Trotter gets a bit wonky with his thinking

Chris Trotter looks at Winston Peters and at John Key.

It’s a good article but gets some things dreadfully wrong.

The successful populist politician’s response will always echo that of Alexandre Ledru-Rollin, one of the leaders of the February Revolution of 1848 in France: “There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.”

To carry off this leading-by-following trick, the populist politician requires both a vigilant eye and an unusually sensitive ear. In present-day New Zealand, for example, only a blind, deaf and extremely dumb populist would assume that to stay behind the rage he has only to hurl abuse at John Key’s government. All he would demonstrate by such tactics is how thoroughly he has missed the fact that John Key is, himself, an extremely accomplished populist leader. What’s more, John Key, unlike Alexandre Ledru-Rollin, has no need to go running after the crowds. Thanks to his pollster, David Farrar, and focus-group supremo, Mark Textor, the Prime Minister knows exactly where the people are going. That’s why he’s so often to be found parked there, waiting for them to arrive.

David Farrar is probably New Zealand’s best pollster…he keeps John Key and Steven Joyce focussed.

Though the article is wrong and shows it clearly in this statement.

Mr Key’s Cabinet’s slavish adherence to neoliberal ideology has meant that economic and social policies that could have really assisted the “average Kiwi” are consistently ruled out of contention

Trotter makes the mistake of thinking people vote based on whats in it for them, not values.

They are voting for  John Key because he doesn’t favour Maoris, bludgers or whingers or at the very least favours them less than Labour does.

Politics isn’t nearly as complicated as Labour makes it, it really is that simple.

Furthermore the average bloke just wants to be treated the same, not to be told he has to subscribe to affirmative action or some other pandering to a minority group intent on finding outrage for every sleight, perceived of real.

I am surprised Chris Trotter makes that mistake.

It is a well known fact that people don’t vote in the their best interests, they vote on their values.

And Labour is a long way from middle New Zealanders values. We saw this with Andrew Little’s lacklustre speech that was supposedly all about values.

If I had have written Little’s first speech I would have talked about those who try not those who don’t.

Instead of quoting Alexandre Ledru-Rollin, a long dead frog he should have quoted Julia Gillard who once said:

I believe in a Government that rewards those who work the hardest, not those who complain the loudest.

Until Labour starts to realise that their factionalised, single interest group silo mentality is not what Kiwis want they will continue to be politically irrelevant.

I imagine when Chris Trotter reads this he may well have a good hard think about his propensity to be overly intellectual sometimes in thinking through a political problem.

Sometimes it really is as simple as I have explained.


– Bowalley Road


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  • Cadwallader

    Leonard Cohen once wrote:”Follow me the blind man said, but he walked behind.” This describes the procession of recent Labour leaders perfectly.

  • caochladh

    Whenever I think of Trotter, I am reminded of Horace Rumpole (of the Bailey) and his sessions in Pomeroy’s wine bar consuming wines of a questionable quality that tend to fog the memory.

    • Cadwallader

      I think of him as a fat kid a la Billy Bunter wandering down Bowalley Road in a daze of developing resentment as he sees the wealth creation by the local North Otago farmers. He hasn’t strayed as far from his roots as many on the Left and I think he paid attention in English classes if that’s a virtue.

  • Nirvana10

    Every time I read the term ‘neo-liberal’ I immediately switch off. It is the catch-call of The Standard, The DB, Eleanor Catton and such like. I haven’t a clue what it means and I don’t much care! I have the feeling that most NZers would share my view.

    • kayaker

      I was just thinking that, Nirvana, when I read the article. I’m over the term ‘neo-liberal’. It’s a lazy choice of words and a complete turn-off.

    • George

      Neo-liberalism is a positive expression: “An approach to economics where control of economic factors is shifted from the public sector to the private sector”. Sounds good to me!

  • Just a thought …

    Excuse my ignorance but , what is a neo -liberal ?? ……

    • Greg M

      A term the “progressives” use to describe anyone who isn’t hard left.

      • Just a thought …

        Ahhhh , thanks.

    • Hardie Martin

      I think its an epithet to replace ‘Tory’. Please don’t ask what a “Tory’ is [it could be another epithet].

    • Positan

      I don’t care – but then, I’m a realist. My focus is on the practical and attainable.

    • Sailor Sam

      Neo = New.
      Liberal = free thinker, not geared to doctrine, thus able to absorb issues and form his own opinion.
      That is why the left use the term.

  • CaringLefty

    Neo Liberal literally translates as ‘bad’. You can use it in a sentence the following way: ‘Last year the All Blacks lost to South Africa in the final tri-nations test. It was a neo-liberal result on an otherwise perfect year.’ Or you might say in a sentence ‘My child was neo-liberal last night so got a ‘whack on the bum’ (or ‘time out’ if you’re not a fascist child abusing conservative).

  • cows4me

    Trotter wouldn’t know an average Kiwi if he tripped over one.

    • peterwn

      Chris by and large an excellent commentator despite a red tinge – left wing politicians should take notice of what he has to say if they are to be successful.

      • Cadwallader

        Trotter is one of that rare breed…a thinking leftie, so I find him reasonably palatable. I noticed a few years ago that someone must have advised him to hold his hands clasped while being interviewed to avoid gesticulating. This practice became widespread as even Johnny Wilkinson started to do it when lining-up a kick at goal. So Trotter has set a trend.