He still wins!

John Key has accused Labour of backing, rapists, murderers and child molesters in response to criticisms of his government’s inaction over the Christmas Island detainees.

He has refused to apologise to those who were offended by his remarks, some of whom have been the victims of sexual violence.

He is now claiming that he cares more about the victims of sexual violence than MPs who have themselves been the victims of sexual violence.

He is also now claiming victimhood, having had abuse hurled back at him over his comments.

John Key’s accusation that Labour backs rapists, murderers and child molesters is factually incorrect. No New Zealander detained on Christmas Island has been convicted of rape or murder.

But let’s not quibble over facts. It doesn’t really matter whether John Key is right or wrong, because he’s probably done his homework on this, and the only facts that really matter are the polling numbers. Let’s also not pretend that John Key is guided by the desire to always be truthful, or has a solid moral core. If he has a core at all I suspect it’s made of some wobbly jelly-like substance.

And can we really say he’s in the wrong? Perhaps John Key really does have a better understanding of sexual violence and its terrible lasting effects than the victims themselves. This could be one of those poacher-turned-gatekeeper moments. Key’s been at the coalface and has seen it and done it. Who better to understand the misery caused by unwelcome human contact than a serial groper of female hair?

But at the end of the day, to borrow one of John Key’s favourite phrases, it doesn’t really matter what victims of sexual violence think. They are already a marginalised group, often too afraid to go to the police to report the crimes committed against them, and for many the act of going public can result in further pain and suffering for very little gain. So these people can be very easily ignored. Key will not be too concerned about calls for an apology, or petitions demanding redress. The people making these demands already don’t vote for him, and now they won’t vote for him even more.

And do the voting public really care about the people on Christmas Island? How bad can the place really be? It’s got the word Christmas in its name. Who doesn’t like Christmas?

So in summary, it’s been brilliant politics by Key. If you believe that politics is all about who wins and who loses, and not about doing the right thing.

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