John Key is a well intentioned politician.
As best as I can tell anyway, I don’t actually know the guy. But certainly most of the blue side of the House will actually be doing their best for the country.
They may be wrong in their ideas and implementations of things, but as lefties we should do our best to keep faith in the system.
In an excellent recent Guardian article recently, Tax Collectors are the Heroes of Democracy, Giles Fraser points out that when we attack MPs and political parties, and attribute poor motives or corruption, people lose faith in government. And when they lose faith in government, they want it to control as little of their lives as possible.
And as we fight for better education and health and a strong government to fight climate change and inequality, we all know whose side “smaller government” benefits.
So we can’t lower ourselves to National’s Dirty Politics. The left has to continue to take the high road. Yes you can’t ignore corruption when it’s there, but we should be careful before attributing poor motives too easily. And we should also provide an example of good politics – not infighting and back scratching, but showing clear unity of purpose for the common good.
It even means we have to defend tax collectors:
It was refreshing to hear it being said so loud and clear: tax is good. Hooray for tax. Speaker after speaker made the same basic point. Taxation is not something imposed by some external alien “them” on some hard-done-by “us”. Taxation is all about the us: it is the way we organise ourselves as a society, it is the support we owe to each other – a tick in the box for the common good. So we ought to be proud of paying tax rather than being proud of the clever ways we invent of getting round it. But what political party had the guts to say such things? Has the Labour party finally found its bottle? Of course not. It wasn’t politicians at all. It was collection of vicars, NGO-types and an ex-archbishop at the launch of Christian Aid’s new report on taxation and morality.
… tax-dodging is sometimes regarded as less morally shameful that it ought to be. Because we think of it as sticking it to the man, of getting one over on the authorities.
Who cares about the faceless HMRC, right? Going right back to the Bible, tax collectors have long been seen as villains. But this was because tax collectors were seen as Roman stooges, collecting for Caesar (the original “man”, as it were). To think the same way now is twaddle – not least because, these days, the situation is entirely flipped and it is “the man” that is doing the tax avoidance.
It’s going to be tough, but I know I need to attack the ball, not the man…