Richard Griffin on Curran’s fall from grace

Richard Griffin was one of those who had a run in with Clare Curran and now he writes about her political destruction: Quote:

There is no sport in witnessing the unravelling of a political life on live television.

Politics may occasionally resemble a blood sport but there are occasions you wish you were not witness to the game. End quote.

Griffin sounds like he’s gone soft. Politics is an awesome game, and Curran was a dirty player herself, so watching her go down was. Quote:

It is difficult to fathom how a politician who had managed to just slip past the gate and into the Cabinet was left with no option but to throw the towel in eight months later.

But if there was going to be such a record the former Broadcasting Minister, Clare Curran, who was also charged with promoting the concept of ‘open government’, was probably a stand-out candidate. End quote.

It isn’t that difficult to understand, Clare Curran had tits for hands and shit for brains. She was a shifty liar and didn’t think that telling the truth applied to her. Quote:

Apparently unaware, or just dismissive, of Ministerial protocols the ill-equipped Minister was subsequently forced to ineptly battle against the unrelenting Opposition inquisition in the House before she was finally driven to fall on her sword.

It had been obvious for some time that eventually she would have no option but to relinquish her portfolio responsibilities given her capricious approach to her role from week one of her appointment to Cabinet last December.

The last few weeks of her apparent struggle to recognise the concept of open government, let alone administer it, was politically inept and her ‘possum in the head lights’ response to valid challenges was clearly going to end in tears no matter how determined the Prime Minister was to rescue her from complete political disaster when Jacinda Ardern returned to the House following her maternity leave.End quote.

Sheesh, that is brutal. Quote:

It may be that senior Ministers, in light of the Prime Minister’s absence from the political arena, were not aware of how the junior Minister was conducting her portfolio responsibilities.

However, it seems more likely that, in a political environment of ‘sink or swim’, none of her colleagues were interested in throwing her a life-line.

Or it may be the floundering Minister didn’t recognise she was going under for the third time and did not need any assistance to get back to political terra firma. End quote.

She did have Melissa Lee’s foot on her head. Quote:

Either way, attempts by her staff to rationalise her below the radar activities were apparently ignored.

In the face of an unremitting Opposition campaign, relentlessly executed by National’s Melissa Lee, the end-game was evident from late March and most impartial observers would accept that the most effective damage control at that juncture was a return to the back-bench for the stressed and floundering junior Minister.

Few observers would have believed the Dunedin-based MP had any chance of surviving long-term.

That aside, the Prime Minister’s efforts to limit damage and haul her floundering colleague out of the morass of confusion and contradiction Curran had created has to be acknowledged as a significant example of ‘heart before head’ politics that deserves to be recognised for what it signals. End quote.

It signals weakness. Ardern will try and claim it was compassion for her former flatmate, but that too is just a synonym for weakness. Quote:

Ardern was prepared, it seems, to stare down suggestions she should let her former parliamentary flat-mate drift out to sea. She was quick to sacrifice political capital in an obviously vain effort to rescue her junior colleague from herself.

It might not be constructive politics but it does say a lot about the Prime Minister’s personal priorities.

As did her continuing support for Curran the day after she had accepted the broken Minister’s resignation but opted to give her some breathing space before going public.

Again, it seems, Ardern was prepared to take the flak for her apparent equivocation rather than hang her colleague out to dry before the former Minister had a chance to advise her friends, family and colleagues she was out of the game. End quote.

Weak, weak, weak. Quote:

The Prime Minister momentarily floundered, but her equilibrium returned once she acknowledged that things could have been done a little more astutely and, by implication, accepted the lesson she has gleaned from the Curran demise.

On reflection the Prime Minister’s efforts to ensure Curran exited with a modicum of dignity is laudable.

It has to be presumed that Ardern will eventually acknowledge that wielding the blade is often the most effective political option but, meanwhile, her determination to support a weak link until there was no other option has a resonance that is unlikely to damage her caring motif. End quote.

Cutting out cancer is the only way to stop the hurt. Simon Bridges is going to have to do the same shortly and how he handles that is going to define his leadership. If he doesn’t move soon on the leaker then the whispering that has already begun will only get louder.


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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.

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