By Patrick Gower
Labour and Phil Goff got scared into defusing the Tizard bomb because of two right-wing bloggers.
That means Goff is scared of the blogs.
Yes, you heard me right: Goff's office (aka the 'Goffice') and the Labour Party hierarchy decided their Judith Tizard strategy because of what they read on Kiwiblog and Whaleoil.
That means Labour is scared of the blogs.
The way Judith Tizard has been treated by the Labour Party and others is a disgrace. In all of this one thing has been forgotten: Tizard is a human being. She is a nice lady from Ponsonby - not an ogre. I had a cup of tea with her the other day and it was lovely.
I am still in disbelief that this became such an issue that it led to the extraordinary scene of a list MP placed number 38 on the list issuing their decision on whether they return or not on live television.
I doubt we will ever see that again.
But Labour made all this happen. They bullied, poked, pushed and hurt Judith Tizard just so they didn't annoy the right wing blogs.
I know its fashionable to be down on 'the Tiz'. I know everyone is going to attack me for defending 'the Tiz'. But make no mistake here. I am saying: LAY. OFF. JUDITH. TIZARD.
Because its not like anyone in Labour is piping up. They have cut her loose and don't care about the decades of service she gave the party.
She is now nothing to Labour.
Bullying has been in the news a lot lately. The Tizard scenario reminds me of Judith in the playground getting ganged up on.
She sees her own family, Labour. She sees Goff - an older brother if you will let me extend the analogy. She expects their help. They are her flesh and blood after all. But instead, they turn a blind eye. They let her be hurt. It is humiliating for her.
Labour caved into pressure from the blogs. The right wing blogs effectively ran Labour's strategy on this. Labour has gone soft on this.
It all started when the blogs raised the "Tizard-bomb" back in the Mt Albert by-election.
It got called the Tizard effect and eventually the Tizard bomb.
It was mischief-making in the extreme from the get-go.
The very wise Matt McCarten even called them out. But Goff took the bait.
Goff then went to extraordinary lengths to make sure a list MP didn't fill the spot and set off the Tizard bomb.
That meant Phil Twyford hit the cutting room floor. (Twyford's since spent the past two years pulling his map of Auckland out of the glovebox and going to places he's never heard of as he searched for a possie.)
Goff went all the way to Baghdad and pulled his mate David Shearer out of the Green Zone just so the Tizard bomb didn't go off.
There's been machinations and fears within Labour ever since that Tizard would come back.
It became an issue. But would it have really been the end of the world if Tizard came back - either now or at the time?
She lost her seat - the Labour prize of Auckland Central. Well, sorry, lots of Labour MPs lost seats. In fact, Goff lost his seat to Gilbert Myles back in the day.
She set up a copyright law that was hated by the internet community. Well, Goff helped set up Rogernomics, and that was hated by quite a few people too.
She was a reminder of the past. Well, Goff shouldn't go there quite frankly. She was closely aligned with Helen Clark - well what about Maryan Street and Ruth Dyson? They are on Goff's front bench. And so what anyway?
Labour is a broad church - there are all kinds of people in there. What has Judith in particular done wrong?
So she was ineffectual. Sorry to break this to the public, but there are lots of useless MPs in Parliament - on both sides.
And as Tim Watkin points out at Pundit, its not like she never achieved anything.
So why was it such an issue for Labour? If you are a Christchurch casino worker who has lost your job you don't care if Judith Tizard comes in at number 38 on the list. But Labour thought it was an issue, because the right wing blogs told them it was an issue.
Goff could have let Judith back in way back at the Mt Albert by-election or at least not been so dismissive of her. During our cup of tea last weekend, she told me she felt they were mean to her during the Mt Albert saga. If Labour had been nicer then, maybe she wouldn't have pulled the latest tricks.
Instead, it's become an issue. If she'd come back it would have been another test of Goff's leadership, etc, etc.
So they had to manipulate the 2008 party list that was signed off by their party.
Goff even had to work together with Andrew Little (After the "President... Schmesident" debacle in the Hughes affair) to put the pressure on Tizard.
Forget all this talk about respecting decisions. Tizard's got it right when she said Goff sounded like he was swallowing dead rats saying this. She's on record with me saying he doesn't like her and she doesn't like him.
She would have been frozen out of the Caucus.
But anyway, Tizard got the upper-hand in the end and was able to put the boot in to Goff saying he's not up to being Prime Minister a couple of times.
All because the Labour Party didn't have the gumption to stare down two right-wing bloggers.
So that's what's led to this damaging tete-a-tete over the last week. Damaging for Goff, because even though the Tizard bomb has technically been defused its blown up in Labour's face.