There’s a new voice in the blogosphere. Josh Forman, the author of SlightlyLeftofCentre:
27 years old, from the left, and on a mission to reclaim the centre left from the loopy extremists from the far left who have hijacked the Labour Party.
Josh doesn’t care if Labour survives in its current state, as long as the people it used to represent are given a voice, and as long as there is a strong opposition to the National Government.
If you look through his posts Forman doesn’t seem all that left-wing though. His views seem pretty right-wing. And his targets aren’t the usual left-wing targets. He really dislikes National Party president Peter Goodfellow. And Bomber. And Kim Dotcom. And muslims. And the New Zealand Herald’s investigative editor David Fisher. You might say he happens to hate everyone Cameron Slater hates.
The similarities don’t stop there. Forman’s style seems very familiar. Politicians are troughers. If they lie they tell porkies. There are loads of breathless exclusives, all on issues close to Slater’s heart. Forman is very sympathetic to the Whale, as we see in the cached copy of this post that Forman has deleted. And the Whale loved Forman and promoted him heavily. You might even say it looks like Slater has set up a fake left-wing blog to disseminate his smears from, which is such a typically Slateresque thing to do I can’t believe he’s only just gotten around to it.
Josh Forman is a real guy. I met him for coffee earlier this week. He denied having any relationship with Slater, or that any of the content on his blog came from Slater. Something in his manner made me think that wasn’t quite true though, so I did a little more digging and found Forman’s completely brilliant press release back from when he launched his blog:
Josh Forman is pleased to announce the creation of a new force on the Left of politics in New Zealand.
“My goal is to create an online environment that provides sane and reasonable views from the left of the spectrum.” Mr Forman said this morning when asked about his motivation to create the site.
“For far too long, the dominant online voices on our side of politics have been the shrill and hysterical ranting on offer at The Daily Blog and The Standard.
Slightly Left of Centre will provide calm and reasoned views that more closely reflect the views of compassionate New Zealanders in the centre. These are the people that have flocked to National under John Key, and those who have abandoned Labour in droves.”
Responding to questions about working with WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater to build a voice for the centre left, Mr Forman was blunt. “He is extremely successful at what he does and we need a comparable success story of our own for the sake of decent democratic debate. The time for name calling and identity politics has passed.
And today Forman – the guy who has no relationship with Slater – posted this:
Dirty Politics: John Key – Pork Pie PM
Have you really never spoken to Cameron Slater in your capacity as Prime Minister?
I would like you to consider the following questions before you answer this, because I would suggest you choose your words carefully. Remember John, no-one likes a liar…
1) You told Parliament in late October that that you have never spoken to Cameron Slater in your capacity as Prime Minister. Was this really true?
2) Did you talk to Cameron Slater the night before the release of the IGIS report, and the Justice Chisholm report on Judith Collins?
3) How many times in the last month have you spoken to Slater?
4) Does Cameron Slater records his phone calls, and if he does, how much leverage does he now have over you (whether in your capacity as a private citizen, PM, Minister of Tourism etc, etc)?
5) Are you OK with the possibility of Slater having the calls you have made to him, or received from him released to the public? If any such recordings were to be released, how would they reflect on you? Would your position as PM be tenable if they were?
Forman is – allegedly – the person who leaked the details of recent Key’s text conversation with Slater, forcing Key to return to the House and make a personal statement correcting a question he answered earlier today in which he claimed he hadn’t been in conversation with Slater. And now, this evening, here’s Slater in a post titled ‘LABOUR’S OWN DIRTY POLITICS SCAM BUSTED, JOSH FORMAN AND ANNETTE KING NEED TO EXPLAIN':
In my conversation with Josh Forman I got suspicious because of his intense interest and so fed him some information that wasn’t strictly true so that it could be easily verified by cellphone records.
I repeat. I never had a text conversation with Judith Collins on Monday night. Cellphone records will clearly show this.
The following day Josh Forman continued along that line of inquiry and was imploring me to out the txt with John Key, I couldn’t work out why.
That is until this afternoon.
Josh Forman is a man who lacks integrity. In good faith I was willing to coach someone from the other side so they could have a better voice in the blogosphere.
I now know that his request for coaching was a subterfuge, at the behest of the Labour party in order to gain my trust.
He has used that and disseminated an email that only he was party to and so the media source was easily identifiable as was my plan.
Josh Forman works closely with Annette King, his own emails show that.
Labour’s own willingness to play dirty politics team has now been busted. Their sanctimony in parliament is shown for what is is worth.
What the hell is going on? I don’t know. But based on the premise that everything Slater says is a lie, my guess is that Slater had Forman leak the details of his text conversation with Key, and that this ‘falling out’ is a sham to make Forman look like a slightly less obvious sock-puppet of Slater’s, and to try and smear Labour with the ‘Dirty Politics’, ‘Labour does it too’, brush.
Update: As far as I can tell Forman has never worked for Labour, and their senior staffers have never heard of him.
And another update: Another post from Slater detailing the collaboration between Forman and Slater, but which tries to attack Forman’s job and makes me wonder if their split is real. Maybe?