Sunday, December 03, 2006



Speaks for itself

The National Party is sometimes parodied as a party of arrogant business wankers who treat the people around them peons. Unfortunately, some National MPs seem to be doing their very best to uphold that reputation...

But quite apart from confirming that Jonathan Coleman is a wanker, this also again raises the spectre of National's sponsorship by the tobacco industry. Coleman wasn't the only National MP there - chief whip and frontbencher Simon Power was also in attendance. And remember, British American Tobacco wouldn't be hosting them unless it thought they could (eventually) get something out of them. Given that Coleman is one of National's health spokespeople, you really have to wonder whose interests will be represented in National's health policy - those of ordinary New Zealanders, or of a company which profits by making them sick.

29 comments:

Simon Power is not chief whip. That's Anne Tolley.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 12/03/2006 12:17:00 PM

Does the National party actually believe that the tobacco industry's interests are one in the same as the interests of ordinary New Zealanders?

To even accept the invitation of such an organisation says so much about the principles of the National party.

Posted by james cairney : 12/03/2006 12:18:00 PM

I just thought Good on him. If some fat-cat corporation wanted to waste their entertainment money on me, I'd be more than happy to get well liquored at their expense, MP or not. There's got to be some perqs of the job, after all. I don't think big cigars would come into it, but if I did get the urge, and I was doing it outdoors, wowsers could fuck off. Coleman should have given Latham a smack in return.

The time to point to Coleman having had his snout in BAT's trough would be if he decided to return the favour - up until then, there's nothing untoward going on.

As befitting Labour's current prissy old lady image, Mike Williams promptly announced the party wouldn't let its MPs go to such events. Poofters!

Posted by Psycho Milt : 12/03/2006 03:52:00 PM

"i just thought good on him"

What for, blowing smoke in a person's face, or helping the electorate associate British American Tobacco with the National party?

Which were his two main achievements from the event.

And:
"The time to point to Coleman having had his snout in BAT's trough would be if he decided to return the favour - up until then, there's nothing untoward going on."

And when would we know when that point is exactly? Brash's existence as a puppet for hidden big business interests remained secret until the leakage of emails, do we again have to wait for an insider to leak to find out the extent of the unsavoury connection with the merchants of cancer? Or, do you believe Coleman to be higher moral stock than Brash, and will openly disclose the full extent of the relationship? Or, are you merely trying to portray a tough 'non-wowser' image for yourself, to compensate for some insecurity?

Which one is it?

Posted by james cairney : 12/03/2006 04:54:00 PM

James Cairney:

I'm a smoker, and do actually respond well to some basic civility - not a label I'd apply to Brad Latham and his sister-in-law. Still, it's nice to see corporate wankers and their hangers-on think being in a corporate box gives them the divine right to act like common thugs (and I can't help but wonder how sober Latham was if he's not in the habit of acting like this) - just as long as they're not connected with the evil tobacco industry, ay James?

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 12/03/2006 05:33:00 PM

This is starting to read like the old Felicity Ferret column. With an 80s hangover like U2 abroad in the land retro behaviour seems to be all the go.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/03/2006 05:59:00 PM

Yes James, I think people should be allowed to smoke outside because I'm insecure about my small penis.

If you stop to think about it for a moment, you might recognise that if Coleman starts promoting BAT's interests after they've spent wads of cash on his bar tab, it's not a good look for National. Fine with me - but if he's a fan of fat cigars, he's hardly likely to be a poster boy for ASH anyway.

Posted by Psycho Milt : 12/03/2006 06:22:00 PM

Graeme: you're right - I haven't quite caught up with the reshuffle yet.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/03/2006 07:05:00 PM

Craig, 'common thugs', well I wasn't there, so I cannot judge. Links to the tobacco industry I will freely judge however.

P/M, "I think people should be allowed to smoke outside because I'm insecure about my small penis." No, however perhaps you use terms such as:
"happy to get well liquored", "wowsers could fuck off", "Coleman should have given Latham a smack in return", "Labour's current prissy old lady image", and "Poofters!" because of your insecurity, no? Is there another reason that you chose to express in that manner, or are you actually just a good old fashioned hetro kiwi tough guy?

Also: "If you stop to think about it for a moment, you might recognise that if Coleman starts promoting BAT's interests after they've spent wads of cash on his bar tab, it's not a good look for National." And how exactly do we know when he is promoting those interests, given the lengths (Brash for one showed) that the National party goes in disguising their intention for any action? And without this alleged altercation how would we have even known about his link (in order to put the two together)? Are you saying the altercation was important for the openness of our democracy? If that is the case then you agree that such links are in fact unsavoury, correct?

