The Opposition is making heavy weather of trying to make Prime Minister John Key responsible for what Cameron Slater writes on his blog and in his personal communications.

I say in a kind and caring way that they should give it up. Because - and I say this even more caringly and kindly - Slater, aka the Whale, is not always responsible for what he writes.

By his own admission, Slater has had his battles with depression. By his own admission he is an embellisher.

Anyone who follows his blog knows him as a force of nature once he starts tapping his keyboard and pushing the upload button.


His blog is one man's opinion, raw and unedited.

It is politics red and bloody and some of what you read you wonder if you really needed to know.

But back I go like a junkie. I enjoy the Whaleoil blog just like I enjoy the Left's The Standard and The Daily Blog.

The blogs, as mad and as bad they are, add richness and diversity to political debate.

It's true much of it is gossip. The blogs have lifted the lid on what was once confined to Bellamy's. They have opened it up.

Political gossip always has an angle, juiciness trumps veracity and its effect can prove lethal.

But don't blame blogs. Gossip has been used as a political weapon for as long as there's been politics.

The complaints about Whaleoil are altogether too prissy. Politicians selectively leak material to make themselves look good and their opponents bad. It's not always accurate or true.


Politicians cultivate media contacts and work closely with those journalists with whom they establish rapport and trust.

Journalists, for their part, trade information. It is the currency of their craft.

It is how facts are assembled and news stories broken.

Politicians are no longer confined to mainstream journalists. They can feed blogs.

And why shouldn't they? The blogs are the new pamphleteers without need for paper or printing press.

The good ones generate big readerships and are an excellent way to push political points.

The blogs are the wild west of political reporting. They are anarchical.

They are threatening to established political, legal and media institutions. They are free speech at the click of a button. If you don't like them, don't go there.

Key is responsible for every aspect of government, every minister, every policy decision, every bit of spending.

That the Opposition is busy trying to make him responsible for Slater's writings suggests not much is wrong with his administration.

I don't believe that. They should forget the Whale and get on with their job.

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