‘Denial is guilt’ nonsense

This week Barry Soper stoked speculation about Bill English’s political future – the morning of a major ‘state of the nation’ speech by English. There were the usual denials of any intent by MPs, and the story reach absurd heights when Soper claimed that denials meant ‘proof of guilt’.

NZH: Proof of guilt is denial, and there are denials all around inside National

In politics the proof of guilt is denial and there have been denials all round.

After almost 40 years observing them close up, including 10 Prime Ministers who’ve come and gone bar one, it’s hardly first day journalism. It’s actually getting around the talking to politicians and there’s a common thread that runs through rumbles on leadership, there are denials not just from those who’re involved in leadership but from those who’re close to it.

And the reason for that is simple; they’re the last to know.

This is pathetic.

Politicians get asked many questions, some good questions and some stupid questions.

Soper cannot mean that every denial means guilt. There must be many denials that are genuine and truthful.

That some denials later prove to have been misleading or incorrect doesn’t mean all denials are the same.

Soper is falling into a trap of running a story and trying to justify it by claiming responses mean the opposite of what is said – so that it conveniently fits his story.

There may well be talk of leadership within National – I’d be shocked if there wasn’t, politicians must contemplate future leadership possibilities all the time, especially after elections where a party has failed to remain in government.

Basing a story on ‘denial means guilt’ is very sloppy journalism, regardless of forty years of experience of occasional denials (amongst many) turning into legitimate stories.

Leave a comment

26 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  February 4, 2018

    do a poll to see who here thinks English will lead National into the…next election.

    Reply
    • I doubt that he will but a poll on that is pointless, just as a poll on who will lead Labour, NZ First or Greens into a 2020 election would be pointless, unless someone want to try to stir.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  February 4, 2018

        Bugger.

        Reply
      • Blazer

         /  February 4, 2018

        so its fair to say…you agree with..Soper.

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  February 4, 2018

        Personally I think he’ll step down as leader before the next election PG. It’ll depend on his polling & performance & I don’t think his performance in Opposition so far is exciting enuf.

        Reply
      • 2Tru

         /  February 4, 2018

        Stepping down is the easy part, and I would be very surprised if it doesn’t happen in the next 12 months. The difficulty is having someone good enough to generate voter excitement to take over. I don’t see that person yet so profiles have to be developed, or the Nats risk falling into the same trap as Labour.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  February 4, 2018

          Keeping my eye on Collins & Bridges at the moment in Question Time. Bennett will have to go as well. Not up to it. Can’t handle Jacinda, Trev or the Tauranga Clown.

          Reply
  2. Kitty Catkin

     /  February 4, 2018

    Denial means guilt ? What is Bill English guilty of ? I wonder if Barry Soper knows the meaning of the word.

    By his definition, anyone who was wrongly accused of a crime and denied it must be admitting their guilt.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  February 4, 2018

      I’ve written Soper off ages ago. I think he’s a parody of a newsman.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 4, 2018

        Really ? What makes you think that ?

        Be grateful he’s not a judge. You’re in court, charged with something you didn’t do and, of course, deny that you dunnit.

        Judge Soper ‘Denial means guilt. Seven years. Next !’

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  February 4, 2018

          Ian Wishart said Soper sold out ages ago. So it must be true.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 4, 2018

            Ian Wishart may be right (not that I follow Barry Soper)

            Does he still sign his name as ‘Wishart’ as if he was Lord Wishart ? (I don’t think that he is, somehow)

            Reply
  3. -D

     /  February 4, 2018

    I don’t know who it is that officially makes the final call, but maybe it’s time for Barry himself to step aside before the next election.

    Reply
  4. robertguyton

     /  February 4, 2018

    Begone, Bill.

    Reply
  5. Fake news. If anything comes from a ‘journalist’ nowadays you can fairly call it fake news.
    Their control of the media has gone

    Reply
  6. lurcher1948

     /  February 4, 2018

    Wow a 2-time loser could be a 3-time loser, and what does the catholic church think of that.

    Reply
  7. Trevors_elbow

     /  February 4, 2018

    Barry Soper is a Labour stooge thru and thru…. he is pointless as a political reporter as his bias is so very strong. Helens lapdog and look at the work he did underminjng Little at Helens bidding so St J could take the leadership.

    Nice smoke screen though to distract from the growing shambles of Jacindas ministry

    In my humble opinion of course

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  February 4, 2018

      funny guy,him and his squeeze have the same politics..as you.

      Reply
      • Trevors_elbow

         /  February 4, 2018

        Your delusion is very strong. Go ask Horton how he copes.. his delusion is similar in size.

        Bazza is red than a man u home shirt

        Reply
  8. David

     /  February 4, 2018

    Soper’s ‘s wife is running the same line…its almost like they planned it.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11986650

    Reply
  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 4, 2018

    Yes, read that article and that ridiculous line and wondered how late he and Winnie drank before writing such utter nonsense. Aside from that idiocy the whole article was a waste of space.

    Reply
  10. david in aus

     /  February 5, 2018

    Reminds me of trials for witches in the middle-ages. If you float, you are guilty; if you drown, you are innocent.
    Soper’s dictum: If you deny, you are guilty; if you admit it, see I was right.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  February 5, 2018

      so you expect English to lead National into the next..election?

      Reply
      • david in aus

         /  February 5, 2018

        Yeap. Conservatives like continuity when things are going well. If they have no chance of winning, there will be a leadership change, at least one year before an election. Right-wing parties are ruthless and pragmatic. I am not a Bill English person but I would support him to be the leader of the National party because he represents a party which led NZ to a period of prosperity from the GFC and is a key differentiator for the next election. Leakage of votes in the third term is not unexpected and that is why National ‘lost’ or rather was not picked by Winston. I would expect this Labour government to lose support with time. National is still leading party in the polls and should regain government in the next election with NZF wiped out.

        Reply

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