Tuesday 15 August 2017

The Greens' Campaign Reset: Normal Ideological Transmission Is Resumed.

Who Loves Ya Baby? “I didn’t come to Parliament to act like other political parties. But this week that’s where we ended up. We have not been our best selves, and for that I am sorry.” But who are your best selves? And why are they sorry?
WATCHING THE GREENS’ campaign re-set unfold, I couldn’t help but feel the absence of the pre-Dotcom Mana Party. Because sure as eggs-is-eggs, the Greens have put poverty behind them. Not rhetorically, of course, as James Shaw, now the party’s sole leader, made clear to the assembled journalists: “[W]e will continue to talk about poverty. That conversation makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I’m comfortable with that.” Except, of course, he isn’t. Not in the least. Not on your Nelly.
The Greens have no intention of avenging Metiria. In fact, Metiria is in the process of being air-brushed out of the Green Party’s political history in a way that would have made Joe Stalin proud.
As for the issue of poverty: well, the proof of the Greens’ commitment to keep this issue front and centre politically is, surely, to be found in the content of the party’s re-edited campaign advertisement. And it is – but only in the sense that poverty isn’t there. The very first promise we hear in the Greens’ re-edited 30-second spot is NOT that they will make poverty history, but that, under the Greens: “Aotearoa New Zealand can be a place where businesses are booming in a thriving green economy.” In the whole 30 seconds, the word “poverty” is never spoken.
Shaw may have taken the opportunity to announce Marama Davidson’s new role as the party’s spokesperson on Poverty, but I’d be very surprised if she harbours any illusions about the way she is – and is not – expected to advance Metiria’s adoption of “the preferential option for the poor.” *
The careful stage-management of the campaign re-set: from Shaw’s heroic entry, surrounded by his top 20 candidates; to the “up-cycling” of the Greens’ 2014 campaign slogan “Love New Zealand”; was intended to – and did – convey a single message. The feverish political distempers which have, for the past month, thrown the Green Party into such disorder, are now at an end.
Or, as Shaw put it: “Our slogan for this campaign was ‘Great Together’. But, to be frank, over the last couple of weeks we haven’t been all that together and it hasn’t been all that great.” For this lamentable lapse in political discipline, Shaw offered Green Party supporters an apology: “I didn’t come to Parliament to act like other political parties. But this week that’s where we ended up. We have not been our best selves, and for that I am sorry.”
Sorry for what, though? Toby Manhire may have voiced the question, but he was by no means the only journalist present who was wondering. Sorry for interrupting our relentless advance from the kooky margins to the sensible centre of parliamentary politics? Sorry for upsetting our core electoral base in the nation’s leafy suburbs? Sorry for not perceiving the acute political dangers associated with Metiria’s radical turn towards the poor?
Shaw didn’t say – but, then, he didn’t really have to. The empty space where Metiria used to stand was saying it for him.
* This central tenet of the Catholic Church’s social teachings became a focus of the World Synod of Catholic Bishops in 1971, which reaffirmed that: “Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church’s mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.”
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 15 August 2017.


Guerilla Surgeon said...

Just going back to their middle-class roots Chris. :)

greywarbler said...

I'd take it as a positive sign if Shaw Green's leader didn't wear a suit and tie at meetings. Parliament has a dress code, but the Greens aren' served by having a penguin, a conformist 'man in a grey flannel suit'.*

But this seem to be what James Shaw wants to be, lacking the courage, the perspicacity and the perspiration to do better as this reported comment indicates to me:
“I didn’t come to Parliament to act like other political parties. But this week that’s where we ended up. We have not been our best selves, and for that I am sorry.”

The Greens have a chance to build something great out of the rubble of the past. A new cathedral for the hopes and dreams and vitality of NZs, but it sounds as if they want to collapse back to the historical structure that has housed them for so long.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_in_the_Gray_Flannel_Suit

greywarbler said...

Just looking on the internet. An advertorial for Xero. This is something good that Shaw and the Greens could do for micro businesses which are ones to about 5 employees. They and up to 50 employees, are the main enterprises in NZ by number I think. You will have to look up your own info.

The ad is about fraud and how it can hit small business. If Shaw can turn around the disgust about defrauding a small active business in NZ
which surpasses the enmity felt by Metiria, then the Greens will have shifted morality in NZ to a different place with a target that provides good and fair hunting. Instead of shooting the tethered goat!

Target real stealing from Business tryers not Beneficiary tryers

Nick J said...

A theory: the Greens "ownership" of the "far Left" and support for the lower rungs of society let Labour off the hook as defenders of the weak and disadvantaged.

If the above is correct then there are votes free for Labour, but at what cost? Desertion by the more "liberal" leafy suburb lefties who might be worried by any collapse in property prices brought on by possible capital gains tax, or the imposition of "bed tax" on the AirBnb pocket money? Never underestimate the venality of the well healed.

Also must the environmental lobby now suck up to mainstream political reality, the classic "where is the money coming from" and the inevitable trade offs. Middle class eco-warriors promoting the strip mining of lithium and rare earth elements to build Teslar electro-fantasy vehicles that are powered by electricity generated by coal fired power stations. Even this labour could effectively whip out from under their feet with some well aimed policy.

greywarbler said...

If they are going to fight over who is doing the other's core policy, then that may be to the good. Ratchet up the promises to get the votes, and then make the winner do the work, or gloat over the lack of action and say you shallow hypocrites you're no better than Nats and here is the proof, in the lack of the pudding.

The compost has been stirred and a bit of fibre been added for carbon, I think we may have a rich and fertile mix out of which something good will grow on our faltering policy tree. (See how Green I get just thinking about it.)

Kat said...

Electric cars everywhere has become a National "election" policy. Labour wants public transport. Thats the fundamental difference. Individuality comes at a cost and has its own set of boundaries that if overstepped will present more problems. So the downside of too many easily obtainable cheap, nasty unsafe and polluting vehicles, electric or other, just for the sake of choice and the almighty dollar must surely be bleeding obvious. Except to the die hard hawks of this world.

carlos e said...

I told you so!
Scum is the only word for Shaw and his ilk.
Labour needs to dump these bums right now out of this bullshit MOU and take back the cause of the poor and the low paid. It's core biz isn't it?
Look, I'm a Tory and so paternalistic. We believe we have a duty to charitably look after the have nots, and progress the low paid to better, but really in today's political world too many of my side don't do that as they think the welfare state should, since they pay loads taxes for that. So they need serious prodding.
So for my 5c Labour has a role to shove the poor causes in the face of any government, including any coalition, and for too long they have been missing in action with the f'ing Greens assuming that role which is laughable as they are pretenders, fakes.
Green should be about plants and animals and not the ones who wear trousers & suits.

You see if there is not a real left Labour party how can we be a proper Tory Party. We have to do both roles.
Sorry I have drunk a bottle of fine Italian wine & it's late. Very late. Get on Labour and destroy those f' ing Green fakes.

greywarbler said...

carlos e
Love your political feisty stuff after a bottle of wine. You're saying it for almost all of us. Saves us having to stamp around the room while throwing saucers in a Greek circle. (We all have a bit of European sofistication you know.)

Now down to brass tacks. Labour hasn't been doing the upward mobility thing, more the other way. It hasn't been even looking after the badly affected by the slide in ordinary trade. After all most of us don't buy houses all the time or ever, can't drink enough milk to cope with the overflow if something breaks the demand chain, can't afford to travel around being tourists, but when we go to buy a cake of NZ made soap is there one? Even our food is being imported, for things we used to make ourselves and take pride in our product. If it's made here now it will likely be owned by some comglumerate. That's a big corporate that will leave gloom and unemployment everywhere it operates. (Go Dunedin chocolate.)

We on the left like to think that by application and cleverness people can become wealthy and that the country can help good honest businesses advance. And we recognise that with a good government and country behind them the wealthy can do well, and their workers, and the country too. Luckily Greens have kept their eye on the ball eh!

Good Tories should just remember that they aren't one man bands. Without support they bust like worn out rubber bands. And business isn't getting the support of good regulation from government. All this stress on competition from supposedly more efficient sources, is loading up the risk for faulty components in everything we see around us. The rubber is stretching, soon we'll be like Humpty Dumpty, fallen, and nobody will put us together again. So support the country, the rubber bands are only a temporary fix.

sumsuch said...

I was just thinking about communicating with the new leadership of the Greens through my (minor) gloom, when you interrupted with your article. My prospective advisio was to pick up Meteria's standard for the under-dog with proper fury, or they were done. I was going to call on Shaw's Scottish heritage and NZ upbringing. Fury or nothing. NZ's soul is deep amidst the underdog, or nowhere.

sumsuch said...

Chris, have you ever voted for Labour since '84? Neither have I. So much silly and stupid would be needed. All of my siblings are new-agey. A dead loss. I'm against subjectivism as seen in'm, but perhaps reward is the better way of persuading people. Or just active voices for truth.

Nick J said...

Grey, I think ratcheting it up is in order good idea!

Elections of course bring out the worst in people including me. I just had a couple of National campaigners ask me in the street who I was voting for?
"Not you", I replied.
"Why", came the response?
"Because you are losers".
"But we haven't lost yet".....
"No, but you are still losers".
Cant say I was proud of myself, sometimes the worst just slips out. And at heart that is exactly how I feel about National.