What a week I have had observing the world through our front fence, listening to RNZ and gazing at the computer screen. I am a complete tragic. I live, and sleep, thinking about public policy.
A few short weeks ago political differences mattered. I enjoy the debates and the differences of opinion. Now these differences are completely irrelevant. The political stage has changed. Those politicians, both Central and Local, who choose to strut around the stage playing populist politics are showing what they really are. Hollow scarecrows. Now is the time for everybody to get behind how we address the biggest issue of our times, not play games.
Somewhere in the masses of articles I have read around the world in the past week I read crisis doesn’t create character, it reveals it. If ever the incredible leadership of our current Prime Minister was in doubt, it was blown out of the water this week. She sure stepped up to the challenge.
I sat listening to the Government announcement and wept. This response was just what we needed. I was then appalled at how Simon Bridges behaved in Parliament immediately after the announcement. I stared at the radio wondering why the hell he was behaving as he was, bashing the poor. Lamenting that they had been assisted to the level they had.
This caused me to reflect on the fact that before he was in Parliament Simon Bridges was the Crown Prosecutor in Tauranga.
I might have an unduly cynical of the legal system, but I see an essential task of a Crown Prosecutor is to ensure that the poor are locked up using “the law” as the excuse. I will now be bashed up by my legal mates who will deny this sort of analysis. I challenge them to just think about the poverty (financial and of spirit) of the people an average Crown Prosecutor has to argue in court should be “put away”. It was therefore no surprise that as leader of the Opposition he put the boot into the poor for receiving assistance in the Government package announced last Tuesday. He is being true to his attitude to lower income NZers.
Rosemary Neave said to me the other day that she doubts that John Key or Bill English would have behaved the way Bridges did.
I was reading in the Economist these amazing statements this morning:
- This is not a time for ideology and orthodoxy,” said Mr Sunak the Tory Chancellor.
- Government itself may be rehabilitated. The drive to downsize the state was born of the belief that the market is a more efficient decision-maker. Pandemics challenge this. “If the government takes huge powers and doesn’t obviously cock it up, people come to accept the higher and more intrusive exercise of state powers as a norm,” says Lord Sumption. Bailed-out industries will need to repay the favour by better training British workers, argues Nick Timothy, a Tory thinker and former Number 10 aide.
Haven’t things changed when the Economist is writing such left-wing propaganda.
I’ve spent decades waiting for this sort of discussion. We need our politicians, from Central and Local Government to lead right now. Now is not the time for orthodox thinking, or poseur behaviour. Now is the time for sensible dialogue as we head down a track which will be scary for many of the current generation. Now is not the time for the thinking we have had dominating politics for the last few decades. Now is the time to search for solutions. Some of which are very old.
I liked this article about the need for all of us to lead right now https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/03/17/1087156/how-influential-people-can-build-trust-during-a-pandemic