Saturday, 11 April 2009

Pompous Chris out does himself

Obviously keen to distract us all from his previous championing of Phil "6%" Goff as a potential saviour for Labour, Chris Trotter treats us to not one but two of his tiresome religious wafflings on Bowalley Road (here and here (1)).

Better still, he then lays into Kiwipolitico, with a passing swipe at No Right Turn, deploring both as morally smug (um ... Chris ... didn't your Nazarene friend say something about he who is without sin ...?). This is amusing stuff, because there's nothing more fun than watching lefties turn on each other, and, lets be honest, there isn't much else for us to do at the moment. Nor for the foreseeable future as almost two thirds of New Zealanders seem to want John Key to lead the country forever more.

The problem is, that Trotter is rather bad at laying into things. First of all, his language is apalling, and I don't mean that there are lots of four letter words. It would be better if there were. He favours words or many syllables, though at least he has restrained his urge to use the horrid 'infelicitous,' which at one time he seemed compelled to include in every paragraph he wrote. Small steps, Chris.

The main problem isn't stylisitc, however. It is intellectual. His entire rant is based on exposing the supposed hypocrisy of, on the one hand, opposing the Bainimarama regime's coup and subsequent supression of free speech and association, freedom of the press and vicious assault on political opponents, real or imagined, and on the other, supporting the reinsertion of a 'h' into Wanganui. Um ... Chris ... slight difference of scale there, to the point of making your whole argument absurd. You're suggesting a comparison between a militaristic regime that overthrew a government which was - no matter how corrupt or ineffectual - democratically elected and which could be disposed of democratically, and a change in spelling. And you don't seem to realise how silly that is.

(Please don't interpret the above as an endorsement of the Qarase regime ousted by Bainimaram. Qarase is a corrupt, homophobic, fundamentalist jerk, but he was, none the less, duly elected. Twice. Obviously, those are the qualities that Fijians look for in their leaders. If so, they'll probably not be too unhappy under the guidance of Bainimarama, who brings a differenent but similarly unappealing set of qualities to the job.)

So, Chris, do some growing up. You have, for all your faults and fondness for pretentious styling, some good qualities. Rather than wasting your time trying to establish yourself as the alpha-male of the leftish bloglands, why not turn your attention to the more important task of rebuilding the shattered social-democratic movement in New Zealand?
1 - 'The choice (an Easter story),' posted by Chris Trotter on Bowalley Road, on the 10th of April, 2009. ( and 'Simon the Cyrenian (an Easter song),' also posted by Chris Trotter on Bowalley Road on the 11th of April, 2009. (
2 - 'Figi Agonistes,' posted by Chris Trotter on Bowalley Road, on the 11th of April, 2009. (

UPDATE (12th of April, 2009)

For whatever reason, Trotter has decided to remove the post from his blog. In the interests of the historical record, I reproduce it here, so avid future readers of lefthandpalm can know what the Hell I was witterring about. The following was posted on Bowalley Road, by Chris Trotter, on the 11th of April, 2009, under the title 'Fiji Agonistes.' The picture of the rugged Fiji Frank, which headed the piece, I omit:
Fiji Agonistes

ONE can only admire the intellectual consistency of "Lew" at Kiwipolitico. His condemnation of Fiji's military rulers' entirely predictable response to the neo-colonialist diktat of the all-white (and Australian to boot!) judges of the Fijian Court of Appeal, is all of a piece with his energetic defence of the equally disconnected judgements of the NZ Geographic Board.

"Lew" is, after all, the same man who sneeringly refers to his fellow countrymen as "settlers" - happily echoing the ideas of the kupapa pakeha responsible for allowing the politically reactionary agenda of Maori nationalism to gain such firm purchase in this country's key institutions.

When the most progressive elements of the Fijian people, having been prevented from modernising their country by democratic means, resort to the force majeure of military intervention to achieve their goals, one might have hoped the likes of "Lew" would offer their solidarity and support.

Especially when the government overthrown by Commodore Frank Bainimarama was itself the product of a coup d'etat staged by para-military forces bought-and-paid-for by external commercial interests, and facilitated by a reactionary gaggle of self-serving hereditary chiefs and right-wing Methodist fundamentalists.

