Friday, 20 January 2023

"That was the point about Ardern...." [updated]

"That was the point about Ardern. She wasn’t just Prime Minister of New Zealand – and a popular one at her peak – she was a global pin-up for progressive values [and the opprobrium therefrom, deserved or underserved, from being so- Ed.]. She was the beacon of hope among those on the Left who had been destabilised by Donald Trump, Brexit and Boris Johnson. For many, she was seen as a breed apart among global leaders: one who was untouched by the fatal brew of ego, arrogance and self-interest which they saw as inbred into many male politicians.
    "Ardern’s undoing was in that she appeared to believe that herself. I don’t claim to be able to read her mind, but I would guess that her real reason for resigning ahead of New Zealand’s general election later this year was not primarily that she wanted to collect her daughter from playgroup every day, as she has intimated, but that she could no longer cope with her halo having slipped. When you have been built up into a living saint it must come as a shock to find yourself under attack for failing to address the same old problems which afflict less-progressive national leaders. Inflation, a stuttering economy and rising crime are hardly unique to New Zealand, but they showed that there was nothing magical about Ardern’s politics – the only difference is that in her case she lacked the toughness to weather serious adversity....
    "The danger now is that in resigning before what was beginning to look like an inevitable defeat at the polls, she will come to be seen by progressives as a political martyr, reinforcing their belief in her greatness, as a female leader who willingly gave up power to be with her family. The reality is that she failed in much that she tried to achieve, and the hero-worship which she enjoyed around the world made things worse by adding to her hubris."
~ Ross Clark, writing in the UK Telegraph

"Surely no politician has burnt through more political capital in as fast a time as Jacinda Ardern. Winning her second election in a landslide in Oct 2020, she resigns in January 2023. There was simply no more political capital left in the tank.
"Was Ardern’s position left untenable due to a failed cabinet reshuffle that was rebuffed by her colleagues? And what will the change of leader mean for the flagship policies which Labour decides to continue to support in 2023?"
          'No Political Capital Left' - HOMEPADDOCK
"The progressive Left outside NZ love her, but that’s because they have literally no idea of her policies. [Any more than do the offshore right who criticise her ... - Ed.]
    "Her government was rabidly anti-immigration, right from the start. It depresses workers’ wages see. So NZ, which is structurally geared for immigration, is now desperately short of masses of key workers. Old school Socialist, not progressive at all.
    "Her government was rabidly centrist, [literally], though it took some time to become apparent. It started to recentralise things that have long been decentralised in NZ. Old school Socialist, not progressive at all. It tended to be badly done, and wildly unpopular — Kiwis aren’t really into centralisation.
    "Finally, and incredibly for a country used to non-unionised workplaces, Jacinda tried to return to central bargaining.
    "It’s hard to find a progressive policy.
    "Abortion was legalised, but no-one had been prosecuted under the old legislation, so that was an easy win. It literally changed nothing.
    "She tried to legalise marijuana, but her proposed system was like the Canadian one, bound by so many restrictions that the illegal trade would have continued...."
          ~ Chester Draws at Samizdata
"So credit to the PM for realising that despite having more time left than most world leaders, she was not going to realise her cherished goals for New Zealand.
    "What might send a shiver down the spine of some older and more time-limited world leaders (as well as her own successor) is that her problems – even if rhetorically more polished – are quite similar to their own.
    "And seem equally intractable.
    "Just run through a list of potential policy-reality clashes: ending relative poverty when statistically poor people show little desire to model your own sensible behaviour; reducing carbon consumption without confronting the truly enormous welfare costs; paying for more health and social welfare without robust long-term market-led productivity growth; building affordable houses without substantial environmental modification and painful disruption to ossified local practice; increasing opportunity and outcomes for indigenous people without creating privilege and double standards.
    "One can speculate that Ardern’s relative youthfulness and sense of greater opportunities to come has made it easier to choose the early transition to minor international celebrity over the responsibility of exercising authority – let alone the risk of losing it.
    "Whatever your political views, you have to feel sorry for her successor.... Barring an economic miracle, it will be hard ... to slip out from under the burden of Ardern’s policy indecision....
    "Meanwhile, the world’s leaders will be asking themselves if Jacinda has made a wise move in beating them to an early shower.
          'PM Makes NZ a World Leader' - POINT OF ORDER
"The rise of Saint Jacinda reflect[ed] the triumph of paternalism. Among our supposedly liberal elites it has become common sense that populations must be controlled for their own good; that a measure of how much a leader cares is how brutally she cracks down on ideas or behaviours she deems dangerous.
    "We almost certainly haven’t seen the last of Ardern. No doubt a plum job at the United Nations, the World Health Organisation or some other ghastly supranational body beckons. Nor have we seen the last of the elitist politics that she came to represent. It’s high time we had a reckoning with this ‘kindly’ authoritarianism."
          'Good Riddance to Saint Jacinda' - Tom Slater, SPIKED ONLINE
"When Jacinda allowed herself to be guided by her heart her decisions were politically faultless. It was only when she ignored her instincts and followed her head that the poor decisions began to multiply.
"She never appeared to grasp that announcing policy is not the same as implementing it. Press releases do not build houses. Speeches do not end poverty. In the end, it was Jacinda's constant failure to deliver that made it impossible for her to go on.
If you say 'Let's do this!,' then, Dear God, you have to do it!
          'Jacinda Resigns' - Chris Trotter, BOWALLEY ROAD


MarkT said...

All these are much better explanations for her departure than the feminist narrative that she's a victim of misogyny.

Peter Cresswell said...

As "someone said on Twitter, "If anyone from the left wants to scream 'misogyny' because Jacinda is a woman, and we shouldn’t say anything negative about women in politics, please hold while we get the Judith Collins receipts…"

Terry said...

All she has ever had to offer, really, is what she is formally qualified for: PR and spin. By fashioning an image of herself she managed to massage most of the country into believing she was something special, and that her politics is good for the country. Now, when the charade is exposed for the sham it is, she is leaving stage, happy to at least have her hardcore coterie at home and overseas fan base still in tact.

Peter Cresswell said...

But give her her due: she was really very good at PR and spin.

And there's nothing wrong with a politician exhorting people to be "be kind," when all around there's hostility. I only wish that wish were genuine -- and especially that it extended to a government that routinely initiates force itself (very unkind) instead of protecting against those who initiate force against us.

That said, she did say in that "be kind" period that "tax collecting is not a core role of government." So there's that. :-)

Anonymous said...
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Nigel Sim said...

Another explanation for Ardern's departure: The active rebellion against her tyranny. Originally started by the people labelled & slandered as "Rivers Of Filth".