Nearly four decades ago, in 1984 I wrote a novel “The Permit”. Given its sales success, driven in part by 1984 being a super-charged political year, I imagine many folk have read it.
Its salient theme was the pack-hunting behaviour of political journalists which I’d observed over the previous decades. In particular their collective promotion of some political leaders, then triggered by one of them, having built the leader up to an absurd iconic status, abruptly and collectively turning on him.
We are witnessing it now with Jacinda, who, as with Muldoon, Lange and Key before her, and to a lesser extent, also Helen Clark, the hero to zero treatment must come as a hell of a shock.
Most understandably take it badly although none more than Lange who developed an intense loathing of journalists.
We are now witnessing with the Jacinda attacks, an apparent sudden awareness of what this Blog has carried on about for the last three months.
Specifically, the Government has lied and bluffed about our first in the vaccine queue status which assertion was plainly dishonest.
So too with the embarrassing Jacinda face-grimacing mush about kindness and the team of five million. The recent nation-wide lockdown was also totally unnecessary and caused anger.
But up until a few days ago the media viewed all of this uncritically. Now abruptly its apparently appalling.
Why do they act this way?
My pop psychologist view has always been the same.
As a general proposition the Press Gallery personnel are reasonably bright people. Conversely, many politicians aint too smart.
By the time the journoes reach say their late thirties, they’ve woken to the fact that what seemed a glamorous career back in their teens, is anything but. Poorly paid they find themselves mere reporters of other lesser mortals who are now prominent decision makers.
The result is envy and thus the blood-lust to pull down the politicians they’d created a mythology of wonderfulness about. I elaborated on this theme in my comic novel 2002 “True Facts” about the newspaper world.
The criticisms now being levelled at the government and the Prime Minister in particular, could have and should have been made months ago.
History shows once the media posture turns, eventually the public follows.
An election today would see the government comfortably returned but probably dropping the half a dozen seats they would normally never have won.
However, we’re nearly three years from an election and I suspect that time factor could produce a different result.
One important reason is that good candidates are always attracted if they feel there’s a chance of government. The change in the media’s lickle-spit to Jacinda over the last two years will be a huge incentive to potential good National and ACT candidates who won’t feel they’re wasting their lives.
All of that said, I like Labour governments as they alone bring radical changes when they’re needed.
The Nats by contrast simply mind the shop, being largely content with the status quo as they find it.
If I was advising the government I’d tell them the ultimate vote-winner, namely wipe out gangs and beggars. The Nats could promise the same but one in office will, in their traditional fashion, find a reason not to act if they perceived any potential criticism.