Monday, June 30, 2008

Time for what?

“How did the Government sink so low, and National soar
so high, when the economy is sound and unemployment is
probably as low as it can get?” This question was asked by
Dominion Post political journalist Vernon Small back on
February 28; and if it was a valid question then, it’s 10
times as valid now. But there’s still only one possible
answer, which is that regardless of the state of the
economy and society in general—a condition that can be
summed up, broadly, as “Most of us don’t really have very
much to complain about”—the Clark Labour Government is
trapped in the headlights of an oncoming steamroller called
"Time for a change, let the other lot have a go." It’s the
weakest reason in the world for changing a government but
it works nearly every time a government has been in office
six years or more. Labour itself benefited from it in 1999,
when the Shipley National Government was written off
months before the election that year. Wouldn’t it be nice if
we as a nation could beat this kneejerk reaction, assess the
actual political situation as it is and vote accordingly?
Because if we did, we’d return a Labour/Greens/Maori
Party government in November. There's no real reason at
all for putting National into office other than sheer
bloodymindedness: as if nine years of the same party in
power had overtaxed our attention spans—even when that
party can be shown by most criteria to have done a pretty
good job of running the country. For proof of that, look no
further than the National Party’s own policies, such as they
are: most of them amount to agreeing with Labour's
policies (KiwiSaver, student loans, nuclear ship visits, paid
parental leave, Kyoto Protocol, Treaty settlements, you
name it). At least Clark, Cullen & co had earned the right to
govern by 1999, after several years of hard graft in
opposition; National under John Key, one feels, has done
nothing to warrant election, unless coasting in neutral
qualifies as some weird new form of moral stature.

1 comment:

Truth Seeker said...

Gordon Campbell's speculative attempt on Scoop.co.nz to fill the National Party policy vacuum gives cause for serious concern. Reading the tea leaves, it may well be National has good reason for keeping its policies under wraps: voters would hate them if they knew.

Defacto privatisation of education, health and other services feature strongly. That translates into reduced services to end users and less accountability over all in true funder / povider split traditions we know all too well. Transparency goes out the window as contracts are commercial secrets.

Best of all for the ruling party, private sector contractors become political clients of the government awarding the contracts. Jeb Bush pioneered corrupting his state's public services and using his base of private contractors as EXCLUSIVE sources of donations (donations are public, remember) or they might not get their contracts renewed.

We do not want to go there.