Scoop Election 08: edited by Gordon Campbell

Gordon Campbell Reviews Working with David

June 10th, 2008

Working With David by Michael Bassett – Hodder Moa

Images Kevin List from Working with David’s launch at the National Library Wellington


Michael Bassett signs a copy at the launch of Working with David

*****

Well, what did we expect? Turning to Michael Bassett for an account of the Lange years is a little like basing your understanding of Julius Caesar’s assassination on a version written by Brutus Jnr. As a key Cabinet member of the fourth Labour government, Bassett was certainly close enough to see and to know, but in that deeply riven Cabinet there were no neutral bystanders, and Bassett less so than most.

Given Bassett’s proximity to Roger Douglas, it will hardly come as a shock to find that in this account, the Rogernomics revolution was carried out by a highly talented group of very, very intelligent people for the worthiest of motives, though their actions are still sadly misunderstood even to this day. In the pendulum swings of historical accounts, Bassett’s book is something of a rejoinder ( and a payback) to Lange’s equally self-serving 2005 autobiography David Lange : My Life.

Sir Roger Douglas

*****

Where does that leave the reader? Unfortunately, partisan accounts from the Cabinet trenches are about all we have right now as history of this fractious era. A more balanced perspective may emerge in time that is better able to treat the Lange’s administration’s second term disintegration as a process that had more than one parent – and that can handle the ultimate defeat in 1990 as being virtually inevitable, given the scale of social and economic suffering caused to so many by the Douglas reforms, to the apparent benefit of so few. This, however, isn’t that kind of book.

Instead, Bassett effortlessly detects one over-riding reason why the fourth Labour government had rendered itself unelectable by 1990 – and her name was Margaret Pope. Pope! In Bassett’s account, Pope is the hissable villain of the whole Rogernomics enterprise, abetted by her weak and vacillating PM, partner and (eventual) spouse. Why, if left alone to the attention of his Cabinet colleagues, Lange might have lasted as the salesman for reform for a lot longer, and may even have successfully sold the fateful December 17, 1987 tax package to the public, and ushered in a further bright new era of Douglas-driven social reform. One can but dream. Thanks to that conniving harpy, it all came to nothing.

Pope, Pope. Bassett starts in with his colleagues finding her ‘poker-faced, tight-lipped and decidedly unfriendly.’ By page 142 we find others weighing in with ‘unpleasant’ and unco-operative’ and ‘angry much of the time,’ though allegedly, no-one knew what about, exactly. And so on, and on.

Pope ‘ nagged’ Lange, Bassett claims. She came between him and his dearest friends. She supplanted the blokes in caucus in his affections. By late in the book, we have reached this crescendo : “Lange’s lack of policy grounding made him fair game for the doctrinaire woman who had entered his life in 1982…As Lange’s health teetered in a downward direction she became a more significant factor in the government’s chances of survival than any of the Cabinet realised until it was too late. By 1987, when Lange began conspiring against Roger Douglas, his commitment to Pope, who hated everything the Rogernomes stood for, was complete : no compromise could be entertained. Margaret Pope, “ Bassett thunders, “ became the biggest single factor in the collapse of David Lange’s government.”

If Pope is the book’s dastardly villainess, then her love-struck, unhealthy and scatter-brained partner comes in pretty close behind. “ He was never profound,” Bassett declares of Lange in one unintentionally funny passage. “ He had always preferred light fiction, and stories about human frailty, to substantial works of non-fiction.” Unlike perhaps, our humble and weightier scribe? For posterity, Bassett records that Lange was reading ‘dark novel fiction’ ( sic) at the very moment when Muldoon announced the snap election in 1984, in the form of an Ian Cochrane novel called The Slipstream. ( In an ironic parallel that is not mentioned in Bassett’s book, Cochrane also suffered life-long damage in 1987, when trying to protect someone vulnerable from a bunch of thugs.)

It is not as if Working With David is uninteresting. As one turns the 553 pages of Bassett’s narrative, one finds much diverting information in this clearly written tabulation of events, marking a crucial time in New Zealand’s history. I particularly liked reading Bassett’s version of the nuclear ships episode, and the much storied invitation to the USS Buchanan, that ended so badly – for the Americans, at least.

