10 Nov 2008

Can John handle the Jandal?

Now that the election is over and the decision to move N.Z. to the right of the political spectrum has been made the NZ Herald will pull back from its hysterical panicking about Left wing conspiracies and fall into its usual position of campaigning against Trade Unions, State servants and environmentalists of any colour while claiming that it has no bias in any of its editorial directions. Garth George will descend into his monk's cell to contemplate a bluer heaven and worship the apotheosis of John Key and to congratulate himself in self justification for his righteous belief that women are on earth to tempt men from the path to salvation and that with Helen Clark stepping out of the political sphere another temptress has been taken from his dream of paradise here in the Pacific.
However, while the transition proceeds one can offer some comment about the possible stability of the new government.
With a record of policy and position shifting throughout the period since becoming leader of the National Party and in the build up to the election John Key may find that he will be in administrative difficulty once his colleagues get their feet under the Cabinet Table. The difficulties will be compounded with the presence of ACT's Rheinfield - Rodney Hide within the coalition. One recognises that there is no way ACT will want to be sidelined away from its traditional hardline free marketeering, retributive policies beloved of its Nosferatu founder, Roger Douglas and that there will be determined efforts from this quarter to drive National into more radical conservative policy directions.
As well, Hide is very similar in nature to his nemisis- Winston Peters. Both men are driven by ego, both are driven by a single minded belief in their own rightness, both have the natural instinct to hone in on a person or policy with one inclination - to destroy it or come crashing down in their own self destructive nature. One cannot but believe that within 18 months Hide, Rheinfield like, will, with his master, Douglas hive off into the extremities of Friedmanite economics and force a division in the hydra that is the National-ACT-United Futures coalition.
For Key this will mean that he will resort to his usual escape mechanism of making the unacceptable palatable in order to bring Roger and Rodney back into the crypt by flip-flopping on policy, pleading as he does so "political expediency and economic necessity because of the crisis created by the money traders and other free-marketeers."
One predicts that the fallout and consequent retribution on the electors will occur over the following policy areas: Employment Law - as workers rights are scaled back in a return to the elements of the ECA ACT will claim that the process isn't fast and hard enough and agitate for more punative legislation to bring the workers to heel.
Finance - the attacks and raids on both Kiwisaver and the Cullen Superannuation fund will continue with the extreme right of National siding with ACT to reduce both funds to mere shadow of their intended purpose. This will be done with the catch cry of "teaching the worker self sufficiency" and "to reduce reliance on nanny state."
The international credit collapse will be an excuse for the more extreme of the National-ACT coalition to allow Rheinfield Hide open Nosferatu's coffin and allow Roger Douglas to emerge and demand asset stripping, further reductions of workers' rights and conditions, slash and burning of Social Welfare programmes, privatisation of Health, Education, Prisons, Roading and Water reticulation ... so that the "books can be balanced" and "sanity restored to the free market."
The privatisation of ACC - the confusion and fallout as this occurs will see the entire scheme collapse into a miasma of conflicting and reductive insurance policies that extract a lot but provide little while taking the profits overseas.
Education - here the introduction of a failed Bush scheme of National Testing and Reporting (the No Child Left Behind policies) will create tensions in the teaching profession, confusion and resentment among parents and a media frenzy of "let's bash the teachers" which will again lead Key to drop the leader's jandal.
Crime and Civil Liberties - in this area the public will soon come to realise that National - Act cannot deliver on its promise to reduce crime in the community. They will also come to appreciate that the State will intrude even more into their lives as civil liberties are reduced and surveillance becomes a norm.
For Key these tensions will prove difficult to manage as so many of his bench and MPs like, Ryall, McCully, Williamson, Wong, Smith N & L, Brownlee and English, have deep seated and firmly held political beliefs that can be evidenced by their past involvement in retributive legislation that will not be able to be controlled under his natural instinct to gamble for a gain by short term expediency thus opening the possibility of a push by Key's controller, English, to make a push for more overt control of power and a consequent hardening of policy initiatives and true nanny state legislation.
So while the polls may have spoken they spoke for an image not for what lay behind it so that as the next three years unfold and Key's instinctive flip floppery management style fail to control his coalition it should not come as surprise to the more astute observers to see what appeared to be a comfortable majority faction into self destructive quarrelling while Hide and Douglas, like the ghost of Adam, gibber at the table.

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