Jane Clifton

Giovanni Tiso’s Crystal Chin

Karl du Fresne continues to confront the shrill bullying of Giovanni Tiso.

Today I revisited Giovanni Tiso’s series of  tweets last week about Jane Clifton’s Listener column on Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics. Here are some of the words he used: “turgid”, “shit”, “supercilious”, “cynical”.

Clifton is a hugely experienced and well-informed observer of New Zealand politics. She’s also astute, even-handed, eloquent and funny, which explains why tens of thousands of Listener readers turn to her every week to make sense of events that would otherwise leave them scratching their heads. I thought her column on the Dirty Politics furore was one of her best. But such judgments are subjective and Tiso is entitled to disagree, even if his language is intemperate.

Could his manic attack on Clifton (I counted 35 tweets over a short period, which sounds dangerously close to obsessional) be upheld as fair comment, then? Well, perhaps it could have been, except for a couple of things.

One is that he implies she’s a sociopath. Tiso quotes a line from her column – “They are both advancing a political cause” (a reference to Hager and Cameron Slater) – and then adds: “And if you think that, you’re a sociopath”. I’ve read this several times and don’t see how it can be construed as meaning anything other than that Clifton is a sociopath, which my dictionary defines as “someone affected by any of various personality disorders characterised by asocial or antisocial behaviour”.

Okay, you could argue that in the Wild West of the twittersphere, even insults like “sociopath” are acceptable. I’m sure Tiso didn’t mean it literally; he was indulging in hyperbole for rhetorical impact.

But hang on. What happened when I took a poke at Tiso in this blog, using a similar rhetorical device against him? (I said he shouldn’t be allowed out in public without a minder, and suggested someone should adjust his medication.) He howled that I was being cruel – “vile” was his exact word - because he had a daughter with an intellectual disability, which he claimed (wrongly) I was aware of. Then he had the gall to whimper about people being unpleasant and indulging in ad hominem arguments.  Well, hello.

Let’s get this straight then: it’s okay for Tiso to call a respected columnist a sociopath because he doesn’t like her take on the Dirty Politics affair, but it’s mean and horrid to suggest that he might be a bit doolally himself. That’s taking unfair advantage.

There’s a term in boxing for people who love to throw punches but crumple when anyone hits back. They’re called crystal chins. Tiso is a crystal chin.

Read more »

Planet Tiso is surely coloured pink

Karl du Fresne frets for Marxist blogger and loser at the Canon Media Awards, Giovanni Tiso:

I recently heard the self-described Marxist blogger Giovanni Tiso being interviewed by Kim Hill. (Fancy that, you’re thinking; a left-wing guest on Kim Hill’s show. Who’d have thought?) On that occasion Tiso gave a remarkably convincing impersonation of a sane man. Almost had me fooled. Then someone drew my attention to his angry stream-of-consciousness yapping on Twitter about Jane Clifton’s latest Listener column. I’m now convinced that he’s unhinged and shouldn’t be allowed out in public without a minder.   Read more »

Something for Labour to remember as they hammer Judith Collins today in parliament

Helen Clark and Trevir Mallard with Labour's biggest donor, Owen Glenn,  at the opening of a University building Glen paid for.

Helen Clark and Trevor Mallard with Labour’s biggest donor, Owen Glenn, at the opening of a University building Glen paid for.

Labour is going to attack Judith Collins today in parliament…over a drink of milk…apparently this is the worst indication of corruption seen in New Zealand.

We know this because Mrs Mallard (Jane Clifton) has signalled it in her column today (not online).

But Labour should remember a few things of their own.

They are making a huge fuss over a photo and some chinese text written by someone offshore. They need to remember that politicians pose for photos all the time.

But their own behaviour isn’t that flash either. As the photo shows above Helen Clark was happy to open a building paid for by Owen Glenn, named after him when he was their single biggest donor ever. On top of that he was also a large donor to NZ First at the time.  Read more »

Labour’s Red Wedding

As the bloodshed continues Jane Clifton likens Labour’s blood-letting to the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones.

He has won, and won well. But the ever-culturally connecting Twittersphere is already looking forward to David Cunliffe’s “Red Wedding”: Tuesday’s caucus meeting.

