Labour logic – opposing something is actually a sign of weakness

Rob Salmond, the genius who came up with the attack on people with chinky-sounding names, the polling genius who kept telling us last election that Labour was 10 points higher than they really were, and the man who comfortably predicted?that the NDP, who came third, would win the Canadian election, has decided that John Key commenting on Labour policy is a sign of weakness, which means that the policy is brilliant and Key is worried about it.

He writes at Public Address ( the third iteration of?his failed blog):

Andrew Little?s been concentrating on promoting his three years fee-free study policy. A representative Key response:

“From what I can see from Labour?s trumped-up policy it announced on a Sunday afternoon?which is getting no traction so they keep coming to the House with it? go and have a look at the column inches and see how many you have got: zero.”

There?s two claims in there: First, Labour?s getting ?zero? column inches and no traction with its policy. And second, it?s a sign of weakness when you ask about an issue in Parliament.

Both claims are silly, and pretty obviously silly. On the idea that nobody cares for Labour?s announcement, for example:

Rachel Smalley:

Labour needed to start the year with a splash and so it did. It announced three years of free education? A reduction in student debt is a good thing. People will enter the workforce owing less, and that has to be a good thing. More people will study, and anything driving up the numbers of tertiary -educated people is a bonus. ?

Vernon Small on Stuff:

Labour?s first major policy announcement of the year is in, giving Andrew Little the ?speech-idol? laurels at the start of the political year? So far National has tried a number of attack lines on the ?fee-free three? idea, but it has looked more like flailing than finely-honed critique.

NZ Herald editorial:

If National wants to argue at next year?s election that an entitlement to three years? free tertiary education is unaffordable, it cannot be offering tax cuts. If it thinks a tax cut will be more appealing to voters than relief from student fees and loans, it may be mistaken.

So much for ?no traction? and ?zero column inches.? Key would, of course, much rather live in a world where Labour?s start to the year had got no traction. That just isn?t the world he?s actually living in.

Quoting a woman who thought NASA was wrong to name a satellite after a bulletproof vest, confusing Keplar with Kevlar, is funny. As for quoting Vernon Small…I bet his drawer is full of red undies and singlets.

So, if the claims are so silly, then why is Key making them?

It?s because he wants to bluff the media into reporting that Labour?s policy is ?getting no traction? has ?zero column inches? and so on. He?s betting that the media are bluffable, and that he can change the media?s narrative from the top down. There may have been a time when that he could bluff some commentators that way. It was part of his long political honeymoon. But, like Audrey Young, I think that time is over.

Key protesteth too much that Labour?s fee-free is a dog. It?s a tacit admission the policy?s doing well. It?s weakness projecting as strength.

That is really interesting because, if you follow the logic of this political pygmy, you’d have to say that the screeching from Labour over the TTPA, Charter Schools and any number of other policies, is actually a show of weakness and Andrew Little and Labour are signalling that those policies are rock-star policies.

From the analysis of Rob Salmond you would have to contend that all the opposition and shrill protest for the TPPA, Charter Schools etc is their tacit admission that the policies are doing well. It’s weakness projecting as strength.

This is one of Labour’s key advisers: a man who makes money from giving political advice. Well done Rob. You just proved that Labour’s opposition to the TPPA is actually weakness.


– Public Address