Symbolism should never be underestimated in life, as it can’t be in sport and politics.
Take the Rugby World Cup where the symbolism of the All Blacks has prompted many New Zealanders to scornfully view the French team’s sudden change of playing strip to dark blue. Sacrebleu, what’s going on?
This means that, if the All Blacks and France meet, the uniforms would be so indistinguishable on television that it would force the All Blacks to change to a lighter strip!
If you don’t think that symbolism is important, imagine for a moment the All Blacks playing France in a pale yellow outfit while France appear to be almost All Black in their new trendy strip. Imposters and cultural thieves we’re likely to say. The pride and passion we have for our beloved team is powerfully represented in the unique black jersey and why should we give that away? For my money, the New Zealand Rugby Union should protest loud and hard so that our heritage is not besmirched by such pretenders.
But wait, a much more life-changing theft is occurring right under our noses in New Zealand politics. Aren’t we witnessing a National Party’s attempt to disguise themselves as a party prepared to put on the ‘red’ jersey.well just enough to get elected? How do you beat a successful government, as Labour has undoubtedly been? Well National is trying to do it by stealth & agreeing with Labour as much as possible, then playing on the electorate’s natural inclination to want change after a long period. Labour has delivered much but after a while “it just gets boring” doesn’t it?
Enter John Key wearing nothing much more than a telegenic smile and a faintly red suit.
But make no mistake, National is true ‘blue’ through and through. Their strategy acknowledges Labour’s successes so they’re imitating as much as they can, whilst presenting nothing in return. Imitation may be flattering but that’s not the name of the game. This imitation simply says that National is prepared to say and do anything to get elected, just as the French might do anything to upset the All Blacks.
Make no mistake, the French cannot play like the All Blacks any more than John Key can do what Helen Clark has done. Symbolism simply gives these things meaning – Labour’s ‘red’ and National’s ‘blue’ play a major part in presenting the parties symbolic points-of-difference.
Red is a colour about people and passion. It’s about the blood that courses through our veins and makes us stick together rather than say “stuff everyone else”.
So what does National’s ‘blue’ really stand for? Blue is the colour of burning gas and any object seen from a great distance.
Labour is red, New Zealand is black and National and the French can keep their blue.