I don't join lynch mobs and I don't intend to now. For that's what it's been this week, a sanctimonious, high and mighty news media lynch mob baying for John Key's blood.
I find myself agreeing with Garth George in this newspaper on Thursday that Key has no responsibility at all to say what subjects and matters comprised his eight-minute conversation with John Banks.
I would hold this view no matter who was talking, whether it was Phil Goff talking to the Greens or whoever. A private conversation is exactly that, private.
If John Banks had met John Key in the latter's ninth-floor office and it was known a tape recording had been made of the meeting no one would be demanding the tape be released. It is absurd.
There is no suggestion that they were in any way conspiring to commit a crime. One or the other it is thought as I write this may have spoken derisively of the age of Winston Peters' voters.
So what. Everyone speaks derisively of Winston Peters' voters. We all know they're the rump of Rob's old mob and that Winston is their master manipulator.
And frankly, it's a bit rich of Winston demanding Key be honest and a real bloke and come clean. Peters has run us ragged trying to get honest answers for a very long time. There was the Owen Glenn affair.
Way back in 1996, Winston did supremely well in the vote giving the distinct and firm impression he would help Labour form a government. Instead, after keeping the country without a government for months he shows up in the Beehive theatre as Jim Bolger's new Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister.
Mind you, I can't believe John Key's people or the cops who guard him didn't see that little package on the side of the table at which the two men took their tea and ask a question about it. It was something quite out of place. It might have been a bomb. Or a tape recorder. Whose recording has turned out to be almost as bad as a bomb.
And I'm not blind. This is not happy politics for John Key. He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. But it never ceases to amaze and disgust me how so few in the news media understand how much the public detests the newspapers and other media ganging up and demanding blood, in this case, because of a few words said in a tape recording of a private meeting, a tape recording that was in itself a dirty trick. People hate this.
The damnedest thing about it all, of course, is that it's played right into the hands of the joker in the pack. We will see what happens next Saturday.
A mate brought round a DVD last Saturday afternoon. A documentary, Inside Job. As a documentary work, as journalism, I don't believe I have ever seen the like. It bills itself as the film that cost over $20,000,000,000,000 to make. In other words it is the story of the global financial collapse of 2008, "which cost tens of millions of people their savings, their job and their homes".
By late September 2008, the American investment banks were starting to collapse. On a Friday night Lehman Brothers, with an A2 credit rating, went broke. It had run out of cash. It was the start of Armageddon, as a Lehman Brothers lawyer puts it in the film. By the way, the banks that went under all had solid credit ratings. Funny, that.
What is incredible was that Henry Paulson, the US Secretary of the Treasury, who'd made a fortune running and investing in Goldman Sachs, seemed more interested in protecting Goldman Sachs than helping his old rivals round at Lehman Brothers. Also incredibly, Paulson was Time's Man of the Year, in 2008.
Once again, and ain't it always the way, the people who should have agreed to talk, refused to be interviewed for the film. Nevertheless, many who agreed to talk took a while to see the real attitude of the interviewer. The panic in their eyes is wonderful to see.
Dirty tricks journalism, you might say. Well, this was one of the crimes of history, not a harmless chat in private between a couple of fellows in a Newmarket cafe. I think Inside Job is a must see. It's been all the rage at the big film festivals.
I continue to get wonderful mail about my book, Daughters of Erebus. These are letters from intelligent, professional people, people who for years have known that there was injustice after the Erebus crash and that justice continues to be denied to the pilots of Flight 901.
They are writing to thank me for making the effort. And it was an effort, one hell of an effort but I never for one minute thought it was not an effort worth making. Someone had to do it. In Napier, a judge gave me Verdict on Erebus signed by Peter Mahon. He thanked me for keeping alive the honourable memory of the Justice Mahon. I am showing these letters to the Collins family and they are deeply touched.