When I first started writing for The Standard way back in August 2007 I never envisaged it would become what it is today, nor that it would take up anywhere near as much of my time as it does. A year and half later, I’ve decided I want my life back.
Contrary to the conspiracy theories of the right, I’ve always done this on a voluntary basis, in my own time, in order to advance my own personal political views. This has meant that as the blog’s got busier and I’ve taken on other projects I’ve found my free time slowly disappearing to the point where I’m on the go pretty much 24/7. And that’s no way to carry on.
It’s fair to say there’s also a certain disillusionment with New Zealand politics. Aside from all the usual nonsense, it’s disheartening to be writing left-wing politics when neither party of the Left is in any fit state to support.
As a Green voter and supporter who has handed out their flyers, stuffed their envelopes and put up their hoardings over the last few elections I’ve found their recent turn quite hard to swallow. I simply can’t support them so long as they’re propping up a right-wing government and their leader thinks running sectarian smears and National Party lines is a good strategy to promote progressive values. I’m sure the Greens will find their way in time, but it’s going to be a bumpy ride and it’ll probably be without Russel Norman.
Labour, on the other hand, just seems utterly bereft of vision. In the midst of the greatest economic crisis of our age, when they should be putting forward a bold alternative vision, Labour doesn’t seem have a clue where it’s going. Their miserable poll ratings don’t so much represent a rejection of their platform as a complete lack of relevance. As the world wakes up to the fact the policies of Reagan and Thatcher were a gigantic swindle by the rich, Labour still seems haunted by the ghost of 1984.
If we’re going to have an effective, fighting Left (and lord knows we need it) it’ll come through ordinary activists discussing, organising and campaigning for progressive values, both through the parties of the Left and our own independent activist organisations. I’m convinced sites like The Standard have a crucial role to play in this.
But for me it’s time to take a different tack. For now I’m going to get my life back and do a bit more grassroots organising and campaigning in the real world. I might start blogging again at some stage in the future, either here or elsewhere, but that’s a decision for another time.
It’s been great working with the team here, and I’ll miss all the lively conversations in the comments section. The Standard has already made an impact and I’m sure it’ll go from strength to strength, but as I’m keenly aware it’s in constant need of new content. If you think you can make a contribution as an author then send the team a post or two and see where it goes from there. I might not leave a very large gap, but it’ll need to be filled somewhere. And like any collective endeavour, The Standard will only work if we all pitch in together.