Polity by Rob Salmond


Key Derangement Syndrome Derangement Syndrome

If current polls are to be believed, this month the flag referendum will fail as more than 60% of voters reject the Kyle Lockwood design in favour of the current flag.

This news won’t be welcome with Prime Minister John Key, who has been a passionate advocate for change, and for the Lockwood design in particular.

In advance of that defeat, Key and his proxies have been casting around for anyone to blame, and anything to distract people.

Which brings me to the tragic case of Matthew Owen Hooton, and a new, debilitating condition called Key Derangement Syndrome Derangement Syndrome (KDSDS).

The main symptom of KDSDS is a reflexive tendency to accuse other people of having Key Derangement Syndrome (KDS - an irrational, all pervasive hatred of John Key), regardless of what they are actually doing.

For example, current polling on the flag referendum has 60-65% of people opposed to change, including about half of John Key and National’s own supporters. Afflicted by KDSDS, Matthew Hooton thinks this state of affairs is down to the left’s irrational, all pervasive hatred of John Key. He sees it as another case of KDS.

Quite how the New Zealand left (current polling ~41%) has persuaded 65% of the country to hate John Key on this one issue but not on other issues is left unstated. And quite why half of John Key’s own voters would suffer from one-issue-KDS is also unclear. But the point of Matthew’s argument isn’t to make sense, it is to distract from the referendum’s failure.

That’s garden variety KDSDS.

Sadly for Matthew, however, his KDSDS has reached a more advanced stage. He appears to be having hallucinations. Below are two pictures of the Labour party’s logo, one from last year and one from this year.


Notice the different placement of the fern. To most people, this is unremarkable. But Mathew, in his distressed state, sees it very differently:

It seems his KDSDS is giving him visions. Matthew thinks this little change in the logo happened because Labour hates John Key.  He really does think it's more KDS! It seems that while everyone else sees this in Labour’s newy-tweaked logo:

Matthew sees this:

He clearly needs help.

Should the flag referendum fail, I expect we’ll see more examples of KDSDS popping up on the right of New Zealand politics. “Someone doesn’t like they TPP? They have KDS!” “You want melanoma patients to get proper treatment? KDS!" Again, the point of these exclamations isn't to be right, it's to move the conversation on from uncomfortable issues.

In truth, Key will have nobody to blame but himself if the flag referendum fails. It was his process, which he started and he championed. And the process was a dog at every turn, leading to a wholly uninspiring final vote. As much as the Prime Minister would like like that to be someone else’s responsibility, it just isn’t.

Now, let’s see how long it takes Matthew to tweet this post, claiming I, too, have KDS for daring to argue the PM should be responsible for the failure of a process he started, oversaw, and championed. The quicker he posts, the worse his KDSDS.

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