I’m sure you can all recall The Emperor’s New Clothes; written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837 where two cunning weavers who actually might have been the first spin doctors (geddit) made a suit of clothes for their tragically vain Emperor.
These smart fellows realised their regent was a mirror-gazing tosspot with a hugely over-inflated sense of his own significance. So, probably to inflate the price of their work, they told him the suit they would make him would be made of special fabric that is invisible to idiots and incompetents and can only be seen by smart or important folks. Of course the self-obsessed Emperor bought their line (of garments) hook, clothesline and sinker.
When the time came for the Emperor to model his new suit (or nude suit) nobody in the court wanted to appear stupid so they all went with the ridiculous notion. All that is apart from one small boy who had not yet been indoctrinated by all the state bullshit and who yelled out that he could see the King’s willy or words to that effect. Emboldened by his childish outburst the remainder of the King’s subjects begin to admit they had thought he was stark bollocky naked as well.
Despite the fact this story is extremely old and earlier versions have been found that pre-date Andersen’s by at least five hundred years, we still have a lot of people in the 21st Century who will accept that black is white if someone possessing apparent authority which they automatically mistake for credibility, tells them so.
An example of this can be found in the Government’s policy to sell us state assets. Whether you agree with the sale of these assets or not doesn’t matter too much because there is a major disconnect involved with this. We already own these assets; they don’t belong to the Government. Somebody must have forgotten to explain to them they are in the positions they are in ostensibly to be kaitiaki. They own neither the country nor the assets. They each own about one four millionth of them just like the rest of us. Their job is to manage them on our behalf.
Why in the name of God would we want to buy something we already owned? If the Government wants to borrow money off us, why don’t they just say so instead of trying to sell us stuff we already own.
Meanwhile all the Government PR people are busy telling us what good investments these assets are, which to a smart person raises the question of why we would want to sell them anyway.
However the PR machine has indoctrinated many with the mantra that we are in debt big-time and T.I.N.A. But of course there is always an alternative and in this instance ACC is sitting on a surplus of $3.5B, which by my reckoning is about half the amount Jianqi reckons we’ll get for the part sale of these assets. Incidentally part sale is a nonsense it’s like being partly pregnant. The correct term should be sale of a limited share release, but I don’t suppose that fits too well in a snappy headline. Alternatively they could just be honest and call it conversion.
So just to keep this in perspective; imagine if you will, the Minister for State Owned Assets streaking across your garden. Not a pretty sight.
Question: What do we call people who take possessions away from their owners and then sell them?
Question: What do we call people who buy these possessions?
Answer: Fences or dealers in stolen goods.
Question: What do we call people who buy back their own possessions from those who stole them?
And while we are on the subject of conversion, look at what the Government is doing with our free-to-air television. Before this week is out they will have dumped TVNZ7, one of the brightest hopes on our screens for a very long time. It leaves you wondering why the Government bothered plugging digital TV at all considering how few channels they will be presenting.
Furthermore this was a gigantic con-job from the beginning. When Freeview first became available just five years ago we were given a list of channels and they included TV One, TV2, TVNZ6, TVNZ7 Parliament TV TVNZ Sport and half a dozen private channels.
TVNZ Sport dropped out of sight very early in the piece and without any fanfare, TVNZ6 was changed and now TVNZ7 is to go. Therefore after promising us six TVNZ free-to-air channels the Government is now only giving us four (plus a delayed repeat of TV One).
Question: What do you call someone who sells us a product with one set of specifications, then quietly changes those specifications and continues to market the product as the original?
Answer: A fraudster.
What makes this so much worse (and this is where the conversion comes in); is that during their 50th Anniversary celebrations last year TVNZ gave us all a preview of their fantastic new digital channel Heartland TV that would be a repository for all those wonderful dramas and programmes we have funded over the years initially through licence fees and more latterly through New Zealand On Air. It would be a fantastic idea were it not for one thing; the bastards have leased the channel to Sky so anyone who wants to see these programmes has to subscribe to a Sky package to get them.
So once again something we own has been stolen by the government and sold to the highest bidder who happens to be an overseas company. We must pay money to an overseas company to watch programmes we used to own until the Government stole them and sold them.
So at the moment we are being governed by a gang who are stealing from us and then trying to sell the booty back to us, passing off an inferior product as an earlier and superior one, and selling of our archival treasures that we paid for to an overseas company and then charging us if we want to watch them.
One or two of my friends would say this is simply business as usual under our current political system. Personally I’m still a little wary of chucking out the bathwater in case there actually is a viable baby in there. My hope is that the excesses of Jianqi and co become their undoing and the nation’s awakening all at the same time, because it is Governments such as this that offer us the opportunity to see where the shortcomings really are in our system.
But we make our politicians more accountable. And by ‘we’ I mean all of us; especially the media.
Just because we currently hold the Rugby World Cup it doesn’t mean we have to be a nation of mugs.