Lady Thatcher a Kiwi by marriage!

May 5th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

A little known fact is that Denis Thatcher’s father was born in New Zealand. That made Denis a Kiwi, and hence Margaret Thatcher a Kiwi by marriage.

Thomas Thatcher was born in 1848 and emigrated to New Zealand in 1878. He founded Atlas Preservatives, originally a sheep dip and weed killer manufacturer.  His son Thomas Herbert Thatcher was born in New Zealand in 1885 and married Lilian Kathleen Bird, a secretary at Atlas. Their son was Denis Thatcher.

Thatcher Street in Castlecliff is named after Thomas Thatcher and Thomas Herbert attended Wanganu Collegiate from 1894 to 1897, when they moved back to England.

But the best cartoon of the week is …

April 20th, 2013 at 2:01 pm by David Farrar

Hat Tip: Whale Oil. Original here.

More on Thatcher

April 12th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

A reader writes in:

I was a journalist in London in 1973 when the IRA bombing started.

We had continual strikes, three working weeks, power strikes and just about everything you could think.   I well recall an article by the central union leader, Vic Feather I think, which blamed the UKs poor position on the fact it did not get Marshall Plan aid like some in Europe did.   The unions were in a state of denial and biz leaders and conservative MPs lacked the wit and guts to sort things out.

It is true Thatchers reforms were very harsh on some areas and people and more could have been done to help them thru the transition, but without Margaret the UK would have slid away, just as NZ would have moved closer to South America without Roger Douglas.

Can you believe it? The UK was so badly off, they were blaming the lack of aid under the Marshall Plan!

Saunders on Thatcher

April 11th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Peters Saunders from CIS looks at the Thatcher legacy:

In 1970s Britain, the state was involved in everything, yet nothing seemed to work. It owned great swathes of industry – supplying water, gas and electricity, digging coal and making steel, running the railways and a major airline, building motor vehicles and aero-engines, monopolising post and telecommunications – and was landlord to more than a quarter of the nation’s households. But nobody wanted to buy the cars it built, British Rail was a laughing stock, the coal and steel industries were on their knees, and it took months to get a telephone connected.

Governments in the 1970s operated in fear of the union bosses who were treated to ‘beer and sandwiches’ in Downing Street as they told successive prime ministers what the unions would and would not tolerate. Political scientists began writing books about the emergence of a ‘corporatist state.’

A few years before Thatcher won office, Britain’s homes had been plunged into darkness by a miners’ strike that put industry on a three-day working week. At the shops there was a run on candles. Then in the winter of 1978–79, public sector militants stopped rubbish being collected from the streets, disrupted meal deliveries to the housebound elderly, and left corpses unburied at graveyards.

Time and again, union militancy was bought off with unaffordable pay deals that pushed annual inflation past 25% and sent the Callaghan-Labour government scurrying, cap in hand, to the IMF for emergency loans. Britain became known as ‘the sick man of Europe.’ Political scientists began writing books about the country being ‘ungovernable.’

In their increasingly fruitless attempts to control the mounting chaos, successive Conservative and Labour governments increased controls over many aspects of everyday life. You were not allowed to take more than a couple of hundred pounds with you if you went abroad for a holiday. Your wages were pegged by law. A government hotline was set up for informers to report shopkeepers whose prices exceeded those laid down by the state.

Britain was locked into a downward spiral, and nobody seemed to think it could be reversed. Except Maggie.

She scrapped the price and wage controls, arguing that governments cannot possibly know how investment is best directed or who should be allowed to trade at what price. She sold off the nationalised industries, opening them up to the cleansing blast of competition and setting an example that the rest of the world quickly followed. She allowed working-class families to buy their council houses at a discount (a policy that infuriated middle-class socialists but which at last prompted me to re-evaluate my socialist beliefs).

A great summary of how bad things were.

But taking her record as a whole, the balance is clearly and overwhelmingly positive. The proof is that no succeeding government has tried to reverse her key reforms. For all the left-wing bluster, nobody has ever seriously suggested that industries be renationalised, union bosses be re-empowered, or that governments should again try to fix prices, wages and dividends, or direct private investment. Margaret Thatcher found a country on its knees in 1979, and in just 11 years, she reversed decades of miserable decline.

Put the Great back into Great Britain.

Editorials on Thatcher

April 10th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Of all the millions of words that will be written about Margaret Thatcher in the coming days none will more succinctly sum up the impact of the late British prime minister than those uttered by her former press secretary Sir Bernard Ingham: “She knew what she wanted to do, and did it.”

