Saturday, May 08, 2004

The politics of conviction

One of the reasons people like Don Brash is because of his perceived conviction. He is seen as a man driven by principle, willing to stand up for what he believes in, and untainted by the compromises of everyday politics.

Hopefully, this perception is being undermined by his duplicity over National's newly released nuclear policy. Last weekend he told the NZPA that he had no position on the nuclear ship ban. Then, when pressed about reports that he had told a group of visiting US Senators that if it were up to him, the nuclear ban would be "gone by lunchtime", he refused to confirm or deny the comments. More recently, he told Linda Clark on Nine Till Noon that he personally opposed nuclear ship visits, and stood on his credentials as a peacenik. When pressed about his other positions, he said he didn't want to talk about it.

(As a peacenik, I wonder how he feels about Simon Power's plans to send New Zealanders to die for America whenenever told to? I'm sure the answer would be fascinating...)

These are not the words of a man of conviction. Like all politicians, Brash is tailoring his message to what he thinks his audiance wants to hear, to what he can sell to the public. The sooner the electorate wakes up to this, the better.