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

Friday, May 18, 2007

Candidate-itis

I wanted to write something about Gordon Copeland going all Splitsville, but it seems I'm a bit slow off the mark. Joe Hendren has written about possible caucus friction that may have been a motivation for Copeland, while Bryce Edwards has an interesting post on the history of Christian parties in NZ (and how many Christian MPs have been splitters). Maramatanga also looks at the possibilities for Copeland's possible new vehicle Future New Zealand*.


I always find it a bit amusing when List MPs with meagre profiles split from their party in high dudgeon and stomp off to play somewhere else. They don't seem to understand that not only are they leaving without bat and ball, they are also going to struggle to find anyone else who will actually share their game, or even watch it. It's a high level manifestation of an illness I've seen happen a lot in politics now - that strange political affliction known as Candidate-itis.

What seems to happen is that the person with the title (be it Student Exec Member, Councillor, Member of Parliament, whatever) thinks that they have somehow cultivated this massive personal following, often in a very short space of time and despite all evidence to the contrary. For some strange reason they have this delusion that there are a mass of students/ratepayers/voters/members prepared to die in a ditch for them. They think they can triumph righteously in an electoral contest which they have absolutely no chance of winning and they throw their perceived (and quite imaginary) power around no end, until it usually bounces back and hits them in the face right smartly.

Copeland strikes me as a man fervently in the grip of Candidate-itis. He and erstwhile United MP Larry Baldock seem to think that their devotees will rise up and smite their foes mightily at the ballot box. I see nothing to back up this crazy belief.



* Has anyone else noticed this is an existing party - it has been in some kind of political alliance with United for some years, creating United Future. Assumedly this means they have to disentangle themselves in terms of their party structures? Does anyone know if the Future NZ people are actually on board with the split?


(Pic Via)

8 comments:

Maramatanga said...

Actually, I seem to recall that both United New Zealand and Future New Zealand have been completely subsumed into the merged party, not retaining their own separate identities as they did at the start. Neither is a registered party anymore. I could be quite wrong on that, though.

And it's certainly worth considering whether all ex-Future-ites are happy to see Copeland trying to de-merge the two. It's possible that Copeland's use of the name will be challenged - the law allows such challenges if the name is likely to cause confusion.

Kane said...

United Future is a strange broad 'church'. I remember reading some chronological material about their formation on Wikipedia - under New Zealand Political Parties .

Without Dunnie they'd have no parliamentary representation.

Remember they've had Blumsky as their President at one stage, prior to his Nat days, and following the 2005 election (or just prior? and up until last year sometime) Outdoor Recreation NZ were in bed with them.

Mainly Politics said...

Anyone remember Ross Meurant, Trevor Rogers, Clive Matthewson, Graham Lee? They all split to form parties that flopped, so too will Copeland.

It takes a pretty strong personality to pull it off, and more than a single issue. Anderton and Peters both had big profiles, big personalities, and big groups of supporters who were unhappy with the overall agenda of one of the major parties, not just one or two policies. And of course that was pre-MMP, when disaffected voters didn't have lots of options of where else to go, unlike they do now...

Rich said...

They aren't registered as a separate party.

llew said...

A bravado bid for obscurity.

ex-expat said...

I can't help but compare them to Mauri pacific...

STC said...

At a guess I would say that Copeland credits the behind the scenes work done in attracting the 'New Age Evangalical Church' vote to UF's success, rather than the usual factor cited, which was the 'worm' in the debate with Dunne.

servant said...

STC, I'm interested to know what the 'New Age Evangalical Church' is?

As an evangelical, I can state in confidence that the evangelical stream of Christianity is very broad indeed, with people voting across the political spectrum.

Amongst the people who I consider friends who are also evangelical, there are people (like myself) who voted for the Greens, there are others who voted Labour (some of my closest friends), National, United Future, Act, The Alliance etc.

I'm guessing you see the 'New Age Evangalical Church' within that spectrum somewhere?