Hooton: Andrew Little sides with terrorists

Matthew Hooton points out the obvious…that Andrew Little has sided himself and Labour with head-hacking terrorists.

As Mr Minto and his comrades argued at the time, it would not do to claim apartheid-era South Africa was a long way away, that what happened there didn?t affect us and that it would be dangerous to put oneself in harm?s way against the Red Squad.? They argued that to go to a game was to tacitly support the South African regime even if one claimed to oppose apartheid.? For those young enough, fit enough and brave enough (like Mr Minto and Murray McCully, now John Key?s foreign minister) it was seen as an important withdrawal of consent to be bloodied by Ross Meurant?s PR24s.

For his efforts, Mr Minto was labelled a ?principled fanatic? by the SIS. With his background as a bland, middle-of-the-road union bureaucrat, no one will ever use that noun to describe Andrew Little. And now, after his despicable conduct over the training mission to Iraq, no one will ever use the adjective to describe him either.

Under Mr Minto?s formula, it is not enough for the Labour leader to say ISIS is evil but a long way away, nothing to do with us and too dangerous to oppose anyway.? His failure to support even the minimal contribution Mr Key has authorised ? falling well short of what the Iraqi government sought ? is to tacitly support religious barbarians so extreme that even Al-Qaeda has distanced itself from them.? Were he a Michael Joseph Savage, a Peter Fraser or even a Helen Clark, instead of bleating that Mr Key?s decision might put New Zealanders at risk, he would instead be attacking the prime minister?s minimalist response as cowardice.

Mr Little had a choice to stand beside Mr Key or Mohammed Emwazi, Jihadi John.? He chose the latter.

Abject cowardice and pandering to terrorism is what Andrew Little has condemned Labour to.

The reason there is usually bipartisan consensus on intelligence and security is because prime ministers have a record of bringing leaders of the opposition into their confidence.? Since 1996, this has been through the Intelligence and Security Committee but it was always done informally through one-on-one contact between the two, which also continues. The convention operates as a constitutional check given the information must be kept secret? It also ensures prime ministers and leaders of the oppositions can at least base their policy judgements on the same facts.

The convention has survived personality clashes and the most bitter political confrontations. Even when their relationship was at its worst in 2006, then opposition leader Don Brash thought then prime minister Ms Clark kept him properly briefed on intelligence. There is no suggestion Mr Key has undermined the convention and, if he has, Mr Little should bring that to the public?s attention.

Mr Key will never be accused of being a conviction politician.? Ms Clark?s Working for Families can be ?communism by stealth? one day and National Party policy the next. It is why his abject fury at Mr Little over ISIS was so surprising to the extent some on the left called him unhinged.

Mr Key?s critics should ask themselves why his behaviour was so out of character.? They might like to consider it could be because Mr Little?s behaviour behind the scenes suggested a political calculation so cynical that if it ever becomes known it will bring permanent disgrace to his party.

Of course Little was briefed, and that is why John Key stood in parliament and said it outright, hence the fury and anger. Andrew Little is playing a dangerous game, and at the same time proving he is without claim to?the?title of Prime Minister.

Andrew Little has fallen for the trap that Twitter and the liberal left who dominate it is reality. Labour is so beltway these days that they don’t have a clue what real Kiwis think anymore.

Perhaps this is why Labour changed its position in the following days to argue it would support airstrikes on ISIS ? another deeply cynical move given it was Labour that cancelled the F-16 purchase and disbanded New Zealand?s air strike wing. Mr Little was pretending to support a more aggressive mission he knew our military couldn?t carry out over a more passive one that it can.

The fact is Mr Key?s decision has endangered New Zealanders to some extent, just as Mr Savage and Mr Fraser?s responses to Germany and Japan and Ms Clark sending troops to Afghanistan and East Timor and medical and engineering units to Iraq inflated the risks New Zealand faced. A little more radicalism has probably been fuelled in some local mosques. Westfield shopping malls probably are a bit less safe.? And Jihadi John is now a little more likely to try to capture, burn or behead a New Zealander.

At best, Mr Little?s siding with Jihadi John over John Key is to allow the former to control New Zealand?s foreign and defence policies.? At worst, and more likely, he wants to be able to say ?I told you so.? Mr Key was right to tell him to get some guts and join the right side.

Andrew Little is never going to be on the right side. He was a union boss after all.