Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Gordon Campbell on Act's latest round of leadership ructions

Gordon Campbell on the latest round of leadership ructions in the Act Party

Call me old fashioned, but the recent versions of the Act Party almost make you feel nostalgic for the days of its youth. Back in the 1990s, Act were happy to be seen as a bunch of Randian enthusiasts brimful of certainty that once New Zealand heard The Message, the public would willingly entrust Act’s enlightened ones with the job of saving the country from its state of benighted economic ignorance. Oh, happier days. True, Act never did have much faith in democracy. (Left to their own devices the public will always do the Wrong Thing.) Back then though, Act used to be a real political party - with ideals, a clear policy agenda and a definite sense of mission. All different now. These days, it is full of cold-eyed political careerists. Winning public office on merit, by putting Act’s policies up against all comers in a democratic contest on a level playing field yada yada ? What - are you completely out of your mind ?

And so it has come to pass that someone called Jamie Whyte - over the Christmas break he was being touted as Act’s latest saviour - told RNZ this morning that unless Act gets re-elected, the dreaded Labour/Green cabal will come to power at this year’s election. When even your esrtwhile saviour can’t think of how to get elected on any other grounds than preventing the dreaded alternative from eventuating, its a sad day in Randville. Oh, and in the same RNZ report, Act’s Epsom candidacy and/or the party leadership seemed to be going either as a twofer or on a buy one now and put the other on lay-by basis. Reportedly, an offer of some sort might be being made to Matthew Hooton. Again, not exactly on merit but in order to forestall another dastardly alternative, which might see Hooton launching his own political party and quel horreur, splitting the right wing vote in Epsom. Expedience again, from a party that used to pride itself - however deludedly - on its ideals and principles. And not merely as a branding exercise, either.

Desperate times do call for desperate measures. It all comes back to National and its need for coalition “partners” that it can contort into shapes able to fit the letter - if not the spirit - of the current rules of parliamentary representation, sufficient to enable the Key government to cling to power. Quite some time ago, Act signalled its willingness to be National’s sock puppet to achieve that end. No doubt, a similar deal will be carried out to enable Colin Craig‘s Conservatives to serve the same purpose. It should be clear by now that these entities are not genuine political parties but flags of convenience for National.

To be fair though, keeping National in power is not the only purpose of Act and the Conservatives. Yes, they do serve that role. They’re also useful however as laundering operations for a policy agenda that National dare not call its own, lest that endanger its image of moderation. Unlike Labour, National chooses to contract out its extremism. By doing so, it got charter schools up and running via Act, and if re-elected, it will get a virtual flat tax policy on the rails via the Conservatives, without ever having to own those policies itself. Instead, it habitually uses the coalition talks to spring them on the public, and thereby get its wishlist into place through the back door. This is in marked contrast to the modus operandi of Labour, which has always acted like a control freak towards its erstwhile coalition partners. Rather than use the Greens to get left wing policies in through the back door, the Clark government was always more inclined to lock the back door and pocket the keys.

Will a deal be done with Act in Epsom ? Hard to see how Act’s pitiful support levels nationwide would deliver much more for National than having its own candidate ( Rodney Hide perhaps, reborn in blue ?) win the seat. Otherwise a deal with Act seems likely to achieve little more than tainting the deal that National really wants to make, with the Conservatives. Think about it, though. Would you want to fly on a plane where the Conserrvatives were one wing, and the Act Party was the other wing ? You’d have to hope that such an aircraft never got off the ground.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Valerie Morse: Key And NZ Police At G20: What A Contribution

While 200 New Zealand police officers are helping to repress protests outside of the G20 in Brisbane this week, John Key has been inside pushing the interests of giant multinational corporations to fast track the World Trade Organization (WTO) ... More>>

ALSO:

Gabriela Coutiño: Ayotzinapa Caravan Meets With EZLN In Oventic

In their visit to Zapatista Territory, parents of the 43 students disappeared from Ayotzinapa Guerrero, agreed with the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), to articulate a national grassroots movement that would question forced disappearances ... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Talk Of A Third Intifada: Where To From Here, Palestine?

When a journalist tries to do a historian’s job, the outcome can be quite interesting. Using history as a side note in a brief news report or political analysis oftentimes does more harm than good. More>>

ALSO:

David Swanson: Who Says Ferguson Can't End Well

Just as a police officer in a heightened state of panic surrounded by the comfort of impunity will shoot an innocent person, the Governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency preemptively, thus justifying violence in response to something ... More>>

Melanie Duval-Smith: Homeless Is Where The Heart Is

So, you are not allowed to feed the homeless on the streets of Florida. Last week, a 90 year old man and two Christian ministers were arrested for doing just that. I can hear the cries of the right wingers from here. “Not in our back yard”, ... More>>

John Chuckman: What We Truly Learned From the Great War and the Absurdity of Remembrance Day

No matter what high-blown claims the politicians make each year on Remembrance Day, The Great War was essentially a fight between two branches of a single royal family over the balance of power on the continent of Europe, British foreign policy holding ... More>>

Redress Information: A European Call To Suspend EU-Israel Association Agreement

More than 300 political parties, trade unions and campaign groups have called on the European Union to suspend its “association agreement” with Israel. The agreement, which came into force in 2000, facilitates largely unrestricted trade with Israel ... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: The Age Of TV Jokers: Arab Media On The Brink

As I was finalizing my research for this article, I found myself browsing through a heap of hilarious videos by mostly Egyptian TV show hosts Tawfiq Okasha and Amr Adeeb. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news