Brian Edwards Media

Archive for November, 2012

My Hero

 

If you’re interested, Part Two of this selection, from the period shortly before Hitchens’ death from cancer of the throat, can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR1uorQWNDg .

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28 November 2012 – Network news from Middle Earth

 

Here is the news.

Tonight there is a film premiere, so all of us at TVNZ and TV3 got very excited and decided to dress up in inappropriate newsreading gear and get on a plane to  Wellington. Except for Simon who got left behind in the studio, LOL.

We’re interviewing everyone we recognise and a whole lot of people we don’t, asking them important questions like how they’re feeling.

We’re shouting the rest of the news over a highly relevant background of screaming movie fans. Here it is: some teachers didn’t get paid today.

Oh – and something happened in Syria.

And now over to Mark/John for another half hour of the same sort of thing…

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The Anonymity Pandemic

For around 45 years I’ve been broadcasting and writing in New Zealand. My occasionally forcefully expressed liberal/left opinions have over that time attracted both agreement and disagreement, approval and condemnation, sometimes deserved, sometimes not.

Rob Muldoon used to refer to himself as ‘a counterpuncher’, adding that he always hit his opponent back harder than his opponent had hit him. I like both the term and the approach and readers of this blog will know that my responses to critical comments can range from reasonable disagreement to dismissive rejection to outright cruelty. I generally regret the outright cruelty and have been known to apologise for it when taken to task.

But, whatever my faults, I have at least always put my name to my opinions. In those 45 years I have never said or written anything anonymously or hidden behind an alias or nom de plume.

There are of course occasions in which anonymity is prudent and justifiable. But the commonest reason for not putting one’s name to one’s opinions is not having the courage of one’s convictions – cowardice. And nowhere is this more evident than in comments on blog posts where opinions are rarely expressed under the writer’s own name.    Read the rest of this entry »

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Dumb Ways To Die – which will make you smile!

 

Why? Because I think it’s brilliant and absolutely delightful and you may have missed it. Tell your friends.

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That nice David Shearer reveals his bully side.

 

A little bird (not David Cunliffe) has told me that in the run-up to today’s emergency caucus meeting a number of Labour MPs, probably a majority, were rung by David Shearer or one of his apparatchiks seeking a cast-iron guarantee that they would be supporting Shearer today and in the constitutionally mandatory confidence vote in February.

This is both unethical and against Labour’s constitution. It makes nonsense of today’s ‘unanimous’ vote. And it makes nonsense of the February vote. If a majority of Labour MPs have yielded to this monstrous piece of bullying, that vote has in effect already been taken. Should Shearer prove a disaster over the next three months those MPs who assured him of their support in February will have no choice but to stand by him, regardless of the damage this might do to the Party.

And finally it makes nonsense of the most essential feature of any caucus vote on the leadership, that it is a secret ballot. Shearer now knows with reasonable certainty how each of his MPs intends to vote in the ‘secret’ February ballot. And there can be little doubt that there will be a witch-hunt if the vote is not heavily in his favour.

Meanwhile, Cunliffe has been banned from talking to the media about what actually happened at today’s emergency meeting. No-one in fact other than Shearer himself can say anything about what went on. Cunliffe has been charged, found guilty and silenced. So much for fairness. So much for openness and transparency.

So much for Labour.

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An Open Letter to David Shearer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Mr Shearer

It will come as no surprise to you that it was my view when you were first elected that, though you were a considerable asset to the Labour Party, you were the wrong person to be its leader. That is still my view and I have expressed it in numerous posts on this site.

But nowhere in those posts will you find any criticism of your moral compass. I have never suggested and, more importantly, never believed that you were dishonest.  I now find it difficult to sustain that view.

Your decision to call for a caucus vote of confidence in your leadership later today is without political or moral justification.

It is, in the first instance, totally unnecessary:

You have just received a standing ovation at your party’s annual conference;

You already know that you have the numbers to defeat David Cunliffe in the now utterly improbable event that he would mount a challenge against you. You are not in any danger;

Cunliffe has publicly pledged to support you until the mandatory confidence spill in February. He cannot possibly go back on that pledge without losing all credibility.    Read the rest of this entry »

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A conundrum: When is a secret ballot not a secret ballot? When you want to get rid of David Cunliffe of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In February of next year the Labour Party caucus is constitutionally obliged to conduct a secret leadership ballot. The key word in this simple statement of fact is “secret”. No caucus member will be required to say who he or she voted for.

None, that is, except David Cunliffe. Talk of Cunliffe’s demotion or exclusion from Labour’s shadow cabinet and, beyond that, of his possible expulsion from the parliamentary Labour Party, revolves largely around the issue of his refusal to say whether he will support David Shearer in that February ballot. Cunliffe is being asked to say how he will vote in a secret leadership ballot three months from now. His failure to do so is being taken as evidence of his disloyalty to Shearer and possible grounds for his expulsion from the Labour caucus.

