Chris Trotter goes for broke in today’s SST. He urges the swinging voters who tell pollsters they will vote National this year to ask themselves, “Is this the company I want to keep?”
He points out that the farmers, wealthy and reactionaries have always held ordinary city-dwelling folk in contempt, opposed every progressive reform and acted exclusively in their own self-interest, often at the expense of wider society.
I am happy with the general tenor of what he says. From the peeks that we have been allowed of National’s policies it is clear that the most vulnerable workers are in for another bashing should National win.
Perhaps Trotter goes a little far in places. He says, “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.”
Okay, I can think of the the accident compensation scheme, Human Rights Commission Act 1977 and the Human Rights Act 1993, so the last statement isn’t 100% true. Could probably think of a few more if I really put my mind to it. But that’s quibbling. It’s almost entirely true, so the substantive point stands. [Update: It has been pointed out to me that as Trotter speaks here of the reactionaries and not the Nartional Party, what he writes is arguably entirely true, if not tautological.]
Trotter may be giving the conservatives ammunition by engaging in such full-on rhetoric. One right-wing blog has labelled his rant “hate speech”, and accused him of describing, “the backbone of the National vote as collectively the most evil and foul people ever.” They overstate things much as Trotter does, if not more so; he does not, for example “abuse every small business owner, every person on a high salary.” Nor does he use the words “evil” and “foul”. But other right-wing commentators may not be so inept.
So, hate speech or timely wake-up call to those who may be about to subvert their own interests by voting for the very people who are out to screw them?
[Update: TUMEKE! provides a comprehensive response to Trotter that incorporates a left-wing viewpoint on Labour’s shortcomings.