Monday, 21 July 2014

Politics as horse race

It’s not exactly a contest of ideas out there on the hustings.  Not that you’d know if any ideas were being debated, not if media reports were all you had to go on.

The media, as always, steer clear of ideas and talk only about the race. The polls. The “gaffes.” The details of the campaign to come, without the ideas around which campaigns are supposed to centre. Politics as horse race.

And the polls, the polls! If the polls are reported as your opinion about the parties, but all you heard about the parties is the polls, from whence and based on what would you form your opinions?

News reports are full of the race without the reasons, and the politicians without real mention of their politics.

David was on holiday in Queenstown. He spoke to a sexual predator, and his caucus talked to the media about David. John was on holiday in Hawaii. He spoke to Max and Bronagh, and his caucus talked up John and ignored Jonathan. Not much learned from any of that.

Act isn’t part of the race, except in Epsom, so we only hear about Act-and-Epsom. Colin Craig is standing in some other electorate, and might have  a deal done. What he stands for, other than general creepiness, you wouldn’t really know from reports.

The Greens are wearing suits and trying to appear sensible, so few pointed questions are being asked. DotCon/Hone/Harre/InterMana are trying not to appear sensible, attracting questions mostly about how they’re all getting on.

Mind you, we did hear over the weekend that John Minto wants to banish the Israeli embassy and remind us he opposed the 1981 Springbok tour; and that Winston wants to tax foreigners and promote himself as the apostle of common sense. We learned these things over the weekend, if from that we really learned anything at all.

And we learned that DotCom has a September gimmick to bury John Key. And if it’s true that Glenn Greenwald were to take the time to visit, this last at least has legs.  If his visit is not just an idle claim thrown out by an attention-seeker (will any NZ journalist bother to ask Greenwald himself?), he’s unlikely to be visiting just to swap cooking recipes with Laila Harre.

Mind you, I wonder how many voters actually care if John Key knew about DotCom before or even after the raid on DotCom's house? Or if there’s anything more that would be reported.

Not if there were a poll out that weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Given the governement wants "plain packaged" everything, can we do it in politics? The electoral commision publishes 10 (?) sets of policies, without mention of the party/candidate associated with them, and you vote for the policies you agree with. Votes are then counted towards the party with that policy.

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