This is not merely entirely unreasonable, it is a major breach of Labour’s own constitutional rules. A caucus member is being asked to declare in advance how he will vote in a secret ballot.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Despite the danger of becoming a right charlie, I offer some free advice to David Shearer.

 (Update: David Shearer and Helen Clark met in his office on Tuesday night.  They discussed, inter alia, the difficulties faced by a Leader of the Opposition.)

Welcoming wrongdoers to hell, Rowen Atkinson’s ‘The Devil’ turns his attention to the large assembly of atheists present and says, ‘You must feel a right lot of charlies!’ It occurred to me that, if David Shearer becomes Prime Minister in 2014, he will be well within his rights to address the same comment to the Shearer non-believers, myself included,  who wrote him off two years earlier.

So what does Shearer have to do to ensure that he has that moment to savour? For starters, he would do well to take note of the fate of his predecessor, Phil Goff.

Here’s what I know from first-hand experience of knowing and working with Phil. He is highly intelligent, extremely hard-working, hugely politically experienced, a tough debater, morally scrupulous, a decent human being. His reputation as a minister in Helen Clark’s government was second to none, most notably in the Justice and Foreign Affairs portfolios. As a candidate for the highest office in the land his credentials would seem to have been impeccable.

So why isn’t he Prime Minister?   Read the rest of this entry »

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The writing’s on the wall for David Shearer – and it’s in Tapu Misa’s hand.

A quite remarkable thing happened this morning. Herald columnist Tapu Misa gave it as her view that David Shearer should stand down as leader of the Labour Party.

Misa is the finest columnist in the country – intelligent, informed, rational, considered in her judgements. More importantly, she is never cruel or unkind. Unlike most other columnists, including myself from time to time, she never sets out to wound. In keeping perhaps with her strong religious beliefs, she is ever a charitable critic.

Her politics are to the liberal left.

For these reasons I believe she will have thought long and hard before sending this morning’s column to the Herald for publication. It will not have been an easy decision. I can only assume that, after long deliberation, she concluded that this was something that, in the interests of the Labour Party and the country, just had to be said.

Misa’s message is by no means new. The opinion that Shearer, however decent, however nice, is the wrong man for the job, is now regularly expressed by both right and left-wing commentators. Shearer claims not to be bothered by this groundswell of disfavour, but he is either in denial or putting on a brave front. It must be a dismal experience to be subjected day in, day out, to such relentless public humiliation.

What is both new and remarkable is that Misa, albeit reluctantly, has joined the chorus of opinion that Shearer is harming rather than helping Labour’s cause and that he cannot continue to lead the party. The writing on the wall could not now be clearer.    Read the rest of this entry »

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John Key denies having made Beckham ‘batshit’ comment

 

[Courtesy of Greg Goodyer}

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David Garrett writes to me and I respond.

 

This morning I received the following email from David Garrett:

Dear Dr. Edwards,

I watched your interview with Cam Slater on Sunday. During it, you could not resist denigrating me, and dredging up the “dead baby” issue yet again. The rest of the MSM have pretty well shaken all they could out of  the issue, but you attempted to breathe fresh life into it.

I wonder how long you think I should be punished for something I did 28 years ago – obtaining a false passport which was never used for any purpose? Something for which I apologised in writing to the family when the sorry business was unearthed in 2005, and for which I apologised publicly again at the time I left parliament.

Should I hide in shame for the rest of my life? Should I cease to voice an opinion publicly, even if asked to?  Should I perhaps do away with myself? Do tell.

Sincerely,

David Garrett SC

Read the rest of this entry »

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I meet Cameron Slater and get to thinking about boring politicians.

 

On Sunday on The Nation Bill Ralston, Rachel Smalley and I had the pleasure of interviewing Cameron Slater of ‘Whale Oil’ fame. I hadn’t expected it to be a pleasure. Slater’s politics are at the opposite end of the spectrum from my own and his and his Whale Oil followers’ perpetual use of gratuitously offensive language had merely served to persuade me of their intellectual poverty.

Meeting Slater did not change my view of the morons who have made his blog the most widely read in the country.  (Nothing attracts a following like intemperance of thought and expression.) But it did change my view of him.

Cameron is highly intelligent, has a great sense of humour and is… well, I’m reluctant to use the word ‘charming’ so I’ll tone it down a bit and say ‘extremely engaging’.

And I didn’t get where I am today by not being able to penetrate all that ‘don’t give a fuck’ bluster to recognise a capacity for being wounded that, needless to say, will never be confessed.

But what I really wanted to say is that I found Slater hugely interesting and entertaining. He is a character and we are woefully short of characters in New Zealand politics at the moment. In fact, in terms of personality,  politics in this country has never been duller.    Read the rest of this entry »

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