Isn’t it amazing how the old adage that ‘twenty four hours is a long time in politics’ is proven to be true time and time again in this country. The latest victim of this truism was ACT Party Leader John Banks, whose bouts of amnesia about campaign donations and helicopter rides from Kim Dotcom has all but destroyed his fledgling career as the head of the ACT Party.
It didn’t take long for the word ‘by-election’ to be thrown around, and quickly the name Colin Craig was in the mix – he’s the head of the Conservative Party and he’s keen on the idea of standing in the Epsom electorate if such a by-election is to take place.
But based on the way Mr. Craig has been treated thus far by the mainstream media in this country, he could be forgiven for wondering whether the old adage should actually be changed to: ‘one hour is a long time in politics’, or maybe: ‘one hour is an excruciatingly long time if the media decide they’re not even going to bother to wait for any democratic political process to begin before they sic the dogs on you’.
I would also totally understand if he wanted to change his name to ‘Jesus’, as his treatment at the hands of the NZ media and certain political commentators has certainly resembled a crucifixion.
So what unpardonable sin is Mr. Colin Craig so guilty of that a media lynching and smear campaign was required within hours of his announcement that he would be interested in standing for the Epsom electorate if a by-election is called?
It seems he is guilty of two great evils – two evils that some would suggest are the only remaining unpardonable sins of our modern era.
Firstly, he’s a Christian.
Secondly, he’s a man who seems to take some principled stands on different issues, and not only does he seem insistent on sticking to those personal principles, but it seems that he also isn’t afraid to speak his mind about those principles.
In NZ politics, principles are like Kryptonite.
Which is actually kind of ironic really, because we NZ voters spend a lot of time on talkback radio and other places complaining about the lack of principles and openness and honesty from our politicians, so you’d think that a guy who has a few principles, and who is upfront about his agenda would be a breath of fresh of air round here.
Oh, that’s right, for a moment there I forgot that he has committed the unpardonable sin of pledging allegiance to the Christian faith.
One of the initial journalistic attacks on Mr. Craig I read focused largely on the shocking truth that he ends the staff meetings, at the business he owns, with a quick prayer.
I suspect that he would have got a more favorable reception if he’d announced that he ended his staff meetings with an S&M session – he might have even made the innovation in business section of the news if that was the case.
Look, I’m no member of the Conservative Party, in fact I strongly disagree with one of their key policy positions, but at the same time I can’t see why Mr. Craig’s religious beliefs, or his willingness to actually hold fast to certain principles should warrant such a lambasting by our media.
Maybe I’m old fashioned like that, and I actually expect some sort of journalistic ethics and integrity to come to the fore when important political issues are covered in the news. Surely the media’s role here is to aid the democratic process, rather than to stifle and undermine it with salacious tabloid stories?
I say let Mr. Craig have a fair shake. Let him present his policy positions, his political vision, and then let the voters of Epsom (assuming there is a by-election) decide who they want to represent them.
It seems clear to me that this would be the most just and ethical thing to do here, and who knows, we might just discover that Mr. Craig has some rather good policy ideas to offer the country as well – and after all, isn’t that precisely what MMP is supposed to be all about?
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