It starts with this:
Trauma surgeons at Wellington Political Hospital announced today that the ACT Party was judged clinically dead after succumbing to a grievous assault from Kim Dotcom.Yes, that emphasis is mine. So let's start with it. Kim Dotcom did not kill ACT. What he did was donate money to someone who later became leader of the ACT party. While I am left-leaning, I do believe in personal responsibility. Just like ACT, and National, claim to. Kim Dotcom is not responsible for the joke that is ACT.
In terms of destroying ACT, I'd look to the following to take some responsibility:
- Rodney Hide, for culturing a reputation as a perk-buster, then being busted abusing his perks.
- David Garrett, for culturing a reputation as being tough on law and order, and getting busted for obtaining a passport in the name of a dead child. And lying about his convictions to a Court.
- Don Brash, for orchestrating a badly-done coup, and for promising to get 15% of the vote at the election then actually getting, well, shall we say a job at Treasury awaits?
- And finally John Banks for the teapot saga and a pathological inability to keep his paperwork tidy.
But, in case you missed it, Kim Dotcom is not responsible of "a grievous assault". If anything, he's only guilty of trying to help out a friend.
So why assign the blame to Kim Dotcom? I reckon it's that standard technique of shining the spotlight of criticism and responsibility away from the real culprits and onto someone else. That's all.
The bigger picture question relates to whether ACT is dead, or not. In a strict sense, yes, it is dead. As dead as a dodo. With a wider understanding, no, it is not, never will be in my lifetime.
In the strict sense it seems extraordinarily unlikely that ACT will win any further seats in parliament under the ACT brand. Its name is so tainted by scandal, so widely held in contempt, so lacking in credibility, that it needs to be consigned to the history books.
In the wider sense, ACTs backers are determined, well connected and firmly convinced of the righteousness of their beliefs. They may vote for National for the next few elections, but I am sure all things being equal they will reorganise and form a new party to the right of National. Some time in the 2020s.
And won't that be a welcome addition to the political spectrum. Honestly, I believe there is a place for a liberal party in parliament, and equally as honestly, I will never vote for them. Another collective based on the ideals of individualism; it's their weakness and I look forward to watching their wheels fall off. Again.
White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan, 2005