ON LANGUAGE AND OUR POLITICS

Yesterday I criticised Labour List MP Ginny Anderson for calling herself a socialist. 

Specifically she was quoted in the give-away Hutt News commenting about the infantile graffiti attacks on her election billboards.

The reporter, Stuff’s Thomas Coughlan, of whom more later, wrote, “some of the slurs, however, Anderson is more proud of.”

“The term socialist, for me; it’s never been a term of slander, to me it’s a good thing,” Anderson said. “Socialist is probably my favorite- I’m proud to be a socialist witch.” (this one of the graffiti attacks slurs).

Now if Ginny really believes in the state owning all farms and businesses then that’s fair enough as she’s entitled to hold such beliefs and I apologies for claiming she’s ignorant and should buy a dictionary. 

But I’d wager its odds on she doesn’t believe such well-proven silliness, in which case she should abandon this adolescent nonsense and take greater care with her choice of words.

She’s not alone. As I wrote yesterday this sort of loose feel-good jargonising is predominantly a female thing. 

For example, in yesterday’s mail was an invitation I shall accept, from Auckland University. It’s to attend an address by the University’s Dean of its Law School, Professor Pene Mathew, in Wellington on refugee protection, a topic of great interest to me and in which I have an involvement.

Unfortunately the invitation is marred by more language abuse, specifically in its explanatory note so; “New Zealand has been particularly effective in preserving a right to health of its citizens by restricting freedom of movement.”

That is poppycock. There is no such right to health and the author of that line simply made it up. If there was such a right there would be no sick people.

Some may call me overly pedantic for raising such quibbles. Not so, rather this type of loose language leads to misplaced expectations and is simply bad practise, particularly when coming from our top university. 

Now, some comments on Stuff journo Thomas Coughlan whose commentaries I always enjoy. His articles are accompanied by his photo, the current one in which he resembles a kindergarten mass axe-murderer listening to his life imprisonment sentence. 

That aside he made a blunder a week back when writing about Judith Collin’s largely ignored but excellent proposal to sell state houses to their occupants. Thomas wrote this was copied from Margaret Thatcher. Wrong! Thatcher copied it from New Zealand. 

This was an initiative by the first National Government led by Syd Holland which took office in 1949 and was in line with the Party’s highly desirable founding objective, namely to create a property owning democracy. My family certainly took it up. 

The Nats are basically an unimaginative conservative party comprising folk largely content with their lives and thus wish to preserve the status quo, whatever that is. That’s reflected by their MPs over the years, being small time lawyers, business people, farmers and the like, driven by an aversion to change. They’re salt of the earth dullards. 

Conversely Labour MPs are always malcontents driven by a desire for change. For that reason they’re invariably a lot more interesting company than their National counterparts.

Since their first government 71 years ago, National have ruled the New Zealand political scene for 47 of the subsequent years with Labour periodically interspersing and managing a mere 24 years in charge. 

That imbalance reflects the public’s natural inclination for certainty and aversion to change.

In those 47 years in office National can point to only two radical initiatives; first, the state house sales I’ve alluded to and the other, the Bolger government’s removal of compulsory unionism. In general they’ve simply minded the shop when in office.

Compare that to Labour’s record.

The one term Nash government’s Minister of Industries and Commerce Phil Holloway created massive tariff barriers resulting in the building of our now sizable manufacturing base. Hitherto most goods were imported.

The also one term Kirk Government opened up trade with China, now our major trading partner, this something utterly alien to Holyoake and probably Muldoon, both of whom I knew well.

The six years Lange/Douglas government abandoned all their previous feel-good lefty jargonizing and wiped the no longer necessary tariff barriers, reformed the then punitive tax system and introduced the market economy. Along with the first 1935 Labour Government they were our greatest reformers since Vogel in the previous century. 

Then came a tactical change in Labour’s thinking with the Clark 9 years administration. To stay in office they adopted National’s don’t rock the boat, minding the shop approach, as has the Ardern government to date. It was a successful strategy enabling Helen to deliver the only post-war Labour government not expelled after one, or in Lange’s case, two terms.

To counter that well proven office-retaining formula the National Party will have to become the Party of change. Such role-reversal on their part is hard to imagine given a little known fact, namely that their current caucus is made up to a sizeable degree by skybayers, something our media have failed to pick up. Supernaturalists by definition are passive acceptors of the world they find and not initiators.

Thus they’re destined for a long time in Opposition so long as Jacinda continues with Helen’s do nothing radical, minding the shop approach.