But of course they have not.

Clearly, "Lew" prefers these sort of indigenes to the patriotic officers of the Republic of Fiji's Armed Forces. The great foe of "settler" culture in New Zealand, is apparently a fan of the corrupt kleptocracy that has ruled Fiji since the granting of independence nearly forty years ago. "Lew", like the New Zealand and Australian Governments, sees nothing amiss with bestowing swift diplomatic forgiveness upon the brutal interventions of Rabuka and Speight. The latters' violent restoration of the corrupt status quo ante, which the democratic modernisers, Bavadra and Chaudhry, had so courageously challenged, certainly suited the Anglo-Saxon powers' neo-colonialist ambitions in the South Pacific - and, seemingly, "Lew's" too.

However, "Lew's" moral smugness (a condition he shares with "Idiot Savant" at No Right Turn) prevents him for seeing the glaring inconsistencies in what passes for his political thought processes.

To right a 170-year-old "wrong" in the spelling of Wanganui, "Lew" is willing to completely set aside the fundamental principles of democracy. In Fiji, however, the letter of the democratic law must be upheld - even at the cost of restoring the corrupt, quasi-feudal, and blatantly racist former regime.

As John Key wings his way to Thailand, a nation ruled by a thoroughly undemocratic and constitutionally illegitimate government, whose flagrant flouting of the most basic civil and political rights our Prime Minister is, for the purposes of consolidating our trading links, willing to overlook, "Lew" is only too happy to lend his support to the punitive and self-defeating anti-Fijian policies of Murray McCully.

The desperately poor Fijian population - victims of the diplomatic and economic sanctions already in force - should now, in the lofty opinion of "Lew" and his ilk, be further afflicted by the complete cessation of all diplomatic relations and all international aid. Instead of calling upon our government to lend its support to Commodore Bainimarama's campaign to rid the Fijian polity of its endemic racism and corrupt practices, "Lew" and McCully have siezed upon this latest crisis to give full and unrestrained expression to their neo-colonialist hypocrisy.

It will, of course, only make things worse. Soldiers have never been the most reliable custodians of the democratic flame. Putting them under further pressure is unlikely to improve its chances of remaining alight.

What we've being treated to in "Lew's" latest posting at Kiwipolitico, is a startling, but all-too-typical example of the indefatigable hauteur of the New Zealand intellectual, whose crowning conceit - that knowledge equals wisdom - has for far too long contributed to the moral weakness and political unreliability of New Zealand's intelligentsia in the struggle to preserve what remains of this country's progressive heritage.
Why Chris felt it necessary to delete this, but deemed the earlier Christianish wibbling worthy of retention, is beyond my meagre ability to understand.

UPDATE (15th or maybe - just - 16th of April, 2009)

Some trifling spelling and grammar corrections. It is quite embarrassing to see other bloggers being forced to clarifiy what I meant to say. Post in haste and wince at leisure. Chris, I suspect, knows what I mean.


Pdogge said...

Seems like Chris has taken the post down !!!

lurgee said...

Has the man no shame? He's left me looking silly with a dead link!

Pdogge said...

And you Lurgee, a wee bit patronising maybe ?

lurgee said...

It is entirely possible, but at least my condescension is free of charge. People pay Trots for his.

giordano bruno said...

Chris Trotters bad-art romantic christian stuff is truly tacky (as an old altar boy I know tacky).
I am trying to adjust to Commodore Frank as a 'Left Hero'.
BRoad comments dont stick, perhaps they will here.

ps Google Reader is still showing the Fiji Agonistes rant.
Trotter is a national treasure.

Lew said...

Hi Lurgee,

Thanks. Your `alpha-male of the leftish bloglands' is - hilariously - spot on.

The currently-missing post will probably turn up in a few days with some minor changes and a photo added. That's what happened with his first curmudgeonly polemic on the h matter.


Paul said...

We should be grateful you preserved it.It is pleasingly retro, reminiscent of those Trotskyite pamphlets of the Seventies: all that breathless ranting and stern condemnation.

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