Clearly, it wasn’t all beer and skittles being the herald of the new order, forced to cope with the carpings of lesser beings : “ The challenge for Douglas’ office and indeed for Lange and the rest of us was to produce arguments that countered raucous, antediluvian criticism of the economic strategies we were adopting.” People just didn’t get it. Oh, the younger, more impressionable types from Treasury did – but the older hands wanted more information, more proof. So irritating to deal with, but luckily, there were other friends around who understood : “ An advisory panel was chaired by Dr Don Brash, formerly Broadlands Managing Director, and a friend of Douglas’ and mine. Brash had been a National candidate earlier in the decade but was known to be dedicated to the thrust of our economic reforms.”

Overall, the stance of superiority results in the book hardly ever quite becoming the ‘collaborative and authoritative’ account that it deems itself to be, and the mean-spirited tone constantly intrudes on the cavalcade of events, usefully so at times. Personally, I found the hectoring tone served as a helpful reminder that this was an engaged account from a participant, and not history conducted at a rational distance.

Douglas for instance, is constantly depicted as bold and imaginative, a visionary who – with the exception of a few enlightened Cabinet colleagues – had been set down among a band of carping pygmies, and a benighted public. Even Treasury couldn’t keep up – its slowness, Bassett partly due, Douglas felt ( p 316) “ to the fact that several of its most economcally literate minds had left the service.’

As for the new intake of Labour MPs in 1987, some were trouble : “ The caucus newcomers wanted to prejudge everything. I noted on 19 November 1987 that several were gunning for Prebble over the closure of 432 post offices.. and his prospensity to talk generally about privisatisaion of state assets also rankled with several…” Imagine the effrontery ! 432 closures and with more asset sales being mooted by Prebble on other fronts, and still they rushed to judgement.

And it wasn’t just the newbies who were causing trouble by late 1987.” A few experienced MPs also grizzled about the Business Roundtable appearing to have too much input to policy, although given the paucity of detail yet available from Douglas, their complaints were hard to justify.” No suggestion here that this penchant of Douglas to hoard information until he was ready to ram through changes, may have been laying the groundwork for trouble to come. No, any criticism of the Douglas blueprint for economic and social transformation is treated as ignorant, or as emanating from critics still clinging to their vested interests, or stubbornly intent on furthering their own inferior thinking.

“When it came to sustained thinking,” Bassett writes, “ about policy alternatives and strategic positioning of his government neither he, nor Pope, nor anyone in the Prime Minister’s Office, possessed the skills or disciplines to match the policy thrust developed by Lange’s ministers.” This is true, almost by definition, given the domination of the levers of power by Cabinet – and due to the related ability under FPP, of a tiny group within Cabinet to marshal the crucial information necessary to bulldoze first the caucus, then Parliament, and then the rest of the country. For one of the leading practitioners of this profoundly undemocratic methodology to now complain of the dearth of alternatives on offer, is a bit rich. To use a current analogy, this is like blaming others for not having the skills or disciplines to say, extract US troops from the mess in Iraq that one’s own ‘visionary’ policies have landed them in.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer

*****

Even as the end approached in the 1990 election, as first Geoffrey Palmer and then Mike Moore tried to salvage something from the ruins, Bassett’s account remains intent on sparing Douglas blame for Labour’s election humiliation. To the last, Bassett urges the case for more ‘boldness,’ for more of the dogmatism that had served Labour so badly. The party’s landslide defeat is put down instead to ‘low commodity prices that delayed economic recovery, and catastrophically poor leadership in its second term’ – by you know who.

Along the road from Lange’s early triumphs to his eventual defeat, decline and death, there can hardly be a single demeaning or unlikeable trait in his distant cousin that Bassett has failed to note and to preserve. Some of it is very old stuff. As far back as 1983, journalists had been noting Lange’s brilliant superficiality, his short attention span and lack of attention to detail. All these flaws are trotted out again, and more. His office was untidy, he followed no rigorous political ideology, he dropped ash on the shirt covering his fat stomach. He became paranoid, and duplicitous He made things up.

Lange had few close friends. In Bassett’s depiction, Lange is both needy of company and contemptuous of much of the company on offer. Lange is further described by Bassett as being “the least securely anchored, both intellectually and emotionally of all his ministers.” ( What, even more so than Mike Moore, that paragon of intellectual focus and emotional stability ? )

The litany of alleged faults goes on and on. He was an alcoholic, Bassett claims, who drank to embarrassing excess ( several examples are provided, strictly for the historical record of course) and yet Lange couldn’t win – since, in another sense, he also allegedly never drank quite enough. “ He never learned to drink socially…He would go home early, clutching a cheap novel or a video…David Lange’s last two years as Prime Minister were a time of considerable personal confusion, which he tried to blot out with alcohol. Unable or unwilling to engage with his his ministers, he pushed into waters that he’d not charted before..” Fancy that – what kind of man would prefer being home with the woman he loved, when he could be staying up late drinking at Parliament, with such scintillating company as Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble, and Michael Bassett?

