Sunday, 11 January 2009

Trotter and Hooton - Missing in Action

It looks like the comedy double act at the Policy Blog have shut up shop. Pompous Chris, we're told, has called it a day, signing off with his rather childish piece about National's vicctory, where he actually had the nerve to describe John Key's win as equivalent of the 11th of September attacks on the USA (1).

Look Chris, I know it hurts that National won, but no-one died. That sort of berserk rhetoric only dimishes the person who produces it. Eat that, as a wiser and more dignified man than you once said.

Hooton, on the other hand, hasn't blogged since late November, so we can safely say he's decided to go and enjoy whatever baubles are coming his way (2).

Neither Trotter nor Hooton have gained much fromt heir foray into the bloglands. Trotter, in particular, came across as pompous and arrogant, and surprisingly empty of things to say. Even so, it is disappointing to see one of the public faces of the left go into retreat at a time when he might have been needed most. Hyperbole aside, the New Zealand left needs to work out what it is, where it is going, and who can carry these interests into parliament. I have doubts about Labour being able to do this, post Chinagate (3).

At best, Labour under Goff and (likely) under Shane Jones will offer only National-lite, a "me-too!" party that will shadow the ruling party in the hope that vters might decide to vote for a different bunch of ineffectual liars and hypocrites. Sound familiar? Yes, it worked nicely for National. They gained power by being Labour's shadow, the party that was all but Labour without the smugness, the baggage, the Winston Peters, the hostility generated by backing the repeal of Section 59, a good piece of legislation that offended the conservative opinion formers.

But it won't do for the left, because we don't want a party that is merely National's anemic shadow. Ultimately that's why Clark's government foundered - it wasn't proudly, brashly bolshie enough about its socialism. They though that by playing it down, the countervailing forces of conservatism would be appeased and not tear them to pieces.

How wise a strategy that was was revealed as soon as a National Party with a half-way electable leader managed to put aside its perpetuate internal wrnagling long enough to mount a campaign that wasn't actually embarrassing - that wasn't actually anything much, to be honest. It didn't have to be. It only needed to stay afloat while Labour - rudderless, holed by Winston Peter's arrogance, and without achart - foundered.

The left needs to reinvent itself, decides what it wants - other than to be in power, a pointless an immoral end in itself. There needs to be a debate, between the different shades of leftwing opinion, between the environmental movement and the left, with Maori. Whether or not to try an rehabilitate the Labour Party, or not, needs to be considered.

For all his faults, Trotter might have had something to say in that. Also, there is the matter of a new, rightwing government, whose actions need to be scrutinised and who need to be held to account. Instead of facing up to this challenge, Trotter has, apparently, turned his pen to fiction. Talk about bad timing. Perhaps in the world of his forthcoming novel, a centre-left government, aided by a moustachioed musketeer of the pen, rout the sinister forces of the right and rule in peace and harmony forever. All very nice, but not really useful, Chris.

Hooton is more straight forward. He simply confirmed the impression that most people who know the name already had of him - a shrill ideologue, without a moral sensibility. His blog reapidly became a locus for crack-brained conspiracy (4), vituperation (5) and general stupidity. By making it abundantly clear that Hooton actually has nothing to say, the experiment was worthwhile. thankfully, he seems to have realised this himself, and stopped say anything. We should be thankful for small mercies.
1 - "The night MMP couldn’t save us from ourselves," by Chris Trotter, originally published in The Sunday Star Times, reproduced on The Policy Blog: The Chris Trotter Blog. (
2 - As of the 11th of January, 2008. (
3 - As described previously on lefthandpalm:
4 - "Deep Throat makes contact: Situation may be even worse for Peters," posted by Matthew Hooton on The Policy Blog: The Matthew Hooton Blog, 24th of October, 2008. (
5 - "Left desperate and delusional about polls," posted by Matthew Hooton on The Policy Blog: The Matthew Hooton Blog, 20th of September, 2008. (


Idiot/Savant said...

Trotter now has his own blog at Bowalley Road. His hyoerbole has shifted targets from National, to anyone on the NZ left who isn't Labour.

lurgee said...

I see I'm not one of his linked blogs. Obviosuly, I hurt his feelings.

I am still here.

 I am still here.  I haven't gone away.  I'm just trying to shame you all into better behaviour through my disapproving silence.