Matthew Hooton likes to think of himself as a right winger and I suppose considering the narrowness of the NZ political spectrum he’s reasonably correct. In the US he’d probably attract the label of Liberal. Like Cameron Slater, who also refers to himself frequently as right wing, Hooton is really a social progressive, with a few economic ideas that separate him from the hard left but otherwise he pretty much thinks in harmony with them. I see him as a kind of Jon Stewart without the comedy. Albeit, a good political strategist.
Its been a pretty slow week for hard news. I can imagine Mr. Hooton perhaps fretting over his publication deadline and in the end thinking, well, hell, why not another beat up of Colin Craig?
Craig has been out of the news for a while. He’s probably still getting over the bitter disappointment of the last election, when he spent around $3.5 million only to fall short of success by a measly 1 per cent. I’d want to lie low for a while too if I had put in the brave effort that Craig had and failed.
Mr. Hooton’s article asks “Where is Colin Craig?” He then goes on to mock Craig in the manner that most smug social liberals did so enthusiastically during the election campaign. He also mock’s the 96000 people who voted for Craig as “religious nutters, too stupid to know Craig is not Margaret Thatcher, or grumpy and bewildered oldies”.
Mr. Hooton thinks if Craig decides he’s had enough those voters are most likely to be split between ACT and NZ First. Who is really to know? Maybe Mr. Hooton is right, however my support for Craig was based on breaking the hardening progressive orthodoxy that prevails in this small isolated island. The orthodoxy that keeps X voters supporting progressive National and Y voters supporting progressive Labour while a small group of Z voters drift from one to the other, as each election the political spectrum slides further left and simultaneously becomes even more narrow.
I’m not going to support ACT, who have long ago drifted from their founding ideas, and I am not going to support NZ First, who have been around a long time and are therefore part of the political status quo I detest.
I wish I knew what was going on with Craig. There are some weird rumours floating around. Slater keeps hinting at some dire and embarrassing problem but his record for predicting events has never been anything out of the ordinary. He said he would have his Freed news site up and running before the election. Didn’t happen. He said he had a big plate of beans to spill on the Dirty Politics crowd. Hasn’t happened. (As for Freed, maybe Slater’s backers have seen an accurate business model of a digital news service and decided they have better things to do with a million plus bucks than throw it down a black hole.)
As for who voted for The Conservatives, I don’t know if you could say this list of policies identifies anyone who particularly fits in with Mr. Hooton’s mocking descriptions.
- the first $20,000 of earnings being free of income tax
- cutting the number of members of the New Zealand parliament from 120 to 99
- repeal of the ‘anti-smacking’ child discipline law
- the use of binding referenda
- abolition of the separate Māori electoral seats in parliament
- opposition to sales of rural land to foreign interests
- abolition of New Zealand’s emission trading scheme
I guess if this week is slow for news too, we can look forward to a Matthew Hooton column bagging Sarah Palin, or the Tea Party, and classifying their supporters as bitter country hicks clinging to their guns and religion.