on the evidence of his comment about the Hon Judith Collins.

Cameron Slater and David Farrar jumped on the Hon David Cunliffe's throw-away insult to Judith Collins as an instance of the nastiness that  just leaks out of Labour, despite them all being on best behaviour for the election.

I agree about the left tendency to nasty personal attacks. From experience their proportion of primarily nasty people is much higher than the right's but to me the offence taken at David's over the top "insult" is PC nonsense. The left deserve the trouble, because they are the quickest to manufacture offence out of misinterpreted humour.

But I can't agree that the comment alone justifies the conclusion about David Cunliffe. I worry about anything that entrenches hypersensitivity and diminishes the likelihood of jokes to lighten the election load.

Mr Cunliffe no doubt now regrets leaving himself open to the kind of faux outrage that is par for the course when a joke can be placed into one of the verboten modern sin categories. There will be sustained media interest in anything that hypersensitivity can treat as racism or sexism, for example. But not agism it seems from the media open season on Don Brash. 

In this case the "insult" was so plainly untrue that it is simple hyperbole. If the Hon Judith Collins was one of Parliament's genuine gargoyles, if she was known to be goofy or socially unappealing, then there might have been room to argue that Cunlirffe's description was genuinely cruel. 

But she is neither. I've never found her to be anything but attractive and pleasant – business like – but pleasant. So to me David's "insult" was a mistake and possibly revealing, but foolish more than nasty.




David's main mistake was to get involved in the conversation Paul Henry initiated.  The whole topic was inane, puerile, juvenile and has no place in media to MP conversations.
The thing I liked about David's apology was that he realised it was a grave mistake to jump in and roll with the pigs.

  • Mark Hubbard
  • November 6th, 2011
  • 4:56 pm

I agree. But where Cunliffe is nasty is his casual attitude toward inflicting stress and maximum inconvenience on businesspeople to cover for his own irresponsibility, namely, out of control government spending:
And I hope you don't mind, I linked to one of your posts today:
I'd be interested in your thoughts on a libertarian styled constitutional minarchy?

  • JC
  • November 6th, 2011
  • 7:52 pm

I'm more inclined to look at the change in media voice that conservatives around the globe have managed since the Internet came in. The political field has tilted leftwards since WW2 and made it easy to lampoon politicians from the right as short-back and sides "No comment" blokes and accuse them of various PC crimes.
But the Internet and alternative media is increasingly allowing righties to find a voice and an ability to lampoon the left with their own foibles. Suddenly the somewhat smarmy Cunliffe can be seen as a similar short-back and sides "boxhead" relative of Alasdair Thompson and definitely worthy of ridicule and tit for tat accusations of misogyny.
For the legacy media, the Ghandi quote is appropriate:
"First they
ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. …"
The legacy media are now forced to repeat and amplify the voice from the right or be seen to be partisan lefties.. Cunliffe is a victim of the same Arlinsky type tactics that worked so well for the left for half a century.
You can see the same effects in the two Key/Goff debates.. Key was ordinary in the first, but as the moderators faded in the second half of the second debate you could see the how right can find its voice.. I expect to see a *very* tightly controlled third debate.


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