Friday, August 20, 2010

My take on ACT - for what it's worth

I have stayed quiet about ACT. Maintaining a distance partly because I know as little about the last few months as most. But I cannot pretend that I have felt indifferent. And I write now if only to get the stuff out of my head that prevents me properly concentrating on other matters.

I have never known Rodney as a bully. And I was relieved to hear Deborah Coddington say the same on NewstalkZB last night. On the other hand I did experience Stephen Franks as a bully over a matter where I chose to put personal loyalty above political expediency and was severely chastised for it. I like Stephen but was very uneasy about his appearance as Heather's 'support person'. It was Stephen who ensured that Heather was placed at number 2 on the list in 2005 to act as some sort of moderating influence or counter to Rodney at number 1. Stephen had lost the mad primary-style leadership election to Rodney and I believe the current problems go back that far - at least. Richard Prebble should carry the can for that piece of insanity.

Rodney would have tried to avoid personal conflict coming to a head because I don't think he handles relationships very well. I still see him as a lone player but a very effective one. His intellect and charisma are substantial. Heather's are not.

As an ACT member and candidate I was overtly loyal to Rodney. I was transparent about voting for him to lead the party and would do the same over again. Realising how deep the division went through 2005-2008, with Heather seeing herself as the only one of the two ACT MPs maintaining party "respectability", my being offered 14 on the list by Heather's clique makes more sense. Thank God it happened or I might have been embroiled in this current crisis.

Because once you are an MP you can never be your own person again. I have come to the view that is it impossible to maintain integrity and avoid being compromised. That is the nature of the beast when you work with people whose motives or priorities may differ from your own. In life there are good people and there are bad people, and we are nearly all one or the other at some point. Thankfully the conflict and dramas remain private. In politics they unfold in public.

Heather probably believes she was well-intentioned; working selflessly for the good of the party (leaving aside any ill-judgement shown in allowing another or others too much influence on her defence associate ministership). But she overestimated her following. Went to that classic place politicians go to when they listen only to people fawning all over them most probably.

Rodney now has to put the facts on the table. Mapp should assist him. Let the court of public opinion do its work with as much objectivity as can be mustered. That's the best hope he has of salvaging his party and reputation. And I don't think salvaging is too strong a word.


Manolo said...

From the outside, ACT's position and Hide's behaviour in particular, seem awful.

I qualify my statement by not having access to information you may know, Lindsay.

I have lost all confidence in Hide and will not give ACT my vote until someone else assumes the leadership.

ACT has been National's poodle for almost two years in exchange for the perks of power. Is that what its membership want?

Berend de Boer said...

Manolo, what do you mean by poodle?

ACT campaigned on three strikes, they got that. They're still working on the regulatory responsibility bill.

And if they can cap government spending, they have barked very, very loudly

Manolo said...

Sorry Berend, but up to this day ACT has been all barking and no bite.

I give the party credit for the three-strike legislation, but where was its influence on the ETS (loudly opposed by Boscawen and nobody else from your party). What about government spending? ACC and GST tax hikes?

ACT cannot have its cake and eat it. It needs to abide by its founding principles and leave the coward National to surrender to the racist Maori Party and to pander to the economic illiterate.

It's time to assume a principled opposition to the spineless bunch led by Key.

James said...

Whaleoil has just outed the rats behind the plot to discredit Hide....its a doozy of a takedown.

Apologies are owed to Hide from many,from John Armstrong down.

Bob said...

I took my then 11 year daughter to meet all the political leaders when they visited Nelson. Most looked quite uncomfortable talking to an 11 girl as though this was some kind of unpleasant but necessary chore, except for 2 of them. John Key came in second but my daughter will never forget the kindness shown her by Rodney Hide. He still has pride of place in her autograph book.

Just occasionally I wish I lived in Epsom rather than Nelson.

The Silent Majority said...

Bob, Your comment about your daughter is interesting. My daughter also met Rodney Hide (she was 11 at the time) and he was absolutely amazing with her. As a result she totally adores him. Even had his photo taken with her and it is just such a cool photo.

And he was totally genuine. This was no "politician kissing babies".

James said...

Yes...Rodneys a really nice guy and its not an act...he means it.The bullshit spouted in the press etc is by no nothing dropkicks without a clue.

Manolo said...

I'm not arguing Hide is not a nice person: I have not met the man, so I will take Bob and Silent Majority's words for it. I have no intention of defending silly Heather Roy either.

I'm questioning Hide's ability as party leader.

I understand the difficulty of being the junior partner in the coalition, but for example, why not being forceful and robust when the ETS legislation was debated and passed? Boscawen stood up to Nick Smith and minions, but who else? Feeble speeches by Hide produced nothing.

What would be needed for ACT to break away from National?

The latter are cowards but not stupid. They will notice ACT's weakness and come up with a candidate that could take Epsom in 2011.

That would be the end of the "Liberal Party". Sold its soul to Key & co. and is paying dearly for it.

James said...

That would be the end of the "Liberal Party". Sold its soul to Key & co. and is paying dearly for it."

Have to agree.ACT,if it returned to being the Liberal party would have a clear point of difference with National which it so needs.There is no conflict between Douglas's wanting to end privilage and boost the economy for everyone and a greater support of social liberalism (an area of potential votes that ACT has woefully neglected).Both are in fact collolaries...they are mutrally inseperable.