Sometimes history forces natural enemies into a state of temporary alliance, the classic being Russia and the USA during World War Two. We are currently witnessing something similar, which could end up with the Labour party failing to bat out a full century. Let me explain…..
What we currently think of as ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ are nowhere near the whole spectrum of human attitudes. That perception is largely post industrial revolution, and reflects the ongoing skirmish as to who gets how much of the cake. Since the days of the dark satanic mills, it has been boss against worker, rich against poor, but always – the cake.
We are now seeing a blurring of those demarcations. Chris Trotter thinks John Key is doing OK. The Maori party (champions of the poor, we suppose) are cosying up to the Nats (traditionally anything but). Goff would be entirely at home in National’s second row, Key entirely at home fronting Labour. Most discussions show little divergence. Why?
Because the goal-posts have shifted, and they have all found themselves at the one end of the paddock, playing the same way. The cake they all fought over (the rising agent being economic growth) has run into supply-side issues. Terminal ones.
They all want it back – hence the temporary alliance – and the result is the strange sight of almost no parliamentary opposition. The growth ain’t coming back, no matter how much that message continues to go uninvestigated, unresearched, and unreported. For folk like me – goalies at the other end of the bigger field – it is interesting to note the parallel reactions from folk like Simon Cunliffe and Dene McKenzie (the red and blue of reporting), both failing to deliver either concurrence or refutation. Their symbiosis parallels that of the major political parties, and I suggest, reinforces my hypothesis.
All are running scared. The bosses don’t want to lose their businesses, the workers don’t want to lose their jobs, the reporters their café latte. All have run smack-dab into reality.
They had a religion, of course. All believers do. The high priests were economists – consulted daily as all Oracles are wont to be. Let me spend a short paragraph (all it takes!) debunking their short-lived ‘gospel according to growth’……
Economists will tell you that if supply of a resource runs short, the price will rise, which will create the finding and production of ‘more’. Plan ‘B’ is apparently substitution, followed by the aforementioned price/find/produce/more thing. Now, imagine a city block, and say it  contains ten quarter-acre sections. Double their current value. Treble, heck, let’s multiply their value by ten to the twentieth power. How many sections have we got? Just the ten? Well I’ll be darned. How could that be? For ‘the block’, read ‘the city’, ‘the country’, ‘the planet’. Just a matter of scale. At the point of ultimate scarcity, no price rise creates a ton, or an acre, of anything. What a sod, eh? Economics then (as she appears to be taught),  was only applicable to an interim phase, something big-picture thinkers have been pointing out for two hundred years. It had to happen.
The religion has just become irrelevant, but (as is the way with any debunked gospel) there will be residual believers for some time to come. The next great yin/yang standoff will be between the cake-hungry, and the dieters, by which I mean the growing number who are getting the bigger picture, and attempting to fit into it.
To mop up the latter, Labour will have to reverse, fast. The momentum of their charge to the right took them beyond traditional front lines, and they are becoming indistinguishable from their old foe. Behind them, Sue Bradford has captured the John A.Lee redoubt – they’d better be nimble, as well as quick. When the new divide settles down, it will be between those who think of themselves, and those who think of others. The selfish versus the selfless. Assuming our system of governance continues, the question of which/what party will gain the ‘selfless’ high ground, makes for an interesting ponder. One could suspect a mix of the Labour left, and the Greens. The Alliance is no guide here, portions of it were (and are) keen on cake . So too (in my humble opinion) is Bradford, something the Greens would do well to consider.
No, I suspect that when the chips are down, we will see something like the old Values party. If I’m wrong – if there is no major shift away from the chase for individual ‘wealth’ to a more community-conscious approach – I’ll eat my hat. The Victorian bushfire experience suggests that when the chips are down, all good people come to the party. The question is:  which party?
Labour would do well to dust off Humanism in Politics and Simple on a Soapbox. Then they should peruse Powerdown and The Third Wave. Mix well, bake quickly, and re-stake their territory.
Before someone else does.


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