So true.

What Baroness Thatcher will be remembered for is breaking the power of the unions, privatising British Telecom, British Gas and dozens of other publicly owned companies, going to war over the Falkland Islands and resisting Soviet expansionism.

Not a bad list.

She changed the world, too. In the 1980s, building more missile bases and condemning Soviet totalitarianism at every opportunity was viewed as dangerously provocative. But, with the benefit of hindsight, Baroness Thatcher and her closest political ally, then United States president Ronald Reagan, were indisputably right.

People forget this. Tens of millions demanded that the West basically unilaterally disarm and appease the Soviet Union.

The NZ Herald editorial:

Margaret Thatcher’s social views stemmed from her Christianity and a belief in the importance of individual rights. If there was nothing novel in this, nor did she invent a new economic policy. Rather, she and Ronald Reagan brought monetarism into the mainstream, with their advocacy of reduced state intervention, free markets, entrepreneurialism, less taxation, and the privatisation of state assets. The implementation of this programme was made the easier by Britain’s dire state when she claimed power. The country was commonly described as the sick man of Europe. A postwar decline had been exacerbated by the power wielded by trade unions and a general sense of despondency.

Margaret Thatcher proposed to change all of this, and she did. From 1982, Britain provided a ready canvas as it started to pull out of its worst post-World War II slump. Spurred on by her leadership and a sharp curbing of inflation and interest rates, people soon had the confidence to start their own businesses and buy shares. This sparked a high level of social mobility – and the yuppie.

With time, I think people forget how morbid the UK was in the 1970s. It was sick beyond belief.

Her uncompromising style allowed her to be outstanding in foreign as well as domestic policy, an achievement rare among politicians. In the midst of her first term, Argentina’s invasion of the Falklands provided the opportunity to establish her credentials. If Britain’s recapture of the islands was a close-run thing, it, nevertheless, occasioned a wave of patriotism, and applause for her decisiveness. In President Reagan, she found a leader who shared her view of the world. Transatlantic co-operation blossomed, especially with the taking of a sterner approach to the Soviet Union. Ultimately, this played a part in the end of the Cold War and the downfall of communism.

In 100 years time, Thatcher will be the only UK Prime Minister still talked about, post WWII. She was a force of nature.

RIP Margaret Thatcher

April 9th, 2013 at 6:37 am by David Farrar

Margaret Thatcher has died, aged 87.

I was fortunate enough to meet Margaret Thatcher around a decade ago. It was an incredible privilege to meet the woman who I regard as the best post-war Prime Minister we have seen.

But what I remember most about that function, was all the young Eastern European politicians who got to meet her. Words can’t describe their emotions as they met one of the people they regarded as having been crucial in helping secure them their freedom.  She was to them, what George Washington was to early Americans.

Of course her respect and popularity was far from universal. She would be disappointed if she ever traded popularity for doing the right thing. There are many who battled against her policies. But people go into politics to make a difference, and Thatcher was proof that one person with conviction and strength can make a huge difference.

People forget how crippled the United Kingdom was economically when she took over. She put the Great back into Great Britain. Her greatest legacy is that after 18 years of Conservative Governments, the new Labour Government basically retained most of her policies – and in some cases Tony Blair pushed her reform agenda further. She forced UK Labour to abandon socialism and embrace the free market. ironically she helped make Labour electable.

She wouldn’t surrender to the Soviet Empire, the IRA, Argentina or the Mining unions. If she thought her cause was just, she stood by it.

Her legacy is not just what she did as Prime Minister, but getting there. She was the daughter of a shop keeper from Grantham. To rise to the leadership of her party and country was an extraordinary achievement for the 1970s.

The Daily Telegraph has a collection of quotes and reactions. A few to highlight:

Paddy Ashdown

If politics is defined as having views, holding to them and driving them through to success, she was undoubtedly the greatest PM of our age.

Lech Walesa

She was a great person. She did a great deal for the world, along with Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Solidarity, she contributed to the demise of communism in Poland and Central Europe.

Vaclav Klaus

Thatcher was one of the greatest politicians of our time, in the Czech Republic she was our hero.

Tony Blair

Margaret Thatcher was a towering political figure. Very few leaders get to change not only the political landscape of their country but of the world. Margaret was such a leader. Her global impact was vast. And some of the changes she made in Britain were, in certain respects at least, retained by the 1997 Labour Government, and came to be implemented by governments around the world.

As a person she was kind and generous spirited and was always immensely supportive to me as Prime Minister although we came from opposite sides of politics.

