Thursday, 30 May 2019

Signalling Virtue Is All That's Left

The Left's Echo Chamber Contains Its Own Ossuary

Mike Hosking
NZ Herald

You can almost feel the angst emanating from Ganesh Nana.

Ganesh is a fairly well known economist of a left-leaning persuasion. He tells us the government has one last chance next week to throw the dice on meaningful reform, and time is running out for them to be a genuine reformist government.

Of course, what he means by genuinely reformist is open to interpretation. But Nana is claiming the economic slowdown we are experiencing will be used as an excuse not to carry out the agenda he is so excited about.  I don' think he was watching Australia on Saturday night. Reformist governments don't last. Reformist oppositions don't win elections.

This government, through the workings of the centrist element of the Labour Party and the common sense approach of New Zealand First, might well turn out to be a fairly middle of the road government.

Now, Nana is right to the extent they didn't sell themselves that way.  Jacinda Ardern came up with lots of phrases and buzzwords that would lead you to believe change, reform and upheaval was coming.  But one of a couple of things has happened.

Either she's was making it up and she's panicked, or they've collectively panicked because much of what they set out to do isn't, hasn't and won't work, and they've gone into their shell and closed down the mad end of the spectrum.  Either way, as we have learned from (Australian Prime Minister) Scott Morrison, people respond to what they've always responded to: clear, simple, concise ideas around economics and the economy.

Not too much reform, not too much tax, not too many handouts, not too many free lunches, not too much PC nonsense, not too much virtue signalling, and no promises that don't stand a chance of ever being real.  They've crossed the line already with Kiwibuild, Taranaki and its oil, and the Zero Carbon Bill.

But they clawed some credibility back with the Capital Gains Tax move.  And Grant Robertson seems determined that despite the fact they've had no small role in slowing the economy down they are not going to make the fatal mistake of running out of money, and with it any sense of fiscal credibility.

The Nanas don't get it. He wants something most New Zealanders don't. It's the same way Elizabeth Warren doesn't get it, Bill Shorten didn't get it, and Jeremy Corbyn doesn't get it. The madness of the left and the noise that gets so many headlines around the world is not real.  It's a collective of squawking that's backed by too many in the media and therefore gets more attention than it deserves.

I think Ardern might just be a retail politician. I think she might like power more than she likes changing the world.  I think she might have her eye more on re-election, than some sort of sop to the left-leaners who think she's transformative in a way that would be politically suicidal.

I think, ultimately, Ganesh Nana might just end up disappointed.

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