Voting in National in New Zealand’s upcoming elections will not only be a bad idea for the country, but is against current political trends.
I am going to go out on a limb here and give a couple of predictons in writing which I have been talking about and harbouring for a while. They are two observations, and very important in terms (in my eyes) regarding the upcoming New Zealand elections.
The first is the right only appeared
in ascendance because of the breakdown of the pillars of the left: the fall of the U.S.S.R. and the socialist ideals it represented; the academic splintering of left-wing ideologies (socialism, civil-rights, feminism, environmentalism etcetera) which cannot easily unite politically under first past the post (F.P.P.) electoral systems; and the dominance of the global capital markets and the influence of right wing economic ideology on traditionally left wing governments (New Labour).
The second is there are now new ideologies ascending: viable alternative models for prosperity such as state capitalism in China, oil monarchies in the U.A.E. or the Indian mixed economy1; the rise of atheism in contrast with a backlash against overt religious fundamentalism; wide acceptance and understanding of global environmental and resource issues; and lastly the credit crisis is cutting away at the base of a belief in under-regulated capital markets.
As can be noted from the above two observations, the traditional notions of left and right are breaking down. In the first, it is the left breaking down (in the West) which has been occuring since the 60s and the era of civil rights. It is now the turn of the right, who up until now have been shielded from having to justify their positions by economic boom times, which turn out to have been based on a lot of debt.
The Conservatives in England have rebranded themselves as the Environmental Party, although how they plan to reconcile that with business I am unsure. The current crisis is especially putting them in an awkward situation, as they cannot claim they would have been any more fiscally responsible or prepared to regulate the City (as London’s financial district is called) than Labour.
In the U.S. the group of Republican nominees that the party had to choose from was particularly dire. The only conclusion I can make is that no serious contender wanted to run directly after George W. and face almost certain defeat. However the the four most serious contenders as the race went on highlighted the splintering issues for the party. Mike Huckabee was a traditional Christian conservative, Rudy Giuliani was a high flying New Yorker in line with business, Ron Paul (who was a surprise success) was a libertarian favouring near complete absence of government, and John McCain is from the political class where money, government and friends are one and the same. Unsurprisingly, but only with the benefit of hind sight, was McCain nominated after his campaign went bankrupt through mismanagement, because he was the contender who was the least offensive to the members of the party with which he wasn’t naturally aligned. No Christian conservative was going to vote for Giuliani who while Catholic has been divorced.
In New Zealand it scares me that the reason for voting in the National party has nothing to do with what they stand for or will do once in power. It appears that many New Zealanders don’t care who is running the country, and that since Labour have been in for a long time it is ‘time for a change’. Unfortunately National is still running on the old right-wing ideologies and appears to be ignoring the two observations earlier. I believe that voting in National will be a grave mistake for the New Zealand public.