Colin Craig has a guest post at (curiously) The Daily Blog – Colin Craig – Dirty Politics, why should we care?
He likens the alleged attacks on him to the infamous underarm cricket incident that New Zealanders have kept reminding Australians about since 1981.
I don’t think the two are similar at all. Australia played within the rules of cricket but their underarm bowl was deemed by many to be outside the spirit if cricket.
Both Craig and his current opponents claim breaches of the rules/laws of defamation.
And I don’t think the New Zealand public will be reminiscing about ‘the underCraig incident’ in 2049.
It is my view that politics matters, just as much, if not more than, sport.
I think more people care about sport than about politics. But the quality of our politics does matter.
Those in politics have a much greater ability to influence, for better or worse, the lives of others. We won’t always agree on the right mix of policies and sometimes when the debate gets heated it might well feel like a finals contest in the World Series. Despite all this, however, we should never stoop to the underarm ball. We should be better people than that.
Underarm politics is common. It’s always been an integral part of the political game. But Craig’s problem is not about Government or about Parliament. It’s about an internal spat in a party that isn’t in Parliament.
Craig is claiming that the involvement of political blogger Cameron Slater and political activist Jordan Williams with an aim to keep the Conservative Party out of Parliament is dirty.
If he’s correct in his claims, if it was a political hit job to destroy a party then yes, it looks dirty, but that’s yet to be determined.
Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas
My wife and I have just published a booklet “Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas” in which we exposed the actions of 3 individuals in a recent defamatory attack against me. I am not the first to be attacked in this way but if possible I would hope to be the last.
There doesn’t seem to have been much hidden in the Slater/Stringer versus Craig conflict, apart from actual evidence from both sides.
Whether it was defamatory or not is yet to be determined. So far both sides have claimed defamation and legal threats have been made but nothing seems to have happened yet apart from public posturing.
What Happens Next?
I am fortunate enough to be in a financial position to take legal action against the parties that have defamed me. What they have done is not legal and so I will be looking to the courts to rule on the matter as a way to restore my public reputation.
One aspect of this is power – in this case Craig’s financial power. Most people couldn’t fund defamation action so don’t attempt to legally threaten them.
Craig is fortunate to be able to finance a court ruling on what is not legal if anything.
It could be argued (and is being argued) that Craig’s actions in trying to deal with this are not helping his public reputation.
What I do know is that I am committed to playing a part in fighting for a better kind of political debate in New Zealand.
Laudable. I’ve been fighting for better political debate for years.
I remain hopeful that our nation can resist the slide into self-serving and cynical manipulation of mainstream media. I hope instead that we might retain our values of honesty and a fair go.
I agree with those ideals – but it’s fair to point out that Craig has been working the mainstream media since this story broke, including having two controlled media conferences and numerous mainstream media interviews.
And Craig’s nationwide delivery of booklets is an unprecedented media move.
p.s. I wish to acknowledge the importance of Nicky Hagar’s book on Dirty Politics last year. His work in shining light on the practice of attack politics has been an important contribution to improving democracy in New Zealand.
I don’t recall Craig being a big supporter of Hager’s book when it was launched last year.
‘Dirty Politics’ may or may not have made “an important contribution to improving democracy’ – using illegally obtained data to inject a politically targeted book into an election campaign is not an ideal way to do democracy.
Craig appears to be trying to attach his cause to whatever populist thing he can think of. This post works on trying to liken his predicament to cricket and Hager.
But so far Craig doesn’t seem to have got the sporting and political public on his side.
He may be forced into using the courts and taking his chances there.
Oh, and Cameron Slater doesn’t usually resort to tame stuff like dribbling underarmers.