Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Turning Right is such a Fright

I'll post my credentials to the mast right now: I'm a member of the Green Party and an avowed long-life leftist. My father, who died in 1995, voted for the right-wing conservative party all his life, but at the end he was so disturbed by the party's lurch to the far-right in its social policies that he voted Green in his last few years. That was very telling I feel.

I never knew how my Mum voted, but her upbringing was more working-class. Her Dad was a carpenter who went to night school and improved his lot until he was foreman of a timber yard. She's in a rest home now and I'm not sure if she exercises her vote anymore.

Regardless of their political leanings, both my Mum and Dad brought us up to be considerate and to think of others. They taught us about a "fair go" for all and social justice and helping those less fortunate than ourselves. I want my two sons to be aware of these things too.

I am alarmed by the lurch to the Right in Aotearoa. It started in the 1980s with Reagan and Thatcher spreading their worldwide influence. It continued in the 1990s. I lived in Australia and elsewhere from about August 1986 until December 1994 so I missed some of the worst excesses of the social laceration of Aotearoa. But a "me first" greedy attitude sprang up in the 80s and 90s and it seems to have permeated through to the 21st century.

We had a bit of a breather with Labour (the left-wing party) governing from 1999 to 2008, but people wanted "change". Change does not necessarily equate to improvement.

I suppose it is to be expected, but most people vote out of self-interest and very few look at the bigger national picture of what benefits all of their countrymen.

I'm a firm believer in MMP (Mixed Member Proportional)but it is alarming how a far-right party with 1.4% of the vote can capture so much of the right-wing government's agenda. They are talking about the privatisation of water recently. God help us! Deregulating and privatising everything else hasn't worked so why should it work with water. Don't they ever learn? It's just blindness to ideology. They seem to have this unspoken mantra: "Private Good, Public Bad". But private industries can be just as lazy and inefficient as public services.

We were told that privatising the power industry would bring us cheaper power from increased competition. We now pay much more for our power because every one is taking their cut along the line instead of just having Municipal Power Boards who generated and supplied the power and maintained the power infrastructure.

Water is our most precious resource. We must use it wisely. But the far-right has an agenda to sell off our water to their rich, dairy-farming mates and they couldn't give a toss about the environment.

Take action now! Tomorrow may be too late!