Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Is John Key turning into Mini-Me to Helen Clark's Dr `Evil?

It can be tough contributing to a right-wing blog, especially when the leader of your main party so often steals the clothes of the left.
There we were, last week, castigating Liarbour's carbon trading plan, pointing out how higher energy prices would hit our pockets, cost economic growth, while making neglible impact on global carbon emissions.
Only then to see National was happy with it too, even claiming Liarbour had stolen some of its policy.
This followed John Key commenting on New Zealand's relations with America, where he said only 'nuances' or something like it seperated him from Liarbour on foreign policy.
And then we see Bill English suggest the most modest of asset sales, rather than anything significant.
Peter Cresswell at Not PC has often derided "John Boy" as he calls him, pointing out the leading Gnat is little better than Dear Leader and policywise little seperates the two.
I don't want to go down this line yet, but the lack of difference between National and Liarbour is starting to worry.
If we want a National government, don't we want it to actually impose right-of-centre National policies and principles? Do we really want 'Labour-lite?'
So far, John Key has played a clever game and it has worked. He has maintained and built on the healthy lead in the polls that he inherited from Don Brash almost a year ago. He is preferred Prime Minister in some polls. John Key has learnt not to frighten the horses, or the sheep. He has learnt to avoid creating points of difference where Liarbour and its media friends can beat him with a stick.
However, there will come a time that people will realise that if there is so little to choose between National and Liarbour, why change? Your own consituency, you own party may lose motivation too and where will you be if your helpers choose not to knock on all those doors?
Over in Britain, the UK Tories now face a crisis. Dave Cameron was, like Key, fresh and new and exciting, but echoeing UK Liarbour has not worked. A boost in the polls eventually fell flat as in reality there was no substance behind the leader. You cannot rely on your opponent (Clark or Blair) being unpopular. Leaders can change.
Announcing 'green' policies, as the UK Tories did recently, as bad as anything Labour could come up with, did not help either. Now, with a new leader, UK Labour is streets ahead in the polls, that would see Gordon Brown re-elected with a larger majority.
True the UK Tories can lose support to the right, such as to the UK Independence Party, while in New Zealand ACT is certainly failing to grab the broad acres on the right as National steps ever left, but National and John Key need to note the perils of becoming 'Labour Lite'.
This is what Colin Espiner had to say yesterday, concerning Bill English and assett sales.
One of the problems of being a party without any policies is that when the leadership so much as raises a suggestion of what the party might do, it is scutinised within an inch of its life, as opponents and the media try to figure out what it might mean.
Espiner accepts National has done well in maintaining support by not giving Liarbour a stick, but notes:
It also leads to taunts that National is Labour-lite. There have been too many “me-too” responses from the Opposition lately, on everything from KiwiSaver to foreign policy to nuclear energy to climate change. Sooner or later, it has got to come up with some policy of its own. Preferably policy that differs from that of the Government.


Anonymous said...

Key is using the "hugging" strategy, which has worked so well for Kevin Rudd. It is an excellent way to protect your flanks so to speak.

Unfortunately some righties can't understand this.

Anonymous said...

It's all a matter of timing dear boys. You don't give away your policies so that the other buggers can steal them. Wait until Cullen has delivered his budget, then look for policy. Better still, wait until an election has been called, then get all the policy

I'd much rather the Gnats endured a little bit of 'Labour Lite' taunting now from the idiots of the left and the zealots of the right than see their policies stolen by a brain dead atrophied gummint.

Barnsley Bill said...

I agree with Adolf, keep your powder dry until the Beast announces the election date.
Comparing Key as mini me to the Beasts Dr Evil is a little unkind I think. He has not spent the last few years stealing, cheating and lieing to remain in his job.

Keeping Stock said...

I agree with Adolf and BB - when National has announced policy (e.g. tax deductions on charitable donations), Labour has flogged it pretty darned quickly. The time for rollout of policy is NOT more than a year out from the election.

The one thing that I would like to see from Key though is to keep his foot on Labour's throat over the EFB. English is doing an excellent job in the House, to the point where Labour has had to put up "minders" to answer questions to Burton (here's my take on that: http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2007/09/wheres-wally-saga-of-missing-minister.html), but it's time for Key to ramp up the pressure on the government, and take this to the great unwashed, most of whom don't have a clue about the regime that is about to be imposed. Labour has the numbers to get the EFB through in whatever form they choose, which also presents Key with the opportunity to clear the decks of NZ First, if they continue to support the EFB - and from Wollerton's comments in the House last week, they are in Helen's pocket. I just heard Justin du Fresne on Newstalk ZB out of Welly tell a caller that it's not the media that stands to lose from the passage of the EFB, it's anyone with an opinion on anything - pretty much sums it up.

Fairfacts, good on you for opening this up to debate, but I remain confident that Key is enough of his "own man" for voters to have a clear choice between him and Dear Leader.

Peter Cresswell said...

Do you have policies in order to get elected, or do you seek election in order to enact your policies?

That's a question that's not as stupid as it sounds.

Anybody who's in politics to get their own polices enacted would be over the moon when they're 'stolen.'

You'd take a moment to celebrate and then get on with producing even more with your flavour.

But if you're just in politics for power lust, you wouldn't be so happy.

If you have policies just in order to get elected, then you'd be as unhappy as you buggers are when Clark steals them.

Is it principle that motivates Tories, or power?

The response to the earlier question is telling, don't you thing?

Anonymous said...

If John Key can give the appearance of Labour-Lite to a good number of voters that are not politcally aware then great!!.

A long list of unintended consequences of Helen Clarks rule is the Voter impression of "not all is well in Klarkistan".

Add to that the fact that petrol, mortgage, and 20hours free still
costs too much.
It seems to the home budget is tight, and the card is still maxed out. Yet Cullen has Billions in surplus and wants more.

Why would National announce Policy while still ahead in the polls,
just to satisfy the blog trolls.
Why use Policy as a direct weapon against the Labour Party when
persuasion of the voter is what counts.

The swing voter will not evaluate the Policy points of both parties
until the last 3 months before the Election.
But the Labour Party will, and in great detail, to adopt or ridicule for the whole year.

It is the swing voter that wins the Election.

Anonymous said...

I sure as hell hope there is some differentiating policy. Welfare & tax reform, privatisation of some non-core activities (ACC, prisons), at minimumn some public / private partnerships (roading & infrastructure, health) etc etc.

But I fear that they are too alike at the moment.

@PC: Its not much use in getting the opposition to enact 1/3 of your policies if its the other 2/3 that will make a real difference to the country? What's the point of (eg.) getting prisons privatised if you can't sort-out the health sector?

dad4justice said...

John boy Key is playing a good solid strategic game as before you can crush the insane diseased witch and her many hen - pecked ,pussified eunuchs you must sucker punch them in with a false sense of security . Then once they're on the hook king hit the scum bastards to kingdom come . That feels better now . Thank you .

Anonymous said...

Agree with the general comment that it's silly to release policy too soon. The system is designed to get the people you want in power, not providing helpful hints from the sideline from opposition.

A few years ago, Colin James described the NZ political landscape from the war till the mid 80s as slanted left with National resisting gravity and further pulls to the left.
Douglas and co were able to take advantage of a short lived tilt of the landscape to the right, but from 1993/96 it tilted back left with Clark and co now pulling it further left.

Key enters (stage right) on an unfavorable slope and cannot hope to shift the ground or pull the country rightwards faster than he's allowed by the conditions.. he has to move in increments over a period of years and be extraordinarily efficient in doing so.