We are not spared the distressing details of Lange’s final physical deterioration. Time and again, the focus returns to Pope, depicted as the last and most manipulative of the domineering women who contributed to Lange’s demise. After all : “ His real need was for the comfort that a supportive, strong–willed woman could provide.” Bassett cites a string of them, starting with Lange’s mother Phoebe, and then his first wife Naomi. Fran Wilde’s influence is alleged at one period, but the detested Pope is the chief target. She ‘ nagged’ him, ( p 551.) By mid 1990 such was her influence, Bassett surmises in another Oprah-worthy comment, that“ There were times now when David Lange no longer seemed to be his own man.” Or this : “ It was to have a devastating effect on the government when Margaret Pope, like Mrs Proudie, the bishop’s wife in Trollope’s Barchester novels, started to try and run the diocese.” [Didn’t she know that was men’s work? ]

The book’s obsession with Pope creates its own credibility problem –because the overall atmosphere of hostility to women in Bassett’s narrative unwittingly undermines his attempt to demonise Pope. For all I know, Pope may be a difficult character. Many powerful people around Parliament are not the sort of well rounded individuals you’d like to take home for dinner. It seems to come with the territory.

In Bassett’s case though, it is striking that so many of the women in his narrative are treated with venom, as schemers, or harridans – Ruth Dyson, Fran Wilde, and Sonja Davies all cop it. Margaret Wilson is memorably described as ‘slipping poison’ into the king’s ear. Only Annette King escapes the abuse and – as you might expect – Helen Clark receives entire volleys of snide comment.

For instance : Bassett trashes Clark ( on p 515) as putting personal ambition above all else : “She, preferring to structure a harmony of interests around herself as the queen bee, with women [imagine!] in commanding positions. Her advocacy of pay equity, and her rubbishing of further labour market reform when Douglas suggested it, were part and parcel of her wider personal advancement.” Get the distinction ? Douglas has selfless visions for the good of the country, while his critics were – and are – motivated purely by petty personal ambition. Clark is the kind of person who reads the Guardian Weekly, Bassett offers us as clinching criticism via David Butcher, and never the Economist.

By such methods, Bassett manages to confirm something Clark once complained about in 1986, to the journalist Virginia Myers, in a book called Head and Shoulders – that a pervasive anti-women climate prevailed in the upper echelons of the fourth Labour government. In turn, this feeds into a psychological condition even more central to Bassett’s thesis. How can it be that the wonders Roger Douglas has wrought have become so divisive, and so unpopular that his brand of slash and burn policies now attract only Act Party, margin-of-error levels of support in New Zealand ? It is this situation that, for Bassett at least, necessitates a villain, and the role that he has fashioned for Pope. Clearly, David Lange was not the only 1980s politician still needing the spotlight, the love and the affirmation.

Former Labour Cabinet Minister and ACT MP Ken Shirley

*****

This lack of appreciation – and public gratitude – for the Rogernomics revolution still appears to rankle with the diehards from the 1980s Lange Cabinet. It may explain their apparent determination to foist those policies on us, all over again. As Nicky Hager’s book The Hollow Men revealed, Bassett was involved in helping Don Brash to spring a similar agenda, if elected at the 2005 election. There’s a kind of psychological displacement involved. Someone else has to be held responsible, someone else must take the blame for the contempt in which the policies of privatisation and the workings of the unfettered free market are now widely held. Pope, Lange, Michael Cullen, Jim Anderton…never the half bakd extremism of the policies themselves.

It isn’t hard to see why Bassett would have felt nettled – both as a historian, and as a participant – by Lange’s version of events in his David Lange, My Life book. Yet for all his many gifts and faults, Lange had decided off his own bat to baulk at the snake oil that Douglas was peddling by late 1987. Blaming Pope for his change of heart may serve some deep-set need. Yet if Douglas and Bassett really want to know why their 1980s revolution ended in disaster, they might be better advised to start looking in the mirror. It’s never too late.

ENDS

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    1. 28 Responses to “Gordon Campbell Reviews Working with David”

    2. By Reg on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      It’s a great pity that your political bias against Douglas etc totally overwhelmed what was otherwise a good review.

