UPDATE: Greg Presland, a leading Standardista, scolded me for criticising a post that I had not actually read. He told me not to rely on David Farrar, although, to be fair, I hadn't read anything on Kiwiblog either. The post below was in response to the Twitter reaction to both pieces, from the left and right. And, while the opening paragraphs tried to make fun of the very fact that I do not read The Standard if I can avoid, Greg is right that I shouldn't critique something I haven't read. In my defence, it was an attempt at facetiousness that obviously fell flat, at least with Greg. That said, I am far from convinced that some people who might be readers, commenters and bloggers on The Standard won't latch on to the kind of conspiracy theories in which Kim Dotcom gleefully trades. Thus, my call for Labour to resist the temptation to let him do their dirty work stands. There is also a degree of reverence in Greg's post for the so-called Kiwi "journalist" seeking exile in Russia that reinforces my fear that the Left are all to eager to embrace such patent nonsense in lieu of doing the hard work of opposition, which must be to address the unprecedented decline of Labour's support over two election cycles, especially in provincial and outer suburban parts of the country. These stories are a distraction.
I try to visit The Standard only once or twice a year to preserve my sanity. The semi-official Labour Party organ is home to some of the most appallingly written, poorly thought-out, conspiracy-minded, self-serving, bollocks you could ever find.
So when I heard that Standardistas were clasping on to yet another Kim Dotcom conspiracy, it took all the will I could summon not to click on the links thereto. But it's only January 3rd, not to mention in an election year, and I couldn't possibly waste one of my sparse visits so early. However bonkers this latest episode is, there is certain to be even greater wads of nonsense that demand even more attention (by which I mean remorseless mockery) in the coming months.
Thus, in order to get my head around the latest Dotcom yarn, I relied on second-hand sources that enabled me to swerve past The Standard and maintain the holiday spirit.
But here, I gather, is the nub of it: Dotcom, a German citizen sought by the US for extradition, has once again promised to deliver New Zealand from the crushing yoke of the National-led regime. This time, he is claiming to have secured up to 2 terabytes of NZ government emails that will expose an even dirtier brand of politics than he, along with Nicky Hagar and Glenn Greenwald, managed to achieve in the lead up to the 2014 election. These emails, Standardistas believe, will destroy National's chances at the election, and expose John Key's reasons for leaving office as a self-serving lie. Key, you see, exited the stage knowing that the full extent of his bastardry is just a Dotcom mouseclick away from being exposed in great and gory detail. As I said, since I am relying on second-hand accounts, I may have got parts of this wrong, but it's the gist.
How can I put this?
If, in fact, Labour follows the Standard's lead and waits with bated breath for devastating revelations gleaned from a Dotcom hack, they will be more than disappointed; they will be decimated at the polls.
Kim Dotcom is toxic for Labour, and linking their electoral fortunes once again to his ongoing extradition battle borders on criminally stupid. Even if he has hacked emails, and even if they reveal some embarrassing secrets, New Zealand voters will punish any party that aligns themselves to him. They will consider the hack illegal, and will discount the revelations accordingly. As in 2014, there will be -- if, I caution, the emails even exists -- a hyperventilating frenzy of media coverage that will create the surface impression of a debilitating scandal. But, again like 2014, voters will not change the government on the whims of a German fugitive hacker. Dotcom's antics, however splashy, can only harm Labour. They should shun him, and refocus on bread and butter economic issues, especially in provincial and outer suburban areas where there vote has declined by 20-30% over the past two cycles.
It's almost impossible to believe Labour would fall for Dotcom's big noting antics two elections in a row. I could say that stranger -- or dumber -- things have happened, but not many spring to mind.