Saturday, March 8, 2014

Game of Thrones-esque Politics

Game of Thrones and political machinations - drama in real life!

It's been a shocker week in politics.  Many media pundits might argue that it's been far worse for those on the left than those on the right.  Both major parties, as this Kiwi sees it, have been 'tricky'.   From 'secret' trusts, over inflated 'dinners', dodgy business vs political interests and matters of perceived conflicts, strange defamation cases that smack of hypocrisy and electorate seat wangling.  One could be mistaken in thinking it was a plot out of Game of Thrones.  

Politics is very 'Game of Thrones-esque'.  

There's political machinations, betrayal, power and money struggles, negotiation, bargaining, wars (admittedly mostly with words), backstabbing, scandal, alliances, secrets and fueds.   Oh the intrigue!  Passions can run high, and the media live to sensationalise every moment of it.  This year we have even had a castle! 

The following 5 quotes seem to fit the week in politics, and the messages are particularly pertinent for David Cuniliffe, leader of the opposition.  Sage words of advice, if you will, for a looming election.  

1. 'Take my advice, bastard.  Never forget what you are.  The rest of the world will not.  Wear it like armour, and it can never be used to harm you.'

This is important, it's why it's number one.   Criticism was laid at his feet this week on Q&A, about how the public don't really know who he is or what he stands for.  He made it clear that he's for the people.  Be strong, be clear and most importantly, be consistent.   (please note - its a quote - I am in no way calling anyone a 'bastard')

2. 'Everyone wants something.  And when you know what a man wants you know who he is, and how to move him.'

Find out what middle income New Zealanders want.  Pay attention to the Gen x and Gen Y members of our country.  We have been marginalised and have had to pay (and pay hard) for the benefits that the Baby Boomers reaped from all that came out of the reforms of WW2.  Now that we are being punished by the users pay model that we inherited - our voice is important.  Tap into it and find out what we think - what we want and why.  While you are out canvassing seek the voice of all those non voters who were disengaged and disenfranchised from the last election.  Bring us some hope and bring us some vision.  Martyn Bradbury summed it up nicely here.  

3. 'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid? ''That is the only time a man can be brave'

I expect you are concerned about this up coming election, and with the week you have had David, I expect you are concerned about caucus and membership confidence. Ride through it, learn from it and take charge.  Be bold, be visionary and be brave.  You have good ideas, you have sound fiscal management understanding and by all accounts, some of your suggestions (like CGT) is well received in the bean counter circles of this world.  This is not the time for 'same old same old' - now is the time to ask your policy committees to be brave - to embrace the bold thinking and innovation that will knock the neo liberal changes onto their ears!  What is the worst thing that will happen?  Defeat.  To be honest, without you are facing a certain defeat as you battle one of the most popular PMs for some time.  SO, be brave and go forth and conquer.  You can do it and you need to do it.  

4. 'Words are like arrows, once loosed you can not call them back.'

This is important.  Pay heed to this.  Watch what you say, as it always comes back to haunt you.  Your party has at times, been accused of trying to muck rake.  Stay out of the mud - all it does is make you dirty and smell bad.  Leave the rolling around in the mud to your opponents.  Lets face it - they are pretty good at it, and if you watch Parliament TV, then you will know that they can not help but be insulting and rude.  It fascinates me that they call this 'banter' - when I watch, I call it rude, ignorant and exceptionally bad role modelling.  So heed your words - use them carefully and use them like a well planned weapon for the betterment of our country.  Try not to be tempted to be smug, rude or arrogant. While I am on the subject, learn to play nice with the media.  When they ask you a question, take a deep breath and reign in the desire to sound like a smart alex when you say 'I'm not having that discussion in the media'.  All it does is rile them up.  Learn from Sean Beans character - he lost his life because he didn't play the game - don't let your self righteousness (or the appearance of this) be your beheading.  Too much is at stake.  

5. 'Always keep your foes confused.  If they are never certain who you are or what you want, they cannot know what you are likely it do next.'

This is a tricky one.  Whilst you need to be open, honest and show the public who you are and what you stand for, you need to keep some cards up your sleeve for when you are going head to head with your opponents.  But, it does work both ways.  Exploit your opponents weaknesses, play up your strengths and time the announcements carefully.  Watch the leakage of important information - this week showed that it left you open, vulnerable and easy to attack.  It is in this way that you need to keep your foes confused.  

Like many here and across the world, I am eagerly awaiting the next instalment in the Game of Thrones series.  In the meantime, I can at least be entertained by the very real Game of Thrones saga playing out in front of my very own eyes.  I just hope the twists and turns, dramas and tribulations don't leave that Throne open to the wrong King.  

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