- Date published:
2:57 pm, February 16th, 2019 - 32 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, journalism, leadership, making shit up, Media, national, political parties, politicans, Politics, rumour, same old national, Simon Bridges, vision - Tags: john armstrong, mythbusting, myths, trust, wizard of oz
John Armstrong has once more dished up one of his opinion pieces and once again, he has done us a disservice. His main failing is to conflate the current turmoil in the National Party with that of perceived (!) weak leadership by Simon Bridges and some kind of popularity contest between Bridges and Collins; no other National MP gets a mention.
It is interesting that Armstrong feels the need to defend Bridges but fails to see that he [Armstrong] is the other side of the coin. I have made the same argument before, which is that when politicians do not do their job properly they create a vacuum that will be filled with speculation, fake news, biased opinion and wild accusations by MSM and ‘pundits’. Their motivation usually is to lure visitors to their sites by laying click-bait and applying other trickery; they are doing their job.
The point is that National is not mounting a convincing defence of itself and its leadership in the same way as they fail in their role as the main (by far!) opposition party in holding this Government to account.
Can Bridges’ survive? It would help his cause considerably if he could land a major hit on the Prime Minister, rather than just the occasional pinprick.
No, Mr Armstrong, you are confusing scrutinising the Government with landing cheap shots on a Government Minister or the PM and lazy political point scoring. Irrespective, National and its leader fail miserably at both, that much is true.
His ability to make an impact is in part down to a dilemma he faces. To be seen to be making a difference, he needs to come up with something different and distinctive policy-wise.
Correct! Instead of barking at every car and screaming that they will repeal just about every decision this Government makes they must present a viable alternative and act like a government-in-waiting and Bridges needs to look Prime Ministerial.
Any divergence, however, from the centrist ethos of the John Key-Bill English era risks alienating the many “soft” National voters who were drawn to the party by the pragmatism and relative moderation exhibited by Bridges’ two immediate predecessors.
This points to a number of problems endemic in the National Party. Their lack of vision for the future of Aotearoa – New Zealand is evident as is the dearth of transformative policy (e.g. to tackle climate change). Their political ‘philosophy’ of pragmatism is masking this lack of vision; pragmatism is loosely defined as acting sensible, practical, and realistic and is often accompanied by and associated with the heuristic “common sense”. The reality is that pragmatism is a euphemism for short-term vision, ad hoc decision-making, and reductionist narrow thinking by people with an arrogant silo mentality.
However, Armstrong again fails to draw his writing to the logical conclusion: so-called “soft” National voters do not want change, they want to maintain status quo.
National are incapacitated now and as a result the MSM ‘fights their battles’ for (and against!) them. National can only muster cringe worthy ads fronted by a stereotypical wide-eyed fake blond and a stereotypical wannabe hipster whom no mother would chose as her son-in-law. Oh, it was meant to be humorous and become a talking point. Yeah, nah!
National rather spread fake news and start rumours that could be damaging to the booming tourism industry to deflect attention away from their own abysmal performance and to score political points.
They rather play silly buggers with Select Committees and make silly threats that they will not accept any proposed new electorate boundaries based on Census 2018. They have tantrums, they spit the dummy, and they behave like a political toddler.
The carefully built myth of National being a united well-disciplined team with loads of worldly (read: mostly law, corporate business & farming) experience as astute managers of the economy has long been torn to shreds. The curtain has been lifted and most of us are gobsmacked to see a sad, confused, slightly dazed white old man behind it.
The contrast between reality and myth could not be any starker. Teams are built on trust, they work together, they watch each other’s backs, and they take one for the team. Within the National Party trust is like a South Island glacier, rapidly melting away, retreating, and disappearing. They do not trust each other, they leak & cheat, and they do not share internal polling, for example.
This begs the question whether we, the voting public, can have trust in the National Party? The answer is no, we cannot and will not until National sorts out their shit and let’s hope for the sake of this country that they won’t take a full nine years to accomplish this.