Posted by james cairney : 12/03/2006 09:18:00 PM

James:

Oh, so you don't consider puching Jonathan Coleman in the face - which Brad Latham either admitted doing to the SST, or should be suing Fairfax for defamation - 'common thuggery'? Well, dear, as a someone with a rather short temper - especially when under the influence of an open bar, as I suspect Mr. Latham was - I've had to learn to deal with annoying people in social settings while keeping my hands to myself. It's called being a grown up, and perhaps Brad Latham would like to try it sometime.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 12/03/2006 11:07:00 PM

Latham's reaction could easily be justified as using reasonable force to defend [a woman] from 'assault with a deadly weapon' given what we know about the connection with smoke and lung cancers.
Coleman was the complete boorish prat in the first instance, who showed a complete lack of basic civility.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/03/2006 11:51:00 PM

Anonymous:

Interesting - so I should smack down the next drunk I see, because there's a very well-documented link between booze and fatal car crashes, domestic violence etc.? I'd find that comment rather amusing, but I have the sneaking suspicion that you're deadly serious.

Still, nice to see 'progressives' (and the SST) finding excuses for a common thug.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 12/04/2006 06:00:00 AM

i/s. labour party minions attend corporate functions all the time as well.

it's pretty hard to draw the line between national and labour on this one. it's just that national is more associated with big business.

like psycho milt indicates, when a corporate throws money at you, many catch.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/04/2006 07:22:00 AM

Yes you could Craig, according to the SST and its "witnesses". Apparently, smoking where a non-smoker can smell it is totally inappropriate behaviour, but punching someone is an entirely reasonable response.

James: perhaps you've led a sheltered life. Some people like a drink and don't mind saying so - it doesn't make them some kind of Barry Crump wannabe. Also, I haven't punched anybody since I was in school, but don't see any reason why Coleman should put up with getting bashed by some pissed wanker at a rock concert. Last but not least, I refer to "Labour's current prissy old lady image" because that seems to be an image they're working hard to convey these days.

Good luck in trying to keep tabs on every business that provides perqs to a politician, it'll keep you busy full time. Don't forget the Labour ones while you're at it.

Posted by Psycho Milt : 12/04/2006 07:25:00 AM

Corporate invitation to things like this are pretty standard - but it's most unwise for a health spokesman to accept an invitation from the likes of BAT.

And it sounds like Coleman was acting like a prize prat. If a lady complains about your cigar smoke, turning around and blowing it in her face is pretty rotten behaviour. And even if she acts like a silly tart and puts your cigar out with a spray of water, you don't respond with a foul-mouthed tirade. You're a Member of Parliament and you don't get yourself into those situations.

Funny thing is, I was in the Latham box on the Friday night, as a guest of Ticketmaster. I prmise not to abuse my position by, um, encouraging people to buy advance tickets ...

Posted by Russell Brown : 12/04/2006 08:03:00 AM

And it sounds like Coleman was acting like a prize prat. If a lady complains about your cigar smoke, turning around and blowing it in her face is pretty rotten behaviour. And even if she acts like a silly tart and puts your cigar out with a spray of water, you don't respond with a foul-mouthed tirade. You're a Member of Parliament and you don't get yourself into those situations.

Well, yes, Russell. I'm sure the world would be a much better place if all politicians spent more time at home, with paper bags over their head so they're never in a 'situation' like this. But am I the only person who thinks there's something missing from this story and Russell nailed it by saying, "it sounds like Coleman was acting like a prize prat..."

Well, yes, and every public bar bully who picks a fight is going to say "the c**t was asking for it." (And the one thing I don't miss about my drinking days is the person at every party who is looking for an argument - and is going to get one, no matter what anyone says or does.)

Sorry, but I still think this has the odour of a pretty desperate beat-up which says more about the tabloid in all but format news judgement of the Sunday Star-Times than anything else. And if the position were reversed and Coleman had smacked Brad Latham in the face, do you think we'd have seen a little more scepticism applied to Coleman than Latham's version of events received?

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 12/04/2006 09:26:00 AM

"I refer to "Labour's current prissy old lady image" because that seems to be an image they're working hard to convey these days. "

The prissiest political old lady of them all imploded last week. With Don gone it's now a stampede to claim the peaks of prissiness.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/04/2006 09:26:00 AM

Hell Craig, it sounds as if they were both acting like prats, but I wasn't there, so I'm not going to judge.