Even if you disagreed with her as I did on certain issues and occasionally strongly, you could not disrespect her character or her contribution to Britain’s national life. She will be sadly missed.

Ed Milliband

She will be remembered as a unique figure. She reshaped the politics of a whole generation. She was Britain’s first woman Prime Minister. She moved the centre ground of British politics and was a huge figure on the world stage.

The Labour Party disagreed with much of what she did and she will always remain a controversial figure. But we can disagree and also greatly respect her political achievements and her personal strength.

She also defined the politics of the 1980s. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and I all grew up in a politics shaped by Lady Thatcher. We took different paths but with her as the crucial figure of that era.

She coped with her final, difficult years with dignity and courage. Critics and supporters will remember her in her prime.

David Cameron

She didn’t just lead our country, she saved our country.

I think she will come to be seen as the greatest Prime Minister our country has ever seen.

Her legacy will be the fact she served her country so well.. She showed immense courage.

People will be learning about her for decades and centuries to come.

Boris Johnson

Very sad to hear of death of Baroness Thatcher. Her memory will live long after the world has forgotten the grey suits of today’s politics.

Her final years were very tough. May she indeed now rest in peace, secure in the knowledge she will never be forgotten for what she achieved.

Thatcher’s determination

March 23rd, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Jill Lawless at NZ Herald reports:

Margaret Thatcher felt betrayed by close ally President Ronald Reagan over the Falkland Islands, according to newly released papers that reveal how isolated Britain’s Prime Minister was in her determination to repel the Argentine invasion by force.

When Argentina seized the British territory off the South American coast in April 1982, Thatcher’s Government presented a united front in public.

But private papers released yesterday by the Thatcher archive at Cambridge University show that the British leader’s closest advisers urged her to negotiate over the islands’ future rather than go to war.

And the Reagan Administration backed a peace plan that called for Britain to drop its insistence on self-determination for the islanders – a stance that led Thatcher to say Anglo-American friendship had brought her “into conflict with fundamental democratic principles”.

I think it is simple. If any other person had been Prime Minister, the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands would have been successful, and they would still be in possession of the islands today.

It reminds me of that great quote along the lines that if you think one person can’t make a difference, the history of the world is quite the opposite.

Why the left hate Thatcher?

February 21st, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Cristina Odone blogs at the Telegraph:

John O’Farrell, Labour’s candidate in the Eastleigh by-election, used to contribute amusing articles to the New Statesman when I was the magazine’s deputy editor. The comedian was unfailingly polite in his dealings with me. Our contact was by telephone only and I remember picturing a mild-mannered soul clad in regulation socks and sandals.

But mention Margaret Thatcher and gentle O’Farrell starts foaming at the mouth and spewing bile. In a book he wrote about his support for Labour, he revealed his “disappointment” when the IRA failed to kill the then prime minister in Brighton, in 1984. “Why did she have to leave the bathroom two minutes earlier?” he asked himself when Mrs Thatcher survived the bomb blast that destroyed her bathroom in the Grand Hotel.

So Labour’s candidate is someone who supported the IRA attempted assassination of the UK Prime Minister. Charming, and not surprising.

Given the venom with which Labour supporters attack the former PM, you’d think that when their party finally came to power in 1997, it reversed every one of her hateful policies. In fact, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown guarded the Thatcher legacy as lovingly as if she’d been a grocer’s daughter born and bred in Islington. Her successors kept the privatisation and kept at bay the trade unions.

Smart men.

This makes me suspicious. If Labour can live with Margaret Thatcher’s policies, what is it about her that they find so unacceptable? …

Secondly, she’s a woman. The party that pays lip service to equality and feminism is, behind the scenes, deeply misogynist. Labour historians like to claim that Barbara Castle could have beaten Thatcher to be the first woman prime minister. But Castle was only allowed to rise to Cabinet ministerial level; and her biography, Red Queen, revealed that Wilson, Healey, Jenkins and Crosland kept her firmly in her place by reminding her that her female brain had scraped a third‑class degree. …

Harriet Harman and Diane Abbott are tolerated as noisy sisters; but the minute they aspire to higher office, the sniping starts. Labour women must not get ideas above their station. A woman who climbs to the very top wrongfoots the party’s apparatchiks. Working mothers are fine, as long as they are drones who contribute to the economy. Tokenism in the board room is also acceptable, as a female non-exec has little real bearing on what happens in the company.

