Academic and political commentator Bryce Edwards is leaving Otago University.
“Sad to be saying goodbye to @otago – just signed my voluntary redundancy from Politics Dept. Finish in April, appreciative of 10 great years,” Dr Edwards has tweeted.
Dr Edwards teaches and researches New Zealand politics, public policy, political parties, elections, and political communication at the university.
Mr Edwards and Whaleoil have had a tumultuous past. He has presented himself as a politically neutral academic in the media, but Whaleoil has always taken issue with this. Eventually, even the NZ Herald refused to use him during an election as a commentator because he was stuck between having to be independent as an academic and his clear preference for things on the left. It was just safer for him to stay clear.
In the end, he showed his true nature by refusing to include any Whaleoil content in his political roundup, thus proving our point that he was definitely partisan. A sad collateral outcome was that our political cartoonists were also ignored, and a number of attempts to get them past the Whaleoil Ban failed, even though I was assured it was just an “oversight”. It’s an oversight that continues consistently to this day.
I haven’t put feelers out, but I suspect we’re going to see Mr Edwards pop up in a capacity where he no longer has to curtail his natural political instincts.
As a personal note, I would hope that when it comes to doing Political Roundups, he once again includes Whaleoil content. The fact he may not feel happy about being called out should not be reflected in a petulant response which essentially amounts to trying to re-write history by simply ignoring it. Love it or loathe it, Whaleoil is a major force in the political analysis, commentary and reporting market, and you’d have to think that after the heat of the election and other matters, we can get back to business.
I hope the good Dr finds a role where he isn’t restrained in being open about his preferences. As much as I hope that he chooses debate over censorship.
Of course, he would risk being ostracised by the usual suspects that try to isolate open and free debate by public bullying and ridicule via social media. Few have the courage to stand up to them if they hope to have any future in the left of politics. Just to tweet, link or mention anything about Whaleoil is sufficient to be excommunicated. Such is their idea of freedom and a decent society that they will eat their young rather than construct a better argument.