Had Mrs Grumble got her reading glasses on, Alf inquired when she read the headline on Rodney Hide’s column in the Herald on Sunday this morning.
Surely she had misread it.
Nope. The headline sure enough said:
Rodney Hide: They’re all winners, more or less
So the headline writer had failed to sum up the essence of the column?
The first sentence clearly says:
Justice Wylie’s decision on John Banks provides a very elegant result: everyone’s a winner, sort of.
The column proceeds to tick off the cast on what has been a protracted drama and explain why each (at least “sort of”) has been a winner in some way).
That MCCready feller came first in Hide’s line-up – he had declared the police wrong in not prosecuting Banks and got the case to court. And so:
A private citizen of very limited resource took on government might and won. Justice Wylie’s decision proves McCready right and the police wrong. He toppled a minister and shook the Government’s majority.
Kim Dotcom is a winner, too.
He wanted revenge on Banks and the guilty verdict gives it to him. The judge accepted his testimony over that of Banks, which is no mean achievement.
The opposition parties are winners?
Yes, says Hide.
They can crow through to the election that John Key’s Government is tainted for being propped up by a guilty politician. Guilty of what, exactly? Well, of knowingly transmitting a false return.
And John Key?
He’s a winner because Banks stood down as a minister as soon as the charges were laid and nothing changes for the Government.
Its majority is safe because the judge has deferred a decision on conviction until after Parliament’s last sitting day.
Hide further suspects Key will enjoy the opposition getting themselves in a tizz over Banks.
Hence there will be lots of political noise
… to an electorate of people concerned more about their own lives than the intricacies of electoral law and parliamentary voting procedure. Sound-bites on Banks come at the expense of the opposition talking about the issues that matter to voters. That’s where elections are fought and won.
What about the bloody Act Party, then?
Ah – it gets to move on.
The party has a new leader and Epsom candidate. The trial was a distraction. That’s behind it. The party can now campaign looking to the future.
That leaves us with Banks.
And Banks? Did he win or did he lose? Well, he’s been declared guilty. That’s a loss. But he hasn’t been chucked out of Parliament. That’s a win. And he was cleared on the SkyCity donation. That leaves him clear to appeal the verdict in respect of Dotcom’s donation. He will be able to do that away from the media glare as a private citizen. I suspect he has a good chance of clearing his name. That would be a win.
Hide elaborates on the matter of Banks’ triumph, saying he has overcome extraordinary adversity, enjoyed enormous highs and suffered devastating lows, but through it all
… he has kept relentlessly positive. He has never given up. He’s a winner not a loser. The guilty verdict will knock him. But not for long. A whole new life is ahead of him.
And now a new and powerful reason to make the most of it. And that’s the best win of all.
Alf can only say he is gobsmacked by this summation of what has happened.
According to this account, a drama in which all the characters emerge as winners, dear old Rodney looks seriously out of place as a right-wing commentator.
He belongs among those namby-pamby school teachers who want to ensure that every kid in the class gets a pass mark and nobody is left sulking on the sideline for too long when the school rugby team plays on Saturdays, no matter how hopeless they are at footie.
And – of course – no school team is ever beaten at whatever sport they play because both sides come off the field winners.