This society teaches us that life is all about making money and getting ahead.
John Key made money. Lots of it.
Some in Labour have also made money.
But here’s the difference. John Key only made money. John Key, it seems, didn’t attempt to improve himself (whatever that actually means). He’s just a guy who made a lot of money and didn’t take on any airs and graces on the way. And in that, there’s the beginnings of the making of a totem.
In this society that celebrates making money, losers are…losers. So when ‘taking out’ a wannabe, why wouldn’t an assassin smile? The execution is part triumph, part affirmation and…nothing personal; just business.
As an illustration of how it isn’t personal, a young lass from a poor background can be taken on a day out by a winner. There’s no animosity there. There’s just recognition that this society is made up of losers as well as winners. And a demonstration that both can walk side by side.
Needless to say, winners can be attacked, undermined and brought down. But failed attacks show them for the winners they are. So, attacks for abusive exercises of power could be one thing. But attacks for tugging pony tails and behaving as a child are quite another. The latter sees a winner riding on through any storm of embarrassment on the international stage and coming out the other side stronger. Now the winner has a fault that gets added to the totem. He’s not just a normal guy, but a normal guy who has, in addition, a dash of giggly, harmless, embarrassing spice. What a guy!
Andrew Little unwittingly helped create that perception when he merely said of Key’s behaviour at the café that it was ‘a bit bizarre’ – or words to that effect.
Moving to Labour.
Is Labour going to move beyond the personal and the celebration of the individual? Is Labour going to champion the cause for social wealth as opposed to personal wealth? Nope. Labour promotes winners. Labour wants people to ‘get ahead’. Labour bangs on about hard working families. Labour divides losers into deserving losers and loser losers.
Labour doesn’t commit itself to creating or defending aspects of social wealth like free education or free health care. Labour doesn’t champion or protect the poor or the vulnerable so much as implore them, with a hand up or a ladder dropped down, to ‘get with the programme’ and ‘get ahead’.
In short, Labour encourages us all to follow the self-same script that John Key has so successfully followed and in doing so, perversely, endorses him.
To end, if I identified with John Key at any level, if I endorsed this dog eat dog world, if I maybe drooled just a little at the idea of making loads of dosh, I’d say to the broader left – including the internet active left – keep up with the unflattering pictures, keep on with the snide snipes, the moral superiority and the ridiculously inflated accusations.
It’s all grist to the mill.