Nicky Hager’s book the Hollow Men has been brilliantly converted into a stage production, and has now been turned into a documentary film. The director, Alister Barry, is in Dunedin for the Film Festival (where the documentary had it’s premier in the weekend) and has very kindly agreed to screen the film for free on campus for anyone who’s interested. [Read more below]
I’ve very quickly organised this for tomorrow (ie Tuesday) afternoon, 2-4pm in the Castle 1 lecture theatre at the University of Otago. Alister is coming along to the screening, and is keen to have a discussion after the screening. There will be a short intermission at 2:50pm for anyone that has to leave.
Why am I screening this? Well for those of you who don’t know, this is in some ways is a landmark story. The story is all about the nature of modern New Zealand politics. Based on the ‘stolen’ emails of ex-National Party leader Don Brash, it allows us a unique insight into how politicians and political parties operate. It’s incredibly valuable because its a fascinating case study rather than because it’s about any particular party or politician. As Nicky Hager says, if he had the emails he could probably have written a similar book about Labour and Helen Clark.
What the story shows is the hugely pragmatic and manipulative nature of party politics. The spin doctors and PR people are trying to re-mould politics in a way that can produce the most votes, and principles and ideology aren’t important in themselves. In the case of Don Brash it meant that he had to moderate his more radical economic views but at the same time take on some more socially conservative populist policies that he didn't necessarily believe in. Basically he became a Hollow Man.
If you want to find out more about the Hollow Men, here’s a couple of links: