Conservative commentator Matthew Hooton thinks that Labour and National should  consider joining forces. Perhaps they should simply merge and call themselves The Money Party...

CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR Matthew Hooton has suggested that Labour and National should considering going into coalition, at least temporarily, in order to block fringe political parties getting into Parliament. He's talking about groups like Hannah Tamaki's Vision NZ and the anti-vaccination group Voices for Freedom. 

He told the AM Show last week that a coalition of these parties could, realistically, get five percent of the vote and enter Parliament and upset the applecart. Gosh.

'I think Brian Tamaki would absolutely love to be in Parliament with 5 percent of the vote and get to interview Christopher Luxon and Jacinda Ardern, and decide which one would be Prime Minister' he warned.

'If we ever did get in that situation - where an extreme right-wing or extreme left-wing group had that type of power and was playing those games - I think it would be the responsibility of the leaders of the Labour and the National party to reject that proposition and talk to one another, and at least establish some type of temporary grand coalition.'

I doubt that though a 'fix' like this would be met with approval by much of the community, especially a community where over 600,000 folk no longer vote because they feel it is of little benefit to their own lives. Shit happens. And it continues happening, regardless of who is in power.

There has been a gradual convergence, both in ideas and policies, between Labour and National that the point was reached long ago when any differences between the two parties became largely one of emphasis and not substance. There is no disagreement in their support for neoliberalism. Both National and Labour know whose economic interests they represent. Psst..its probably not yours.

Both parties occupy a political centre that says 'Let’s just keep things how they currently are. We don’t need to do other stuff. We don’t need to be reactionary. We don’t need to be more socially democratic. Let’s just keep things how they are.’

The centrist 'business as usual' politics of Labour and National - with the minor parliamentary parties in tow - has created a political vacuum where, in the absence of any real opposition from a weak liberal left still clinging futilely to Labour, has allowed the right to capitalise on the anger and frustration that is abroad.

Jacinda Ardern, having backpedaled on the election promises she made in 2017, represents a status quo that is incapable of dealing with the converging social, economic and environmental crisis that confronts us today. That crisis is not going to go away simply because Brian Tamaki is blocked getting into Parliament. 

As Bryce Edwards also told the AM Show: 'I think that's the problem at the moment; Labour, National, the Greens - whoever - aren't actually dealing with the actual organic forces at the bottom. They've moved into the centre of politics, they're not dealing with poverty, inequality - all these crises - and it can look too much like we're ignoring these people.'

The irony is that while castigating the so-called extremism of the right and the left, Hooton defends the extremism of centrism. That's the centrism that both Labour and National subscribe to and which contends the kind of real change we need is not 'realistic' and that growing issues like inequality, poverty  homelessness and climate destruction can only be alleviated but not solved. That's the world that Hooton seeks to protect. Unlike centrist politics, socialist politics acknowledges that something is fundamentally wrong and needs to change and change now. And what's 'extremist' about that?


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