When governments (of all flavours) make promises that they can’t keep, they often downgrade those promises to the status of “aspirational” goals. John Key has plenty of these in his closet. Tax cuts North of $50. Catching up with Australia. A step change in the economy. Increasing exports. Better broadband. Gosh-darn-it, just the politics of aspiration in general! Key has even played the aspirational card pre-emptively, signing up for the United Nations’ Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples but making sure that it was an empty aspirational gesture.
The collapse of international whaling negotiations at Morocco is a chilling moment for the future of controlled whaling, let alone the prospect of a complete ban.
This collapse seems to have driven Murray McCully over the edge from aspiration in to absurdity:
McCully hopes Japan’s 200 whales means zero
Foreign Minister Murray McCully says he wants to delve deeper into Japanese whaling targets at the International Whaling Commission meeting in Morocco to see if they effectively mean “no whaling” when they say “200 whales”.
Yup, Murray hopes that 200 means 0. And I hope that The Beatles get back together. However…
Speaking from Morocco yesterday, he said there was a strong possibility Japan would not commit itself to a figure of zero “but accept that what’s available in terms of numbers is not commercially viable”. “A number around 200 is possibly in that territory.”
So Japan is drawing huge international condemnation and insisting on a target of 200 whales because they really mean 0? Sorry Murray, that crosses the line from positive aspirational thinking into absurdity. And I guess the fact that we have heard no more on the matter (since June 21) means that your further enquires discovered that 200 isn’t equal to 0 after all.
The truly worrying thing is that Murray’s absurdist mathematics seems to underlie so much of National’s policy making. Tax cuts North of $50 that turned out to be South. Revenue neutral tax cuts that involve significant borrowing. Tax cuts that make things better for “the vast majority of New Zealanders” except that they don’t. Absurdist mathematics. It certainly explains a lot.