The cult of personality | The Jackal

26 Jun 2014

The cult of personality

Following closely on the heels of a rather lopsided piece requesting that Labour leader David Cunliffe resign over an 11-year-old letter comes another John Armstrong masterpiece in that Tory rag, the NZ Herald.

Not content with simply airing his rather soiled blue undies in the public domain, Armstrong takes another step backwards towards political irrelevancy by openly endorsing the National party in what is best described as a Herald love fest for the right wing.

Scraping the bottom of the barrel Armstrong parroting John Roughan plays the sympathy card over and over again desperate to try and make the Prime Minister appear human. John Key is just the bloke next door they imply; why don't you pop over for a beer and a yarn? The reader is drawn into the article with a hint that the ever so humble and all round nice guy thought about resigning in 2012 because he might lose something. How terrible would that be for his ego?

Armstrong's article then elucidates how John Key prided (past tense) himself on his ability to focus on the things that really matter. He even goes so far as to claim that the Kim Dotcom donation that caused John Banks to eventually resign was just a trivial side issue. Other side issues of little consequence to the Prime Minister, Armstrong and Roughan include; the SkyCity convention centre for pokies deal whereby the government changed our gambling laws, the ongoing Novapay debacle that the government can’t or doesn’t want to fix and the back down on increasing class sizes.

Apparently John Key let one such “trivial matter gnaw away at him for months” while the teapot tapes saga unfolded. OMG! What could that be? I'm really starting to feel sorry for the guy, are you?

At least John Key managed through all his soul searching to use the police to strong-arm the press. While wringing his hands he still managed to take a court case against Bradley Ambrose, the journalist who inadvertently left his recording device behind that recorded the now infamous conversation. After weeks of speculation, how terrible it must have been when the content of the tape was finally revealed. Banks and Key must have felt terrible that they’d been caught out joking about elderly New Zealand First supporters dying off. Pity they didn't bother to apologize.

Don't worry your pretty little heads about it though. The article then becomes positive with Armstrong bringing Bronagh Key into his story telling:

Roughan writes that at the end of 2012, Mr Key had a "quiet discussion" with his wife, Bronagh, during which they "kicked the tyres" after his four years of running the country and asked themselves, "Are we still committed to all this?"

Mr Key's strong belief and confidence in the progress the country was making under his prime ministership prevailed. "Sure I could walk away, but the test of being a successful Prime Minister in my mind is doing the best job I could do in the circumstances we faced," he told Roughan.

John Keys' confidence in the progress the country was making prevailed? Well Thank god for that! Unfortunately back in the real world New Zealand has been steadily going backwards under a National led government. Things like child poverty, inequality, third-world diseases, housing affordability, unemployment and incomes have all become worse under Keys' so-called leadership. In particular the growth in government debt under National's mismanagement has been astounding!

None of that matters to Armstrong or Roughan though who seem determined to not only get Key back into power next year, but also sell a few books along the way. Thankfully the NZ Herald is happy to help with some free political advertising, no authorization statement required.

Armstrong then makes a "startling" revelation:

John Roughan, the author of a biography of John Key published today, has a new take on why the Prime Minister has such a strong rapport with voters.

The senior Herald journalist says politicians normally follow advice not to put themselves in potentially embarrassing situations - such as wearing a funny hat or unbecoming clothing - especially when the media and cameras are present.

Mr Key, however, is an exception. He indulges in "publicity risks" - such as appearing at the Big Gay Out or his memorable but excruciating catwalk strut modelling Rugby World Cup uniforms - because such events play well for him.

Roughan argues that the more ordinary and even error-prone Mr Key appears in such moments, the more it works - because it's marked contrast to his wealth and business success.

Obviously it has nothing to do with the love fest between our mainstream media and the PM eh? Key's popularity apparently all comes down to him being error-prone with nothing to hide.

Isn't it just great that none of the voting public is antagonized by John Key...not one of them. That's because Key is such an honest man and why he's decided to fire his diplomatic security squad and save us taxpayers a few million bucks each year, because the whole world just loves him. /sarc.

While Armstrong and Roughan are trying to rewrite history and openly endorsing the National Party in the run-up to the election, the policy direction John Key stands for is being ignored. That’s because if the media actually did some proper investigative reporting on what each party really stands for, National would get decimated at the polls come September 2014. But who really cares about the details when we can simply worship a cult of personality in the form of the Prime Minister? Who actually gives a damn about the environment, society or our international standing when we have the scripted soap opera that is the Prime Minister, John Key?