Undergroundnetwork


You make it hard for me to agree with you! by underground

Chris Trotter’s latest Sunday Star Times column reflects the desperation of the left as Labour plummets in the polls, and National threatens to obtain enough votes to govern alone. He pleads with those voters who have abandoned Labour for National to think about who are National’s core supporters they will be joining. He then proceeds to attack the “cockies”, the “rich” and the “reactionaries”, like a rabid Marxist only can. And I agree with what he has to say. Well, not entirely!Trotter is right to question why these people are making the switch, and to ask them to consider what the National party really stands for. However his column comes across rather hysterical. Without any real examples he smears all farmers of being selfish and insular and my personal favourite, “possessed of an indefatigable sense of moral superiority over everyone whose front door looks out upon a street instead of a paddock”. If you want to convince someone to reconsider their vote come election time, surely you will need to put forward a more compelling argument than Trotter does here. I do agree with a lot he has to say, particularly on the disdain some farmers clearly have for the environment, the same environment that sustains their lifestyle, but one cannot collectively smear all farmers with Trotter’s broad generalisations. With each accusation he refers to “these people”, as though all farmers can be grouped as alike in all possible ways. For example, how can one seriously tarnish all farmers with the actions of the few idiots who released the calicivirus? Behind the hysterics there are some very good arguments to be made, however his generalisations ruin their effectiveness.

Once he is finished with the “cockies”, he moves on to the “rich”. Again there is a valid argument behind Trotter’s rant, which is that National’s allegiances are with those who earn in the very top wage brackets, whose interests mostly run contrary to everyone else’s. Again Trotter generalises, as many wealthy people aren’t as evil as Trotter believes. Sure he for the most part has a point, particularly around employment law and social services, but it is not fair to group all high wage earners together. Some rich people are incredibly generous, and some charitable organisations owe a lot to the large donations they receive from single donors. I wonder how much Chris earns? And I wonder about how charitable he is?

On to the third group Trotter lambastes, the “reactionaries”. Here I agree with him 100 per cent! He defines the reactionaries as:

Defenders of the faith; upholders of decent family values; sadistic; bigoted; deranged hankerers after a world that – thankfully – has long since passed away.

The people who think prisons are the solution to the problems that fill them. The people who resent having to treat women, gays, ethnic minorities and the disabled as human beings. The people who think anyone who doesn’t laugh at a racist joke is an example of “political correctness gone mad”. The people who supported the Springbok Tour, thought Vietnam and Iraq were “noble causes”, and opposed New Zealand becoming nuclear-free. The people who deny climate change.

Yes, these are the people you will be joining when you make the big switch. The people who have opposed every single progressive reform that New Zealand has ever undertaken – yes, every single one.

Within National’s core support, this group is certainly prevalent. The socially conservative bigots who still believe it is 1950, and have resisted every social change since then. The idiots who equate offending people with being right and discredit all who disagree with them as “political correct”. Chris Trotter is definitely on the money here!

As disillusioned as I am with Labour at times, a parliamentary majority for National is definitely concerning. I don’t trust National. I don’t believe John Key is at all sincere in most of what he says, as his message appears to change depending on his audience. You have to be incredibly naïve to believe John Key’s party really cares about “middle New Zealand”. Behind all his populist spiel, big business interests are clearly the focus. I’m not convinced anything has changed since Brash’s departure. National have a track record of saying one thing and then doing another, so what can we expect post election? Considering their policy releases are as of yet devoid of detail, how do we know what the party will do following the election? I fear for the fate of those at the very bottom of the heap. What caustic policies will National be able to push through with a parliamentary majority? It is a shame that “anything but Labour” seems to be a good enough reason for most voters to grant them that power.

Trotter is right to be alarmed, however I feel his commentary comes across hysterical. He writes very well, and is great with the English language, but gets far too carried away sometimes. I thought Trotter’s “No left turn” was a great read, with some interesting observations, however his generalisations and biases become somewhat tiresome. The same is the case with his Star Times columns.

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5 Comments so far
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“Within National’s core support, this group is certainly prevalent. The socially conservative bigots who still believe it is 1950, and have resisted every social change since then. The idiots who equate offending people with being right and discredit all who disagree with them as “political correct”.

As a journalism student you will understand the importance of facts and figures to back up assertions. What are yours for the statement above?

“I fear for the fate of those at the very bottom of the heap.”
The people at the bottom have the most to lose from the recession wer’e facing and the most to gain from economic growth which John Key & National are better equipped to help NZ achieve – they know how make the cake bigger rather than just trying to slice the same sized cake into more pieces as Labour does.

Comment by homepaddock

Got me there mate, my evidence is completely anecdotal! Just the experience of seeing National supporters shoot down arguments which appeal to human rights as “politically correct” and pat themselves on the back for offending anyone who cares about anyone other than their own. Saying this group is a solid part of National’s support unfortunately cannot be backed up empirically, but I maintain these “reactionaries” are there none the less and can be found from blog posts to letters to the editor. Damn I wish I could refer to some stats!

As for National and the economy, what will the cost of National’s glorious tax cuts be for example? What social policies will face the axe? Neither you or I know that, because they don’t want to release specifics and enter into the debate. With that in mind, how can you be confident they know how to run the economy well? Those I have spoken to in charitable organisations, some of which receive government funds, and social workers who work with the poor and disadvantaged are concerned about the future and whether they will see a cut in funds and an increase in clients. It surprises me we hear so little from those at the coalface about economic and social issues.

Throughout history Labour has been handed ailing economies and deficits after National governance. Perhaps it is a myth that National are better with the economy than Labour.

Comment by underground

You get reactionaries in all parties, but fortunately they don’t usually have control.

“Throughout history Labour has been handed ailing economies and deficits after National governance. Perhaps it is a myth that National are better with the economy than Labour.”

National has also taken over ailing economies & deficits from Labour. Most recently in 1990 and the economy was in a much better shape when Labour took power in 1999 but now we’re in recession.

Comment by homepaddock

I think overseas factors have had more to do with the recession than the failings of Labour, although I think you and I will agree that this government has not done enough to use the fruits of the economic purple patch of a few years back to make the hard times easier for the majority of Kiwis.

Comment by underground

I remember reading in the Dominion Post (or elsewhere) that the gap between rich and poor in New Zealand has narrowed – for the first time in many many years. A noble achievement for Labour and one which the National party could reverse, as a result of their economic theory and policy.

Comment by JL




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