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The future of the left

Written By: - Date published: 6:45 pm, July 1st, 2018 - 40 comments
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Australian Guardian columnist Van Badham writes “the future of the left is bright if it looks like Jacinda Ardern and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes.” She concludes “We can hope the influence of Jacinda Ardern and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes spread, or we can ensure that it does. The stakes for the marginalised remain life and death.” Very worth a read.

I’m in London at the moment – politics here and in Europe are in turmoil. And then there’s the Middle East – I went to hear Gilles Kepel, a professor at the Ecole Superieure, of which more later, speak about it at a LSE IDEAS series. LSE IDEAS is the University’s foreign policy think tank. Their banner linked countries of the world, but New Zealand was off the map. As Badham points out, it shouldn’t be.

40 comments on “The future of the left”

  1. Ad 1

    Hyping up Prime Minister Ardern for leadership of the global left is as foolish as hyping Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes for the U.S. democrats.

    The author of the Guardian article cites the article from the late 1990s that framed “left melancholy” as a trap of nostalgia. We are a long, long way from 1999 now.

    I’m a proud New Zealander, but our Prime Minister is not a global ideological leader.

    I have as much hope as I possibly can for the U.S. Democrats, but Alexandria isn’t a movement.

    There are plenty of good activisms emerging, and it’s completely reasonable to be hungry for hope when the elected left are getting fewer and fewer.

    But electorally across the world we are blowing on just a few remaining coals. Could we just pull back with the misplaced heroics for a moment – leastways until we give these fresh faces a bit of time to deliver sustained political success that may, just may, lead to renewed abiding faith in the electoral left.

    • Pat 1.1

      Lol…its not often I agree with you but in this instance its +1

      • AB 1.1.1

        Yes. The Guardian writer is comfortable enough financially to be unduly affected and uplifted by symbolic and cultural markers that are as yet unbacked by substantial achievements.
        Senior Journalists are not, on the whole, people who live with daily, grinding economic stress, so it would be unrealistic to expect much else from them.
        I do admire Ardern a lot, but this Guardian piece is silly stuff.

        • Adrian Thornton 1.1.1.1

          AB+1 The Guardian is the first to attack any real ‘Left Progressive’ project that shows any sign of having any real power.

    • simbit 1.2

      Mexico is more than just a coal, NZ has led movements before, heroics are needed and are not, in my opinion, misplaced in this case.

  2. Kat 2

    And its winter time too………….

    We are a very lucky country to have Jacinda Ardern as our PM, long may that remain. I really don’t care if “New Zealand was off the map…” Time to clear out the old spider cobwebs, paint the town red and celebrate what a great little nation we are. And not to leave the deputy out, glass raised, here’s looking at you too Winston.

  3. marty mars 3

    Nice article – I agree that jacinda is doing the role with heart and that is a definite change from the keys and englishs of this world. We are lucky I think and we have a good chance to really help those that need it the most in our society. And quite likely one of the very few chances left before the poo hits the fan big-time.

  4. David Mac 4

    It’s all about our emotions, the facts don’t count for squat.

    If Alexandria captures hearts en masse, we’ll get what we deserve.

    It’s easy to imagine Alex and Jacinda hitting it off.

    Women should rule the world.

  5. patricia bremner 5

    We don’t know what Jacinda will be able to do, however going by the pace of change in 9 months, I think we may be pleased with what is attained in 36!! (Let alone 108 months!!)

    The knockers are many, on the right and the left. Personally I’m proud of her and I think Winston and James are playing complementary roles very well.

    I have met her, and she is exceptional. I think many who meet her feel the same.
    Trying to make her over into someone’s idea of a messiah for the left is daft!!

    She has enough on her plate righting NZ’s woes, giving Kiwis a future worth having. The Coalition is moving along with a bunch of nasty snappers at their heels, but managing anyway. Here’s to them!! I raise my wine glass. “Let’s do this!!”

