“I have long been of the opinion that if work were such a splendid thing, the rich would have kept more of it for themselves.” – Bruce Grocott
I came across this quote in the newspaper the other day and it made me think of a news article I heard recently on National Radio (or is it Radio New Zealand National this week?). Greens co-leader, Meteria Turei, was critical of John Key, the New Zealand Prime Minister, for taking an Air Force helicopter to fly him from Auckland to Hamilton (a distance of about 80km, I believe) for a photo opportunity at the Hamilton V8 Supercars race and then fly him back to Auckland so that he could attend a black-tie dinner. His pathetic excuse was that the Governor-General was going to be at the dinner so it would not be acceptable to be late. Turei claimed that Key could have attended both events in a timely fashion by merely using a Crown car. The helicopter, she claimed, was a gross misuse of taxpayers’ money at a time when Key and the governing National party are urging every New Zealand citizen to tighten his or her belt.
Once again, I declare up front that I am a leftist. For most of my life, I’ve not wished to align myself with any political party, but about two years ago I thought the world we were leaving for our children and grandchildren was going to environmental hell-in-a handbasket so I joined the Greens. I’m not active politically in the Greens but I do want to contribute in a small way financially to a cause I feel is very righteous.
Sadly, the vast majority of voters are easily hoodwinked by spin and the baubles of television. Key is their everyman, smiling and affable and deliberately inoffensive. He lets other MPs do his dirty work while he smiles all the while like some country bumpkin at a county fair.
Voters tire of one party and kick them out, regardless of how well they are performing. Helen Clark was a very intelligent, cultured, capable woman and I feel there is a lot of bias against female leaders. They have to be Superwomen before the public will accept them and then the public is deeply suspicious of a female leader. They truly are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
Before Helen Clark and Labour lost the last election to Key and National, there were all these people saying it was time for a change. What they neglected to take into account was that a change for change’s sake is not always an improvement. I knew Key and National would play the moderate, non-threatening centrist card to lull voters into a false sense of security. The real right-wing agenda is starting to emerge now though and if they win a second term they will see that as a mandate to push their more right-wing ideologically-driven issues to the fore and make them law.
We are seeing it emerge into the harsh light of day with Gerry Brownlee, the Herman Goering of the National party. He is using the Christchurch earthquakes to accumulate enormous power for himself and he will push a lot of things through that favour his rich cronies, but don’t necessarily bode well for the citizens of Christchurch. A lot of our democratic freedoms will disappear under the guise of “state of emergency powers”. Many citizens already feel that they are not being consulted on the future of their city.
The folk that populate the National party are of the “born to rule” mindset, as is evidenced by Key’s use of the helicopter. He sees the Air Force as his own plaything, at his beck and call.
He made his millions as a currency trader, a parasite, not someone who produced anything of value, not something that advanced the wellbeing of the human race.
Recently, I heard that Key and Bill English, the Minister of Finance, had agreed to loan public money to bail out one of their mates, Brent Impey, because his media conglomerate is in financial trouble. Why aren’t the media all over this like a rash? This is scandalous, this is corrupt, and this is an abuse of power. This is that sense of entitlement coming through, that “born to rule” attitude shining through once again.
This post needs to be bookended by another quote from Charles Bukowski, the American poet:
“The difference between democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.”
I have a sinking feeling that Johnny, Billy and Gerry will be issuing a lot of orders in the weeks, months and (possibly) years to come.