    3. By Danyl Mclauchlan on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      How could you write such cruel things about such a great man? I bet some woman made you say all that.

    4. By rogered on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      lets see how popular roger is these elections…

      sad how low some ex labour party people have sunk. roger tried to sink NZ, see us out and now has the nerve to try continue his economic suicide at our expense… maybe it will kill off the ACT party and give National a slight wake up call about what the extreme right is all about.. and what the majority of the public think about what Rogernomics did to every day New Zealanders.

    5. By ak on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      (and not forgetting his large input into the Orewa One speech), if Basset’s an authoritative historian, then Pope’s a shrew.

    6. By Relic on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      Bassett’s doorstop tome has been well “Campbelled” in this early review. Bassett is a persistent whinger and revisionist, he had a published go at the 1951 waterfront lockout some years back which surely should have notified the Labour faithful that this chap was in the wrong party. But no, (and yes I am familiar with the ’51 labour leaders public “neither for nor against” stance toward the watersiders).

      I feel that Mr Bassett might be also be quite chummy with another protagonist from the 80s, namely KG Douglas ex NZFOL and NZCTU. Organised labour at a top level whilst correctly skewering Reagan and Thatcher managed to largely overlook the rogering of New Zealand. Not universally, but effectively. Several heavy voting union blocks made disastrously wrong calls at 1980s FOL/CTU conferences allowing the family silver stealers to proceed without major attention from rank and file unionists.

      I hope Gordon is being paid for his work (paid well would be a bonus), he should be, every new post confirms his skill. I recall him interviewing several of us South Auckland car plant workers about the then in vogue Kai Zen, continuous improvement, ‘Nissan Way’ etc. Our contention that such things were merely enterprise level labour control mechanisms was proven to be true when the macro settings were changed in the 90s and the industry disappeared. Gordon told us then that the Listener policy was global journalism where various views were presented for the reader to then draw a conclusion (how times have changed at the Listener!) so we should not expect favoured treatment from him. Scoop has made this classic NZ journo available again.

    7. By JohnO on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      The last two sentences of your review sum up the author and his mates perfectly. Basset, Douglas and Prebble are in deed snake oil!

    8. By stellar on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      What can I say…great work Gordon. Great work.

    9. By Michael Collins on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      Excellent review and very well written.

    10. By Dom on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      A superb review that means I won’t have to give Bassett the benefit of the royalty from a sale of his book. We never asked to have our entire society transformed back in the 1980s. And those who masterminded the deed shouldn’t whine that we’re not grateful enough for what they did. Times have changed gentlemen and some of us don’t have deep-seated dislike of women in power. Certainly the last thing we need is grumpy old men like Bassett and Douglas trying to finish off the bizarre job they started.

    11. By Roger on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      Good review Gordon. I guess we’ll be waiting for some time to get the real story on what happened to the Labour Party between 1983-87 and how a small group of Ministers seized control of a Labour Caucus and Cabinet – sweeping aside all opposition. With the notable exception of a few inside the Labour Party it appears that Labour’s solidarity principles effectively stymied any internal dissent to Rogernomics. I wonder what has changed since then? and its not just Labour that has to ask some hard questions – Ruth Richardson was able too forcefeed a similar policy prescription on National’s Caucus and an unsuspecting public – without an electoral mandate – in 1991-93. Still, I suppose the ideological leap for them was not as great.

    12. By Margaret Swift on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      lets hope this book is widley read and readers begin to realise what we would be getting if they gave their vote to National in the upcoming elections. Its “greed above need”
      that drives their policies.

    13. By writeups on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      Mr Campbell your bias against capitalism shines through yet again. Whatever happened to objective journalism?

    14. By Arthur Freeman on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      Does Bassett not understand that there are a lot of people still alive who lived through and were damaged by the disaster of rogernomics and whose memory of events is far less twisted than his appears to be.

    15. By Iain Parker on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      Got it on the button Gordon, this coming election is so phoney, it is nothing but a bi-lateral cover up by two parties as guilty as each other of turning this nation into a caste class system at the hands of the International Money Club and their locally recruited co-operatives, most of whom are portrayed as hero’s in Bassets timely monetarist indoctrination. Under the Labour executive you get the Money Club by puppetry, under National you get them in the drivers seat. Elect either one in the hope of change and you are only changing the mannequins in the shop window, while the slave minded mongrels who truly set the social and economic policy of this nation remain intact out the back. I implore Kiwi’s to look deeper at the alternatives such as the Democrats for Social Credit to return this nation back to perhaps the greatest opportunity at a system of equal opportunity history has ever known. Left unhindered for much longer we to will be just another plundered possession of the greatest borderless empire ever seen.
      Gordon, you are right up as an investigative reporter with the likes of John Pilger, Greg Palast, Richard Cook etc keep up the brilliant work.

