IT IS SADLY indicative of their political and intellectual bankruptcy that some so-called 'left wing commentators' could describe the soon-to-exit Green Party co-leader Russel Norman as 'progressive'. In their increasingly desperate and farcical attempt to conflate Labour and the Green's with 'progressive politics' they will say just about anything. There's not a lot of honesty happening here.
According to the increasingly ridiculous Martyn Bradbury, Norman is a "central pillar of the political progressive movement. His mind on economics is the strength the Party needs".
Meanwhile Chris Trotter thinks that by "exploiting to the full his party’s consensus-based decision-making processes was Norman able to keep the Greens anchored firmly on the left of New Zealand politics." Of course we're talking about a guy who also thought Kim Dotcom was a revolutionary socialist.
Both pundits have conveniently forgotten what they wrote just a few short few months ago. They condemn themselves with their own words.
Shortly after the election Bradbury was accusing his "central pillar of the political progressive movement" of cosying up to the National Party. He wrote:
"the repositioning of the Greens as open for business with National is well and truly underway with this vicious smack down of Internet Mana by Russel Norman on the Waatea News with Willie Jackson last week. The slagging off of Hone and Laila is astounding as Russel buys right into the right wing narrative and damns Kim to political damnation."
In another outburst Bradbury wrote: "I’m waiting for Russel Norman to now start blaming Nicky Hager for the Greens low election result."
Now Bradbury is, again, Russel Norman's best friend. With friends like Martyn Bradbury, who needs enemies?
Trotter's view of the Green Party, like most of his views these days, is a moving feast. It's sad to see Trotter degenerate into the hack for hire that he has become. But he has no one to blame but himself.
In April 2014 he praised the Green Party and its policies of market environmentalism:
“Only the Greens have grasped the need to turn the mechanisms of the market to new, environmentally sustainable and socially integrative purposes. In the spirit of Isaiah, their mission is to beat the market’s swords into ploughshares and its spears into pruning hooks.”
But barely a month later, prompted by Bryce Edwards' criticism of 'green capitalism' on TVNZ's Q+A, Trotter decided that trying "to turn the mechanisms of the market to new, environmentally sustain and socially integrative purposes" was simply mistaken. He wrote:
“Can you really prefix “Green” to the global phenomenon that’s pouring more and more Carbon Dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere?....Green Capitalism? You might as well speak of Green Cancer. But, if you’re looking for alternatives – why not ‘Man Crusher’? Or, ‘Earth Eater’?”
But Trotter's view has changed again. Norman is now no longer a supporter of a fundamentally flawed economic ideology but someone who has a steady grip on "contemporary economics." Trotter enthuses:
“For eight years Norman strove to fashion a Green Party manifesto that was not only compatible with the Labour Party’s policy platform but would, to a remarkable degree, serve as its inspiration. His astonishing and largely successful mission to master the challenges of contemporary economics; an effort which allowed him to participate in policy debates with an authority sadly lacking in his predecessors, and to drag Labour along in his wake, is probably the most impressive achievement of his leadership.”
The reality is that,under Norman, the Green Party has embraced the neoliberal orthodoxy with Norman declaring himself to be more a supporter of the market than the National Party.
In August last year he said: "If you look at the Greens, or at least our policies, they are pro-market. Lower company tax rates, price signals for carbon - let the market resolve the issue."
While climate scientists are warning of the danger that the planet is under from a predatory economic system, Norman talks fondly of the environmental movement working with big business. That he has got away with this nonsense while passing himself off as 'left wing' is indicative of something seriously rotten with New Zealand's so-called 'progressive politics' - and part of the problem are commentators like Chris Trotter and Martyn Bradbury.
It is indicative of the right wing politics of both Trotter and Bradbury that, while they have been quick to lionise Norman, both bloggers have ignored Naomi Klein's important work This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus The Climate.
Klein writes that such is the magnitude of the ecological crisis that we now need to ditch our present economic system. This, she says, is now no longer a matter of mere ideological preference but rather 'one of species-wide existential necessity.'
Like Russel Norman, both Trotter and Bradbury are complicit in their support of an economic system that is destroying the planet. It is little wonder that, like Russel Norman, both bloggers would prefer not to hear Naomi Klein.