Why Len Brown’s Affair Should Matter to the Public

I have been reading with great interest the conversations over the last few days about whether Len Brown’s affair should impact his political career. That is an interesting question but what we need politicians to know is that what happens ‘behind closed doors’ does actually matter.

Here’s why.

Politicians ‘sell’ an image, people vote on that image, if that image is false then voters have been somewhat hoodwinked. If you set yourself a public ‘standard’ and then fall short of that standard there are downstream effects. If this information about Len Brown had been released the week before the election would he gotten re-elected? If not should he step down?

Mayor Len Brown has ‘sold’ his Christian credentials, and there is no question that there have been many, especially in South Auckland, that have given Len Brown their vote because of the label he has chosen for himself.

Here is some audio from 2010 when he chatted openly about his faith and his desire to emulate a political figure due to his integrity.

Mayor Len Brown chats openly about when he attended church and what denomination he was attached to, then Len was asked if he prayed.

 

The interviewer then went on to ask about going through trial and tribulations which at the time were accusations about credit card misuse

 

The interview then asked if his Christianity affected his policy

 

Len Brown finished the interview by sharing why Mahatma Gandhi was the most inspiring political figure to him.

 

I don’t judge Len Brown for what he has done, neither do I think he should necessarily be forced to step down, the whole purpose of this post is to point out to public figures that you need to stand by the standards you set for yourself, the ones you choose, the ones that help you win votes and when you fall short of those standards you need to be aware there are consequences.

There is an argument that says we are all failed beings and one can class themselves as a ‘Christian’ and have these failings. My advice to the political world is that you shouldn’t choose those labels then. I avoid the word ‘Christian’ like the plague, not because of what it means, but what people think should go with it, both positive and negative. Len Brown has chosen to let the public of Auckland define what kind of person he is by actively using the word ‘Christian’, it’s gotten him votes but then when you fall short of the publics expectations of that label you cannot claim that ‘no one has the right to know’. If you invite us in with this image, you cannot expect us to stay out when the image falls apart. I’m not saying that is fair…I’m just saying that’s the way it is.

I’ve been having the conversation about how people ‘sell’ themselves for ever. In 2010 when Jeremy Elwood and I ran a political podcast we interviewed Don Brash and I think we were the only people to bring up one of the most obvious questions to him. After talking about ‘behind closed door issues’ when he ran advertising that claimed he stood by his morals and integrity so I asked him how can we trust you, if your wife/wives can’t trust you?

Don Brash was selling a public image, that didn’t match up with his ‘real’ image. Your ‘real’ image is what happens ‘behind closed doors’.

Again let me say I don’t condemn Len Brown, in fact speaking with a mate this morning the phrase ‘feet of clay’ came out and I think that’s fair. We have all fallen short of the expectations of those around us, I would just say to political figures to be careful about your ‘public’ persona if your ‘behind closed-doors’ persona doesn’t match up.

Goodbye ACT. John Banks to stand trial

It began with Kim Dotcom and ends with John Banks facing charges over “over allegations that he falsified his 2010 mayoral campaign return.”

What will this mean, well surely if the deal wasn’t sealed before it is now that ACT is gone from the 2014 election making it even harder for National to be re-elected. ACT and the Maori Party are somewhat in disarray and no matter how keen and confident they are I don’t think the Conservatives are able to step into the fold to take ACT’s place.

John Banks gone, ACT gone, Maori Party to lose a couple more seats, no coalition partner to take their place. Greens increasing everyday and Labour a small resurgent period since Cunliffe comes on board makes it an interesting 12 months.

I called it several months ago albeit with some different variables but I’ll stand by it and say it again now. Labour to win in 2014.

UPDATED 5.30pm

John Banks has resigned from all this ministerial portfolios

Accusations of Affair in Mayor Len Brown’s Office

Today Whaleoil has broken an alleged story of an extra-martial affair between Mayor Len Brown and a Council employee 30 years his junior, the story comes with text messages that again are alleged to be between Len Brown and the woman in question.

The story has been written by Stephen Cook who was sacked by the Herald on Sunday for not informing them of drug dealing charges he was facing.

Is this an issue for the public, is it something that could end the career of the ‘Christian’ Mayor Len Brown?

The salient points to whether this is ‘news’ or not and if it should effect Mayor Len Brown’s career are that the women in question is a Council employee and some of the alleged illicit encounters happened in business hours on Council land.

So ‘Yes’ if the story is true as we see it right now this could be very costly for Len Brown.

UPDATED 4.28pm

From Len Brown Statement

I do confirm that I had a relationship with a woman that lasted around two years

and…

I told my wife previously & she and I are working through the issues privately. We are looking to protect our children as best we can

Malala Yousafzai Interview

Malala Yousafzai the girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for wanting an education, who since has spoken to the UN and has become the youngest person every to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Price had a three part interview on The Daily Show last night.