What would ultimately destroy this Labour government would be the introduction of success taxes, that is punishing the most industrious citizens as advocated by the envy-motivated Greens. 

The sooner they’re off the scene and replaced by a genuine Green Party, the better we will all be. 

9 Comments

Haha good description of the National Party as a pack of dullards, Coming from a rural community I refer to the devout Nat supporters as the Boring old white y front brigade.

    He also describes Labour as follows:-
    “Conversely Labour MPs are always malcontents driven by a desire for change. For that reason they’re invariably a lot more interesting company than their National counterparts.”

    I believe his description reflects his preference for malcontents and misses their key faults i.e. narsasistic megalomaniacs who believe only they are right and dream about everyone earning a flat $100k a year and everyone living happily together. Ohhhh, and they generally have very very small mental capacity as evidenced by this belief.

    Human nature is such that there will always be those smarter, better work ethics, driven and more successful than others. These are the people that always end up with the larger slice of the pie and are the people Communists dedicate their lives to dragging down to their level and taking their success from them.

    Whilst Sir Bob likes to “mingle” with malcontents I prefer the company of successful realists and happy people (which Communists rarely are due to their negative natures). Malcontents are anchors on economies and make much better anchors on boats.

    The sooner Clark and Cindy are suitably employed the better. I don’t find Seymour to be a dullard at all and he has had my vote for the past 20+ years. I truly hope his time has come and believe he and Judith will come much closer to forming a Govt than many give them credit for but the M’s (malcontents, morons,mass histerics) will win out due to fear of everything including this years fear – death!

    3 years of transformation by the malcontents is coming our way but it transformation to economic hell. At least the unemployed and Maori will be happy.

National will stay in opposition until Christopher Luxon becomes their leader and then it’s night night Jacinida.

    Sorry he is wet and woke Adrian and would result in the political expression of Ritual Supukka for the National Party which would serve them right

Sir Bob.
I would love to know if your description below also applies to Key?
If yes I 100% agree. He achieved pretty much NOTHING in 9 years despite the opportunity presented.
“The Nats are basically an unimaginative conservative party comprising folk largely content with their lives and thus wish to preserve the status quo, whatever that is. That’s reflected by their MPs over the years, being small time lawyers, business people, farmers and the like, driven by an aversion to change. They’re salt of the earth dullards. ”
I also believe the worst electoral system in the world, namely MMP, combined with 3 year terms doesn’t help. The word in MMP must be mediocrity as that is what it encourages along with buying votes with “gifts” per Winston and the Greens and Labours nonsense.

Give me a salt-of-the-earth dullard over a fancies-themselves-as-transformational wokeist of the glibbest variety any day.

frederickwilliscroft October 16, 2020 at 4:21 pm

Unfortunately the labour govt is so bereft of talent I don’t think they are capable of instigating meaningful reform. Most of them seem to have come from a union background or Labour research unit. Hardly any have run a business or had a meaningful job. When you have got Davis at 2 and Twyford at 4 that tells you all you need to know about their pool of talent. They have to be amongst the most useless ministers in my lifetime. Compare with that Prebble,Douglas,Moore,Bassett,Caygill,Lange,Hercus. No comparison.

The thing is given the current economic situation and this govt’s total record of failure I would take a National led govt any day. They turned the country round much faster than predicted during the GFC so I would take their pragmatic, disciplined approach over this hapless lot.

The trouble about today’s political landscape is that it’s almost impossible to advocate and implement radical reform. Look at the uproar when National made the GST/Income tax switch and partially privatised energy companies and Air NZ. It was as if the earth was about to end. Imagine doing a Douglas like change now. Incidentally I thought the Key govt was a pretty good one. They navigated through the GFC with a perfect recipe of financial prudence and injection of money into the economy to keep things ticking along. I thought their GST/Income tax switch was their best idea- the tax system was seriously out of kilter and this achieved a far more equitable balance.

    We have MMP due to fear of radical reform don’t we?. Think Big??? This lot will be TAX BIG!!!
    What we will get will be woke rubbish. Pandering to Maori by changing the names OF EVERYTHING. Living wage for the bludgers. Cycle paths every where. Light rail and empty buses. Thousands and thousands of councillors to deal with a ballooning mental health crisis which realizing you are a useless human being brings on, coupled with the need to blame capitalism, house prices, colonialism, non existent pejudice, no one loves you blah blah blah! Ohhh and 100’s of working groups.

Good commentary.

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