No doubt you
have heard some of Latham’s fine words over the last week. While much of it is
crude, there is none the less a very very rich vein of truth in what he has been
saying on many issues. His statements about foreign policy (and how safe New
Zealand is from a terrorist attack), individualism and materialism this morning
for example.

I think
that while some in the political class and mainstream commentariat are suggesting
that there is nothing worthwhile in the diaries, many – particularly in the
Greens constituency – will be taking good heart from what he is saying. So much
of it is Greens sentiment expressed in a language that cuts
through.

Here are a
couple of bits relating to the Greens that I have picked up from reading the
book this morning that haven’t been directly covered in the media so
far.

“Bob Brown is
killing us on this issue [Iraq] through the power of a simple, commonsense
message: Bush is an imbecile and Australia should not be part of this
war”

“I also like
Brown: other than economic policy, our beliefs are quite similar. I prefer his
political values to the likes of [Dick] Adams and Michael O’Connor [CMFEU
forestry division], with their close links to the timber and woodchip bosses.
It’s a shame that people like Bob Brown have been lost to the Party. Gough
tells me he was a member in Western Sydney in the 1970’s. [this last bit is
untrue actually]

“And then there
was the Forestry Division of the CMFEU which organised the rally for Howard, the
same CFMEU that was subjected to a Royal Commission by the Howard Government.
This one was even beyond Billy Hughes.”

“The problem
with the Forestry Division is that it has formed a dependency relationship with
the companies. Their officials can’t fart unless the bosses say it’s
ok.”

“The Media. As
detestable as ever. One thing I underestimated was the capacity of the Liberals
to use large parts of their commercial media as an extension of their campaign.
The Murdoch tabloids, for instance, kicked off the scare campaign against the
Greens, which the Government finished off in their last days of the campaign. I
knew Murdoch was backing the Government, but not as a formal part of its
campaign.”

All in all I
think there is much to congratulate Mark Latham for in this book. It is a shame these honest things are not
said by more politicians when they are actually in parliament. Thank God the Greens are there to do
it!

Peter Fray

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