Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Spy vs Spy and other funnies

If it wasn’t for the fact that this is ‘real life’ the antics of Jianqi’s spies would be almost as funny as the Spy vs Spy comic strips in Mad Magazine used to be.

There is certainly an equivalent amount of bungling going on anyway, all of which goes to show that our Minister of Spies couldn’t organise the proverbial piss-up in a brewery.

Call me naive, but I always thought that the point about spying is that nobody knows you are doing it. Stealth and subterfuge are the cornerstones of spying, surely? Spies are often referred to (at least in British TV shows) as ‘the funny people’, except I don’t think that was supposed to mean they act like the Keystone Cops. In this case I think the word funny had the meaning of funny peculiar rather than funny ha-ha.

However it seems that Jianqi’s funny people really are hilarious. Their idea of subterfuge would appear to be closing their eyes and saying, “You can’t see me”.

Of course we now live in the digital age and most of us are aware that we leave a large digital footprint almost everywhere we go, both in the real and cyberworlds. All sorts of people have been spying on us for ages. It’s just that most of them up to now have been comparatively harmless.

Advertisers and marketers have been dredging the cybercanals for a couple of decades trying to find the right fit for each of us so they can deluge us with special offers and products they think we can be convinced to buy. Annoying though this is, it is for the most part, pretty harmless for all of us apart from the truly gullible. But at the end of the day it is impossible to protect the truly stupid from the consequences of their own actions. We shouldn’t even try anyway, because as long as they exist it gives us all a chance to feel a little more secure about ourselves.

So what is likely to come out of this current furore about Jianqi and his funny people snorting up every tiny grain of information they can on everyone they think might pose a problem for them?

Probably not a lot, I am sorry to say, at least not from Parliament. Yes there will be a series of tiresome and expensive inquiries and a few more departmental heads will be dropping into the basket, but unless we are really fortunate it is unlikely that the power behind the drones will be brought to account. We can only hope and pray that the voters make up for that in 2014 – always providing Jianqi is not at this very moment attending the Robert Mugabe School of electoral practices.

If the opposition was sufficiently organised and ACTUALLY WANTED TO they could really make things tough and work on Peter Dung and get him to vote down the GCSB bill which seeks to legalise the illegal acts the Government has been caught out doing.

Sadly when it comes to matters of national security many people are easily captured by scare tactics and seem to think there are shadowy figures out there who might steal away our freedoms if we don’t implement all sorts of regulations and surrender our right to privacy in order to stop them.

Well, hello! There are such people but they ain’t so shadowy. They currently occupy the Government benches of this land and they have already travelled a long way down that path towards Big Brother. Doublespeak has been a feature of their speeches for a very long time.

But whenever a government is questioned about introducing these types of measures their first reaction is to try and justify their lunacy rather than deny the activity is taking place. No better example of that can be found in Jianqi’s rambling nonsense on his favourite (read most compliant and National Party friendly) radio station More FM. He tore a large leaf out of the George Dubbyah book of crowd control by claiming he had to give the GCSB more powers because there were people undergoing terrorist training in Yemen with the implication they were going to return to Godzone, blow us all to pieces and take over the country.

Duhhh! Let’s face it; with the devious lot we have running this country (into the ground) anyone who wanted to take it over would only need to chuck them 30 pieces of silver and it would be theirs. If you don’t believe me just look at how many large multi-national corporations have already picked up the deeds to much of our industry and land with full co-operation from the Government. Several have even had laws changed to suit them.

The other argument that has been put forward to try and justify these intrusions into our freedom is that if we don’t have anything to hide, then we don’t have anything to worry about. The trouble with that one is that not so long ago I can recall a couple of politicians who were apoplectic when they thought their little tete-a-tete had been overheard by a journalist. But surely you had nothing to hide, boys, so where was the harm?

I won’t be holding my breath for the combined opposition to do the damage to Jianqi, although I will be delighted if I am proven wrong about that. But what does give me some hope in all of this is that Jianqi has made one of the most fundamental blunders a polly can make. He has threatened the freedom of the press.

Now I have been very critical of the job the NZ press has been doing in terms of bringing this government to account, and I have suggested in the past that it is because they are poorly trained and lack the mongrel journos once had. I still think that is the case, but I have always known that they hold the principle of freedom of the press very close to their hearts even if they are rather slack about going after the rabbit.

Jianqi has foolishly assumed that because they have let him get away with murder before they won’t have the balls to stand up for themselves when he impinges on this final bastion of their pride. Wrong! Most journos see this sort of intrusion as the equivalent of doing something unspeakable to their mother. They will (and already are) going after him with implements designed to nip off the bits that offended them and they will not stop until something much bigger comes along. Already the papers are full of stories with unflattering pictures and little editorialising comments throughout them. Words like bungling and blunder are being liberally used and it is quite apparent that they are going after him.

There is an unspoken rule in politics which any politician should know. It is that you don’t upset the press because if they take a dislike to you they can and will make you look stupid. You can get away with being rude to them and failing to front for interviews but if you touch the sacred cow of press freedom, then you had better find another career because this one is over.   

Watch your papers and television news programmes over the next few months. The new game in town will be Pin the Tail on the Jianqi and when they’ve finished he won’t want to sit in parliament again.

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