National in opposition irresponsibly fanned the flames of all kinds of unrest, from the divisive Iwi / Kiwi campaign, to the nanny state ranting and Section 59 stirring, to the cynical “Democracy Under Attack” EFA nonsense. National made it their mission to get people scared and angry. And for what? History suggests that they would have won the 2008 election anyway. But National played the fear and anger game, and so those scared and angry people are out there. In droves. And now they’re turning their anger on National.
Because National in government can’t continue to be be so irresponsible. Let’s give credit where it’s due, in some respects National are getting it right. On the surface at least they have moved on from Iwi / Kiwi. They are doing a fair bit of nanny stating of their own (because sometimes it’s needed). They have stood firm on the Section 59 reform (bravo!). They have released an EFA that acknowledges that there was really little wrong with Labour’s version, and they seem (thus far at least) to be committed to an EFA process that is better managed than Labour’s was. In short, National have done a massive flip-flop on every single one of their lines in opposition.
So what becomes of the broken hearted? What happens to that scared and angry constituency that National helped create? Seems to me they fall into two general categories. First, the seriously fringe – the hard core racists and Section 59 opponents and the serious EFA loons. They’re as mad as hell and they’re not going to take it any more! But where do they go politically? ACT isn’t picking up in the polls. I don’t think Winston can make it back. Will we see the emergence of a new political party to represent the terminally angry?
The second group is more straightforward. The reasonable people who believed the dishonest National / Herald propaganda war — and are now working out that they’ve been duped. One of them, Cindy from Titirangi, was quoted in a post here yesterday (from The Herald, Your Views):
I feel misled by this govt and this newspaper last year telling us readers that the Electoral Finance Act would take away our freedom, rubbish. I believed them at the time athough it was really confusing.That we were being denied our freedom to participate in democracy by allowing this law. Lies!
The worst part of that is that this newspaper which is supposed to be impartial was supporting National and Act’s spin in their editorials and stories. If we can’t trust the media, and we can’t trust politicians like this Govt with a finance minister who can’t tell the truth, who in heaven’s name can we trust?
Cindy was expecting something very different from the National government that she voted for. In an earlier Your Views she wrote re Bill English:
WELLINGTON! This makes me mad. He’s and the Prime Minister John Key, I no longer can respect the Prime Minister after the way he sticks up for this man’s blatant dishonesty. Remember who voted you in! …
He’s settled in Wellington hasn’t he for many years, his kids live there, his wife lives there, she has a GP practice. The gall of a man who owns a home valued at 1.2 million to keep milking more and more money from us at a time like this. I loathe this government and I could kick myself for voting them in.
How many angry Cindys are there out there, working out that they’ve been duped? These people have an obvious place to go, back to Labour or the Greens, and we may have seen this movement starting in the most recent polling (National down 5, Labour up 4). If it turns out that Labour lead the next government, then the Cindy effect will have been a big part of the victory. People don’t like being lied to. I have to admit that I would find it karmicly pleasing if all National’s dishonest propaganda antics in opposition achieved was to set them up as a one term government….