Oh, he’s not there for us…he’s just like every other politician, in it for himself

The Southland Times editorial accuses Bill English on not being there for us.

He’s a man capable of a steely gaze but Bill English persists, publicly anyway, in going crosseyed whenever his attention is drawn to the Barclay scandal.

When you’re pretty sure you won’t like what you’re going to see if you actually focus, the almost childish alternative is to perceive what’s in front of you, or at least portray it, as a kaleidoscopically moving series of claims and counterclaims devoid of political significance once a mis-stepping young MP had agreed to step down.

This doesn’t wash. In what he has done and in what he has failed to do, English has himself become a party to the deception of the public.

It got worse yesterday when it was revealed that the board has cleared Barclay of all the allegations levelled by the “Evil Six”. You have to ask now why it was that Bill English forced Barclay out?

For months Todd Barclay was publicly insisting he had no involvement in, nor knowledge of, any covert taping of his Clutha-Southland electorate agent, and antagonist, Glenys Dickson.

Yet by English’s own account Barclay had told him about the presence of such tapes, and even made a rebuffed offer to give him a listen.

So from English’s perspective either he or we were being sorely misled, for a long period. His reaction was not to make the MP come clean with the truth. Nor, by his account, to find out what the truth was.

Apparently that would have been wildly inappropriate, even after English was elevated from Finance Minister to Prime Minister. Because, see, this was just part of a “complicated employment dispute” in which he had no business meddling.

Which is rubbish. As is English’s initial assertion, when questioned by the media, that he couldn’t remember who it was who had told him about the tape. This claim does violence to common sense.

Of course it is rubbish. Bill English has stated he had no communication with either party which is a lie. Todd Barclay went to him first, and then Bill English squealed to Glenys Dickson. SO he did speak to BOTH parties. He claimed he knew nothing of the settlement agreement to the media, but he had sent a text to Stuart Davie telling him all. Bill English’s phone and text records will prove his lie, which is why he is refusing all OIA requests with statements that it was party business. Which it can’t possibly have been because Parliamentary Services staff are forbidden from involving themselves in party business…and it is obvious that Glenys Dickson was. Parliamentary Services were dealing with this so it can’t have been party related.

Even now English emphasises that, even though Barclay told him the tape exists, he doesn’t know for sure whether it does. Such is the Prime Minister’s view of the trustworthiness of an MP who, had this not blown up, he would have been willing to see remain in public office.

Perhaps, in this respect, he sees political parties as akin to the rural society in which he was raised.

He once said: ‘In a rural community, everybody has to work with everybody. You can’t choose who, because there are not enough people to do that. You need a practical approach to things. . . they don’t spend too much time arguing about the philosophy of it all.”

How very practical. You play the cards you’re dealt, working with the people you must.

But politics is not a game in which bluffing and misdirection are to be placidly accepted as tactical necessities. Especially when straightforwardness is such an important part of your brand.

It’s a brand English himself has perceptibly debased.

The Southland Times are kidding themselves if they think Bill English was supposed to be there for them. His record as a local MP where he spent the last 10 years basically living in Wellington says it all.

He’s just like all politicians, self serving, venal and selfish. To expect otherwise from a politician just shows naiveté.


-Southland Times

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.