    • Bill 5.1

      Jacinda Ardern may well be a really pleasant, exceptional and all of everything else person. But it’s her politics that matter. And a more compassionate liberalism, while an improvement on dispassionate liberalism, isn’t left, and doesn’t/wont cut the mustard.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    The shape of change is not always apparent until it comes. And Jacinda is mercifully free of some of the issues the global north feel compromise their own leaders. They could do much worse – but there’s quite a lot of work to be done here, that must not go unfinished.

  7. Venezia 7

    Jacinda has achieved much in the short time she has been PM. She is a breath of fresh air, sincere, authentic and aware of the huge job in front of her. Tonight she released her own statement by mobile phone camera, on the launch of the new Best Start and Winter Warmer packages, seated on her couch with her sleeping baby in arms, no makeup, just open and straight with the public about how proud she feels that this day has come. She was also responding to viewers comments/questions about the new policies as they arrived (on her FB Page). Most women who have been through the post partum, first weeks of first baby will be able to identify with that scene. Brava Jacinda.

  8. Hongi Ika 8

    Jacaranda is like a breath of fresh air after the stale white and mouldy Key & English ?

  9. soddenleaf 9

    Quality and Quantity. National play off them against each other. Take prison muster, they get low quality justice, costs and maximum quantity. Until the right start actually doing government, the left will continue to lose as they, like an politician have little competition. Ardern won becuase she hadn’t the long run of avoiding commitments.
    Unlike Ocasio-Cortes who simply just listed them, and so immediately gets buy in.
    Also Ardern isnt pure, she’s in coalition with others. Just like I disbelieve Nats fantasy of having actually won the election, so I don’t buy the Ardern is solid.

    So Ardern has the opportunity to stamp an agenda, and get re-elected on her own. Attack National on its real hands off approach that has be so disaterous. Start by declaring fresh food ain’t heat processed long shelf life food, that fresh meat isn’t tasteless unable to make gravy from but processed for longer shelf life food. Our supermarket vary quality every time they want a profit windfall.

  10. Bill 10

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes and Jacinda Ardern. One of them is chalk and the other is cheese.

    Not surprised that “The Guardian” would attempt to conflate the politics of the two – they’ve been giving nothing but positive coverage of Ardern, in line with their positive coverage of other conservative liberals like Owen Smith (who challenged Corbyn for the leadership of UK Labour).

    Seems they might finally getting around to dealing with the fact that the left* is on the rise while liberalism’s on the wane, and doing it in a way that is less overtly anti-left. Their way of doing that? Not quite helping wolves dress up as sheep, but certainly dressing up politics and politicians in garb that come from foreign ideological wardrobes.

    It ain’t gonna work. 🙂

    * a social democratic expression of

    • adam 10.1

      I look forward to the day when jacinda will come out and call herself a democratic socialist. Then to prove that words mean bugger all, change our fundamental economic structure to reflect her democratic socialist beliefs.

      Because folks without an fundamental economic shift soonish, look forward to a national government doubling down on everything the last one did.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 10.1.1

        I have to agree. So far JA has better intentions than the last lot, but seems entirely neoliberal and has no plan to address structural inequality.

    • Adrian Thornton 10.2

      @Bill, Well said +1

  11. Baba Yaga 11

    The denial and outright blindness to reality here is thick.

    JA is overseeing a government that is shaking with incompetence, dishonesty and arrogance. Every day it seems there are new revelations that her government has plumbed new depths.

    A minister involved with Open Government overseeing a review who decided not to keep minutes to avoid OIA scrutiny.

    A minister in charge of a state building program called ‘kiwibuild’ that is proposing importing labour (after denying he would need to) and sourcing mostly from the private sector.

    A minister overseeing health who tries to suppress a senior public servant from speaking out, and no longer wants to be accountable to measurable targets.

    A key education review being conducted without consulting school principals.

    A key education policy that has failed and has been described as a “massive re-distribution of public funds to the aspiring middle class. ”

    A minister in charge of housing that compiled replies to written questions that his own parties speaker described as “an abuse of the written question process” and that show “a contempt for the accountability which a Minister has to this House.”

    If this list weren’t enough, there are many, many more examples. This government is an embarrassment to NZ. But it is providing excellent entertainment.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 11.1

      “The denial and outright blindness to reality here is thick.”

