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Polity: Moral mandates in Europe

Written By: - Date published: 1:16 pm, February 10th, 2014 - 36 comments
Categories: john key, Minister for International Embarrassment, Politics - Tags: ,

Rob Salmond at Polity highlights John Key’s naivety in politics. It isn’t hard because he is a poor amateur and largely unskilled. 

scandinavian_primeministers

Our Prime Minister thinks the plurality (largest single) party has some form of moral authority to govern. I think he should tell that to:

  • Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden
  • Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway
  • Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark

All of these leaders currently head coalitions that exclude the largest party in their country’s Parliament.

In proportional representation elections, it is quite normal for a government to be formed without the plurality party – three out of the four Scandinavian countries have that situation right now. And I’ll bet there was very little hand wringing about morals once the votes were in.

John Key should quit living in the FPP past. Individual party totals don’t mean much in MMP – coalition totals are what matter.

36 comments on “Polity: Moral mandates in Europe”

  1. Draco T Bastard 2

    John Key should quit living in the FPP past.

    It’s not that he’s living in the past – it’s that he’s very aware that National’s policies aren’t exactly liked by the majority and so National have very little chance of maintaining a strangle hold on power as they did under FPP. It’s why he, and the right in general, wanted to go back to a less proportional electoral system and why National haven’t made the changes that the electoral commission recommended. The broken MMP system we have can be more easily manipulated than the one we would have if they made the changes.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        For the good of the Left, both Labour and Greens need to democratise MMP even more, and sort out/tighten party and campaign funding.

        Oh yeah, corporate and industry lobbying needs to be sidelined permanently.

        • BM 2.1.1.1

          How about union funding/lobbying?

          • KJT 2.1.1.1.1

            State funding on the basis of, individual, paid up and certified party members, with no other funding, union, corporate or wealthy individual, allowed, is fine by me. With party membership fees set by statute, and the same for all parties.

            And a ban on accepting lucrative private sector, figurehead, directorships/bribes after leaving parliament.

            I doubt if your mates would be happy with being unable to buy votes, or accept the payment for services rendered, on retirement from politics, however.

        • Wayne 2.1.1.2

          Police state then?

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2.1

            No, just some sensible rules that helps society to better itself rather than allowing a few to continue to steal from society through getting the policies that they’ve bought.

          • McFlock 2.1.1.2.2

            how the fuck do you get “police state” from crackdowns on campaign funding and lobbying?

            • felix 2.1.1.2.2.1

              By being a thoroughly dishonest shit?

              • greywarbler

                I don’t think he can help it, it’s ingrained. It’s just the way ‘we’ do things around here. A stock answer all ready to pop out, like peeling a band aid to put on a cut. If it’s this it’s okay, suggest changes, and here we go ‘Police state, then?’

  2. Enough is Enough 3

    I dont think Mr Key is being politically naieve. In fact the exact opposite.

    He is in trouble this year no matter which way you read the numbers. He is trying to convince the media and electorate that there is some made up convention that the largest party has a right to govern.

    He knows it is bullshit. He may well win that narrative again as he does with most of his bullshit.

    A brilliant politician notwithstanding how evil he is.

  3. greywarbler 4

    John Key is naive. Well then all the rest of us are babes in nappies.

    And why is it not okay to say that a female or male Prime Minister is hot! Surely some passing remark can be made? These Scandinavians are perhaps more likely to be blonde, though. And gentlemen do prefer them, except when they are NACT shade, and it seems sometimes that assortment are all blonde.

    Probably it’s been the colour du jour since Maggie (I know I keep you amused but I feel Im being used, Oh maggie I couldnt have tried any more.) The song goes on.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      In the age of image is everything, good looking men and women get measurably more votes. And promotions. And pay. Then those who aren’t. It’s been that way for a long time.

  4. greywarbler 5

    Mmm. Is often true. I wonder if there is something that draws people more than just the looks, – a look of health and strength, some charisma, sincerity, keenness, and ability.

    Michael Joseph Savage was a smallish guy I think. He proved you don’t have to be a big, tall man to draw people. Though a USA president, I think it was Roosevelt? liked at most times to have the cameras on his torso and not lingering on his wheelchair. So that tends to underline my thoughts on health and strength.

    John A Lee was quite bluff, big and healthy and thought that Michael J. should be resigning because he wasn’t well. But did not realise that Michael was playing a bigger game of getting through ground-breaking legislation and this little, sick man won through. So sometimes your time comes whether you are PR fodder or not.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      There is a tangible presence around charismatic leaders. Physical good health and looks is but a small portion of that, I agree.

      • emergency mike 5.1.1

        Hilter – ugly short guy with a stupid mo, big charisma, great PRopaganda.

      • Chooky 5.1.2

        +1 greywarbler …and CV….i think commitment and drive and a gut or psychic understanding of your audience/voters is big one

        …plus of course you have to believe in your voters and want the best for them …warmth and connection…and believe in yourself that you can be the best ( working with others) to give them what is best for them

        ….balance and judgment is also required ( Norm Kirk had it…Helen Clark….Muldoon….Holyoak

        ….humility is also required ( cant just be a prima donna)

      • KJT 5.1.3

        New Zealanders vote for either the least incompetent seeming party at the time, or to get rid of the lot they don’t like now. Of course the only alternative is the lot we didn’t like last time.