    16. By Steve Withers on Jun 10, 2008 | Reply

      No surprises that Bassett has delivered a one-eyed, self-justifying account glorifying his faction’s demonstrable contempt for democracy. These are the qualities I have come expect from his writing over the years. This book really not be expected to be any different.

      As for his treatment of Ms. Pope, I’ve had Bassett on my personal list of died in the wool misogynists for years. Of course it was the woman’s fault. It could NEVER be the fault of those ideologically blinkered people like Bassett who sought to impose their radical program on people who didn’t want it….and being resisted. The victims are always to blame.

    17. By Elizabeth Smyth on Jun 11, 2008 | Reply

      Oh dear…who would have known New Zealand was
      brought down by a “Yoko Ono” situation! And what is Sir Geoffrey Palmer doing at the launch? I hope some woman didn’t nag him into going.

    18. By insite on Jun 11, 2008 | Reply

      A very good, insightful review. Bassett’s superiority complex and arrogance have always emerged from his writings and public utterances. The man is indeed carping and toxic – probably why Tom Scott once memorably described him as having ‘halitosis of the personality’.
      Bassett seems inclined to view Margaret Pope as some sort of dangerous and all-powerful harridan. There are non so blind as those that will not see, as some wise head once said, and this book is testament to that. Bassett’s book is worse than revisionist; it’s self serving and plain wrong in its analysis of what drove Lange.

    19. By davebrown on Jun 11, 2008 | Reply

      Its tempting to discount this petty book as insignificant. However, its launch comes at the time of the political reincarnation of its hero, Roger Douglas who is the wild card on the far right capable of forming a coalition with National in government. We’re facing tough times and it was a destabilising crisis that saw Rogernomics mark 1 imposed on us. Watch out for mark 2.

    20. By Kev on Jun 11, 2008 | Reply

      Regardless of his faults David Lange possessed charisma and as evidenced in his electorate office,empathy and the common touch with his constituents.
      Lange was loved and admired by his constituents.He was genuine,honest and above all else true to the ideals and doctrines of the Labour Party.
      Political scientists will record that Lange’s cabinet colleague’s betrayed him and the rank and file of the Labour Party.
      Bassetts dissertation on the Lange years will never be taken seriously because Bassett view of that time is biased and theatrical in presentation.
      In short Bassett never stood his ground and sold out to Douglas.

    21. By Larry on Jun 11, 2008 | Reply

      The essence of your criticism of the above review is that Bassett has a strong ideological (you also suggsest a misogynist streak) bias and this is reflected in his writing. This is exactly what you have been doing throughout your jounalistic career Gordon, and as such it’s a bit rich. The thing about both you and Bassett is that your ideoloigical views are well known and anyone who reads you knows this and takes it into account. The cool thing about Bassett’s book is that he took copious notes at he time, and he was a participant, not just carping from the sidleines.

    22. By M Stevens on Jun 12, 2008 | Reply

      A great review.If only those evil scheming women were back where they belonged, making tea and taking the minutes, how much better everything would be.

    23. By Robert on Jun 12, 2008 | Reply

      Um, to not have a bias against capitalism is to not have a functioning conscience. Brilliant article, Gordon.

    24. By Gerald Jackson on Jun 13, 2008 | Reply

      Oh, the joy of being reminded why I left New Zealand in 1992 and why (sadly) I’ve never returned. At least here in Copenhagen (note: with decent broadband) I can enjoy listening in on all of “the carping from the sidelines”. Thank you all!

      I’m sure that Gordon has his biases; we all do. But, as someone working in Post Office Headquarters at the time and later at Telecom HQ, I don’t take his comments about the post office closures as biased. When I joined POHQ (“Bullshit Castle” as it was known elsewhere in the service) in 1980, there were over 40,000 post office employees; it was indeed NZ’s biggest employer. 25,000 of us were moved to Telecom in 1987 and within 5 years there were only 5,000 of us surviving. (No, that’s not quite true; there were fewer survivors as hundreds of high-powered suits had been brought in to tell us how a “real” business should be run.) That was quite a ride, and I don’t believe the situation was any better in NZ Post or Postbank either.

