One of the central tenets of Brand Key is that he can do what ‘normal’ politicians can’t. With his boundless optimism and those mysterious trader skills, he can solve problems no-one else can. For a while, some believed he can satisfied both Maori and the Rednecks on the foreshore. Of course, really, he had just done a cheap rebrand of the existing law.
The same is true of capital-labour relations. Key got the unions along to the Jobs Summit and we were meant to believe he had overcome the old divide – he, and he alone, could satisfy capital and labour – huzzah! Of course, it was all show. In reality, Key has pursued a labour relations policy that is, in many respects, more extreme than the 1990s National Government. Even those bastards didn’t take away our work rights for the first 90 days at a new job.
The Blue-Green agenda was always a sick joke. But some got swept up in the idea that it would be possible to champion unbridled capitalism and protect the environment at the same time. The mining agenda, the offshore oil drilling, and the disgraceful behaviour of National ministers at the climate change talks revealed the truth – the Nats haven’t changed, the green talk was all show.
These ideas really are anathema, oil and water. No-one can actually satisfy political objectives that are diametrically opposite to each other, and Key is no different. The pretense that he could do otherwise was just that.