- Date published:
9:21 am, September 23rd, 2020 - 129 comments
Categories: election 2020, jacinda ardern, Judith Collins - Tags: FJK, leaders debate, relentless negativity, relentless positivity
That was going to be the whole post.
But then there was this,
I was doing other things while the debate was on, but could hear the sound. I didn’t listen to the content much but did notice the tone. What stood out was how much it sounded like two normal people talking. Ardern and Collins both had their PR-honed approaches of course, but the absence of macho was palpable.
I kept thinking about the relief of not having FJK in full rabid, bash mode, circa 2014. What I remember most about that election was the debate where Key relentlessly attacked Cunliffe as a person, as a man, and how much Cunliffe at that stage looked like someone who had been repeatedly punched. This was in the context of Cunliffe’s apology to battered women for men’s culture of violence. Oh, and Dirty Politics. The connections aren’t too hard to make.
New Zealand’s brutal underbelly is on a break for a while.
The bits of last night’s debate I did listen to sounded like so many talking points and I got bored. I guess adding aggression to that provides a kind of spectator sport. I prefer my democracy as participatory, thanks MSM. So I’m grateful to have two women on stage, leading in this at least, that we can be human even if the actual policies aren’t.
Ardern’s relentless positivity and compassion framing is taking us in a better direction in terms of political culture. But policy seems stuck in an eddy, and her rhetoric on welfare and housing fell flat. It was really disappointing to see Arden relying on the deserving poor framing (children and working people deserve help, non-working poor and disabled people are swept under the rug). A substantial policy improvement on National, no doubt about it, but it’s not like Labour have plans that will adequately address the housing and welfare crises.
The leaders of our both main parties committed to neoliberalism is another kind of brutality that we seem reluctant to address.