      “This government is an embarrassment to NZ.”

      Spot on assessments of nine years of National-led ‘drift’. Give the coalition time, B-Y, they’re just getting started! I’m sure they’ll provide your impartial ravenous gob with plenty of fodder over the next eight (loooong) years.

    • roy cartland 11.2

      “JA is overseeing a government that is shaking with incompetence, dishonesty and arrogance. Every day it seems there are new revelations that her government has plumbed new depths.”

      And what does anyone remember about Key? You could be describing his govo, and that lasted 3 terms. And he got his unpopular agendas through.

      Simply because ideas are resisted doesn’t make the government ineffective, as you well know.

      • Baba Yaga 11.2.1

        Roy, when National won office in 2008, the country was already heading into recession before the full impacts of the GFC. We had high interest rates, high inflation, and Treasury were forecasting years of deficits into the future. National successfully managed our economy through all that, and multiple earthquakes. The reason they were so extraordinarily popular was because they were so competent. That’s something JA’s government is light years from understanding, let alone achieving.

    • Incognito 11.3

      The paradox of being a credible RWNJ and yet not being credible:

      A key education review being conducted without consulting school principals.

  12. Baba Yaga 12

    “…and that lasted 3 terms”

    “And he got his unpopular agendas through. ”

    Spot the inconsistency.

    • Stuart Munro 12.1

      Post facto argument.

      Yes they got three terms – by lying their asses off and using every dirty trick in the book. But by doing so they burnt their brand value so badly that Winston – a traditional supporter of many core right beliefs, deserted them.

      • Baba Yaga 12.1.1

        Typical left wing argument. The nats put policies like partial privatisation front and centre and still got re-elected. Labour are an accidental government, with no mandate beyond Mr 7%. But it is entertaining.

        • Stuart Munro 12.1.1.1

          Typical Baba Yaga nonsense.

          Had the Gnats retained the support that kept Key’s paws in the cashbox they’d still be in government. The swing deserted them because they were utterly useless. No government can field non-ministers like Nick Smith & Gerry the Crook indefinitely and expect re-election.

          • Baba Yaga 12.1.1.1.1

            “Had the Gnats retained the support that kept Key’s paws in the cashbox they’d still be in government.”

            Actually National’s support remained remarkably high in 2017, higher than Labours. But their support partners collapsed, as will Labour’s. Being saddled to Labour will destroy NZF, and certainly cause a lot of damage to the greens.

            2014 47% http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2014/
            2017 44.4% http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2017/

            • Stuart Munro 12.1.1.1.1.1

              And that of course had nothing to do with fucking the Maori Party’s constituents over so thoroughly that the party died, gifting those votes to Labour.

              Wriggle though you may, the Gnats made a total bollocks of governing, and are not improved in any way by the desperately inadequate figleafs you snatch up to cover a few of their more egregious failures.

              • In Vino

                Wishful thinking, Babblegabs. Get it into your skull that National being most popular means nothing under MMP. Labour will not lose the Greens’ support: unlike the vacuous ACT party, the Greens will never sink below valid support level. Unless National can create a new fake support party like ACT that can actually bring in some extra seats, it is National that faces another term in opposition. Enjoy.

                • Baba Yaga

                  In a perverse way it is enjoyable. It is entertaining to witness the incompetence, the dishonesty, the arrogance of such a young government.

              • Baba Yaga

                National were chosen by the people of NZ to govern on 3 consecutive occasions, with their policy prescription well communicated. The accidental government we have today is a government of the 7%, and the shambolic nature of its management obvious to all but the most myopic of observers.

    • adam 12.2

      I love how dumb you are baby yaga.

      Belly laughs for days with your stupidity, keep it rolling, your faux rage is so good it’s worth wrapping up with a teeny tiny bow.

    • Roy 12.3

      “Inconsistency”
      No. They lasted three terms despite policy, not because of. Farmers, truckers, businessmen and whingers will whinge, just like all entitleds.

  13. Tricledrown 13

    Baby gaga like keys gst tax hikes increases in prescription charges doctors visits.
    Under funding education police dhbs defence force biosecurity etc etc.

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