But don’t let some uppity woman start bossing everyone about. Margaret Thatcher, née Roberts, did. Her extraordinary career has exposed Labour as the party of men.

Will the UK Labour Party ever have a female leader? I doubt it. The unions are so male dominated, and now get a third of the vote for leader.

The strength of Thatcher

December 29th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

She called it, simply, the worst moment of her life.

It came in March 1982 during the days before the Falklands War, after Argentina established an unauthorised presence on Britain’s South Georgia island amid talk of a possible invasion of the Falklands, long held by Britain.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher realised there was little that Britain could do immediately to establish firm control of the contested islands, and feared Britain would be seen as a paper tiger that could no longer defend even its diminished empire.

She was told that Britain might not be able to take the islands back, even if she took the risky decision to send a substantial armada to the frigid South Atlantic.

“You can imagine that turned a knife in my heart,” Thatcher told an inquiry board in postwar testimony that has been kept secret until its release by the National Archives on Friday, 30 years after the events it chronicles.

“No one could tell me whether we could re-take the Falklands – no one,” she told the inquiry board. “We did not know – we did not know.”

But she had faith that they could.

The papers detail how Thatcher urgently sought US President Ronald Reagan’s support when Argentina’s intentions became clear, and reveal Thatcher’s exasperation with Reagan when he suggested that Britain negotiate rather than demand total Argentinian withdrawal.

The documents describe an unusual late night phone call from Reagan to Thatcher on May 31, 1982 – while British forces were beginning the battle for control of the Falklands capital – in which the president pressed the prime minister to consider putting the islands in the hands of international peacekeepers rather than press for a total Argentinian surrender.

A rare failure of judgement from Reagan, where he went with the State Department view rather than supporting what was right – the democratic human right of self-determination.

Thatcher, in full “Iron Lady” mode, told the president she was sure he would take the same dim view of international mediation if Alaska had been taken by a foe.

Heh, wonderful.

Thatcher had huge respect for Reagan and the US. But what I loved about her is that she was no poodle. She did what she felt was right – even against the wishes of her closest ally.

The Iron Lady

January 16th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I disapproved of the the film The Iron Lady long before I saw it. What sort of sick Hollywood types think it is okay to mock a still living person by highlighting their suffering from Alzheimer’s to the world.

If Jimmy Carter had Alzheimer’s, would they be making films of him as an old confused man, babbling about the SALT treaty. No chance at all.

Don’t get me wrong, once someone is dead, any portrayal of their life should be warts and all, and include their twilight years when their mental facilities were not what they once were. But my views were that such a film should not be made when the subject is still alive. And I still believe the film was premature.

But something wonderful happened with this film, despite the suspect motives of those behind it. Meryl Streep brought Margaret Thatcher to life, in a way I would not have thought possible. She made her strong, she made her powerful, she made her sad, she made her obstinate, she made her defiant, she made her out of touch, she made her lonely and most of all she made her human – not just a caricature.

If Streep does not win an Oscar for her performance, then there is something seriously wrong. It was a stunning performance by her. She looked and sounded absolutely convincing. Alexandra Roach as the younger Margaret also performed wonderfully.

The film is an emotional one. Yes, I got wet eyes at times. It was a very sad story, but also a very uplifting one at times. It is effectively a series of flashbacks of the present day Lady Thatcher thinking through her life from working in her father’s grocery store, to getting involved in politics, standing for Parliament, becoming Leader and then Prime Minister plus the highs and lows of her time in office with her eventual resignation 11 and a half years on.

The present day Lady Thatcher is obviously suffering from Alzheimer’s. In the main, they capture this remarkably accurately and with sensitivity. A good example is how she slips out of the house to buy some milk as she needs some for breakfast, and this sparks a major panic amongst her staff and Police. From her point of view of course she is capable of going to the dairy. But from their point of view they are worried that if she has a forgetful spell when out, she’ll get confused and may wonder anywhere.

They accurately showed that she was still somewhat active – signing books, the odd public outing – but also obviously frail. The big plot element was that her dead husband Denis always appeared to her as a ghost, and she was often seen talking to him to the dismay of her minders.

They over-played the ghost of Denis angle, but it was still quite endearing. They captured his charm very well, and there is no doubt she terribly misses him. Anyone who has lost a partner of 50+ years would understand.

On the political side, they got it absolutely right. People forget what a massive achievement it was for her to become leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. This was a time when few few women were in politics, and she battled to be accepted every step of the way. You just wanted to punch some of those patronising old men.

