Snowflake Cameron Slater and team do ‘walkies’ to court for news media. Video grab: Chris McKeen/Fairfax NZ

One way or another Cameron Slater is going to have to get used to not having Colin Craig as a meal ticket/bogeyman to scare funds out of his cult members.

It’s been awful watching Slater, his deputy dog Pete Belt, and wife Juana Atkins milk the outrage and paranoia they have foamed up among the branded cap wearers who read their dreadful website. They’ve rabbited on to their readers about nasty ‘bullying’ Colin Craig trying to ‘silence’ their ‘truth-telling’ website … (excuse me, I need to find a spittoon) … while repeatedly raising ‘defence’ funds from them.

Sure, we all love begging bowl kitty, but the repeated use of ‘Oh noes, we need your money because we are sooo intimidated by nasty Colin Craig who wants to [sob] shut us down and take the food off our table’ (or words to that effect) gave me the heebie-jeebies after a while.
Likewise the peddling of their own victimhood, laced with attacks on Craig, like this from January referring to “Colin deep pockets Craig” and “vexatious Colin Craig”:

I guess nobody ever went broke overestimating the gullibility of readers of the Slater PR attack blog

Why, if they didn’t have Colin Craig to rally around as a fund-raising theme, they’d have to invent him.

Juana Atkins clutches victimhood and simultaneously threatens Craig with public exposure of “every juicy and sordid detail”. I don’t know about you, but I find that… troubling.

Of course, I could  be completely misunderstanding this whole situation. It could be Juana is right and Colin Craig is really determined to dedicate his life and his fortune to smashing the innocent truth-telling angels over at Whaleoil into the ground for no reason whatsoever except angry ‘vexatiousness’. All they did at the Slater family hate blog was ‘tell the truth’. And now, to defend themselves the Slaters have to expose ‘every sordid detail’. Sure. Could be. Maybe. Is that how you read that?

Say what? How much?

Because, despite appearances, I don’t pay that much attention (or had it been previously disclosed? Dunno) but I had not heard until today that Slater Jnr is counter-suing Colin Craig for $16 million dollars. Oh, Lol!

$16,234,020! Hilarious! It seems to me only an idiot could suggest Slater’s reputation was so damaged. (Click to read full details of Slater Jnr’s bizarre claims at NZ Herald)

Seriously, $16 million dollars? What a joke! Hahaha. Good grief.

And his lawyers have let that claim go forward? ’nuff said.

I expect this trial to bring to the surface more of the cynical fantasy landscape that the Slater family and Pete Belt inhabit. To me, they really do seem out of touch with reality. The $16 million dollars claim is just ludicrous.

No-one could, not even remotely, call me a fan of Colin Craig. But my sympathies, if you can call them that, are slightly with Craig in this duel of the dickheads.

Slater, as we have seen before, and discussed here at The Paepae in some detail, is, in my personal opinion – based on my own observations of him, his work, some correspondence and hours and hours of personal, one-to one interactions with him over some years – a dishonest, shifty, [snip – drifted into ad hominem there, sorry] man who seeks to destroy and demean his ‘targets’ as a routine – sometimes business – activity.

The cunning plan against Colin Craig was hatched in secret. (Is that Simon Lusk on the left?)

Was the campaign to destabilise Colin Craig’s leadership of the Conservative Party (which gained 3.97% of the vote in 2014, polling as high as 4.6%) a commercial venture? Or a political one? I don’t know.
Or was it an issue of morality? Dunno, but that seems unlikely to me, even for a prize hypocrite like Slater Jnr. Given his own publicised ‘sins’ in this particular moral area, surely he couldn’t, wouldn’t go there? Possible I guess.
Or was it just for shit and giggles? Really, I wouldn’t put it past him.

But whatever the exact motivation or genesis, as I see it, the campaign against Colin Craig was, in its execution, nasty, cynical and deliberate – typical Slater Jnr smear tactics: Twisting and manipulating so-called facts or half-truths, dribbling them out on his website, with dubious ‘commenters’ (some sock puppets) amplifying and casting them in a bad light. Slater ’embellishes’ things. (He’s “not a journalist”, he’s “a partisan blogger” remember? He admits it – see Part of the news media? or a “PR blog” dedicated to “destroying” reputations?).

The goal is to make the ‘target’ look bad, put them under pressure to respond, and to provoke a reaction – or a mistake or a mis-step. Again, I might be misunderstanding this whole thing. But I don’t think so.
Re-read his own testimony at the Chisholm Inquiry, and ask yourself: Is Cameron Slater a truthful person? see: ‘Taking one for the team’ (The tl;dr version of Slater Jnr at the Chisholm inquiry).

Fighting fire under pressure

In this case, a strong argument can be made that Colin Craig, under sustained attack from Slater and boy-wonder Jordan Williams, fought fire with fire. His booklet ‘Dirty Politics and Hidden Agendas’ was a case of defending himself – clumsily maybe – under attack. Qualified privilege. That’s my personal view.

Under pressure, wounded and severely outgunned by the slick, grubby and well-practised smear machine that is the Whaleoil PR attack blog, Craig made some poor decisions. (I’ve said before: breaching his confidentiality undertaking to Ms MacGregor was a very bad mistake.) But producing and publishing that booklet, with whatever errors are in it, strikes me as forgivable in the circumstances – with respect to Williams and Slater.

I’m not quite so sure about John Stringer, who, while he ran off half-cocked and apparently believed and repeated some untrue things he’d been told, it seems to me probably wasn’t part of a conspiracy with the other two in the way Craig supposed he was.

But, to be fair, Stringer did seem to relish his 15 minutes of fame, didn’t he? Boy, he made the most of his time in the spotlight. Maybe he’s just a naturally enthusiastic guy. Maybe he regrets that now. Maybe he doesn’t. He certainly seems genuine in his view that Craig needed to stop being leader of the Conservative Party.

So, will either Slater or Craig ‘go down’ at the conclusion of this trial? Dunno. Your guess is as good as mine. This was a good comment from @aniobrien:

Click to read on Twitter

But one person loses again, for sure: I’m not looking forward to Ms MacGregor being dragged through it all again. I wonder who she’ll have as a support person this time?

– P

PS I’m not going to attempt to do blow-by-blow reporting of this trial, just occasional commentary. It’s just too bilious.

Facts are stated to the best of my knowledge and commentary is my honest opinion. Corrections or clarifications are always welcome by email. Comments are open, but may be moderated.
– Best wishes, Peter Aranyi