Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sex in the Inner-City

I was going to write about Steve Cansdell tonight.

There were stories published in the last few days that indicated that the person who had forced his hand was the ex-staffer who had signed the stat-dec which helped him to escape the speeding fine.

This surprised me.  The person who signed the stat dec was always the one in the most legal trouble - signing a false stat dec is a very serious criminal offence.

But, it appears, this person revealed all because he was 'jolted into action by the MPs appointment as the Parliamentary Secretary for Police."

In any event, those plans were cast aside when I read this tweet:
Thanks to the fact that I was still at work at 6, I didn't see Channel 9 news, but as best I can tell there were no shocking revelations.  Experience tells us that this was probably the result of threats from the relevant parties as to what would occur if the story was broadcast.

I've just run a few carefully worded Google News searches, and came up with an SMH story that says the following:
The interesting part is that the SMH story goes on to provide the following detail:
Having read innumerable police statements over the years, I can tell you that the information about the alleged perpetrator's age is par for the course. Police will usually reveal the perpetrator's name and often even their suburb of residence.

I don't know how it was that it came to light that the alleged offender was a NSW minister, but one way or another, it did. And, of course, when you are dealing with as small a group as Coalition ministry, how many 62 year old men could there be?

Just one.

Now, the Herald has declined to name the minister, despite giving anyone with access to Wikipedia everything they need to find out who it is. Presumably they have done so on the advice of lawyers.

I'm not going to name the minister - if it's good enough for the Herald then it's good enough for me. 

That said, at least one twitter account has already named the alleged perpetrator, tweeting:
I've blocked out the name they happily provided because I don't want to get sued. It appears that @vexnews is happy to prioritise a cheap laugh over a little prudence. Time will tell if they end up paying for that (literally!).

In any event, without saying who it is and without knowing any details it is difficult to say very much about what is happening.  

What is clear is that this not only comes at an awful time for O'Farrell and his government, but seems to be the start of a worrying trend.

The Cansdell matter was dealt with (to the Coalition's credit) promptly.  Cansdell was out the door before the story broke, meaning that O'Farrell and Stoner could stay in front of the story.

It wasn't good, and no doubt as the story continues to develop there will be further pain for the Coalition, but at least every story is headed with words to the effect of "Ex-NSW MP Steve Cansdell".

The seniority of the person involved in this new matter is going to cause more problems - it is easy to tip out a lowly backbencher, but a "senior minister" (to use the Herald's term) can not be disposed of without fuss.

There can be no doubt that O'Farrell knows who the perpetrator is.  I don't doubt that by mid-morning tomorrow pretty much everyone else will know too.
He's in this picture...
If the 62 year old minister does not throw in the towel immediately (and I mean, before lunch) then every single story will be about how the O'Farrell government is starting to look very much like the Labor governments that preceded it.

Winning a 2nd term really should not be hard for the Coalition.  They are competing against a Labor party that is still reeling from the demolition job the electorate did on them in March.

Labor are low on numbers, have a leader renowned as a head-kicker who has barely said "Boo" since his elevation, and an ex-leader actively raising her profile without revealing what her goal is.

Stuff like this is going to move people away from deriding Labor towards deriding NSW politicians generally. It may mean that O'Farrell will lose his best campaign theme come 2015 - "Better than the last lot!"

The 62 year old needs to turfed out, and it needs to be done before the evening news tomorrow (Friday).  This story is going to be big no matter what O'Farrell does, and he needs to decide whether he wants the headline to be "O'Farrell stands by minister accused of public sex act" or "Minister accused of public sex act quits in disgrace".

The ball's in O'Farrell's court.  He better do something or else the media is going to do it for him.

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