Gotcha Politics: A Cautionary Tale


Gotcha-PoliticsTHE DOORS TO THE LIFT closed behind the Special Commissioner for State Security with a barely audible sigh. Before him lay the spacious reception area of the Minister of the Interior. A young man, dressed in the muted grey uniform of the Senior Public Service, glanced up at him briefly and then returned his gaze to his computer screen.

“Good evening Comrade Commissioner, the Comrade Minister is expecting you – please go in.”

The Special Commissioner nodded curtly at the Receptionist and pushed open the heavy Rimu doors.

“Bruce! Good of you to come at such short notice. Sit down, sit down. Can I get you something? Tea, Coffee, something a little stronger?”

“Perhaps some water, Comrade Minister.”

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“Call me Harry, Bruce. After all these years, I think the Party will forgive us dropping the revolutionary formalities.”

The Minister pushed a button and summoned up a bottle of sparkling water and a generous measure of McCallan’s.

“So, Bruce, you finally got him!”

“That we did, Harry. That we did.”

“And he’s safely interred with the rest of his party?”

“Suffice to say, Harry, that there is a little plot of the Central Plateau that will be forever John Key.”

“Heh! So it’s done.”

“It is. But I must say, Harry, I was somewhat surprised that the Central Committee decided against putting him on trial. There are still plenty of Aotearoans who remember him.”

“Precisely, Bruce, precisely! That’s why we thought better of it. He was, after all, an extraordinarily popular Prime Minister – served more terms than Keith Holyoake! Taking everything into account, the Central Committee thought it best not to remind people – let alone permit him to demonstrate – why that was. So, snatch him from Hawaii, bring him home, shut him down. That was the plan, and Bruce, you carried it out to perfection.”

“The Americans won’t be happy.”

“The Americans still don’t know what happened, Bruce. Oh sure, theysuspect – but they don’t know. It could just as easily have been the neo-Maoists in Beijing – they have even longer memories than we do!”

“True enough.”

‘So, what did he have to say during his interrogation?”

“Not a lot. Confirmed a lot of what we knew already. There was nothing of any real significance. We got the impression he went through his time as Prime Minister trying very hard not to know what was going on.”

“Any famous last words?”

“Well, he did say that he wished the SIS and the GCSB had briefed him more accurately on who was – and who was not – a part of the ‘Hard Left’. Apparently his National Security team had no idea that people like us, or our party, even existed. You’ll find this difficult to believe, Harry, but he actually asked me what happened to people like David Cunliffe, Russel Norman, Metiria Turei, Hone Harawira, Annette Sykes, Laila Harre and John Minto!”

“Oh, Bruce, the naiveté of the man! Did he really have no idea that they were the very first people to be shot?”

“Not a clue, Harry. Not a clue.”

“What did you tell him?”

“Well, since he was so fond of American presidents, I quoted JFK.”

“Go on.”

“I said, John, you’re right, it is a pity that your security advisers didn’t tell you that those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable. He gave me a sad smile, and then we loaded him onto the truck.”


  1. There is a Shining Path to a better NZ – it’s aspirational for those who have been burned by the sun of the failed neo-liberal experiment. And we get to punish the asset thieves, the slave-ship operators, and the slumlords. What’s not to like? 😉

  2. Damm I was hoping the future would be more lbertarian socialist not ye oldy authorterian socialism. Sigh

  3. “I said, John, you’re right, it is a pity that your security advisers didn’t tell you that those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable. He gave me a sad smile, and then we loaded him onto the truck.”
    A lesson that never seems to be learned – especially by arrogant politicians and the comfortably off – right up until the time it all turns to shit. As if there haven’t already been enough examples. But it couldn’t happen here right?

  4. John Key is supposedly NZ’s best PM ever and displays similar traits to Abraham Lincoln. So I have read in recent media articles.

    • @ Jack: “John Key is supposedly NZ’s best PM ever……. So I have read in recent media articles.”

      About sums it up. He’s popular and polls highly because the media talks him up. The shouting majority of New Zealanders don’t know him, have never met him, and take little notice of politics beyond what’s presented to them on the TV news. They haven’t a clue what he’s like.

      • In fairness, most of the media don’t understand him either, they are not perceptive people, and for them Key exudes the fatal charm of mystery.

        But saying anything on the basis of personal popularity polls is utter nonsense – Key’s popularity was rubbish when he beat Clark.

        Show ponies make lousy leaders. Even Bolger was better than Key – he knew his own limitations.

        • @ Stuart Munro: “Key’s popularity was rubbish when he beat Clark.”

          Indeed. The Nats won the 2008 election because of a combination of the 2008 crash and 3rd term-itis for the Clark government. They could’ve had a poodle heading up the party and they’d still have won. Oh wait…

          “Even Bolger was better than Key – he knew his own limitations.”

