The politics of destruction

On Monday the Vote for Change campaign was launched. Perhaps un-surprisingly the hatchet jobs started soon after. With the sole exception of Graeme Edgeler, the commentary from supporters of MMP has been to attack the messenger rather than  actually debate the issues. The tone has pretty much been to shout, spit and hurl abuse. They like to say know your enemy for the people fronting the campaign or helping finance it. Well I think that should also apply to their side of the debate.

Vernon Small (Stuff): Anti-MMP campaign attacked

The campaign wasn’t attacked, the people involved were.

Rob Salmond (Pundit): Behind the Curtain at Vote for Change

Rob Salmond is a former Labour staffer. He focusses on the establishment of the Vote for Change Society like it is some closely held secret, yet all the documentation is in the public domain. If the Society wanted to keep secrets then they could have simply established a trust. I note he is yet to inquire into the set up and backgrounds of the Campaign for MMP. He attacks an 80 year old retired man who is spending his own money. From his tone you would think he thinks that there shouldn’t be a debate at all.

Trevor Mallard (Red Alert): Lusk and Williams out themselves

Trevor Mallard is Labour’s campaign manager and he spends an entire post attacking the people involved. He repeats his lies of previous posts and as is usual fails to present any evidence other than the hearsay of several bunker smashed ACT members and one National party traitor who will be revealed on this blog soon. Labour continued the assault on the people rather than the policies with Phil Goff’s pronouncements on the issue. Labour is locked in behind and providing heavy resources to the pro-MMP lobby.

The Standard: Shirtcliffe’s anti-MMP campaign launches(Another) Tory astroturf failVote for Change IncorporatedShirtcliffe’s anti-MMP campaign launches

Just like when I blogged about Labour’s appalling website issues The Standard authors, amongst them the former General Secretary of the Labour party, Mike Smith, and of course Eddie attacked everything except the details of the campaign. They launched an all out attack on Peter Shirtcliffe , Jordan Williams and Simon Lusk, all from their comfortable anonymity. Eddie is particularly distasteful. When they attacked me this blogger called into question my mental health, my employment status and mounted a personal attack with so much vitriol and hate anyone would think that they masquerade as Bomber Bradbury. Not s single post at The Standard has so much as mentioned any other electoral system, they have simply attacked the people who are brave enough to put their names to a public campaign.

Their politics of personal destruction is the nasty legacy of Helen Clark.

John Armstrong likewise does the same thing in this morning’s Herald. He attacks the Voter for Change Campaign because they won’t say what they prefer.

Put up or shut up. The new anti-MMP lobby group, Vote for Change, does not deserve to be taken seriously until it answers this question: change to what, exactly?

The organisation is not saying “at this stage” which alternative voting system it will support in the referendum. It will make an announcement once it has a “substantial” membership whose views have been heard.

Very democratic-sounding. And very convenient. By not indicating a preference, Vote for Change can keep pointing out the flaws of MMP without supporters of MMP being able to retort.

John Armstrong thinks that the campaign has no merit because they don’t have a preference. But why should they, the referendum is set up to allow voters a choice. It seems to have escaped John Armstrong that the referendum is asking voters what they prefer not what any particular group prefers. Much and all as the media wants the Vote for Change campaign to focus on one particular system over another the referendum is not set up like that and it would be a disservice to the voters to push for one particular system over another. What the media and the proponents of MMP seem to have forgotten is that there is choice for voters to make. It is up to the voters to make that choice. John Armstrong is better than this, it is strange he has chosen to be so dismissive.

Instead of attacking the messengers the pro-MMP lobby and their supporters, including the media, should be welcoming a contest of ideas. Instead they seem to want to shut down all debate, they seem to show the arrogance of politicians that the pubic has time and again shown a distaste for. The Vote for Change website shares some pledges to New Zealand, it is a pity that the pro-lobby don’t share some similar pledges. So far their only pledge seems to be to shout and abuse and act like MMP is the only democratic system in the whole world, never mind that only 4 countries in the world (Germany, NZ, Scotland and Wales) have MMP for electing their representatives.

