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Monday, May 20, 2013

Naming National



Danylmc @ The Dim-Post posts this challenge to creative political observers:

The Labour government under Helen Clark was nicknamed ‘Helengrad’ on the grounds that it was an authoritarian power-mad tyranny, typified by the times Clark signed a painting that she didn’t paint, and drove really fast in a car somewhere, crimes that might sound trivial now but consumed the National Party for years and still get mentioned dozens of times a week in the Kiwiblog comments.

There’s no amusing name to describe National’s authoritarian streak, but it seems a lot more pronounced than Labour’s under Clark. Andrew Geddis details the latest incident: legislation passed under urgency discriminating against the family caregivers of severely disabled people, containing an ‘ouster clause’ which prevents those discriminated against from challenging the law in court.

Throw that on top of recent developments: legislation banning protest against deep-sea drilling, the 35 year compensation clause for Sky City Casino, scrapping the undertaking to reform MMP and a bill granting massive expansion of powers to the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders, along with all the previous outrages: retrospective legalisation of the police’s illegal spying, the unconstitutional powers granted to Gerry Brownlee after the Christchurch earthquake, the constant abuse of urgency, the suspension of democracy in Christchurch (feel free to add more examples in the comments) and this might be the most authoritarian anti-democratic government in modern New Zealand history.

But, like I said, there’s no funny name to describe this pattern of behavior so in political messaging terms it doesn’t exist. If anyone has any pithy suggestions, throw them in the comments section.




If you've got a pithy one-liner that captures the patriarchal, sugar-daddy statism that National represents, head on over and stake your claim. Apparently 'Nazis' is out of bounds but that's only them saying that :-)

22 comments:

Shane Pleasance said...

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good
of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live
under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may
at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good
will torment us without end for they do so with the approval
of their own conscience."

CS Lewis

Armchair Critic said...

CS Lewis may well be right. All I can remember is the robber barons, and I've not thought much of them. OTOH CS Lewis might be wrong. I've given up waiting for the libertarian utopia. Bring on the omnipresent moral busybodies!
;-)

robertguyton said...

CS Lewis! I read the Screwtape Letters and thought him dotty. Perelandra was thought-provoking. TLTWATW was an insult to this reader's intelligence, once I sussed out some of the imagery (I was 10).
Agreed with the 'it's GOOD for you' stuff and am on my guard. Agree with AC - there's nothing to be seen on the ground from the Lib people - it's all airy-fairy.

bsprout said...

The Big Daddy State: http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2013/05/nanny-state-gives-way-to-big-daddy.html

robertguyton said...

Didn't I hear you on the wireless today, bsprout?

bsprout said...

My mother heard me too, I'm famous :-)

paulinem said...

What I find most interesting is how quickly the govt will use emergency rules to invoke economic change etc BUT with the legal highs ohhh there is nothing we can do until August etc etc its too complicated etc ..BS overnight this govt voted without any consultation voted for Auckland to become one city ..yet when the nations health and well being is at stake ..smiling Dunn says sorry !!

Maybe I have become a conspiracy etc ..but I smell a rat (a possible agenda that is not necessarily in the public interest !!)in regards the Govt lack of action re legal highs

robertguyton said...

Great letter, Pauline. You made all the right points. Booming indeed! I found Mr Kane's claim to the contrary bizarre!

The Gardener said...

Not a " one liner" but this one by Wendell Berry is great. "This massive ascendancy of corporate power over democratic process is probably the most ominous development since the end of WWII, and for the most part 'the free world,' seems to be regarding it as merely normal." Written about the US of course but echos here.

PS. I was on the radio today too! Kathryn read out my email following the interview with the apple man to let her know about your work. I am sure she knew already.

The Gardener said...

My Husband who is very clever has come up with "Commander in Thief". How about that! He also reminded me that in the days at Merrill Lynch, Key was known as 'The Smiling Assassin".

The Gardener said...

My Husband who is very clever has come up with "Commander in Thief". How about that! He also reminded me that in the days at Merrill Lynch, Key was known as 'The Smiling Assassin".

paulinem said...

Gardiner I suggest you get Sharon Brader book from the library on how the corporate world has control of the world media ..this is a peer review book from a lecture in media law in Australia ..it will blow you away as it did me ..it was part of the reading required on environment and the media via open polytech ... I assure you corporate control is not just a US problem ..Australia has a problem also

Shane Pleasance said...

No, I must concede - we lurch left and right every few years, building rifts, growing disparities, bereft of any philosophical underpinnings - other than the opposite of 'whoever is in power right now if its not us'.

Dark ages indeed.

robertguyton said...

The Libs have philosophical underpinnings, Shane. As do the Greens. The big parties however, are venal.

robertguyton said...

"Commander in Thief" - your husband is indeed a clever man, TG.I still marvel at 'people's' blaze response to learning that the man elected to be our PM is titled 'The Smiling Assassin". It must mean less to them than it does to me.

robertguyton said...

I mean, if he was called "The Grinning Killer" would they still miss the point?

DarkHorse said...

more pol pot than adolph hitler

Calling Key and his government Nazi's is to give them more credit than they deserve . Hitler was a genius with a vision - even if a remarkably sick one - Hitler ran the entire second world war and left his country with no debt at the end of it - in a nation that produced some of the most outstanding technological innovations while doing so - he was even rather green - volkswagen anyone? - and by leaving it a smoking ruin his legacy was to have it rebuilt for free and now it dominates europe and owns much of - he won in the end.

Pol Pot was more like Key - a daft ideology, no vision and consumed his own people leaving them an economic and social basket case. so maybe "Khmer Bleu"

robertguyton said...

I can see Judith Collins in black pyjamas and tire-sandals, though it brings me no joy.

DarkHorse said...

a vision to scare even the most ardent revolutionary

on top of that Hitler built an empire and lost it in less time that it is taking this government to rebuild Christchurch - sort of puts the no-hopers into perspective doesn't it?

Imagine Gerry Brownlee planning the battle of the Bulge?

Paranormal said...

Dark Horse - yet again you and I are on opposite sides of the argument. you suggest that Key has a philosophy akin to Pol Pot. I suggest, as a pragmatist Key has no guiding philosophy.

Armchair Critic said...

I disagree paranormal. Key does have a guiding philosophy, Frank Zappa used it as an album title - "We''re only in it for the money"

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