After dissembling, equivocating, and evading, Don Brash has finally come clean and admitted that he would have sent troops to Iraq - regardless of whether there was a UN resolution backing action or not. It's nice that he's finally seen fit to be honest with us, rather than trying to hide his actual policy behind a wall of bullshit. But wouldn't a man of conviction and principle played it straight from the beginning, rather than trying to shamelessly hide views he knew were unpalatable to the public?
This also raises another concern: Don Brash has been outright deceitful about his foreign policy. Can we really believe him then on economic issues? In the past, Brash has presented himself as a market fundamentalist, praising New Zealand's "remarkable reforms" while arguing that they did not go far enough. In particular, he has advocated the removal of all forms of employment protection, including the minimum wage, minimum holiday entitlements, and the employment court; lamented the continued existence of the welfare state (or any sort of safety net insulating people from market forces); and argued for further privatisation and sale of state assets. He has also praised Roger Douglas's "Blitzkrieg" method of ramming policy change through in the shortest possible time, in order to avoid and limit public opposition. In other words, he belongs to the branch of fundamentalist neo-liberalism which sees democracy as a threat to their vision of "good government", and which believes that they, rather than we, are better placed to determine what we actually want.
Since becoming leader of the Opposition, Brash has publicly taken a more moderate line. But given his deceit on foreign policy and duplicity on the nuclear issue, I think we have good reason to be suspicious. Has Brash really resiled from his past extremism, or is he again trying to hide unpalatable views from the public so he can lie his way into office and then impose them on us - exactly as National did in the 90's?