Monday, June 30, 2008

A dirty company means a dirty campaign

I have to say that I'm not exactly surprised by the revelation that John Key is still using Don Brash's Australian campaign consultants. Key's entire leadership has been about changing National's image, without changing the substance - ditching the 90's-tainted Brash, while still keeping the same 90's policies, and the same hollow men pulling the strings behind the scenes.

The worry though is what sort of slime Crosby / Textor are going to smear during the election. Overseas, they're infamous for running divisive campaigns based on whipping up hate and fear and exploiting prejudice and xenophobia. In Australia, they propelled John Howard back into office in 2001 on the back of a hate-campaign against immigrants, culminating in false claims in the leadup to the election that asylum seekers were throwing their children off boats in an effort to get into Australia. In the UK, they whipped up fears of crime, and ran a thinly-veilled racial-hate campaign against immigrants. And in New Zealand, of course, they gave us "mainstream" New Zealand and iwi/kiwi.

So, what are they going to give us this time? More iwi/kiwi? Islamophobia? Religious bigotry on smacking and abortion? Homophobia? Or that old stand-in, law and order? Whichever one they choose, it'll be big on slogans and dogwhistling. But the last thing you'll ever get from it is any actual policy.

Given its reputation and tactics, any decent political party would refuse to touch a firm like Crosby / Textor with a barge pole. But pretty clearly, National aren't decent. As Frogblog's gradma says, you know a person by the company they keep...