In which Suzuki Samurai calls local liberty lovers to arms. Are you with him!?
With Russel Norman's now-imminent departure from the Green leadership, Peter Cresswell suggested some of what is admirable about the Ginger Whinger and his Green party.
It’s true that many folk fail to see the attraction. Parents, and the older 'sensible' population at large (dreary, dull, cynical), are aghast at 17-25 year olds’ tendency to vote Green. Most I guess would put this it down to naivety, to youthful exuberance, and/or to rebellion or educational indoctrination – ''they'll grow out of it'' they say, or hope, or pray.
Of course, this last must be the case as the Green Party have really gone nowhere electorally from what appears to be a top line of around 15% and holding. This after years of campaigning seems to demonstrate that indeed youth do grow up and come to the very real conclusion that the Greens' future is not one that many of them would survive.
But why is it that youth are ever captivated at all by these cloth heads?
As Peter Cresswell pointed out the other day, the likes of Russel Norman have presented their case more assiduously than anyone else in the parliament, but this still only keeps the ever-changing core of believers happy. Before Norman there was the un-punchably nice Granny Fitzsimmons and decent-bloke Donald, and lumpy-headed yet charming, Nandor. They all kept pumping the message in a way easy to digest for the naïve. This didn't grow the total, but it did attract the new voters. So again, what is it that the Greens do that create this enthusiasm for the new voter - passing through or otherwise?
I'd suggest it's what George Bush I called in his vain quest for it The Vision Thing. A big picture. A view of the future. Not vague words like the two main parties, but an actual view of what the future could be like if you the voter goes along with it.
Labour once had a Vision too: Norman Kirk certainly projected it. Lange more vaguely promised one, but then got scared of it, and Savage of course created one. National? Ah, um, I don't think I've ever heard of a National Party vision. Perhaps they see themselves as too sensible, too practical to be putting forward an idea of a future - too busy, I guess, making sure their ties are straight .
Vision? Clement Atlee had The Thing with his New Jerusalem, and the Brits bought it – and even if they later found the cost of purchase too high.
Reagan and Thatcher had It, and it too was bought for a time. Vaclavs Klaus and Havel surely had It. And to an Australian extent so did Hawke & Whitlam.
Unfortunately, bad-asses had It in bucket loads too: Hitler, Mussolini, Castro, Lenin, Mao...all promised big bright futures, all over the dead bodies of the present.
But the principle remains the same. They all had a vision of the future that people, especially the young, wanted to grab hold of and believe in. Alas, today, big-picture visionary types (if they still exist), are either avoided by political parties like the plague, or are toned down to the point of being only able to see to the end of their nose. Everything political is tied up in the minutiae, in the immediate policy area, in the asinine and the stupid...all crafted by PR wankers who mould every politician, if they don’t already fit the contemporary mould, into a talking head of bromide and vague cliche.
So why this rant? Well for liberty lovers like ourselves it is up to us to present the big picture, the principled story, the vision of the bright future in which individual liberty rocks out!
We need to make liberty sexy and fun, funky and exciting, brave and unspun.
Like it or not, the Greens have set the standard for all of those things, and to it have added the principled approach to politics that is unsurpassed in contemporary New Zealand politics.
If liberty is to have a future in EnZed we need to follow that model. And we liberty-lovers already have one crucial advantage over the Green left, in that our policies aren’t actually insane. Done right, we should be able to attract a base of youth; and rather than losing them as they get older and drearier, we should be adding to them continuously – because no more 'sensible' political home would exist.
So how? Lets work it out.
I want to pull together a Liberty in New Zealand Conference for Cambodia February 2016.
There’s a real Vision right there!
Details to come...as I work them out.
Who's keen? Let me hear you!