Fascinating. Don't you love a good stoush?
Margaret Pope has hit back at Michael Bassett's version of what happened inside the Labour caucus during the reforms, opening with "...the first time I ever met Dr Michael Bassett I felt my flesh creep". Oh my goo'ness, as a wide-eyed Shirley Temple would say.
Pope rejects Bassett's claim that she was behind David Lange's rejection of the flat tax proposal, etc. She says Lange's rejection of flat tax was "one of principle". What principle was that? The reforms had a clear philosophy underpinning them and flat tax was in keeping with it. Bassett's book (which I haven't completed) makes the point very early that Lange had no strong political philosophy. Whether she stepped into the void with hers, I have no opinion on as yet.
But clearly Pope still doesn't understand the political vision Douglas and Bassett shared and espoused. She says she was "prompted by social rather than economic issues". Sorry but the two are inseparable. What she is actually saying is she was more concerned about the short term than the long term - or the little picture over the big picture. And I think that is exactly what influenced Lange.
"The writing is purple, overheated, even foam-flecked." Um. Anything like "...the first time I ever met Dr Michael Bassett I felt my flesh creep"? I'll be very, very surprised if it is. Certainly I have encountered any examples yet.
She leans on other left-wing reviews (eg Gordon Campbell) that have branded Bassett as fixated with Pope and even anti-women. I find that quite silly.
Bassett calls a spade a spade. Not one for shilly-shallying if I wanted an honest opinion or advice, he is a man I would trust. In fact I wish we could get him back into parliament as well as Sir Roger.
(BTW why is John Roughan credited with this piece? Makes for very confusing reading.)
Swimmable in Waitara
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