Liam Hehir on Gareth Morgan

Liam Hehir gives Gareth Morgan a schooling, but I suspect that Gareth Morgan will be like Colin Craig and take no advice except that proffered by NZ’s most wrong political advisor.

Gareth Morgan is founding his own political party, but before we get down to making fun of it, we really should give him credit for putting his money where his mouth is.

A brave thing to do, given the size of the mouth.

Morgan is a successful businessman. However, he first began infringing the public consciousness as the father of Trade Me founder Sam Morgan.

But while he may have started out as a kind of celebrity dad, he has managed to cling to the spotlight by becoming the nation’s most notorious know-it-all. 

According to tradition, an oracle stated the philosopher Socrates was the wisest man on Earth. Socrates had a hard time believing this, because he did not consider himself to be wise.

When he then tried and failed to find someone wiser, however, was forced to conclude: “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”

One imagines that the profundity of this paradox would be lost of Gareth Morgan. If his public pronouncements are anything to go by, he would be more likely to say: “I am the wisest man alive, because I am the cleverest.”

Where Socrates was a gadfly because he asked questions, Morgan is a gadfly because he has all the answers.

Some of the intractable issues that could apparently be solved if we just acknowledged Morgan’s superior sense of logic include race relations, native bird numbers, the welfare state, the healthcare system, climate change, global fish stocks, North Korea and the performance of New Zealand soccer.

It seems there are few problems that could not be solved by his doing a bit of thinking and then declaring some grand scheme as the obvious solution. All that is required is for the rest of us to surrender our own experience, philosophy and values so that we can bask in the irresistible glow of Morgan’s rationality.

It is apparent that Morgan intends to bring this heroic self-belief to his political endeavours. You see, the reason he’s decided to get his hands dirty is that the solutions to our problems are “easy”. It’s just that our current politicians don’t have the guts to “disturb” voters by implementing them.

Opposition research units of every political party will be harvesting every batshit crazy thing this fool has said or done. He is used to having media hang on his every word, he won’t like it when they get up him.

I actually reserve judgment on Morgan personally because a mutual friend has assured me that he is a good and decent man. There is also no doubt that he had forged a successful career in business quite apart from his son’s achievements.

I don’t think the same way. He is an apologist for North Korea and a Hamas Hugger and anti-Semite. His recent mad rant against Israel confirmed for me that I want nothing to do with him politically.

[H]is propensity to bloviate makes him look like a dumb person’s idea of a smart person – rather than the intelligent person he assuredly is.

What he is likely to discover is that there is a world of difference between being a critic and being what Theodore Roosevelt called “The Man in the Arena”.

I might slag off Beauden Barrett’s goal kicking the morning after a test, but that doesn’t mean I could foot it in the black jersey. The same thing goes for the difference between politics and punditry.

Morgan may need to learn this the hard way. In some of his first public comments after announcing his new party, Morgan actually volunteered a statement likening himself to Donald Trump.

Then, obviously thinking better of the comparison, he said that he was nothing like Trump. Then he reversed himself again by saying that maybe he was a bit like Trump.

This was all in the course of the same interview.

“Gareth Morgan launches new political party: Compares himself to Trump,” announced the New Zealand Herald. “Philanthropist Gareth Morgan launches political party, compares himself to Donald Trump,” said Stuff. Is it gotcha journalism when the victim sets his own trap and then repeatedly walks into it?

He’s nothing like Donald Trump. For a start Morgan didn’t make his millions himself, his son did. The media will run to him all the time, he will be as reliable for a sound bite as Winston Peters.

Sadly, Gareth Morgan has a propensity for never finishing anything he starts. He is mostly a collection of outlandish opinions backed up by bumper sticker slogans and a website.

[I]t’s not clear there’s a market for another party. Despite attempts to hitch domestic politics to the narrative of discontent that prevails overseas, the last public poll showed that just 29 per cent of respondents think this country is on the wrong track. In a comparable survey, 56 per cent of Britons, 58 per cent of Australians, 64 per cent of Americans, 71 per cent of Germans, 83 per cent of Italians and 88 per cent of Frenchmen answered the same way when asked about their own country.

Morgan is taking a risk, alright. A brave man indeed.

The level of anger in the establishment doesn’t exist in NZ. He can’t tap into that. We don’t have rampaging hordes of immigrants crashing the borders, no meddling Euro politicians dictating how you should live and no abject poverty like that in the US rust belt. If he wants to run a campaign like Trump he is going to need a better strategy, plus he lacks Trumps ability to speak past the media. Mostly he comes across as a strange little man with an over-sized ego.

 

– Fairfax

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