Rugby-netball double international Louisa Wall is sticking up for fellow Labour MP Darien Fenton over her attack on the public “bromance” between the Mad Butcher Sir Peter Leitch and Prime Minister John Key. …
But Ms Wall, who is back in Parliament for a second stint as a list MP, said the comments were misinterpreted, and she shared the disappointment at Sir Peter’s support for Mr Key – despite admiring his work.“We would have assumed Sir Peter was a working-class champion,” Ms Wall said.
Ms Wall, who is contesting the safe Labour seat of Manurewa, said “personal is political”, and Sir Peter could not endorse Mr Key without endorsing his policies.
For Ms Fenton, though, his broadcast utterances were political treason. That any member of the country’s working class could speak well of a “Tory” leader is anathema. Unthinkable. Unforgivable.
The Mad Butcher was shocked by her withering personal rejection and the attempt to denounce him for saying what he thinks. His former butchery business was also stunned by an inference some had taken that a Labour MP was calling for a boycott of the Mad Butcher stores, many of them in rock-solid Labour seats.
The Fenton comments would have been politically dumb and personally reprehensible at any time, given Sir Peter’s record for serving the communities the MP purports to represent.But her timing, amid Sir Peter’s well-publicised but tentative recovery from cancer and the joy of all league fans at the Warriors’ late season success, was particularly damaging.
Labour has also rounded on Sir Peter Leitch, the Mad Butcher, who, after strongly supporting Helen Clark, now favours John Key.
Labour List MP Darien Fenton declared she was, and I quote her directly, “never going near him again.” While he was “good in the past” he had “gone way out on a limb.” When asked whether it wouldn’t be better to try to win back his vote, she replied, and again I quote her directly: “Why?” Ms Fenton is guaranteed to be re-elected as a list MP, at the expense of quality Labour people like Kelvin Davis and Stuart Nash, who are both doomed.
At thestandard.org.nz, a blog written by Labour and union staffers and other leftist activists, the attacks on Sir Peter, who won his knighthood for services to philanthropy and the community, were even more vicious. One, defended on free-speech grounds by the blog administrators, was: “I wish the Mad Butcher would hurry up and die.”
Such attacks on the Greens, left-leaning academics, the media and the popular Mad Butcher (in the very week his beloved Warriors will finally win the NRL!) suggest some kind of derangement syndrome caused by Labour’s fury at Mr Key’s popularity.
These people have learned nothing from their defeat in 2008. They despise the voters, whom they regard as ignorant and wrong. Unless such bitter and paranoid individuals lose influence within Labour, New Zealand won’t benefit from proper opposition until late 2014 at the earliest.
Matthew has commented that he received more positive feedback on this column, than any other he has written.