Written By: - Date published: 6:17 pm, August 9th, 2017 - 11 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, class, democracy under attack, election 2017, elections, greens, journalism, Media, Metiria Turei, Politics, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: change, hope, metiria
It’s true that NZ does not have a Corbyn, but…
Something’s happening right under our noses in New Zealand and a fair few people are missing it. When Metiria Turei highlighted the fact that New Zealand’s Social Security system is deployed as a weapon against poor people, 30 years worth of pent up frustration and/or remembered experiences from innumerable people suddenly found an outlet.
That’s a lot of people.
Under liberalism, those experiences are meant to be ignored and papered over while, perhaps, so-called opportunities are made available. That’s what a “fair go” and all the rest of it is about – equal opportunity.
Metiria has blasted that narrative and now a whole lot of ‘unthinkable’ thoughts are swirling around poverty and claims of systemic discrimination in a way that humanises previously shamed and demonised swathes of New Zealand’s population.
In response, ‘guardians of the faith’ have mustered their forces to execute a dual strategy involving shooting the messenger (sadly, in the past few minutes, that seems to be ‘mission accomplished’) and rubbishing the prospects of the party she comes from. It’s predictable.
If you’d been looking overseas in the recent past, you’d have seen the same script play out in the UK, whether it was against the ‘unthinkable’ notion of Scottish independence, the ‘unthinkable’ notion of choosing anything other than a continuation of austerity (BREXIT), or the ‘unthinkable notion of voting for a committed social democrat (Corbyn).
There are other examples – Melenchon in the French Presidential elections; Trump in the US; Sanders in the US….
The point is that the script is the same with only minor variations to fit local conditions, and the outcome is always the same – the status quo comes out the other side severely weakened or defeated.
Now Metiria was no Corbyn. Party structures pre-cluded her mounting the same wide ranging assault on the status quo that Corbyn was able to mount. What she has done might best be characterised as ‘corbyn-esque’. And that may be enough.
She has highlighted how the Social Security system is broken. And we all know the Health Care system is broken, that ideas around housing and homes are broken, that even our country-side is broken.
And just as the US establishment threw its not inconsiderable weight behind Hilary Clinton to head off Donald Trump after it had taken Sanders out at the knees, and just as the British establishment threw everything behind Smith (remember him?) in order to thwart Corbyn in the last UK Labour Party leadership contest before proceeding to rubbish Corbyn’s prospects at the UK General Election, so New Zealand’s establishment will throw it’s weight behind Ardern hoping to minimise the impact of a surging Green Party vote on our next government.
Hooten and Williams and ‘the Paddy man’ among many others ,will work tirelessly between now and election day to “talk down” the Greens and keep New Zealand safe.
It won’t work. The genie has been unleashed.
I’ve rushed this post out, which is a bit of a shame, because I’d rather have spent time to pen something far more concise. But there’s a poll coming out in ten minutes or so. Apparently it’s “incredibly explosive”.
I’m picking things are going to be shown to be blowing up in peoples’ faces. The Green Party will not have nose dived to 5% as political pundits have been predicting. New Zealand’s changing.
edit – If Metiria decides to throw her passion into extra-parliamentary politics now, I’m with her boots an’ all.