Some mandate

The kiwiblogright seem to think that Saturday’s election represents a great victory. Sorry to spoil the party, but here’s what happened last week…

First off, we saw the end of the Reagan era in the right’s ideological heartland. On “Face the Nation” this morning, leading conservative commentator David Brooks sees the US conservative movement with “no leaders,” in a “world of pain,” and “lacking a coherent belief system.” Very soon, the most powerful man in the world will be a redistributing “socialist.”

In NZ, the right-wing bloc got 49.17% on election night. Some majority. Okay, I’ll be generous, 50.06% if you count Dunne. But that could reduce with specials. The left bloc got 45.34% (including Winnie on the left), 4.72% less than the right bloc. A 2.5% swing would see a change of government in three years.

The 43 or 44 strong Labour caucus includes at least 13 capable new members, and Goff will be a formidable leader. It will provide serious oppostion. (Don’t believe me? Listen to Richard Prebble agreeing with Mark Goshe about this.) Forty-three or four seats is a useful base — look at the come-back National staged in 2005 with a whole lot less.

And remember, the National Party might have won, but its ideology didn’t. It spent 9 years out of power because it took so long to wake up to how deeply unpopular neo-liberal ideas are in NZ, and then got into power after frantically working to convince NZers that it would only tamper a little bit — promise, hand on heart –with much of what Labour’s done over those 9 years.

Perhaps, we should let the kiwiblogright relish the victory while they can. it may be a very long time before they get another to celebrate.

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11 Responses to “Some mandate”

  1. Buggerlugs Says:

    fuck you are a sad and sore loser.

    Have I said something that you don’t agree with, or is it that it doesn’t agree with you? Not the same thing.

  2. Steve Withers Says:

    Well said, Pete. You’ve nailed it. It has been interesting to watch some on the right respond to a narrow win as though they have won the argument. In reality, they are on probation. They have won the support of about 6% of the electorate who have loyally supported labour for at least 3 past elections….and grew tired of Helen (as portrayed in media like the NZ Herald, who yearned for a National government).

    If National isn’t careful about what they do…and who they do it to…they will be a one term government……if they last the whole term. Peter Dunne won’t hang around to go down the drain with the National / ACT train wreck if those two parties fall out.

  3. Ed Snack Says:

    Sorry JP, sore loser, and if you count Winston as “left” then you are delusional. Winnie is of the “baubles” wing of politics. Take his 4.3% and place it ideologically (and not where he found a place where they would overlook his “peccadillos”) then the margin is significant. And by the way, you’re welcome to him, clinging to Winston like that was one of the key points where the elctorate turned against you. I think Labour might have stood a decent chance if Clark had acted decisively, fired Winston at the right time, once Key had disowned him. But the lust for power was too strong, and it showed.

    Look, there are 5 recognised stages of grieving, you start with denial and work through anger, so stick with it, a form of calm will eventually return. Put up with the ribbing, you gave out enough yourself and should accept it for what it is, a little tribalism, and gentle by many countries standards.

    Neoliberalism is just a tag, the world has changed a bit. I don’t think much of the vaunted “kiwi” icons are worth keeping, but like much of Cullen’s legacy, we’re stuck with them. Bribing people with their own money is an easy way to look generous, but it is not a long term strategy.

    But stay calm, serenity and sensible blogging will return. You may even regret these petulant outbursts. The wheel will turn, and if John Key and his merry men turn out as bad as you think, why, you’ll have many you see as ideological enemies actually joining in to denigrate them. But they’re not the satans you imagine, and they have been surprisingly gracious in victory have they not ? More so than that sour little speech of Clark’s. Despite being attacked very personally at Clark’s personal direction, Key is still prepared to promote her only chance of a decent follow on role, overseas either for NZ or for an international organisation. She wouldn’t stand a chance without that support, and if Key was anything like the man you claim him to be, he would have stuck the knife in and offered her a post to Nuie or Pitcairn.

    Chin up, you, and we, will survive.

