Quoting John Armstrong

Jordan Carter approvingly quotes from John Armstrong’s column today.

However he forgot to quote this portion:

What Michael Cullen thought he was doing, on Tuesday evening, with his apparent threat to pull a piece of legislation in retaliation for the Herald’s coverage of Labour’s pledge card rort is difficult to fathom.

It looked like a case of the morning after the night before.

Cullen realised he had gone too far. The Finance Minister issued a fresh statement on Wednesday morning denying his earlier remarks meant he had intended withdrawing the retrospective legislation, which is of financial benefit to the Herald’s owners.

However, the tone of the initial statement was not so easily swept under the carpet.

Not only had Cullen done Labour no favours by pouring more petrol on the already raging conflagration over election advertising, but the implication that he might retaliate over a newspaper’s criticism of retrospective legislation validating unlawful spending on such advertising took Labour into territory last inhabited by Sir Robert Muldoon.

That Cullen pulled back so quickly is evidence – if it was really needed – that he is no Muldoon.

Nor is he the -like figure which sought to paint him.

That over-the- comparison somewhat detracted from the point Brash was making – that Labour had now stooped to intimidate opponents into silence by highlighting their tax affairs; that, as with taxpayers’ funding of its pledge card, Labour was now in the habit of using the machinery of the state for its own ends.

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