Our friends at Scoop have announced their Election 08 section, which will be edited (and largely written) by Gordon Campbell. I think this is a great development, and one likely to enhance understanding of the campaign for all sides of the political battle.
Indeed, that's Gordon's intent:
The aim is to provide a well grounded and provocative take on politics, in line with Scoop’s reputation for independence, quality and lateral thinking. My own feeling is that you can’t engage with readers, or earn their trust, unless the research is right there on the page. Equally, those facts are mute, unless some analysis and sense of purpose – as in, who benefits from this policy? – are also there as well.
His first major piece is a serious and intriguing interview with Tariana Turia.
We have a commercial relationship with Scoop (they sell our agency advertising) and I expect we'll forge links over campaign coverage too. Just give me a week or two to work out what we can do.
Meanwhile, Labour Party president Mike Williams has managed to turn a nothing story into a cringing embarrassment by simply not being straight about what he said last week. It appears that he'd told Helen Clark the truth about his "damned good idea" comment -- so why try and construct an alternative version when he talked to Agenda?
There is no sign of an intention to follow up the suggestion from the floor of the Labour congress strategy meeting about using public information pamphlets as campaign material, and it doesn't seem that anyone left the strategy meeting believing that it was actually strategy. The fact that Ruth Dyson's husband voiced the idea is mildly embarrassing, but no more than that.
I assumed that Bill English's staff would have cracked open a good bottle of wine after coming up with "culture of deceit" to characterise the affair this week -- like "slippery" it only works because there's a perceptual truth to it -- but it turns out it's more a revival than a new pop hit.
English used it in the wording of a no-confidence motion in response to the 2002 Budget:
The question was put that the following amendment in the name of the Hon Bill English be agreed to:
that all the words after “That” be omitted and the following words substituted: this House has no confidence in the Labour minority Government because it has abandoned the task of lifting New Zealand’s long-term growth prospects, because it is smothering our economic vitality in regulation and unworkable policy on energy and transport infrastructure, because it is overtaxing families and businesses to pay for welfare dependency, political correctness and educational failure, and because it has developed a culture of deceit around public accountability.
And again the next year:
Hon BILL ENGLISH (Leader of the Opposition): I move, That all the words after “That” be omitted and the following inserted: “this House has no confidence in the Labour minority Government because it has abandoned the task of lifting New Zealand’s long-term growth prospects, because it is smothering our economic vitality in regulation and unworkable policy on energy and transport infrastructure, because it is overtaxing families and businesses to pay for welfare dependency, political correctness, and educational failure, and because it has developed a culture of deceit around public accountability.”
So can we add "who recorded the meeting and how did One News get it?" to "who leaked the Hollow men emails?"?