        Unfortunately, also, who gets in depends almost entirely on the 20 odd % of those who vote, who are swing voters.
        Hence we get focus group policies, like tough on crime, which appeals to that fickle and unprincipled bunch.
        Politicians do not have to confirm to the democratic wishes of the majority. They know that they only have to appeal to the small proportion that change their vote.

  5. greywarbler 6

    What was it about Herr Hi…r? What did people want from him, think he could supply? Better than others.

  6. BrucetheMoose 7

    Curious for Key to be making such claims. To make any moral judgements, you must have good, solid moral values to begin with. I constantly struggle to see little, if anything in Key and his behaviour that would constitute such characteristics.

  7. SHG (not Colonial Viper) 8

    Rob Salmond at Polity highlights John Key’s naivety in politics. It isn’t hard because he is a poor amateur and largely unskilled.

    I find this meme amusing. Yes, the guy who took Helen Clark and Michael Cullen and Phil Goff apart is a poor unskilled amateur.

    It’s as if it is heresy to admit that John Key is the greatest NZ politician of recent memory.

  8. Disraeli Gladstone 9

    John Key is a formidable populist. To suggest he’s naive, an amateur or unskilled is to ignore the last eight years since he became party leader.

    He’s consistently turned on a pin like some Groucho Marx, swapping principles when the moment is perfectly timed. He’s taken a mediocre, plodding government and turned it into something that can still command 40%+ of the vote.

    He ushered in asset sales that were a minor disaster and has hardly been knocked by it. He’s played the role of a gay icon which the media has gone along with even though he voted against civil unions. When he turns up on the campaign trail, people consistently want to actually talk to him.

    He’s creating a convention that is going to feed into the media cycle during the election campaign. Watch how pundits start talking about how the government couldn’t possibly be formed without National (even though it could).

    Key the Policy Maker is rubbish. Key the Prime Minister, not much better. Key the Politician? Near unmatched. This is his element.

    So maybe the Left stops underestimating him so that he doesn’t win again this year?

    • McFlock 9.1

      bear in mind he’s surrounded by a cabinet and pr entourage larger than hs security detail – and up until recently they were just as willing to take the blows for him. Now “post-key” is fast approaching, they’re juggling for position. Like DPOs trying to throw each other in front of the bullet.

    • framu 9.2

      true – but people can be really smart and pig ignorant at the same time

      i dont think people are saying key is the village idiot – but he does show an alarming shallowness of intellect on certain issues. But i put that more in the “doesnt give a shit so doesnt care if hes wrong” area.

      The response shouldnt be “look how dumb hes being” it should be “thats a f**king stupid thing to say – why are you saying that?”

      this isnt key being dumb – hes strengthening an existing meme for his own survival

  9. swordfish 10

    Good to see Rob demolishing this ‘Largest Party has Moral Mandate’ nonsense in a sensible way.

    Last year, Andrew Geddis wrote a reasonable rebuff (here….http://pundit.co.nz/content/the-heralds-post-2014-election-fantasy ). But, unfortunately, the logic of his argument (using Germany as an example) demanded he trash the German Left Party (Die Linke).

    After quoting THE ECONOMIST as an authoritative source to the effect that the Left Party represents the unreformed East German Communist Party, Geddis argues: “Perhaps not surprisingly, the main centre left party in Germany, the SPD, has emphatically and repeatedly ruled out any sort of governing relationship with the Left Party. Meaning that the only way the centre left actually could govern in practice….would be for the SPD to go back on its word and enter into government with a party that most German voters view with horrified contempt. In other words, the SPD would have to commit complete political suicide”.

    What a load of utter bollocks. Die Linke is part of the European Left Socialist – Green Bloc. Far from being unreformed East German hardline Stalinists, the party was founded by a younger generation of reformist politicians and left dissidents inspired by Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika. By 2007, it had merged with Oskar Lafontaine’s western Leftist party (WASG) with its activist base of trade unionists and dissident social democrats.

    It’s usually the second most popular party in the Eastern states and fourth most popular in the west (though it does extremely well in the western state of Saarland and, to a lesser extent, Bremen). It’s benefited electorally (particularly in the west) from disillusionment with the SPD’s tweedeldum-tweedeldee neo-liberalism over recent years.

    Over the last 20 years, Die Linke has entered into a whole series of coalition governments with the SPD at the state level with very little fuss at all. And there seems to be a good deal of vote movement back and forth between the Social Democrats and Die Linke. So much for the SPD having to “commit complete political suicide.” !!!!!!!

  10. Crunchtime 11

    It’s worth remembering that at it’s lowest, 12 years ago, National was down to 20% of the vote. Labour’s lowest in the last 3 decades has been 27%. You’re right that Key has done a good PR job for National, grabbing enough power for them to flush the country down the toilet.

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