Don Brash is an easy target for the middle class liberal milieu. But where is the same level of criticism for the right wing economic policies of the Labour-New Zealand First coalition government?

DESPITE BEING labelled 'yesterday's man', Dr Don Brash has been trending on Twitter. His critical comments about the use of Te Reo on RNZ provoked the first surge of comment on Twitter. Since then, a subsequent interview with Kim Hill on her Saturday morning show on RNZ has seen Don rocket to the top of the Twitter hit parade, out trending the likes of singer Harry Styles and cricketer Ross Taylor.

A lot people have had something to say about Brash's views on Te Reo and most of it has been uncomplimentary. Radio Live drive time host Al Mau , for example, tweeted the message on her son's T-shirt: "Why be racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic when you could just be quiet?' Unfairly, Mau seems to be suggesting that Don Brash's 'crimes ' extend beyond his antiquated views on the Maori language. Also, whatever happened to freedom of speech, Ali? Do you cut off you're talkback callers when you disagree with them?

Although I appreciate I'm at risk of being misinterpreted as a defender of Brash's views on Te Reo, I have always stood by Rosa Luxenburg 's view that 'Freedom is always the freedom of dissenters" , sometimes translated as "Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently."

 I think Brash has some awful and reactionary views on beneficiaries and the welfare system but I'm not about to tell him to shut up about it. And I don't recall  that the present critics of Brash's views on Te Reo were quite as prevalent or as hostile about his views on welfare.

Ali Mau's message for Don Brash.
I'm a little uncomfortable about the way Brash has been ganged up on by a liberal milieu rather too pleased with itself now that Labour has been installed in government. The very same people who are beating Don Brash over the head with a big stick are invariably the same people who have been gushing over Prime Minister Ardern and her government - the sycophancy having reached such a level that I have been forced to block some of the main Twitter offenders.

Despite the fact that Labour ,among other things, says it will sign a terrible trade agreement that hands over further economic and political power to  corporate interests and despite the fact that Finance Minister Grant Robertson has signalled more austerity policies to come, Jacinda Ardern and her government have not attracted in any way the same volume of criticism that has been directed at Don Brash - who has zero political power to change anything. And the criticism that has been directed at Ardern and her government colleagues has been subdued, couched in accommodating language and a level of tolerance missing from the full blown assault on Don Brash.

But Don Brash is an easy target for activists. That's because it's far easier for comfortable middle class Labour activists to have a go at him then turn the critical cannon on a government that they voted for and support- even if it is doing terrible things. Perhaps it helps them to delude themselves into thinking they really are progressive while folk less fortunate than them continue to be screwed by the capitalist machine.


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