      Were all of the people made redundant just a bunch of slackers anyway? No, not really. (I remember the PO had an art unit of all things, a brilliant bunch of weirdos who designed all of the adverts and other promotional stuff. They were all fired, of course, their artistry replaced at many times the cost by advertising agencies; account managers certainly have expensive suits.) Sure, some of the people got rid of were unemployable but then again earlier (even National) governments had the policy of forcing the PO to give jobs to disabled people as a way of integrating them into the community. Not good business perhaps but arguably good society. But most of the people who were “let go” were just like us, actually. It’s just that maybe we the survivors had better political skills (or browner noses).

      And did all the closures make New Zealand a better place? I wonder. What I do remember is that closing our small suburban post office meant that all the pensioners had to traipse downtown to draw their pensions and spent much of it there. Most of the little shops clustered around that post office slowly died (replaced by burger bars and the like), and part of our community died with them.

      Of course, it wasn’t only this. There were other stupid things done by Michael Bassett and his bright fellows, like for instance selling off state enterprises (the Government Printing Office springs to mind) that actually were well-functioning businesses and employed people – selling them off for a fraction of their value so that they could be flicked on for a hefty profit and/or asset stripped.

      No wonder we spat the dummy in 1990 and lunged for a better teat – but one full of worse poison, only we didn’t know that.

      Which brings me to the parallels with 1990 made by several of you. Sure, this current Labour government may indeed be dog’s tucker (with the electorate’s phone apparently off the hook). But the frankly weird revisit of MMP announced by Key and small hints received later suggest that (again) special interests are at work – or that the self-contained hothouse environment at Parliament has caused a disconnect with what actually concerns the electorate.

      I would certainly hope for your sakes – I’m OK mates, I’m just weighing in from outside – that you are not facing another 1990. Good luck!

    25. By Anne on Jun 13, 2008 | Reply

      I don’t think criticising an ideology intelligently indicates a bias. It’s not an opinion that many people were undeservedly and badly affected by Rogernomics and Ruthanasia, it’s a fact. If you want journalism that doesn’t criticise capitalism, go read the Dom Post or the Listener.

    26. By Iain Parker on Jun 14, 2008 | Reply

      From all the horses mouths;

      SOCIAL CREDIT OR BUST!
      NEW ZEALAND DEBT MANAGEMENT HISTORY AS TOLD IN BOOKS OF FINANCE MINISTERS & PROFESSOR J.B. CONDLIFFE 1930.
      FROM THEIR OWN MOUTHS – WHAT HAPPENED TO NEW ZEALAND IN 1980-2000
      Researched and compiled by Iain Parker, List Candidate Democrats for Social Credit 2008

      (Moderator’s note: Comment edited due to extreme length)

    27. By Mark on Jun 15, 2008 | Reply

      Agreed, Bassett is acrimonious and has succumbed to vitriol. Campbell however, is equally scathing and cynical towards Bassett. It is up to us to filter and interpet according to our individual perceptions. Nevertheless, Bassett provides a little more insight and clarity in the events and tensions of caucus, cabinet in a period that arguably provides more fascintation of our political history than any other. Regardless of our sentiments, both Lange and Bassett were/are intellectuals and this book shows that both have their obvious fallabilities – the human condition!

    28. By Steve Withers on Jun 16, 2008 | Reply

      Iain Parker – Please don’t do that again. Your monster “comment” was completely off-topic and you have to be very surely socially un-skilled to think that anyone would read it. I found myself thinking “loony vestigial Social Crediter” as I scrolled and scrolled to get past it. You caused that thought.

    29. By Iain Parker on Jun 16, 2008 | Reply

      Regards Mr Withers,
      Off topic, having not read it, how would you know. It actually covered recent questioning, and answers, of the current government on economic policy very relevant to the book, then went on to excerpts from books written by the participants covered in Bassett’s book, excerpts that proved much of what he was writing was misleading. Sadly, I fear you are right, all but the those truly dedicated to civil service will no longer read anything longer than a two minutes or listen a 20 second sound bite. As for myself or the Social Credit movement being -vestigial- trust me, as much as the likes of yourself might wish we have become degenerate or functionless in the course of time, as the pyramid nature of the slave minded controlled “markets” are becoming glaringly obvious by the day, the interest in Social Credit has, world wide, been reinvigorated by the day. So you old “cronies” better straighten those Lazy Boys, as Social Credit will be well back on the radar before the next election.
      Cheers
      Iain

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