Looking at Little’s recent comments and considering recent articles in the MSM by Audrey Young and Tracey Watkins, Adam thinks that Mr Little has become, in Malcolm Tucker’s memorable phrase an Omnishambles:-
Oh What A Lovely War was a film of Joan Littlewood’s great anti-war show. Directed by Richard Attenborough it portrayed the WW1 conflict in a less than favourable light, to shall we say mixed reviews on it’s release.
However, over the years it has been more appreciated and some scenes more than others.
This clip captures, to Adam’s mind, the jingoistic climate on the eve of war.
The famous anti-war poem by Wilfred Owen written as a result of his experiences serving in WW1 and published after his death. It is relevant as we consider the meaning of ANZAC Day.
The text presents a vignette from the front lines of World War I; specifically, of British soldiers attacked with chlorine gas. In the rush when the shells with poison gas explode, one soldier is unable to get his mask on in time. The speaker of the poem describes the gruesome effects of the gas on the man and concludes that, if one were to see firsthand the reality of war, one might not repeat mendacious platitudes like dulce et decorum est pro patria mori: “it is sweet and honorable to die for one’s country”.
DULCE ET DECORUM EST by WILFRED OWEN
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
On the eve of ANZAC Day this quote attributed to Gen Robert E Lee is especially apposite:-
“It is well that war is so terrible–we would grow too fond of it!”
Tomorrow is a day for remembrance and reflection; we commemorate the fallen, but we do not celebrate the past.
on the eve of Anzac Day this is a poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by so many over the centuries
Oh dear, Mr Little’s allegations about the Niue hotel do not find favour with Tracy Watkins in her political opinion piece today. Ms Watkins is more usually a cheerleader for Labour and Little, but not today.
There is something missing from the Opposition’s Murray McCully/Scenic Hotel Group political donations “scandal”. A link.
So right from the opening words Ms Watkins is clear that as far as she is concerned the ‘scandal’ lacks substance.
Labour is calling for an Auditor General’s inquiry and leader Andrew Little claims something “stinks to high heaven” about the way money “earmarked as aid” for Niue “has instead been given to upgrade a resort run by a National Party donor”.
Clearly she finds the language used as by Little as seeking to be prejudicial, especially as the allegations lack are so lacking in substance and hard evidence.
Little deliberately plants a few seeds with this statement; firstly, that money intended for traditional aid (presumably he means crops, humanitarian relief or medical supplies etc) was instead diverted to a luxury resort. And second, that there may be something dodgy about Government appointees deciding the contract.
So let’s unpick that a little.
Oh dear, clearly Ms Watkins finds the claims by Little problematical. Indeed an unkind person might infer that the claims are fallacious.
Ms Watkins in succeeding paragraphs demolishes Little’s claims quite completely. Adam especially liked this phrase:-
But the suggestion that aid intended for more worthy projects was suddenly diverted to the resort after Hagaman’s donation is tenuous.
Ms Watkins then turns her forensic eye to the tender process and proceeds to eviscerate Little’s assertions here as well.
Little is right when he says that it is his role as Opposition leader to ask questions when a big political donor is awarded Government contracts.
Adam agrees with this comment, but this is then effectively seen off by the following:-
But suggesting it “stinks to high heaven” takes things to a different level.
Even if there hadn’t been a number of steps between the minister and the decision to award the contract, Little’s claim appears to rest on the assumption that everyone involved in the process – from senior diplomats, to government agencies and senior politicians – was either swayed by the donation, or leaned on by the minister.
In effect she is saying that far too many people were involved in the process for it to have been anything but above board. Again a charitable view might well be that Mr Little had a brain fade and saw a conspiracy where none existed.
It is worth noting that Horwath HTL is the world’s largest consulting group specialising in the hospitality, tourism and leisure industry, with 45 offices in 38 countries. Thus by inference it could be said that Little was suggesting less than ethical behaviour by Horwath on top of his allegations against those individuals involved as either trustees or board members in he governance of the resort.
In the absence of a whistle blower, or any documentation, leaked emails or other evidence so far to support that view, that’s a pretty serious accusation. Seemingly, it relies solely on the fact that Hagaman donated money to the National Party.
This is dangerous territory for Little and not because the Hagamans have threatened legal action.
This is tantamount to Little declaring that any political donor is a target simply because they are a donor.Ms Watkins then dissects the area of donations and makes a number of valid comments.
She concludes with:-
If every big donation is going to be decried as dodgy there seem to be only two alternatives – either barring donors from tendering for Government contracts, which is probably unworkable, or a fully state funded regime, which is where the first option ultimately leads anyway, given the inevitable drying up of campaign funds.
But State funding opens a whole other can of worms, one that comes at a cost of tens of millions of dollars to taxpayers.
It’s also just as likely to become a football and just as open to abuse.
Anyone who doubts that should cast their mind back to the Labour pledge card scandal of a few years back.
Which is the other problem with where Little may be going.
The public’s suspicion about wealthy donors is probably only rivalled by their scepticism over politicians putting their hands out for more money.
Clearly she is not impressed. The fact that she raises the Labour pledge card scandal suggests she was really, really unimpressed.
For once it seems Ms Watkins took her blowtorch and applied it to one of Andrew Little’s statements and found it severely wanting.Would that the media would do this more often. Far too often Labour, the Greens and NZ First are allowed to blather and bluster with no questioning of whether the underlying facts support the claims made.