Thursday, 27 April 2006

Whig to Tory

I've heard from a few people recently suggesting I join the National Party. Phil Sage for instance suggests I "would achieve far more politically advancing [my] ideas from within the National tent."

I answered that when Phil first suggested it by decrying the party of conservatism and compromise, the party of the DPB and the RMA and Contaminated Blood and the Waitangi Gravy Train-- the party that gave a home to Douglas Montrose Graham and Robert Muldoon and Simon Upton, and which currently still offers a home to the likes of the repellent Brat Pack. No thanks. I said too that for all the possible good that might ever be achieved under that particular tent (about which I'm more than dubious) I can be much more effective staying outside pissing in than I could ever be inside the tent pissing out:
No, in my estimation the decision-makers' ears [of National] are more open to me as an outsider than they could ever possibly be as someone working through party channels as you advocate I should, or as someone muzzled by the party hierarchy [as I surely would be].
There's much, much more discussion on that in the comments here and here. And there is also perhaps a lesson in the sad story of one young man who claims to value freedom and liberty -- 'Live Free or Die' is his blog's credo -- who recently resigned his position helping Rodney Hide hold Epsom order to devote his political hopes and dreams to getting Lockwood Smith re-elected in Rodney, and getting the National Socialist's various spokescretins elected as Ministers.

"National is a better vehicle for my principles and my beliefs," says the young man this month, who with his careful choice of electorate in which to join National is eschewing Rodney's re-election, who at least makes noises in the direction of freedom and property rights even if his party's policies don't fully reflect those noises, to working deliberately (and one can only assume excitedly) for Lockwood Smith -- Lockwood Smith! -- the man who when Minister of Education capitulated so completely, so utterly, so spinelessly to Teacher Unions and Ministry flunkies in dumbing down the state's education system that both NCEA and hundreds of thousands of dumbed-down morons across the country still stand as tribute to that man's legacy to New Zealand.

So complete was the victory of pragmatism over the few principles that Minister Smith claimed to stand for that his tenure in the position still stands as perhaps the most abjectly craven surrender to the forces for dumbness than any other Education Minister in recent years -- and there's been quite some competition for that accolade. Now, in the name of that same sort of 'pragmatism' as Blockwood displayed, our young man has now coldly, calculatingly and consciously chosen to place his 'principles' at Blockwood's disposal, and turn from Whig to Tory.

So much for 'pragmatism.' And so much, it seems, for principles. Live free or die? Well, maybe not this weekend, eh?

But, protests the young man ever-so breathlessly, "I am interested in putting my principles into practice IN GOVERNMENT." Well, if Blockwood is the man he's chosen to support to put those principles into practice then all the more revealing for those principles, I say. As Tim Selwyn offered so simply when this was announced. "My condolences to you."

(Or does the young man and his friends have more immediate plans for Lockwood? Should we take being "IN GOVERNMENT" more literally? Was it intended more personally? More directly? I think perhaps we should be told.)

LINKS: ACT, The Whig, Loudon, Falloon, Bhatnagar, Not PC & infighting among Libertarian fellow travellers - Phil Sage (Jan, 2006)
On infighting and 'fellow travellers' - Peter Cresswell
Nats should have given Frat Pack an unlisted number - Peter Cresswell
Running the rule over the Nats - Peter Cresswell
The Whig is now a mainstream New Zealander - The Whig
It's official - The Whig
Whig - Wikipedia

TAGS: Politics-National, Politics-ACT, Politics-NZ, Blog


  1. I'm not quite sure why you've chosen to expend so many words on a one sentence post of mine Peter, nor what Lockwood Smith has to do with anything. I've never worked with anyone in politics I completely agreed with, and to my mind it would be pretty childish and stagnating to hold out for anyone I did.

    Stop claiming the glass is half empty. I am proud to be a member of the party of voluntary unionism, CER, the Race Relations Act, the Employment Contracts Act, and, especially as it pertains to Lockwood Smith, the party of bulk funding and user pays in tertiary education. Then there's the small matter of preventing crazed socialists from running the country for 38 of the last 57 years.

    And let's get this straight as long as we are referencing history: National is a coalition of the old United and Reform parties, of liberals and conservatives both; so while Tories are a substantial subset of the party, there is an equal tradition of Whiggery.

  2. When I decided to stand for ACT you read me the riot act. It hurt but I understood your sentiments. I went from the soft end of Libz to the hard end of ACT. If I have learnt anything it's your political soul doesn't move. And if you can't compromise you aren't much use in politics. But politics isn't everything. There are plenty of other ways to skin a cat:-)

  3. Blair, you said, "...there's the small matter of preventing crazed socialists from running the country for 38 of the last 57 years."

    I think you'll find that many of the cazy socialist measures instituted and administered in much of New Zealand's modern history were put there and run not by the socialists from Labour, but by the National Socialists you now support.

    Lindsay, you said, "When I decided to stand for ACT you read me the riot act."

    That wasn't the riot act, Lindsay. That was me being gentle. :-)

    "...if you can't compromise you aren't much use in politics."

    Don't agree. In politics as with every other part of life your principles are crucial in allowing you to be aware of what can't be given up, to prioritise your choices, and knowing what can and can't be achieved and then being brave enough to go for it. As for compromise, there's no compromise possible beween a thief and his victim, or between food and poison.

    There is, as you suggest, more than one way to skin a cat with political activism. If politics involves understanding the 'art of the possible,' then principled political activism is all about making good political change possible. As I see it, that's my job: to help that process by loudly and (hopefully) eloquently pointing out a set of goal posts that might not otherwise be either noticed or valued.

  4. By 'politics' I was referring to being an MP. One might achieve more by being an independent activist than being a hands-on politician having to compromise at every turn.


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