As Game of Thrones followers know, the dreaded wedding was attended in good faith by rival kingdoms who thought they were invited in the spirit of reconciliation, but a striking number of guests were executed by the victor even before the bouquet-toss. Cunliffe will long have been calculating how many scalps he can take from among his caucus opponents, without perpetuating the deep divisions from which his party is suffering. He has already indicated senior roles for his two leadership rivals, Grant Robertson and Shane Jones, and for former leader David Shearer. But lust for caucus blood-spillage within the party appears pretty strong. If he doesn’t wreak vengeance, his supporters will be bitterly disappointed. Those identified as ABCs – Anyone But Cunliffe – are obviously on automatic notice. But it’s not that simple, as few of them are expendable. Beside Robertson, the ABC ranks have included top younger party talents Jacinda Adern and Chris Hipkins, along with respected former leader Phil Goff and popular frontbench veteran Annette King.

The smart money is on Cunliffe restricting utu to the least cuddly of his opponents: top of the demotion list, Trevor Mallard and Clayton Cosgrove. Clare Curran, who has for a second time caused fur to fly in the thick of an election campaign through injudicious blurts on social media, may join them in the dogbox.

Mallard has been knifed, as has Hipkins…what will happen to Cosgrove?

The older members may just shuffle off into the mists of time. They lost, end of story.

Of course they may just wait and watch to see of Cunners fails.

Shameless RTD promotion

Pinko blogger David Farrar celebrated his 10 years of arts, fitness and travel blogging by hosting a party.

One of those stumping up was paymaster and RTD producer Independent Liquor. (David Farrar thanks them here)

Cactus Kate calls them “Liquid Panty Remover” recognising they’re designed for young girls, and in this case female Young Nats and lothario Jordan Williams.

image001-1 Read more »

Gutted like a….snapper

You know things are dire for David Shearer when Jane Clifton suddenly bursts forth about just how tits David Shearer is. I’d say one of his main protectors has now quietly slipped off the Titanic after drilling holes in Shearer’s lifeboat.

Ever since Don Brash, visiting a boatyard during an election campaign, was filmed “walking the plank”, politicians have been extra careful about avoiding unfortunate symbolism.

Unaccountably, the Opposition leader’s office forgot this wise precaution yesterday.

Either that, or no-one could manage to dissuade David Shearer, seeking to illustrate a point about snapper quota, from producing two of the fish in Parliament yesterday.

The Government did not know which piscine wisecrack to go with first. They were, of course, dead fish. Necessarily, they were fish out of water – though at the same time, they were as good for target practice as fish in a barrel. Depending on how long they had now been out of water, they could also end up as cat food.

Mr Shearer’s senior benchmates reinforced this point by indicating playfully, but rather unhelpfully, that the fish were getting a bit whiffy.

Poignantly, though Mr Shearer’s staff had failed to protect him from the inevitable fish-related farce, he had come equipped with a paper towel roll to wipe his hands – though journalists at a subsequent press conference reported he still smelt fishy.

Prime Minister John Key sought leave for Mr Shearer to table the fish so he could get them cooked for his dinner. He had already made a meal of Mr Shearer.  Read more »

Shearer’s gang or is it the last supper?

The Listener had an article by Trevor Mallard Jane Clifton about ongoing coup against David Shearer.

In it was a brilliant photo that left much un-said.

I thought I’d add some of the things that the photo spoke to me:

Listener - Shearer's Gang Read more »

Luckiest Man in New Zealand?

Jane Clifton gloriously takes the piss out of Brendan Horan.  A complete mocking where she concludes Horan is the luckiest MP around.

He can continue to collect not too far shy of $200,000 a year for the next couple of years, being in his new caucus of one, assigning himself to do nothing in particular if he can’t think of anything to do that he fancies.

Provided he turns up to Parliament for most sitting days, there is nothing to stop him collecting his full pay and, as David Lange used to say of MPs’ other entitlements, flying to Timaru every week to change his library books if he feels like it.

He suffers the worst fate of all, comparisons with Alamein Kopu.

In resisting the brow-smiting exit, he need look no further for precedent than the former Alliance MP Alamein Kopu, who, turfed from her caucus for chronic absenteeism, continued to come to Parliament as a fully fledged MP basically to drink cups of tea with the then Prime Minister Jenny Shipley.

Kopu made no contribution to public life before, during or after her time in sacked exile – unless you count the one extra vote the National Government was only too happy to have. But did she feel shame? Not on your Nelly.  She had been selected by her party peers, and her legal position was bullet-proof.

And everything the public loathes about MP’s.

He can continue to collect not too far shy of $200,000 a year for the next couple of years, being in his new caucus of one, assigning himself to do nothing in particular if he can’t think of anything to do that he fancies.

Tweet of The Day

It had to happen at some point.

Jane taking the piss out of the hapless Trev.

Tweet of The Day