MIKE ROKE: Winston - the master politician at work again

07/06/2017

You have to hand to to Winston Peters. When it comes to pushing hot buttons, is there anybody better? Whatever underlying issue is floating around society at any given time, Winston knows exactly what to say about said issue, when to say it and who to say it to.

Immigration is a problem? Winston will close the borders. Pike River Mine re-entry? Winston will be first in the queue to go in. Christchurch Cathedral taking too long to repair? Winston would fix it the day after he is voted in.

Winston’s latest comments about the Muslim community dobbing in family or friends they suspect have been radicalised is once again the master at work.

What he said is perfectly acceptable. Of course it is. If any of us suspect someone we know of plotting something evil, we should absolutely alert authorities. By not doing so we would be just as culpable as the culprit themselves.

Where Winston lost me though, is when he said that someone close to the culprit must know what they are up to. I say not necessarily. If a young person has been radicalised and they do not want anyone to know, then no-one will. People are good at keeping secrets.

Does Winston really think that every parent knows exactly what their kid is up to at all times? I would bet there is things that Winston has done in his life that no one knows about. I know I have done things I have never told anyone.

Even if you monitored your kids internet use and mobile phone at all times, they will find a way. You have to sleep sometime, right? It does not cost much at all for a sim card and a burner phone. Bottom line is - if you want to keep a secret badly enough, you will.

Winston would know all of this - of course he would. His comments aren’t about being factually accurate, they are about scoring political points. And no one does it better.

The thing about Winston’s comments is they are easy for him to say because he never has to follow them through. He is not in government. He is not a decision maker.

But with the worldwide shift to more conservative right leaning views, Winston is gaining traction with these comments. I can see his support growing. So after September 23rd maybe he will be a decision maker? Maybe he will have to start following through?

I hope he is ready. One thing is for certain. He will say he is.

Mike Roke is technical producer for RadioLIVE Drive with Alison Mau, 3-6pm weekdays.