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 fail,?Vote for Change Incorporated,?Shirtcliffe?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.