The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

catch-up post

Haven't been able to blog much since last Thursday, either here or elsewhere, as a result of previously mentioned health-related frustrations. This is going to be an ongoing problem, but while I'm feeling like I can, here are a few thoughts about stuff that's going on in The Big Game:

1. Pretty hard to win Tauranga back as Minister for Foreign Affairs

2. Greens actually in a good position - they get some policy wins which were much needed after nine years without much and they don't have to actively support Labour.

3. Will Minister for Trade and Trade Negotiations keep Goff overseas enough to maintain Clark's leadership possie? Especially if Winston's stance manages to stuff up those free trade agreements.

4. Education is going to be quite interesting - Cullen in Tertiary and Maharey in the main portfolio tends to indicate a bean-counter approach rather than any "vision thing" going on.

5. A woman as Minister of Police! I really wanted Margaret Wilson to get it but King will do nicely.

6. Speaking of Margaret Wilson, the fact that she's not in the Cabinet line-up suggests Labour is going to back her for Speaker again, surely?


Conor said...

It was good to see King in that portfolio.

Incidentally the first woman minister for police was Ann Hercus in the 4th Labour government.

maps said...

I quite like the Alliance's official commentary on the new government, which ignores trivialities like who got what job and whether the Minister of Police has a vagina, and gets to the heart of things by pointing out a) that Labour stayed in power because of its working class base in places like South Auckland, and the legwork of unionists and b) that these key constituents will get sweet FA out of this government:

The writing's all over the wall - cf Clark's speech to the CTU, which virtually announced that there will be no changes to the ERA, and said that this term will be all about boosting economic growth, which is code for a more pro-business agenda.

As someone who wants to see Labour discredit itself and lose its working class base, in the way that the SPD is losing its base in Germany now, I'm not unhappy with this stuff. It's par for the course, in many ways - Labour governments have always tended to get more conservative the longer they have lasted.

The worry is over whether anything will emerge to channel the drift from Labour. I would have much preferred to see the Greens locked into this awful government - as things stand, they'll be able to pose as the left alternative to Labour and try to win Labour voters and the unions away. Bradford is already trying to do this at the CTU conference. It'll be very hard for the Alliance or any other group trying to win workers away from Labour to compete with the Greens over the next few years, but the Greens are a dead end, as their pathetic pre-emptive sellout during and after the election campaign (drinkies with Roger Kerr, etc) showed only too clearly.

span said...

i'm sorry my brief commentary on the formation of the Govt does not meet your high standards Scott, but as this is my blog the only standards i feel i have to meet are my own, which are very very low right at the moment.

thank you for linking to the Alliance release on Indymedia. for some reason i am not that upset about this Govt formation - i guess i'm just not that surprised in Labour coalescing with the centre-right over the centre-left. Maybe it's because of my experiences in the Alliance during the heady days of that coalition and getting dumped on repeatedly by Labour.

my interest in a woman Police Minister is that i thought this was a significant move given the concerns recently that there is a major problem with police culture, particularly in relation to sexual complaints made against police by women, and I thought having a woman in the role might help to change that culture. I note that Rob Robinson has said he will retire soon (I think?) and the choice of the next Commissioner could be quite pivotal.

maps said...

Sorry if I sounded a little harsh, but it's disappointing to see you greeting the appointment of tweedledee rather than tweedledum as some sort of victory. Surely, a quarter century after the accession to power of Thatcher, it ought to be apparent to socialists that the racism and sexism of state institutions like the police is institutional, not contingent on the bureaucrats who run these institutions having penises?

One of the problems of focusing insistently on personality and the day to day trivialities of political life is that it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. This is especially true when many of the people you're chatting with are braindead right-wingers. Once the here and now seems to be all that exists, one is tempted to adapt one's political horizons to what seems 'realistic' in the here and now. One ends up feasting on crumbs like Annette King.

Sometimes it's useful to step back and analyse the big picture and put the current political scene in NZ into historical perspective, and also to examine some other societies where the left is far stronger and the class struggle far sharper. This is what I've found, anyway. Studying the revolution in Venezuela and keeping in touch with bloggers in Europe who are involved in sizeable splits with Labour Parties has
helped me put the political situation here in some sort of perspective, I think.

span said...

where did i actually welcome the new government? yes i was relieved on election night that we probably weren't going to have a National-led govt that would basically ruin working life for most people, but what in the above post is positive about the new Govt except for my pleasant surprise (the reason for which is explained above) that a woman in Minister of Police?

i think you are projecting far too much into what i have written Scott.

I find it hard to get passionate about this Govt as it's just another capitalism-loving one that will make the inevitable incremental changes that keep the masses happy and not quite sceptical enough to seek otehr alternatives.

i really strugle to see how i have been welcoming this Govt with open arms. after all i have posted twice since it was formed - once in this post and once about something unrelated. neither post sees me welcoming this govt as "some sort of victory". your lecture about losing perspective is fine, but i really think your critical comments (which i welcome and enjoy reading) are about something else entirely.

Commie Mutant Traitor said...

I really hope the Greens take advantage of their position to act as an actual opposition party, instead of being Labour's "bit on the side". That's exactly what we need to help redefine NZ's political landscape. I won't be holding my breath, though.

t selwyn said...

Given Labour's choice any party of the left stands a better chance in the next election. The Greens are awfully useless at real world politics however - so if they don't lift their game and be seen to be making headway then there is a pocket there for a left party, BUT it would have to fronted by a credible populist and draw from defections from Labour - I'm not sure NZ has such a figure. Note that the Die Linke party in Germany (disgruntled ex-SPD) made a lot of inroads and over 5% but aliented their old party so much that they refused to even talk to them and formed a govt. with the opposition!? I don't think Labour could ever do that.