|The economic nationalism of Winston Peters will save the day!|
Big claims are already being made about the new Labour-led government. They bear little relationship to reality.
THERE IS A palpable sense of relief among many that Winston Peters and New Zealand First chose Labour over National.
There is a suggestion that National baulked at giving NZF four cabinet positions while Labour was more than happy to oblige but, whatever the reason for Peter's choice, the days of Paula Bennett, Nick Smith, Gerry Brownlee and co hogging the media spotlight all the time are over. There are new faces to get sick of.
But it is a big leap from this sense of exhilaration to the big claim that this Labour-led government will be politically and economically transformative. But these claims are already being made by Labour supporters - and from some people who should know better. Reading some of the social media you would quickly get the impression that the citadels of neoliberalism were about to breached with Comrade Jacinda planting the red flag of socialism in the town square.
I'm sure that our old mate Chris Trotter would be there to sing 'The Red Flag' as he recently embarrassingly did for Duncan Garner on the AM Show. Trotter likes the theatre of it all but is rather less keen about the socialist content.
Last night I had the misfortune to hear him make some wild claims that the new government represented a threat to the status quo and that dark forces would soon gather in an attempt to destabilise it. According to Trotter we all have to rally around Jacinda and Winston and protect them from these malevolent forces - presumably Federated Farmers and Mike Hosking.
Trotter may of still been in shock at Labour's victory but this was crazy talk indeed. He sounded unhinged.
Although Winston Peters made some brief comment about folk viewing capitalism not as friend but as a foe, at the core of Labour remains the beating heart of neoliberalism. The intention of Labour is only to tinker around the edges of the market economy - not initiate the kind of transformative changes that Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have planned in the U.K.
Labour has already made its intentions clear. Among other things, it has retreated on taxation, including increasing taxation on the wealthy and a capital gains tax. It has also ruled out an increase in main benefits - an increase that is desperately needed. And it has signed an austerity agreement with the Green Party which will severely restrict social spending.
These are not the policies of a government that will be transformative and we are really feeding off the scraps if we think that the economic nationalism of Winston Peters will save the day.