An unfair fight | The Jackal

22 Jun 2014

An unfair fight

As a casual observer of politics in New Zealand I've been somewhat dismayed at the lack of standards currently on display by our mainstream media. Nothing could be more ridiculous for instance than John Armstrong requesting that David Cunliffe resign over an eleven-year-old letter and nothing could be more incompetent than journalists generally taking National’s propaganda as gospel.

The Dongau Liu letter scandal that has led the news cycle for an entire week is a prime example of just how biased our media is. Not content with just reporting the facts of the matter many reporters have been attempting to persuade voters that David Cunliffe should be hung out to dry over such a trivial matter. Essentially he forgot an eleven-year-old letter that was penned by his press secretary and asked a simple question; when will a decision about Dongyou Liu’s immigration status be made? Despite the many headlines to the contrary there was in fact no advocacy on the part of the now Labour leader. There was certainly nothing revealed that should instigate a resignation.

Unfortunately common sense has not prevailed in the Dongyou Liu case and the media at the behest of their political overlords have been flinging mud like there's no tomorrow. They have taken what is a minor lapse in memory and blown it out of all proportion. You might have noticed that this is effectively the strategy a bully with ulterior motives uses to control people. A bully will find any old excuse to abuse those they view as different or as competition. Now competition is usually all well and good, but when the referee (the media) is practically playing for the other team and consistently making the wrong decisions, that's not really cricket is it?

You would expect that such an uneven playing field might grate against New Zealander's egalitarian nature, but unfortunately that doesn't appear to be the case. Instead we see a large group of voters siding with those who aren't playing by the rules. For some reason they respect the political mobbing of anything left wing that’s a regular occurrence throughout our news coverage. We therefore have an even larger group of potential voters disengaging because the dirty spectacle of politics has lost all integrity. However it's not just the politicians who are at fault, it's a biased media who also has credibility issues that need to be addressed.

So what can the left wing do about this conundrum? They could turn the other cheek so to speak in the hope that the public will see this virtuous stance even though it won't get any airtime. They could hope and pray that the media will miraculously change its spots and stop trying to manipulate voters into believing untruths. In my opinion that would be an ineffective strategy against the right wings bullying tactics and the medias corrupt and complicit practices. Instead the left wing needs to be prepared to get their hands dirty and use some of the same tactics as their opponents. Otherwise it's simply an unfair fight that the nice guys will keep losing. Unfortunately there will be no proper contest of ideas under the current settings.

Simply put, the left wing needs to view this election campaign as warfare...not only for their own political ends, but also for the good of the nation. There’s simply too much at stake to keep making the same old mistakes. One mistake would be in thinking that their failure wouldn’t have serious consequences for the many New Zealand families already living in poverty. Another mistake would be thinking that New Zealand could survive economically if the National party is allowed to continue borrowing such large amounts of money without anything substantial to show for it. The debt they’ve already amassed will keep New Zealand in servitude for a very long time, and any continuation of such debt creation will see us bankrupted.

There are a few simple tenants in political warfare that are worth mentioning. One is to not let your opponent have any ammunition to fire. In general the left wing has been pretty good at this, especially compared to the current government. An eleven-year-old letter shouldn’t be regarded as ammunition unless you’re particularly desperate!

Another rule is to move into a position where any flack against you or your allies is ineffective. This would mean having well thought out responses to any controversial issues that arise and well promoted policy that cannot be easily misconstrued by a largely biased media. This is where hard work and discipline matters.

Of course you shouldn't target your own allies with any friendly fire even when they leave themselves open or wander into no mans land. That would just be stupid! Maurice Williamson, Simon Bridges and Judith Collins are still standing in no mans land and should make for easy pickings.

A further maneuver would be to get into a position where your enemy can be easily targeted. So take the moral high ground by all accounts, but also have a good supply of dry ammunition and be prepared to use it when the time is right. More importantly the left wing needs a better way to fire that ammunition and get the most coverage it can.

It goes without saying that any potential weakness should be exploited without mercy. National currently has a lot of weak points. Let's watch the bullies whine when the tables are turned.