There is no doubt that the Granny crew were hurt when their own ‘poll’ showed that people considered Helen Clark was the greatest living kiwi. It says a lot about the mean-spirited attitudes at the Herald that they didn’t consider that politicians were possibilities for the greatest living Kiwi. You get the impression that they’d prefer that politicians were just there as objects to provide copy – like Britney Spears. However politicians affect a lot of people. The competent ones affect everyone for better or worse.
John Roughan has written an article about the result of that poll – Clark good but not great. It is pretty classic because of its revealing side issues and assumptions.
For instance John Roughan tries to pass this ‘poll’ result off as a concerted campaign inside Labour. John doesn’t know that and doesn’t have any evidence to back it up – otherwise I suspect he’d have referred to it. It is just a classic bit of misdirection speculation of the type favored by National’s advisors. That is where I suspect it came from because I didn’t see any particular effort to stack or spoof this poll.
The alternative is that people who were grateful for Helen’s efforts over the last decade actually expressed their opinion. It is just that the congregations and emotionally troubled manchildren of the right didn’t interfere as much as they usually do. In my view the sooner these online polls are dead the happier I’ll feel. They are useless for doing anything except providing cheap copy for the lazy in the mainstream media.
John also tries to say that Helen in his opinion cannot be ‘great’ because she isn’t ‘spiritual’. What the hell? Where does this jerk-off think he is? Iran or some other theocracy. At least it does sound like John’s own words rather than the boring Crosby/Textor li(n)es.
I have absolutely no idea about what Helen’s spiritual inclinations are and I’ve been working with her in her electorate for close to 20 years. I also have no time for vacuous spiritual issues of the affluent (including my friends) when there are kids that purely secular things can help. What I have is respect for the type of faith that allows long-term problems to be tackled.
What Helen is mainly concerned about was the legacy of 25 years of economic mismanagement prior to 1999 that dropped people and their children on to the scrapheap of lack of opportunity and left them there. These are the type of people that the womans refuges see all of the time in their ambulance at the bottom of the cliff role. The people trapped with little hope and fragile connections to the rest of society. They acted as a drag on society in many ways from the straight fiscal costs to the crime that they participate in. They were last ones taken on when work arrived, and first off when hard times happen. That is what Helen focused on.
They didn’t need (or want) the massive rupturing changes in society that we’d seen for decades. They needed stability. It shows in the cautious way that Helen worked on strengthening the economy and social structures. She succeeded in bringing most of them back into the economy. On the way through, that helped the rest of us.Similarly she looked past the current to try to reduce the type of boom and bust cycle that a causes a small economy like ours to produce and artificial underclass and started correcting them.
To do this and to plan on taking at least 3 terms to start it required a deep act of faith by all in the Labour and other parties. That is what Helen did – she inspired faith inside the Labour party that this was achievable and that we should do it.
Personally I have a complete inability to have any kind of faith (and therefore no spiritual dimension). So I went along on the basis of doing the least amount of harm to the society within which I live. However I do observe the effects of faith in others around me. I started dividing them up a long time ago into two types.
The ones that use their faith as their core and then reach out to generate projects that help others. I call this the “people of faith”. Characteristically it is really hard to get into a conversation about spirituality with them. They live the life and in doing so inspire others.
The other type of faithful are the “sanctimonious” who use that ability of having faith to build a tight little world around themselves with which they can use to judge others by. Just like the attitudes in this spoof ad for Halo.
After reading tens of thousands of comments by members of this curious sanctimonious belief system on this blog and others not to mention the social contacts with them over the years, I’ve come to some conclusions about the dislike and active hatred of the some of them towards Helen. The main things that they don’t like about Helen is that she is female, can’t be bothered greasing up the sanctimonious, and challenges their perceptions about reality because she is effective.
Business as usual with the likes of John Key will always suffer by comparison. So I’d expect to see a lot of the tall-poppy brigade out over the next few years. John Roughan is classically sanctimonious because he is trying to judge Helen by his narrow minded standards rather than looking at what she was trying to achieve. That’d involve him getting too close a dose of reality for comfort.