|An 'all in pile on' : A typical day in Parliament.|
With the parliamentary parties virtually indistinguishable in their uniform support for neoliberalism and with nothing new to offer, politics has been emptied of any meaningful content. Ideological differences have been replaced by personal insults.
MIKE McROBERTS on Three News last night told me that if the first day of Parliament was any indication, it was going to be an 'exciting election year'. That was followed by a report from Tova O'Brien who wanted me to know that Parliament was an 'all in pile on'. Was she describing Parliament or something out of WWE wrestling?
The cause of all the commotion was the various party leaders, fresh from their lengthy summer holidays, trying to get in a few clean hits in when their opponents weren't looking. Jacinda Ardern seems to have someone in her office who likes supplying her with pithy one liners and 'nine years of blue smoke and darkness' was almost poetic in its description of the nine years of the previous National led government. I'm thinking a darkened night club with the blue of cigarette smoke creeping slowly into the air. Very noir.
Simon Bridges though completely missed the filmic possibilities of Arden's prepared jibe and fired back with 'three years of dithering' to describe Jacinda Arden and her Labour-led Government. Not exactly a withering riposte. Bridges needs a better scriptwriter.
ACT leader David Seymour though came armed with a visual aid - great for the six 'clock news bulletins, who duly showed him in action. He held up three images in the House, the first image of a hexagon, the second of an octagon, and the third an image of Winston Peters with the caption 'should be gone.' Not a bad effort, if a bit obvious. But Seymour was delighted with his routine although I didn't hear a lot of laughter from his fellow MP's. Obviously a tough audience to win over.
Tova O'Brien, who must be a fan of WWE wrestling, described the Parliamentary fracas as an 'all out rumble'.
Who won? And does anybody really care? One of the many problems with the Commentariat is that it thinks we are as interested and entranced with the parliamentary argy-bargy as they are. Nevertheless the country's most sycophantic Jacinda Ardern supporter thinks its important for us to know that not only did Simon Bridges look 'petulant and sulky', it is compelling evidence that Jacinda Ardern will lead Labour to victory in September. Apparently its not about what Jacinda Ardern stands for but that she has allegedly got better debating skills than Simon Bridges.
Martyn Bradbury of The Daily Blog might get away with this kind of nonsense with the right wing Sean Plunket on Magic Talk every Friday afternoon when everyone's asleep but, in print, it reads like the desperate rant of a deranged Twitter nut. I'm glad Bradbury blocked me many years ago for describing him as a cheerleader for Labour.
But what we are really seeing in Parliament, and will continue to see throughout the year, is the exhaustion of neoliberal politics. With the parliamentary parties virtually indistinguishable in their uniform support for neoliberalism and with nothing new to offer, politics has been emptied of any meaningful content. Parliamentary politics, without any meaningful alternatives on offer, has largely become little more than empty posturing abut trivial matters. Ideological differences have been replaced by personal insults. What we are witnessing is the infantilism of mainstream politics. The toddlers have taken over and we're the losers.
It really is time for our political revolution. We need a genuine transformative vision for a more just and equitable country, and a renewal of New Zealand democracy. Let's remove the toddlers...