They showed her at her best when talking about doing what is right, not what is popular. Absolutely inspiring. And the scene where she verbally lashes the US Secretary of State for suggesting they negotiate (she called it surrender) to the Argentinians was superb – especially how then suddenly she goes all lovely and asks if she should play mother and pour the tea. The Americans are all pale white at this stage.

The film though is definitely not a sycophantic account. They show the hatred, and the protests. They show her unwillingness to bend on the poll tax and they show the humiliating way she treated some of her cabinet colleagues such as Lord Howe – which led to her downfall. They subtly made Heseltine out to be a type of rodent, which was excellent.

Finally the ending was spot on. In her hallucinations she has finally let Denis move on and he is seen walking down the corridor away from her with his bags packed. She cries out for him not to leave her alone, and he replies that he isn’t – that she has always been alone.

And that gets to the crux of Thatcher – she fought battles all her life – and generally she did fight alone. It was a lonely life, and in her end years an even lonelier existence. You feel both sorry for her and (if not a hater of her) inspired by her.

As I said, I was prejudiced against the film before I saw it. But as I saw reviews come out from the likes of Boris Johnson describing how well it captured Thatcher, I started to look forward more to the film. And Boris was right – it did capture her so well, warts and all. I still don’t like the timing of the film, but Meryl Streep especially made the film a magnificent portrayal of her life.

Incidentally I saw the film at the Shoreline Cinema in Waikanae. It’s a lovely little cinema with two rooms. Room 1 which we were in seats 40, but on two seater couches which were very cool. They also have room for wine or food in the spaces between each couch.

No Right Turn condones corpse degrading of right wingers

December 24th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

It doesn’t take a lot for true colours and foaming hatred to come out, and we see it with No Right Turn, in discussing whether Lady Thatcher should receive a state funeral. He blogs:

Unmentioned: selling the right to spit on the corpse or piss on her grave (because its going to happen, so they might as well get money for it). Hell, they could even provide the service, so that those unable to attend in person could have someone do it for them. Morality? Taste? The market does not know of such things. And if you’re happy with the mass unemployment, poverty and degradation which were the inevitable result of Thatcher’s policies, you can hardly get prissy about a little matter of degrading a corpse.

Worth remembering this the next time he goes on about how liberal he is – you know the stuff about how he’ll defend your right to have views different to his – except of course if you do he thinks your corpse should be spat on and pissed on.

Boris on Maggie

May 6th, 2009 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Sunday was the 30th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s election as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

London Mayor Boris Johnson pays tribute:

But, even as an apathetic and cynical teenager, I could see that she was doing some tough things, and the moment I came down most vehemently on her side was the Falklands conflict of 1982. So many people I knew seemed to think she was wrong, and bellicose. I remember my grandfather frequently saying that he was going to shoot her. You will still meet left-wing bores who say that she deliberately ignored the “Peruvian Peace Plan”. And yet what she did was so clear and so right.

I was 14 at the time, and remember all the predictions of disaster.

The Argentinian junta had taken by violence a British protectorate, in clear contravention both of international law and the wishes of the islanders. It took fantastic balls to send the antiquated British Navy half-way round the world, and risk disaster on those desolate beaches and moors. It took nerves of steel to sink the Belgrano, and, frankly, I don’t think there were any other Tory politicians who would have done it.

Sadly Boris is probably right.

By the end of the Eighties, she had cut taxes and the economy was roaring away; and it wasn’t just that the country as a whole seemed to have recovered some of its confidence and standing in the world. Individuals were able to take control of their destiny in a new way. They were no longer completely beholden to local authorities for their housing: they could buy their own homes, and to this day, as any Tory canvasser will tell you, there are people across Britain who will always vote Tory in thanks for that freedom alone.

Her vision was a property owning democracy.

She gave people the confidence to buy shares, to start their own businesses, to move on and up in society – and there was more social mobility under Margaret Thatcher than there has been since. She was a liberator, and she gave the Labour party such an intellectual thrashing that they ended up changing their name. In some ways, the most significant political legacy of Margaret Thatcher is New Labour (now being abolished by Gordon Brown).

Blair in many ways carried on her legacy. Brown, indeed, is not.

But she believed she had to shatter the post-war consensus that the solution to every problem was always an expansion of the state. Indeed, she did not think much of the word consensus itself, since it was not only too Latinate for her taste but also because it probably masked a conspiracy by cowardly politicians to dodge the hard questions, and, if you look at the consensus that now exists around, say, academic selection, you can see that she is right.

A consensus can be wrong, and in fact often is.

