|Chris Trotter : "I remember when The Press was this big!'|
Chris Trotter is no longer writing a weekly opinion column for The Press. While supporters of the Labour Party might bemoan his absence, the left won't be shedding any tears...
AFTER EIGHT years of writing a weekly opinion column for The Press Chris Trotter has written his final piece. Last week, in a brief footnote to his final column, he thanked the newspaper for "having been afforded the privilege of addressing its readers for the past eight years".
His departure does not appear to be a decision of his own making. It comes at a time when Kamala Hayman has been installed as the new editor. She has been acting editor since Joanna Norris left to take up a new position with ChristchurchNZ, a promotion and economic development agency the Christchurch City Council established in July last year.
His departure also comes at a time when the The Press, struggling with a declining readership, has abandoned the broadsheet for a new 'compact' format. The Saturday edition, because it attracts substantially more advertising that the weekday editions, is to remain as a broadsheet.
While some Labour Party supporters will undoubtedly bemoan Trotter's absence from the pages of the newspaper, the New Zealand left will be far more ambivalent. Trotter's loyalty to the Labour Party, come what may, has meant he displayed little to no inclination to use his column to support a left wing politics that did not prioritise the electoral interests of Labour.
His essentially right wing social democratic views mean that he has always been antagonistic toward any suggestion that the Labour Party is defunct as a progressive political force - and has been for decades. This view has led him to clutching at straws and at the moment the latest straw is the supposedly 'progressive' politics of Jacinda Ardern.
It also led him to use his newspaper column to conduct regular attacks on the left. A cursory trawl through the archives will find many examples of this, but two recent examples that spring to mind are his intemperate attacks on the anti-TPPA movement and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement which is trying to force Israel to comply to international law.
I'm also sure supporters of Chris Trotter will say that his departure from The Press represents a narrowing of the newspaper's political views. The truth is that his views never deviated from the narrow confines of mainstream political opinion and displayed the same kind of prejudice against the left often aired by right wing mainstream commentators like Mike Hosking and Barry Soper.