- Date published:
12:34 pm, July 4th, 2022 - 69 comments
Categories: australian politics, Europe, International, jacinda ardern, Media, politicans, uk politics, uncategorized, us politics - Tags:
Jacinda Ardern has just completed three overseas trips. The cumulative benefits for the country are extraordinary and I have never witnessed anything similar from another New Zealand leader.
Just over a month ago she landed in the US as yet another school massacre occurred and her comments, which were deft yet pointed, received world attention.
She was given prominence on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show and unlike John Key did not even have to pay for the privilege.
She received an honorary doctorate from Harvard University and was asked to address its graduate class.
Her speech received world acclaim.
The New Zealand media and the odd useful contrarian supposedly from the left complained however about her reference to keyboard warriors.
She said this:
In my mind, when I read something especially horrific on my feed, I imagine it’s written by a lone person, unacquainted with personal hygiene practices, dressed in a poorly fitted superhero costume – one that is baggy in all the wrong places.
“Keyboard warrior or not though, it’s still something that has been written by a human, and it’s something that has been read by one too.”
Given the utter trashfire of online abuse she is subject to every day I thought that her comments were very restrained. Useful idiots for the right tried to say that Jacinda had jettisoned her be kind mantra. My view is that her comment was perfectly appropriate and an important about how you need to be kind to yourself as well as others, and know where to draw the line when the attacks become too intense.
Then there was the meeting with US President Joe Biden which was scheduled for 45 minutes but stretched to an hour and a half such was its importance. And meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris. And she met with UN Secretary Antonio Guterres and Californian Governor Gavin Newsom. Not bad for a former fish and chip shop worker.
After this trip she visited newly minted Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. And relationships improved dramatically and quickly. As noted by Daniel Hurst in the Guardian the change in tone between the leadership of the respective countries was pronounced:
In 2019, Ardern said bluntly after talks with Morrison in New Zealand that the issue had “become corrosive” in the trans-Tasman relationship. “Visas are not citizenship,” Morrison had replied. After the meeting in Sydney on the brink of the pandemic in 2020, Ardern accused Morrison of “deporting your people and your problems”.
The change in tone on Friday could not be more stark. Ardern was “heartened” by Albanese’s acknowledgment of her strongly held view about the problems associated with returning people who had little or no connection to New Zealand. She said she detected in Albanese “a real awareness of some of the issues that we’ve long raised”.
Albanese pledged to consider changes to the way the policy was implemented – friends: we hear you and will deal with this issue maturely – and deployed what one Twitter user described as “empathy gold”.
“And what’s clear is that, if people look at some of the cases [of visa cancellations] … it’s not surprising that the prime minister would make the strong representations that she had, because I would be, if I was in the same position,” Albanese said.
Then more recently there was a trip to Europe where Ardern had the opportunity to speak directly to Nato, and had direct meetings with held bilateral meetings with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and attended a formal dinner held by Felipe VI King of Spain. And to cap things off she met with Boris Johnson and members of the UK royalty.
As well as this she finalised negotiations on a free trade treaty with the European Union, one which far exceeded earlier expectations and provides significant benefits to farmers, although if you sampled recent media you may get a contrary impression.
And at the end of this trip she had the opportunity to show her depth by discussing a number of issues in this Chatham House discussion.
The discussion is deep and involved and Ardern certainly shows the depth of intellectual rigour she brings to the job. If you want a particular example go to the 28th minute where she discussed whether New Zealand was getting too close to Nato and to the west.
And the New Zealand media response to these three trips within a month that have achieved so much? Pretty bitchy to be frank. Gerard Otto’s review of five years of stardust comments suggests strongly that this is not a recent tiring but that it is a pattern.
Dr Siouxsie Wiles’ (trigger warning for right wing trolls) analysis of what is happening in the simplicity of a tweet is prescient.
This is an excellent long watch. Whatever your politics, it’s important to recognise & acknowledge the misogyny surrounding our PM. She is an articulate & intelligent woman, a combination too many find threatening. It’s dangerous that many believe a mediocre man is more competent https://t.co/UbEk0ZpkRw— Dr Siouxsie Wiles (@SiouxsieW) July 2, 2022
It is strange that in Ardern we have a leader who has greater international gravias and has achieved more internationally for us as a country than any other country. Yet there is this minimising back stabbing belittling commentary that occurs which clearly is affecting our collective view of things. Why is this a feature?
Update: and almost like magic the Herald provides us with a classic example of why we cannot have meaningful discussions about politics in this country: