Thursday 15 December 2011

Looking Back - A Sketch

"To the Revolution!"

IT’S THE DAY AFTER the 2014 General Election. We’re at Matthew Hooton’s splendid residence in Parnell and the champagne is flowing. Out in the garden Chris Trotter is holding forth to John Pagani and Matt McCarten when Bryce Edwards steps onto the deck clutching a copy of the Herald on Sunday.

CHRIS: Bryce, you Useful Idiot! Get your arse over here and have some Champagne!

BRYCE: (Waving the paper in front of him) Brilliant column Matt. Just the right combination of triumphalism and spite.

MATT: I try to please.

BRYCE: I especially liked the reference to Shearer’s “Un-lefting of the Left”.

CHRIS: Hardly surprising, Bryce – it’s your concept.

BRYCE: (Blushing) Well, that’s true, I suppose.

MATT: No supposing about it! But how far would the idea have got if Trotter and Pagani hadn’t been around to popularise it?

CHRIS: Or if Shearer hadn’t been smart enough to pick it up.

JOHN: (Winking) No fear of that! It’s amazing what a politician will do with a little encouragement from his friends.

MATT: (Raising his glass) To malleable Manchurians!

ALL: (Clinking their glasses) To malleable Manchurians!

Cathy Odgers approaches the group bearing a tray of Russian caviar.

CATHY: I presume the sort of socialist who’s willing to drink Veuve Clicquot won’t turn his nose up at caviar?

CHRIS: Beluga?

CATHY: Of course.

CHRIS: Lovely!

MATT: So how was the Act bash, Cathy? You must have taken some grim satisfaction at seeing Banksie wiped out in Epsom?

CATHY: Yes and no. It was great to see him defeated – but not by Labour!

MATT: Didn’t I tell you that Shearer had cross-over appeal?

MATTHEW: (Depositing a couple of eye-wateringly expensive Pinot Noirs on the table.) Yes, but that’s only because you bastards were so bloody successful at transforming him into a racist, sexist, homophobic, fascist cunt who made Key sound ideological - while he was somehow allowed to present hard-line communism as economic common-sense.

JOHN: (Perusing the wine label, before pouring himself a generous glassful.) Spoken like a true 1-percenter Matthew.

MATTHEW: Hah! But it won't stop you drinking my wine, will it? Still, what the hell is the Right supposed to do when the likes of Time Magazine makes “The Protester” 2011’s Person of the Year? There were just too many people – like those class traitors Gareth Morgan and Bernard Hickey – who were willing to give all that smelly hippie ‘we are the 99-percent’ crap credibility.

CHRIS: That’s no way to talk about our David. Just because he plays the guitar. (Takes another sip of wine.) This is fabulous Pinot, by the way.

BRYCE: (Excitedly) But Matthew’s right! It was the Occupy movement and the collapse of the Eurozone which finally broke the neoliberal spell. That, and the landslide re-election of Obama on a platform of economic populism. It all conspired to open up the path towards a traditionally left-wing Labour programme.

CHRIS: Which opened the doors of the Labour Party to that most extraordinary of creatures – the ordinary New Zealander.

CATHY: Yes, that was the really clever move. Once the party was pumped full of Trotter’s Waitakere Men it was sayonara for the gaggle.

CHRIS: Ah, yes, the “defenestration” conference. How did Shearer put it: “I’ve worked in places where racial, religious and ideological fanaticism have armed themselves with political power, and I can tell you, the results are not pretty – and offer no models for the New Zealand Labour Party.”

JOHN: Definitely one Trotter’s better lines.

CATHY: You think so? I reckon it was Shearer’s “We must move beyond what George Bush called ‘the soft bigotry of low expectations’; it’s time to stop allowing brown skins to excuse black deeds.”

MATTHEW: Bloody disgraceful racist bullshit!

BRYCE: It worked though. The Identity Politicians all marched out in protest.

MATT: With Robertson at their head!

CHRIS: A definite twofer! And not before time. The Clark Years infantilised Labour’s membership. After the upheavals of the 1980s and early 90s they were so terrified of debate and dissent that they forgot how to think for themselves. And when you do that, there are always plenty of people only too willing to do your thinking for you. (Leaning toward the table.) Is there any of that Beluga still going begging?

BRYCE: And after the big walk-out it was pretty much all plain sailing. Because, in most people’s minds, feminism, gay rights, tino rangatiratanga and bossing people around is the Left. When all those people threw themselves out of the window, “Middle New Zealand” breathed a huge sigh of relief. Chris and John hailed Shearer for “de-Lefting the Left”, John Armstrong picked up the quote in The Herald, and ….

MATTHEW: …. I know, I know, iPredict went mad ….

MATT: … and the polls followed suit.

CHRIS: (Spreading caviar on a sliver of rye bread) Eighteen points in a single bound – Don Brash eat your heart out!

MATT: It was amazing really. When Shearer announced he was going to re-nationalise the privatised assets and re-introduce universal union membership, nobody – apart from Business NZ and Federated Farmers – batted an eyelid. Although, I suppose it helped that Obama was doing much the same thing in the States.

CATHY: And that’s it, isn’t it. Parasites in charge from London to Vladivostok. And after the Chinese Communists’ latest anti-capitalist crackdown, I can’t even go back to Hong Kong!

CHRIS: The trick was to make John Key the voice of ideology, and David Shearer the voice of common-sense.

JOHN: Which we did.

MATTHEW: (Rising from the table.) And so bloody well, you Commie bastards! Why do I keep inviting you to these things?

MATT: Because we're good for business?

CATHY:  What do you mean?

MATT: Exceltium’s been offered the job of softening up - I mean preparing - the country for the restoration of universal union membership. A big PR contract, with a big price-tag to match.

CATHY: (Rising to follow Matthew) Hmmm? Does he need a lawyer?

CHRIS:  What was it Lenin said about capitalists competing to supply the rope that will hang them?

MATT: Comrades. (Rising to his feet and raising his glass.) To the Revolution!

ALL: The Revolution!

This posting is exclusive to the Bowalley Road blogsite.


Jordan Carter said...

So having just worked out you were wrong with "Waitakere Man", you're now right again? Out of interest, which do you actually think, Chris?

Just wondering :-)

Chris Trotter said...

It's one thing to congratulate a candidate on a narrow win in the actual Waitakere seat, Jordan, quite another to ignore the psephological evidence across the whole of West Auckland.

It's the Party Vote that counts, my friend.

Cactus Kate said...

Parts of this are surprisingly accurate and have me headed for dejavu tissues.

Jake Quinn said...

Hilarious comedy.

Lew said...

You remain one of the nation's foremost exponents in the short-form speculative gonzo revenge-fantasy genre, Chris. Bravo.


Anonymous said...

So, besides indicating that the A team bloggers and commentators prefer each other's company, irrespective of their ideological armour, what is the point? If all the identity politics is gone from the Labour Party, and union membership is enhanced, the new ideological target will be the 'cloth-cap commie unionists'. Back to the future.

RobertM said...

What could I say about these wine and cheese booze ups in Parnell. I expect their far less exciting than presented here. I decided to dable in law and try the University of Canterbury Law school in 2001 after much enrolling and withdrawing from law-because I read the social sec at the functions was the bar manager at the Viper Club at LA, the previous year. All I really wanted was to attend a hard drinks and sex party with free use of drugs. I was never invited because after intense serotonin medication I was too honest to keep a secret. My experience of psychiatrists convinces me David Garrett was very hard done by. The provocation and assault inflicted on him by psychiatrists is par for the course with the so called profession-who always try and wind their patients before the court. Just think Garrrett refused to stand and clap the appointment of Helen Clark to the UN undevelopment organisation.
I would think David Cunliffe should leave the country now. Its a waste of time. Shearer and Robertson are a 15% party.

RobertM said...

Labour is still fundamentally about hard core class war- read Vicky 32 and Colonial Viper on the standard. Its about opposition to the idle rich members of the leisure class like me. Its really a colonial abberation of isolation, hate and deep sexual frustration. Essentially they are sack wearing Mao readers running around with the little red school book to enforce working class morals of the 1950s and respect for Colin Meads and the tribal white and brown male.

Tiger Mountain said...

The ex Viper Room grog pourer, or whomever was Law School social gatekeeper was a good judge of character going by Robert M’s O’Rourke style ramble.

Chris has certainly done it this time; “infamy, infamy, the’ve all got it in for me!”.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Guerrilla Surgeon.

No, it's you who's going somewhere else sunshine - for at least as long as it takes you to learn some manners.

Anonymous said...

Indulgent narcissism masquerading as satire.

Anonymous said...

Oh, so the voters, having soundly rejected Labour's "no asset sales" policy, are now supposed to do a "180" and sweep Labour back in on that same policy?
Bullshit. Nice fantasy, but that's all it is.
The Nats will love it if Labour fights the 2014 election on the same old 2011 issues.
So much for "learning from defeat".

Chris Trotter said...

The voters, thor42, actually gave majority support to those parties opposing the partial privatisation of state assets.

Between them, Labour, The Greens, NZ First, The Maori Party, Mana, United Future and the Conservatives took 50.89 percent of the popular vote.

Try again.

Anonymous said...

Something bout this format is hard to read. I think you should maybe borrow whaleoil's 'speech balloon' format for this kind fo thing?

Chris Trotter said...

I'm sorry, s36e175, have you never read a play?

What do they teach young people these days?