We should embrace political discourse not attempt to shout it down. There is a referendum the very nature of such beasts requires a contest of ideas, it seems that the Campaign for MMP and their supporters didn’t want and still don’t want a contest of ideas. It seems that they believe that the referendum should be held in blissful ignorance without any debate. it seems this way because of their actions. If their support for the system is depedent on blind loyalty and unquestioning adherence then it clearly is a system that should be challenged.


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  • funkdup

    I am reassured by the attitude of these vile lefties. There is no way we’ll see a Labour led coalition government in the near future. The scales haven’t yet fallen from their eyes, they are still incapable of understanding why they were turfed out in 2008.
    They haven’t been able to let go of their hatred of ‘the right’. They can’t come up with positive ideas for enriching our country. They can only abuse and smear. They haven’t yet figured out that about 100,000 voters in 2008 didn’t like that.
    It’s analogous to Steve Buscemi trying to win Angelina Jolie off Brad Pitt by repeatedly telling her Brad’s ugly. The insult to her aesthetic judgement is equivalent to the left’s insult to the electorate’s intelligence.

  • jman

    I wasn’t sure whether MMP is better or worse than the other systems, but the fact that so many pinko’s are determined to keep it is enough to make up my mind that we must get rid of it.

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  • Awesome post Cam.
    The D in Democracy is for Debate.
    When I was leader of my high school debating team I debated the other speakers arguments. I didn’t attack them personally or question the validity of their arguments based on the fact that they came from a Private school for example.
    If MMP is so great tell us why. If the other options are so awful, convince us please.
    I don’t give a rats arse who is paying for either campaign. Win my vote with your logical argument thank you. P.S my perception of MMP currently, is that it is undemocratic as the tail has the power to wave the dog.

    • statlerandwaldorf

      Nice sentiment SB, but in truth, incredibly Pollyanna-ish. Leftists aren’t concerned with “debate”. Anyone that gets the ear of the public who the Left perceive as not fully endorsing their doctrine needs to be discredited.

      Pick the Target, Freeze It, Personalize It and Polarize It.

      That’s the MO.

  • excuseme

    funkdup” “They can only abuse and smear.”

    Isn’t that a little rich on your part when you have just referred to “the atti­tude of these vile left­ies”?

    • funkdup

      No, for two reasons:
      1) they are vile and lefties, factual statements, not smears
      2) I make positive contributions to NZ, which negates the adjective ‘only’

      • excuseme

        You were abusing them. Gratuitously. You should be able to promote any view you like without labeling people as “vile” who hold a different view.

        Face up to it – you were called out.

        • Couldn’t disagree more. The adjectives used were accurate and correct. The persons described are demonstrably to the left of the political scale (hence “lecture”) and their smear campaign is vile inasmuch as they are not interested in debate so they play the man instead of the ball (hence “vile”).

          • Aaaaarg stupid auto complete. Obviously lecture should be lefties.

        • funkdup

          well you can take that view, and I respect your right to do so. I take the view that they’re vile lefties who can only abuse and smear,

  • positan

    The most clueless beasts on this planet gravitate to the left where pronounced lack of practical intelligence is seriously believed able to be countered by resort to sheer spite. This explains the patent lunacy of their stance against change from MMP, and the more they throw their expected personality-attacking tantrums, the more embedded will become the desire to abandon MMP among those who’re not yet committed. Of course, such inadequates of intellect will never see that, let alone acknowledge it – losses by them are always due to other factors.

    In former times, the howling debacle of the Federation of Labour conference took place immediately prior to the even more strident debacle of the Labour Party conference, and TV coverage of those events provided huge entertainment for everyone appreciative of witless inanity. Labour in those days, prior to the floating off of the Green and Alliance’s communist-like factions, was a veritable dogs’ breakfast of effortlessly applied lunacy – and, while not a lot has changed in Labour, MMP has assisted it to some extent in having the said factions float off. I doubt very much that, had old Labour remained intact, whether the Clark government would have scored three terms.

    Anyway, on every present indication – which can only get better still – MMP is totalled.