  4. jafapete Says:

    Ed, I’m very happy to see Peters go. I have argued many times that ideologically he belongs in the right-leaning populist camp, offering a mix of social conservatism and big government largesse. You know, like the Louisiana Democrats such as Huey Long, and about as corrupt. (One Louisiana Democrat observed that, “Half of Louisiana is under water and the other half is under indictment.”) Good riddance.

    But, given that John Key and Rodney Hide both ruled him out of any National/ACT government, I think it’s fair to add his votes to the left column. That’s analysis, not endorsement.

    Show me where I have said that Key is satanic, vengeful or whatever. I do have reservations about the professionalism and discipline of the National caucus, given the way that the half-baked policies were unveiled and the unbelieveable looseness shown by some people who should have known better. But that’s another matter. So, while I’m not expecting great things from the new government, I am hopeful that they can learn fast and not stuff up too badly.

    And yes, I agree that Clark’s “bonfire” remark disqualified the speech as gracious, but Clark never did show any quarter.

  5. sammy Says:

    It’s pretty simple really. If National behave like they have a mandate to move right, they’ll get Groundhog Day.

    Check out National’s vote in 1990 (promise: “decent society”) and 1993 (reality: Ruthanasia). Then add the new ingredient – MMP. There’s your answer. A Labour-Green government in 2011.

    But I think Key understands this. The Kiwiblog Right never will.

  6. Buggerlugs Says:

    Jesus sammy – get real. Do you not recall the mess left by the outgoing Labour Govt in 1990? Something had to give, and while Ruth Richardson’s plan was about as palatable as a cup of cold sick, even Clark & Cullen of recent memory would have done something similar (just not as violently) because THEY WOULD HAVE HAD TO.

    Stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about the country.

  7. Tom Semmens Says:

    I had an interesting discussion with a well-healed, besuited, middle management white male National supporter who seemed to think MMP was a disaster that disqualified governments from doing anything. When I pointed out that MMP had not prevented Kiwisaver, the Cullen Fund, kiwibank, and a raft of progressive social changes, and furthermore the CONSULTATIVE nature of MMP means decisions may take longer but are usually better and far, far, far more “stickable” than they used to be. His response? He blinked twice and then launched a tirade about his tax cut and getting all the “ugly lesbo bitches” and “gaybos” out of office.

    *sigh* His violent views are far more widely held than many civilised left wingers in their genteel restored villas realise, are extremely common amongst middle-aged men of all classes.

    Pearls before swine…

  8. macdoctor01 Says:

    JP: A 2.5% swing would see a change of government in three years

    That does rather depend on which way the swing goes, doesn’t it? ;-)

    Tom: Nice anecdote. Gross generalisation. There is ignorance and prejudice on both sides of the political divide. Just read Chris Trotter’s and Steve Braunias’ contributions from yesterday. Nasty.

  9. Tom Semmens Says:

    macdoctor01 – When the left blogs start spewing anti-semetic hate about getting rid of the hook nosed yid, railing against a conspiracy of Jewish bankers, making up stories about John Key’s wife indulging in lesbian sex in public toilets and claiming the government has a secret sinister agenda to sell us out to Opus Dei you will have a point.

    Otherwise, you are just talking bullshit.

  10. Paul Williams Says:

    Very well put indeed JP. Labour didn’t win, but neither were they or the left decimated. They’re in a good position to contest ’11.

  11. macdoctor01 Says:

    Tom:
    Apparently, you think that vitriol expressed in hateful, racist terms is somehow worse than venom expressed in superior intellectual-put-down terms. How very socialist of you.

    Somehow it is okay for you to characterise me (a centre right voter and middle aged male) as a rabid homophobe (like your “friend”) or for Trotter to characterise me (on the same demographic bias) as a beer-swilling, misogynist moron. Even today an Australian reporter called National voters “doped slugs”

    Sadly, you can’t seem to grasp that this shows a contempt for other people equally as horrible as the worst right-wing racist ravings.

    tom, MacDoc et al.

    It is true that while Trotter’s and Braunias’ comments might be offensive to some, they don’t even begin to compare to the vile rumours spewed forth by some of the kiwiblog right. However, MacDoc has not indulged in that sort of hate-mongering, and it is wrong to hold the sins of the kiwiblog right against him. Back to civilised discourse.

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