When I was younger I had several books put out by Ripley’s of the “Believe it, or Not” brigade. Often these would feature bizarre coincidences such as twins who grew up in nearby towns, never met, yet both had wives called Eve, worked as teachers, had three kids and lived at 47 Luck Street. I loved reading this sort of thing – as any 12-year-old boy does.
There is nothing more awesome when you are that age than sitting down with a book of facts or records and absorbing.
My love of the Ripley’s slowly morphed into a love of other stories of the bizarre or strange. This interest culminated in me reading about the JFK assassination and its associated conspiracy theory. At the time I had no reason to disbelieve the idea of a second gunman. After all, the story was plausible and who was I to doubt the point of view being represented.
Of course now I am of a much sounder mind. I realise my easy acceptance of conspiracy theories in my late teens was a bordering on the ridiculous. I blame too much listening to, and believing the lyrics of the Dead Kennedys (pun probably intended).
I’d put conspiracies away in that locked draw in my brain. Until I heard something very interesting at a conference I went to during the holidays.
Charter schools were not ACT’s idea.
Yes. That’s right. That’s what I heard.
I was talking to another delegate who said they had been talking recently to a back-bench government MP. This MP didn’t support the charter schools legislation AND said that was a National Party policy / idea that they pulled out as part of the coalition agreement with John Banks the ACT Party. This MP is also meant to have mentioned many of his colleagues disagreed with the policy, but were being forced to vote for it to either: a) remain in the good books with the Key factions, but also to b) tow the party line.
I was blown away – not by the bombshell of the secret policy of our Tory leaders, but the fact that I was completely unsurprised by the suggestion.
Let’s get back to reality. This news I heard from someone who heard it from someone else. The Farrars and Whaleoils of this world, if they stumble across this post, will spit and huff that I am making all this up and where’s the proof and how dare I slander the name of our dear leader even though we’re quite happy to slander the name of people who disagree with us (another National Party policy).
After al, hearsay is inadmissible in a court of law.
But this isn’t a court. This is a blog. It’s also my opinion, so let’s hypothesise… How true could this be?
Question: who is more likely to have connections to international investors with the amount of money needed to set up chains of McSchools across New Zealand? A man who spent the 80s and 90s making millions gambling on the international money markets with his Merril Lynch BFFs, or a man who has a few million in a family trust and spent the 80s in New Zealand as a politician and the 90s as a Police Minister and talkback radio show host? Which John?
Question: who is more likely to be really into taking money out of the public purse through subsidies for private business, yet will not address the key issues impacting on child poverty? The man who has $50 million and a network of neoliberal millionaire & billionaire friends, whose kids go to private schools (which have received recent government subsidies and/or bailouts) and whose deputy
is was a farmer (a group which have also recently received government subsides for irrigation and drought relief)? Which John?
I could come up with many more of these but it ultimately it comes down to this question: Which John is more likely, through his previous networks and experience, to completely believe in the Global Education Reform Movement promoted by Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, a pair of Kochs and other multi-billionaires?
John Key is the answer. He has the networks. He has the millions. He has the ideology. He even consciously promotes his deal-making abilities with various multi-national media and gambling companies. THAT is the PM he has sold himself to be.
John Banks is just an idiot who says he can’t remember the biggest German in New Zealand giving him $50,000 in two separate cheques after riding in a helicopter with him.
For me it all comes down to secrecy. The plans for charter schools were deliberately withheld from the New Zealand public before the last election. If the plans had been released then education would have become the main issue rather than the irrelevant nonsense about who owns what power company (This is still getting all the media coverage despite the fact that the charter schools legislation edges ever closer to becoming law).
The National Party have a well documented history of secret dealings with anonymous networks. One only has to read the Nicky Hagar book The Hollow Men. The book is based on actual National Party emails, not fake ones, or made up conspiracies. Actual National Party emails.
If you’ve not got time to read the book, watch the film at NZ On Screen. The book’s subtitle says it all: A Study in the Politics of Deception.
Speaking of deception… what better way to launch a far right neoliberal policy. Release it as part of a coalition agreement with a far right neoliberal party representing business interests so if it doesn’t work out they can blame the “small party of crazies” that thought of the idea in the first place.
In short, what National tell us (about most things) is all lies. But I don’t really know this for a fact because I’m not in National neither do I have millions of dollars, therefore I am not in their loop. So at the moment, like Nicky Hagar and most of the left-wing commentators in this country, I am a conspiracy theorist.
I believe in the theory of a neoliberal conspiracy.
The problem is that 40% of New Zealanders buy into the lies because they’ve either always voted National or John Key passes himself off as such a bumbling fool who can’t even shake hands properly.
Remind you of anyone else with big business links, rich friends and a strong ideological bent to take us somewhere insane?