Monday, 5 September 2005

The coalition challenge

As Winston's third horse gets crushed in the two-horse race between Helen and Don, it seems he is finally going to come down off the fence and announce who he will go with if enough voters are stupid enough to give him the chance. Will it be Helen or Don? How big an office will he want? Can he be Treasurer again, and if so who will do the heavy lifting for the Member for Courtenay Place like Bill Birch did last time? And will Winston First even make the 5% threshold and be 'kingmaker' as he would like to be?

Whatever the answers to those questions, it once again raise two issues of crucial importance to small parties in the MMP environment:

1) How do you deal with coalition while maintaining your principles?
2) What can a minor party really do from the backbenches?

The first question is not something that bothers Winston since his stock in trade is populism rather than principles, but it is an important question for parties like Libertarianz whose raison d’être is the principled application of freedom. And the second question is equally important, and it is crucial that punters are aware that minor parties do actually have a strategy for effecting real change from the backbenches, rather than--as other parties do so often--stooping to scandal-mongering and mudslinging in order to maintain their profile and the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

Fortunately, the power of principle means that a libertarian caucus in Parliament would have a very real and unique way to effect real change in the direction of more freedom and less government, and doing it without either mudslinging or selling out. How would we do it? And would we go into coalition given the chance?

I'll tell you tomorrow -- I've already given you enough clues. :-)

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