If it happened as you say, then yes, Latham was probably a common thug. However, if this Coleman clown was doing what was alleged, then I will not jump to condemn Latham for his part. Also, I'd love to see anyone try to prosecute Latham for it, Coleman may just be in more of a bind in that regard (if Latham's version turns out to be correct, that is).

P/M, I have no issue with people smoking, or even getting pissed, I was just extremely impressed with you stringing together so many staunch manly phrases, but you seem to have settled down now, so enough. xxx

Posted by james cairney : 12/04/2006 10:04:00 AM

Craig: I'm sure the world would be a much better place if all politicians spent more time at home, with paper bags over their head so they're never in a 'situation' like this.

You seem to be suggesting that the environment is so corrupt that there is no way for politicians to avoid the possibility of compromising themselves. Right?

Posted by Anonymous : 12/04/2006 10:24:00 AM

Psycho Milt:

"Poofters"?!!?
You obviously have no idea how many gay men and lesbians actually *do* chug cancer sticks...

Craig Y (who is, doesn't, and does)

Posted by Anonymous : 12/04/2006 11:00:00 AM

"smoking where a non-smoker can smell it is totally inappropriate behaviour, but punching someone is an entirely reasonable response"

It wasn't a case of smoke being smelt from a distance.

Anyone who leans into my wife's face and spewed smoke can expect the response to be perfectly reasonable. A punch would fit into that catergory so far as I'm concerned.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/04/2006 11:27:00 AM

Yeah but the main point is, who the hell smokes cigars these days anyway?

It's a Freud thing. (and that killed him).

Posted by Anonymous : 12/04/2006 01:03:00 PM

Anonymous wrote:
Anyone who leans into my wife's face and spewed smoke can expect the response to be perfectly reasonable. A punch would fit into that category so far as I'm concerned.

Well, that's nice Anonymous. If you're sitting next to me in a picture theatre, you better have your cellphone turned off, be freshly showered (and remember cologne is applied by the drop not the cup), quiet as a nun and sober as a judge for the duration of the feature. Also, if you have a weak bladder or bowel problems requiring a trip to the toilet during the feature, please ask for an aisle seat and leave quietly.

As far as I'm concerned, if you don't meet all of the above conditions you deserve to have some manners beaten into you. But I don't - because I'm a grown up, who actually thinks there are staff capable of dealing with my problems in a timely and appropriate manner.

Oh, and I've also understand the wisdom of the old proverb that you catch more birds with honey than vinegar. Something some non-smokers would do well to remember - especially when they're harranging people in designated smoking areas. (Just as I'm not in the habit of expecting friends who do drink to become tetotallers, just because I can't.)

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 12/04/2006 01:31:00 PM

Craig Y: no offence was intended (to gays - offence was very much intended to the Labour Party), but if it was taken please accept my apologies.

Posted by Psycho Milt : 12/04/2006 01:42:00 PM

"If you're sitting next to me in a picture theatre, you better have your cellphone turned off, be freshly showered (and remember cologne is applied by the drop not the cup), quiet as a nun and sober as a judge for the duration of the feature. Also, if you have a weak bladder or bowel problems requiring a trip to the toilet during the feature, please ask for an aisle seat and leave quietly"
Not one of these is anywhere near blowing cigar smoke in someones face on the scale of obnoxious arsehole behaviour.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/04/2006 04:05:00 PM

Pssssst Craig..... the name isn't Brad.

Posted by Jillypig : 12/04/2006 05:48:00 PM

The crime here is that he did not press charges on the guy that hit him.

If you are a victim of a crime taking it to a court is not just to help you fell better (that is a pretty pathetic reason) it is to protect THE NEXT guy (who is unlikely to be you) from getting knocked unconscious, or dying for that matter.

Anyone who does NOT take such a person to court is grossly in breach of their duty to society.

Posted by Genius : 12/04/2006 08:14:00 PM

None taken, Psycho Milt, I was just referring to the irony of your statement. Unfortunately...

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/04/2006 08:52:00 PM

Jillypig:

I'll assume you know your own brother's name, and more fool me for thinking the Sunday Star-Times does basic fact checking/copy editing anymore.

Anonymous:

Well, that's your opinion and you're entitled to it but I think you're missing my point. There's plenty of things in the world that offend me - among them the aboslute arseholism of people who think cinema patrons are paying through the nose to have their rampant egotism inflicted on them rather than watch a damn movie. (And, yes, cigar smoke in properly designated smoking areas doesn't bother me; b.o. or overpowering scent that quite literally makes my eyes waters and stomach heave does - but not to the extent of throwing my fists around.)

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 12/05/2006 07:58:00 AM