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Ed Said - The Politics of politics

dadI’ve been amused lately by Parliamentary goings-on. I rarely watch Parliament on TV and then only for a moment, unable to stand the childish and churlish interjections and slanging that purports to be negotiating the safe and prosperous future of our fair country.

However, one particularly amusing scenario was the address by Russell Norman at the recent Green Party Conference where
he likened the “divisive and corrosive attitude” of Prime Minister John Key to that of former PM Rob Muldoon. To those of us even remotely aware of the Muldoon years, nothing could be further from the truth.

Russell Norman came here from Aussie as a freckle-faced kid, got employment as a sheetmetal worker and a hospital aide then joined the Communist party. He entered the New Zealand political arena in 1986 which was two years after Muldoon had been toppled from his Prime Ministerial post by David Lange.

But lets look closer at some of Muldoon’s policies in terms of today. He introduced carless days (walking, better for health and a greatly reduced carbon footprint through fuel saving). He introduced import controls and regulated pricing (more manufacturing at home, more jobs = less unemployment, goods more affordable).

He imposed higher taxes on the rich (they’re all baying for this). Among his “Think Big” projects was the research and introduction of alternative fuels – looking after our planet. Funny, but all of the above sound like Green Party policies do they not?

Then we have fierce opposition by Labour over the awarding of a new conference centre and casino in Auckland which is deigned to ‘further destroy the social fabric of our Queen city’ but senior Labour MPs were quite happy to accept Sky City’s hospitality by way of a corporate box at the recent
Eden Park rugby test.

Surely they can’t realistically trumpet the evils of the casino then join in their hospitality with any degree of credibility. Party leader Shearer also joined later but ‘never had a beer’. That’s almost like the Bill Clinton quote that he had smoked marijuana but did not inhale.

Politicians never answer ‘yes’ to a question. Winston Peters is a master of this one. Innuendo, accusations (usually unsubstantiated), hearsay, wars and rumours of wars but few straight answers. Then we have those who have, literally, ‘Dunne’ their chips but are able to remain as independents still collecting their six-figure salaries.

And don’t get me started on Banks, Peters, Anderton and all who have thrown their toys out of the cot and party-hopped on several occasions. These are members of the political circus troupe for whom we have voted to run our country– and our councils. Is there something wrong with them or is there something wrong with us?

But I shall leave you with a couple of political gems: Donald Rumsfeld gave President Bush his daily briefing: “Yesterday, three Brazilian soldiers were killed.” “Oh no!” the President exclaims. “That's terrible!” His staff are stunned at this display of emotion. They watch nervously as the President sits, head in hands. Finally, he looks up and asks, “How many is a brazillion?” According to Napoleon Bonaparte “In politics, absurdity is not a handicap” I rest my case.

Keep warm and dry,
Rob and the team

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