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  • Knives are out and gleaming

    2018 - 10.21

    IF WE’VE seen gritty and aggressive campaigns before, then you’d have to think Tamworth would be inured and used to another election battle.

    But, while we never believed the third-round bout between Kevin Anderson and Peter Draper would be anything but feisty and hard fought, perhaps we hoped the personal pillorying of political opponents might have been lost in the history of the Windsor wars and the previous state bouts. Not to be. The knives are not just out but shining bright. The extraordinary attacks that go to the heart of personality and character have been loosed just lately.

    The last two days will surely see an increase in the fight. And we’re just not talking about the political personalities themselves.

    Some extraordinary slights have been slung by others about this 2015 state election.

    Not least by those on the sidelines, those wearing the mantle of management of business and community leadership.

    The gloves are off, it seems, when it comes to certain mining issues and the long-fought battle by environmentalists and anti-mining advocates and protesters.

    Coal seam gas might elicit plenty of hot air over its place in our world, but the no-holds-barred retaliation by people like Whitehaven CEO Paul Flynn in our pages today against ecologist Phil Spark is just one. Like a Russian tank running over a peasant, Mr Flynn has taken no prisoners in his literary attack.

    Character assassination? Maybe. Tempered? Not at all. Inconsiderate and hasty? Maybe.

    And it will harden some opinion. It might not win him winnable friends. It can be construed as bullying and belligerent.

    And that might well be how many see the political stance taken by Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray.

    Cr Murray has angered many by what is seen to be his public backing – as the figurehead of the council and the council community – in campaigning for the incumbent Nationals MP, and with little disguise of it being personal and individual.

    Cr Murray was elected as a self-confessed independent candidate when he first stood for TRC. While the council’s conservative Nationals-heavy political weight is no secret to anyone, it is the branding of his stand, so openly, so wrapped in the mayoral robes, that grates with many. Readers and website comments have been overwhelmingly negative.

    The tenor of other letters and opinion pieces is in tune with this. There’s a take-no-prisoners attitude by many. The battle will be decided on Saturday night, but old friendships and collegial relationships might be the big losers.

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