Saturday, 2 September 2017

You do not get fundamental political changes in a fortnight

Sorry to be both repetitivie and continue Grinchy, but I feel the all consuming urge to rain, Harvey-like, on Labour's parade.  Yes, it is jolly exciting to have Labour actually ahead of National in the polls - without having to include the Greens and New Zealand First to get there - but let's be sensible for a moment, amid the euphoria.

One poll in twelve years?


That doesn't indicate a profound political shift.  People aren't suddenly casting aside their convictions of the last more-than-a-decade, discovering the joys of socialism capitalism-with-a-bit-of-social-conscience.  If it was about policy, people would have been flocking to Andrew Little's (very, very light) red banner.  They didn't exactly flock.

Ardern is waving the same very, very light red banner.  But now the people are flocking.

For a lot of the electorate, Jacinda Ardern is a new shiny object and they are naturally excited by this new toy.  But otherwise, the 'phenomenon' will be a sort of adult fidget spinner – must-have object of fascination for six weeks, then completely forgotten about.

I suppose the question is, will the fad last up to election day? And are we cynical enough to celebrate an election that is won on ephemeral froth, not policy?

I suspect we are.

'Jacindamania' (ugh!) is personality driven stuff - Ardern's youth and vitality contrasting with the drier, more ... senior ... asspect of English and Little.  A lot of it is media driven hype. But the media will bend whatever way they think the wind is blowing. They are no longer the fourth estate, they are just PR and revenue source for their owners.  Right now, Ardern is hot news and click-worthy.

If she actually becomes threatening to the people that own the media and control wealth, she'll suddenly receive a lot less positive coverage.  So she will become a prisoner of her own success - not able to follow whatever radical instincts she may harbour because her success depends - like Tony Blair - on media image.

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