Comedy Central doesn’t allow embedding in WordPress (if you can help with this message me) so here is part one of the interview that someone has put on YouTube, and below are the links to Comedy Central where you can watch both parts on their site.

Part One of the interview on Comedy Central

Part Two of the interview on Comedy Central

Part Three of the interview on Comedy Central

If you want to know more about Malala Yousafzai you can check out her book and her foundation

A new yardstick please?

Okay so there have been several times and several posts when I have answered questions about my ‘christianity’ and how some in the church question my thoughts or opinions or acceptance of certain things that perhaps they question. The other conversation that I (and I think we all) come up against is those outside the church world looking in and making sweeping statements about what a Christian is.

According to the book unChristian, which is a research document where 16-29 year olds were asked their thoughts on many issues inside the church, 85%-95% of this group thinks that the words ‘homophobic’, ‘judgemental’ and ‘hypocrite’ can be interchanged with the word ‘Christian’. So if you class yourself as a ‘Christian’ then nine in ten Gen Y-ers think that you are a homophobic, judgemental hypocrite and I have to say the Church hasn’t done much to disprove those accusations in the last 60 years…in fact in the last 1,000 years to be honest.

So when I see the Chaplin for the Senate of the United States of America offering this prayer to Senators I wonder if it is time for a new yardstick both for those inside the church and outside.

The words of Chaplain Barry C. Black are as follows

Let us pray

Have mercy upon us oh God

And save us from the madness

We acknowledge our transgressions

Our shortcomings

Our smugness

Our selfishness

And our pride

Create in us clean hearts oh God

And renew a right spirit within us

Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable, while being unreasonable

Remove the burdens of those who are the collateral damage of this Government shut down

Transforming negatives in positives

As you work for the good of those who love you

We pray in Your merciful name

Amen

I only hope his prayer was to a full Senate chamber.

So from now on people inside the church, or people of faith, AND people outside the church, how about we use these idea as our yardstick for what a ‘Christian is supposed to be’ as I am happy to stand alongside these biblically based ideas.

US Shutdown

Many people here in New Zealand are confused about what’s currently happening in America and the whole ‘shutdown’ thing especially when we hear differing reports blaming one side or the other. Most in the media are saying there is blame on both sides, which on some minor way is probably true, but the truth is that the blame for this shut down lies 99% not even with the GOP, but with a subset of the GOP called the Tea Party. Think ACT on steroids, in it’s heyday with massive power, and the belief that they have the mandate from God to return America to ‘the traditions of it’s founding fathers’. On top of all of that you’d have to also imagine that National are fearful of losing votes so they began to accept and imitate the style and rhetoric of ACT…that’s what the Tea Party is.

Here’s the reason the blame is not spread evenly over the two parties.

The Democrats have attempted since the last budget 17 times to negotiate with the GOP to no avail, yet now that the Government has shut down the Republicans are screaming ‘Why won’t they negotiate?’ but the biggest reason the shutdown and all it’s negative impacts lies with the Republicans is that The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is a law that has already passed, by both houses in 2009…It’s already law…sorry you may not have heard that…ahem…IT’S ALREADY LAW!!!

What you have is a small faction now saying they was to re-negotiate the law…which you cannot do…it’s already been agreed to and a small group has said ‘We don’t like it’ so they are holding the country to ransom and trying to act like they are the moderate party being reasonable.

There hasn’t been one time ever, when the US Government has shut down, that it was over a law that had already passed, so there are no apples to even compare this situation to.

I know I have used Jon Stewart recently but I have to say, with the use of comedy, the team at The Daily Show often nail the facts. Enjoy

March of the Dumbs

March of the Dumbs – Government Shutdown

And if you only have time to watch one clip this is the one for you

Obamacare Begins

 

 

I fell in love with Breaking Bad…but it could only be set in America

I came to Breaking Bad late, but with millions of others around the world yesterday I watched with a  mix of excitement and sadness the end of the series and indeed the character of Walter White.

This morning I came across this cartoon in my inbox which I thought brilliant. If you are…

1.) A fan of Breaking Bad

2.) Confused by the Obamacare hold up at the moment

3.) Angry that some in America would portray healthcare for all as a bad thing

…then you’ll enjoy it (whilst being repulsed by it) too

BB

And as a wee note, for those in America who may read this. I live in a country where there is ‘socialised medicine’ as so many Republicans vomit out and we have better health and wellbeing statistics in every single area of healthcare than you do…that’s EVERY SINGLE AREA…’nuf said.