The Politics of Corruption

You have to wonder sometimes.

It’s been a long time since I had any respect for politicians. Any respect at all.

During the late 1990s I worked at a (now defunked) Auckland company whose job it was to monitor the news. We produced recordings and transcripts of television & radio reports and talkback calls for a range of companies and politicians.

A client’s paranoia of how they were portrayed in the media was directly proportional to the amount of money they spent with us. The chief National Party strategist at the time was Murray McCully. His press secretary was on the phone hourly. Telecom just had a running order: transcript of everything that included a mention of the company.

When you are that paranoid about how customers / voters view you, rather than spending millions on PR and image control, wouldn’t it be better to do a bit of soul-searching, reflect on how exactly why people view you that way and change the way you conduct yourself so that people don’t have that view? Surely that’s far more sustainable. Surely?

Then again, personal reflection and growth is rarely seen in the political class. Look at some of those hacks who’ve been there for a while – your Mallards, McCullys, Englishs, your Goffs, Ryalls and your Smiths (choose any). All, at some point, no matter which “side” you represent, has lied straight to you either by a) contradicting something they’ve previously said, b) claiming they never actually said something they previously said, or c) misrepresenting or manipulating facts to suit their own purposes.

You try to get a politician to comment rationally on their allowances. Their justification borders on the ridiculous. National were fantastically outrageous this week with their “it’s within the rules.” I could go on about it being within the rules and yet morally wrong but I would be smashing my head against a wall made from the soft abdomen of many years eating and drinking in Bellamy’s (yet another unnecessary rort that we’re all paying for. Don’t get me started on air points).

The current political class is littered with examples of this nature. Rodney Hide, into parliament on the promise of being the “perk buster” and then out of parliament for ripping off the very perks he was fighting. The ultimate in parliamentary corruption.

With politicians being at the bottom of the heap as ‘least trusted profession,’ and voter turn-out at all time lows and falling, you’d think they’d start investigating the reasons for this.

No. Instead they just bumble on. Lying daily. Feathering their own nest with a vast range of perks and allowances the rest of us can only dream about. Using air points gained while travelling on parliamentary business for holidays with spouses. Getting the taxpayer to subsidise their superannuation, and while they are doing that, paying off a mortgage on an investment property in the city where they live.

These dirty, cretinous shysters will stop at nothing to further themselves and their power base. They are utterly corrupt in every decision they make. No argument. Who will I vote for now?

This post was initially going to be a gentle narrative on how I’ve changed my teaching practise this year after much soul-searching and personal reflection. After I started typing it turned into what you have read above.

The politicians made me do it.

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