Monday, December 07, 2009


The dolchstosslegende was a piece of propaganda used in Germany after World War I, in which the German Army was cast as losing the war because it was 'stabbed in the back" by liberals, Jews, and communists. It is also popular on the American right, which blames pacifists and liberals (rather than the Vietnamese) for America's losing the Vietnam war (a new version is already being constructed over Iraq).

Over on Bowalley Road, Chris Trotter is busy constructing his own version of the dolchstosslegende to explain the reaction to Phil Goff's "nationhood" speech. Goff - who has consistently struggled in the polls since becoming leader - is being cast as a heroic, victorious leader, cruelly brought low in his moment of triumph by treachery from liberals, gays, and - most amusingly - the unions. Because obviously, the latter are completely opposed to improving the lot of ordinary New Zealanders.

Meanwhile, in his rush to demonise dissent and bully everyone into falling into line, Trotter misses the real reasons behind objections to Goff's pandering to racism: that it is unprincipled and contrary to Labour's values of equality for all, and (for the less high-minded) that it is electorally stupid and has burned a significant chunk of Labour's base (not to mention undermined its chances of a post-2011 deal with the Maori party). But I guess its just so much easier to believe anyone who opposes the new Line is just a self-interested traitor instead.