Margaret Thatcher will always divide the British people, not least since we are ourselves divided. There is a part of us that will always dislike the acquisitive, appetitive instincts she seemed to espouse, and yet we also recognise that they are essential for economic success. More than any leader since Churchill, she said thought-provoking things about the relationship between the state and the individual. Some of them were unpalatable, some of them were exaggerated. But much of what she said was necessary, and it took a woman to say it.

The simple truth is she changed Britain, and the world, for the better.

UK Politics

August 26th, 2008 at 1:11 pm by David Farrar

Out of the blue I got sent this photo yesterday by another attendee at the Paris IDU Party Leaders Meetings. Quite nice to have the photo to go with my Thatcher one!

In the latest poll in the UK, Cameron’s Conservatives have 46% compared to 25% for Labour under Gordon Brown. This would give them a massive projected 220 seat majority with Labour losing over 200 seats and the Lib Dems over 30 seats. With that sort of majority (if they get it) Labour will be in opposition for at least two terms.

I was sad to read in the NY Times today, that Carol Thatcher has revealed that Margaret Thatcher is suffering from dementia. It seems to be affected her less than Ronald Reagan’s, as she does still “have good days” and was certainly lucid a couple of years ago at the IYDU Council Meeting when I briefly met her.

Dementia is an awful infliction on any person, and I would not want it on my worst enemy. There is some sort of awful irony that both Reagan and Thatcher, who helped free so many people from totalitarianism, spent their final years afflicted by a prison which has no chance of liberty.

Blog Bits

July 19th, 2008 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stephen Franks blogs on the battle to save Crossways in Mt Victoria. I will be blogging on this myself during the week. It will be a tragedy if Mt Victoria loses what has been a focal point for the community. The City Council is justifying its lack of support by saying residents have lots of cafes nearby unlike suburbs further away from the city centre. A very very weak argument.

Keeping Stock blogs on an alarming suggestion by Auckland lawyer Catriona McLennan on Nine to Noon. She suggests that in rape trials, the burden of proof should be on the accused to prove there was consent. And this is not just a throw-away remark – she actually argues in favour of it against Kathryn Ryan for some time.

Whale Oil has been threatened with defamation by a lawyer acting for Pearl Going, who objects to comments he had made on her. The material has been removed from his blog after the blog hosting company was also threatened, but copies have sprung up on a dedicated blog hosted overseas.

I don’t intend to comment of the substance of the allegedly defamatory material, but would note that pressuring hosting companies to remove material, even after the blog author has asserted it is not defamatory and is willing to defend it in court, is not a particularly sensible tactic as it is so easy for the material to appear elsewhere – as has happened. Also of interest is that the lawyer for Pearl Going is Steven Price, who was very critical of the Listener for threatening the Hot Topic blogger with defamation.

This should not be taken as a suggestion that defamation laws do not or should not apply to the Internet. Of course they do. But more the appropriateness of targetting blog hosts if the blog author is willing to stand by their words and accept legal consequences for them.

The Dim Post has more satire, this one on how Winston is handling the Owen Gelnn scandal:

  • Monday 2:00 PM: Hires two identical twins as press secretaries, one of whom always tells the truth while the other always lies.
  • Wednesday 11:30 AM: Announces to press conference that he will explain everything but in doing so will be forced to reveal the secret surprise ending to Battlestar Galactica. Political media beg him to remain silent.
  • Thursday 6:35 PM: Notifies Speaker Margaret Wilson that he is officially changing his alignment to Neutral Evil.
  • Friday 10:30 AM: Recieves report back from Department of Statistics confirming that proportion of New Zealanders with IQ below 90 is still greater than 5%. Laughs heartily. Tells rest of country to go fuck themselves.


Liberty Scott pings Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn for his comments on Gordon Brown approving a state funeral for Margaret Thatcher when she dies. The offending quote:

On the plus side, it will at least give her victims a final chance to throw excrement and rotten fruit at her as she goes past

As I/S goes on about how some on the right are often poisonous, spiteful and bitter, this quote brings to mind stones and glasshouses.

David Cohen looks at a case for Nicky Hager:

A column containing acidic opinions about a powerful political media personality mysteriously fails to show up on the author’s regular spot on her newspaper’s website. Another major news outlet, after allowing criticisms to be made of the same public figure on one of its shows, hurriedly issues a grovelling clarification. Does this sound like a case Nicky Hager ought to be investigating?

It would indeed if it weren’t the slightly inconvenient fact that the media power broker in question also happens to be the same gent.