Andrea Vance calls time on the silly season:
Everyone, please, put down the sherry and get a hold of yourselves. A dose of reality is necessary as the political year really kicks off this week. In the vacuum of the summer season, some fantasies about the outcome of this year’s election have taken seed.
Smacking is not going to be a defining election issue just because Conservative Party leader Craig says it is. He is the leader of a minor party, outside of Parliament.
Once the election campaign proper starts, and the mainstream party machines kick into gear, Craig will find he has to do more than put on a tinfoil hat to get media attention.
Speaking of crackpot strategies, was it the electoral roll of a parallel universe that was going to return Martyn Bradbury ahead of cabinet minister Nikki Kaye or Labour high-flier Jacinda Ardern in Auckland Central?
And since when did left-wing activists like Bradbury start whoring themselves out to businessmen who want to use their vast wealth to exert influence over the political and justice system? . . .
But perhaps we could wait until his policies and candidates are unveiled before prophesising his likely effect on the polls? . . .
Thankfully other commentators have failed to swallow whatever it is that blinds some to Dotcom’s faults.
Duncan Garner also recognises the silly-season affect:
There’s a reason why Kim Dotcom, Brendan Horan and Colin Craig are getting so many headlines right now: All the other politicians are on holiday, and simply don’t give a stuff.
They’re either at their beach houses or overseas, and politics is the last thing on their mind. . . .
So, right now those three are taking their chances with the media, but they will soon have to compete with the big boys and girls for space. It will get that much harder. . .
An internet party got seven percent in Germany, so his Internet Party can’t be written off. But it’s had a woeful start with a hopelessly organised failed launch. Still, it kept him on the front page, I suppose.
The Internet Party will be a place to put your protest vote against John Key, the spies, the establishment and the ruling elite. It could well be a party for those that feel disconnected to the mainstream, disconnected to politics and disenfranchised overall. That makes it a potential threat. But what will it ever achieve? Who will lead it? If Bomber Bradbury is its main advisor – where the hell is it heading? . . .
Sean Plunket says the internet party is amateur and vain:
The imminent but aborted birth of the country’s newest political party this week has been one of the most bizarre non-events in recent political history.
From the first tweet-fuelled rumblings of the human headline that is Kim Dotcom to the ignominious cancellation of the launch party, it has been a study in the politics of naivety and a glowing example of the gullibility of certain sections of the New Zealand news media and public. . .
What shortens the odds however is an uncritical celebrity-obsessed media full of self-appointed pundits and commentators who seem more than happy to entertain the idea that Kim Dotcom and his cronies might actually represent some meaningful and significant change in New Zealand’s political landscape.
Whilst it might rob the tabloid headline writers and breathless young television reporters of meaningless fodder for their daily dross, the cruel truth is as it stands the Internet Party is little more than an amateurish exercise in vanity politics perpetrated by a publicity-seeking convicted criminal. . .
Colin Espiner also says vanity is driving him:
. . . behind the ice creams and the fireworks, the offers to fund our next America’s Cup challenge or a new submarine fibre-optic internet cable, the extravagant parties to which we’re all invited and promises of free wi-fi for all, lies a narcissist desperate for popularity, relevance, and above all, respect.
It’s my opinion that Dotcom’s constant quest for omnipotence stems from his desire to make us – and the rest of the world – understand the value of his achievements (and they are many) while forgetting his criminal past as a computer hacker and convicted fraudster. . .
Fortunately for him, there was a ready audience, thanks to worldwide alarm at the antics of the US over its multi-national bulk spying via mass data collector PRISM and its subsequent exposure by whistle-blower Edward Snowden – and other spying scandals uncovered by WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange.
Dotcom has been quick to associate himself with both. . .
Dotcom likes the parallels: all are fugitives from justice; campaigners for freedom of information; anti-state and pro-privacy.
The difference, however, between Dotcom and Assange and Snowden is that they released top-secret information held by governments and corporations because they believed it was in the public interest. They did it for free and they did it knowing they were likely to be arrested for it.
Dotcom presided over the world’s largest pirate website, which was shut down for repeated copyright violations he claimed to know nothing about. He made a fortune from it, and he has claimed that while he suspected Hollywood would come after him in the civil courts he never anticipated criminal prosecution.
Many seem to have missed the distinction. Dotcom to them is a hero, a wronged man, a champion of cheap internet and free speech. Money has helped him get the media onside. He cooperated with Herald journalist David Fisher for a largely favourable book about him, thus also ensuring ongoing coverage from the country’s biggest newspaper.
He’s courted other journalists, too . . .
But assuming it does eventually arrive, will Dotcom’s Internet Party wreak havoc on the election result? Actually, I don’t think so.
Dotcom’s political publicity vehicle is likely to appeal to internet-savvy young people alienated from mainstream politics who haven’t voted before. Therefore it’s unlikely to pull support off the existing major and minor parties. So unless it reaches the 5 per cent threshold – a huge hurdle – or wins an electorate seat, that first-time vote will simply end up wasted.
Because Dotcom himself can’t stand, the chances of any other candidate put up by him winning a seat in their own right are extremely slim.
But that won’t bother Dotcom. His endgame is not a career in politics. . .
Matt McCarten picks up on the vanity too:
Cynicism suggests Dotcom’s motivation is more about ego and self-interest. . .
By naming his party the Internet Party Dotcom ghettoises himself around a narrow set of issues. . .
Until now, Dotcom has had a dream run from the media. He has become a folk hero. But now he is in the political arena, he’ll get a rude shock. He’ll be treated like every other politician.
The perception Dotcom will have to overcome is that the Internet Party isn’t some plaything of a rich egotist who made mega-millions exploiting other people’s talent and creativity without paying for their work. . .
Dotcom hopefully knows voters want their political parties to serve the people, not platforms for rich men seeking self-aggrandisement. New Zealanders are old-fashioned like that.
Dotcom wouldn’t be the only would-be politician to be driven by vanity but those who make it have a lot stronger foundation on which to build their campaigns than that.
Now the silly season is about to close he’ll find the media have a few more serious contenders and issues on which to focus too.