          Exactly the point made by somebody in this household recently. As Shipley discovered too late, the Nats’ popularity wasn’t going down the toilet because of Bolger, but because their policies were shite. We’d endured a lot of neolib crap from them by that time, not least the unmitigated disaster of the health reforms.

          We almost got the bastards out at the 1996 election – and would have done it, had it not been for Winston returning to the fold.

  5. More likely to be the other way around. Check out the dummys guide to being a fascist dictator – first appoint the governor general and make sure he’s a lightweight who will remember who gave him the job, then appoint the security chief, make sure your man the speaker prevents any unwanted debate in parliament, stack the top end of the public service with your creatures, privatise everything for the benefit of you and your cronies, keep the peasants crushed by debt and regulations and make sure you have an effective surveillance operation in case they try anything funny.
    OK that book doesn’t exist yet but hey now that he’s finished his biography someone might be thinking about his next work of great literature…

  6. If legitimate parliamentary forms and things like the social wage/contract are degraded enough political struggle can be driven underground. But what would that mean today? After the colonial forces ceased direct armed suppression against Māori assimilation and swamping (which continues today with multi ethnic immigration to the chagrin of some Pākehā) took over. It has always amazed me that Māori nationalists never took up the car bomb etc.

    The surveillance state, high unemployment, dependent contracting, death of manufacturing, fading memories of decades gone compulsory unions, and anti union laws combine to put downward pressure on wages and a lid on direct industrial and political action by the left forces.

    The preponderance of small businesses, sheep shaggers and aspirational working class people and middle class on WFF income support also aids the tory state machine. But one way or another the injustices will surface alright, lets hope it is not in a Golden Dawn type fascist way.

  7. So where exactly did this “revolutionary” movement come from? One of Trotter’s worst contributions yet.

    • @Ovicula:

      It probably came from his heart, which is quite similar to many NZer hearts.

      The Fijians did it!

      Don’t you go being too complacent now.

      opinion and belief.

  8. How about Chance the gardener (from the film Being There starring Peter Sellers) for PM? A little bit of pruning here and there and all will be well in the Spring.

  9. Take me to the April sun in Cuba…..

    It is interesting that the Batista regime fell to a small but determined group of revolutionaries…that only later aligned themselves totally with communism.

    However the social ,technological and geographical conditions were different from a country such as this. That revolution had its main strength in the rural and dispossessed farmers who worked the land.

    The main commonality of many South American countries was the (mainly USA-style neo liberal capitalism ) influence of USA foreign policy and interference in self determination.

    Wherever there is a large population base of largely uneducated, poor , and impoverished ‘peasants’…..there is going to be a fertile ground for revolution.

    The religious war is something a little different..but communism – or fascism -can be its replacement for a belief system as a rallying point.

    And yet is even more interesting that on the same continent and also in Africa where those type of conditions existed ,..Che Guevara met a general lack of interest in the population to conduct such a campaign , ….ultimately leading to the mans death in Bolivia in 1967.

    Violent revolution is never good. Ever.

    And while we do not have the same political disconnect regards social conditions (yet) and not the same level of crushing poverty (yet ) nor the same extreme gap between social classes (yet )….

    – We can see the very early stages of that process..this country was a more recently settled one..we have not had centuries to develop a large divide between ethnic and socioeconomic strata’s in society…..

    And yet…seeing developments with TPPA , TISA , the refusal of its delegates to publicize details of its agenda …and with an increasing arrogance among our political leaders -particularly those who adhere to neo liberalism- and its socially destructive and divisive inherent qualities, …….sadly…we may see..or our children ‘s children…may see…a very different NZ than the one we see today.

    The commonality that caused socal upheaval in South America and elsewhere has more often than not been a direct or indirect result of neo liberal capitalism and the impoverishment of a critical mass of the population.

    This is why…this election is so is a critical time for our country…for a Left leaning bloc to form our next Govt…to nip in the bud this slow but steady trend we are seeing …because the early symptoms of social upheaval are already making themselves manifest.

    • It is interesting that the Batista regime fell to a small but determined group of revolutionaries

      …..but not a bunch of over-the-hill academics and armchair critics 😉

      In all my extensive travels around the world I have never seen a country so far away from revolution as NZ.

      So I suggest you go mow your lawns and have a glass of chilled chardonnay

      • Sorry old boy…but not all of us drink latte’s ,chardonnay or even smoke Cuban cigars… and being a laborer ,albeit a self educated one,..reckon I got a unique point of view denied to the likes of you who never grew up in this country.

        Sorry to burst yer bubble, sausage.

      • @ Andrew: “…not a bunch of over-the-hill academics….”

        Except, of course, that academics – over the hill or not – and well-educated activists are apt to predominate in the leadership of revolutionary movements, viz. the Russian revolution, and the Irish Easter uprising of 1916. No surprises there, when you think about it.

        “…I have never seen a country so far away from revolution as NZ.”

        I wouldn’t get too comfy there, were I you.

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