Naomi Klein says that we have to stop treating centrist politicians as something they are not - liberal saviours.
IN A RECENT INTERVIEW on Dutch television writer and activist Naomi Klein made some pertinent remarks about the present tendency to treat centrist politicians as if they were 'rock stars' who can do no wrong. Although she was referring specifically to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, her comments apply equally well to other centrist politicians - like Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Klein said that one of the 'biggest dangers' of Donald Trump was that he made everyone else look good.
"My Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, gets treated like he's the messiah because he's not Donald Trump and beacuse he wears nice socks."
After Trudeau was elected to office in 2015 Klein was warning that he was no "liberal saviour".
When asked by the interviewer whether she thought Trudeau was a fraud Klein laughed and replied that he was under little critical scrutiny.
"I think he's getting a free ride- that's what concerns me the most. There's a huge hunger for hope out there and sometimes we will take whatever we can get. But its not helpful to us that Trudeau gets treated as something he is not."
She said that people treated Trudeau as a "...rock star everywhere he goes and people want selfies. You have to stop it."
Given the uncritical adulation that has been heaped upon Jacinda Ardern in recent weeks, Klein's words are timely. But they are unlikely to be reflected upon, never mind heeded, by a New Zealand progressive community that appears to be in the process of committing a huge historic mistake and demobilising - instead of maintaining relentless pressure from below on the Labour-New Zealand First coalition government.