Monday, November 12, 2007

"Big Money" envy

The left uses language carefully when it talks about issues. The term "Big Money" in most countries wouldn't refer to a peculiar small religious group spending a 5 figure sum campaigning against a particular electoral outcome. It usually means businesses funding politics. However, for Labour it is the new "bogey man", and Labour is used to creating language based bogeymen.
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The word "nuclear" is one. The 1984-1990 Labour Government and the Party before the 1984 election eagerly took the word to be a byword for war and pollution. The first big scaremongering messages associated with "nuclear" were that anything "nuclear" would make NZ a target for Soviet nuclear weapons - something that was ok for Australia, the UK and the US in the event that the then communist bloc wanted to destroy free Western liberal democracy, but not NZ - which wanted to distance itself from that. That of course spoke volumes about who was behind being "anti-nuclear", as it was about being neutral between liberty and Marxist-Leninist dictatorship - as if you could be. The second scare is that "nuclear" meant Three Mile Island, Chernobyl - there were visions of fallout, Hiroshima and the like from nuclear propelled ships - despite the evidence to the contrary. The numbers who voted Labour because of this fear are difficult to determine.
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Another is "privatisation", which is associated with people being ripped off, or services being cut, or "flogging off the family silver" -instead of flogging off the fools gold and the mythology around how good state owned monopolies really were. It's a bogey word - which too many of those who are economically illiterate in the media find easy to throw out there, when close scrutiny reveals most of the claims made make little sense.
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So now we have "big money". Visions of Montgomery Burns from the Simpsons scheming with John Key to find ways to send children down salt mines (Winston Peters can get advice on this from North Korea of course), to find ways to poison the population, cut wages and ensure old people shiver in the streets. Visions that those who are successful and well off are only that way because they have taken from the less well off, or cheated them, or been greedy. The idea that wealth is a pie magically baked by "society" and those with "big money" have been so mean as to cut a big slice for themselves. This all forgetting that everyone bakes their own pies - their own pies - you know it's called property, and almost all of those who bake big pies did so from their own initiative and use of reason. The government at best exists to stop people stealing from each others' pies - although it does a good job of confiscating different amounts from most people's pies. OK enough of the pies.
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Helen Clark is now painting a world where you, the voter, is actually quite gullible. You don't know what is good for you, let alone the country - and you can be bought by political parties which get large donations, or by "big money" campaigning for who THEY want. Those parties can dazzle you with flash ads, slogans and advertising and you wont vote for who you want. Her solution is simple, she will ban anyone from campaigning outside a political party. She also wants you to be made to pay for political parties too, even if you despise them all, she likes forcing you to pay for people who well, force you to pay. Nice that. She is hiding all this under the auspices of a threat from "big money".
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So what is "big money"? It is organisations, made up of individuals, who want to spend their own money - remember that phrase "their own money" on political campaigns. They don't want to force you to pay for it, but they want you to vote a particular way. Labour believes, with good reason, that in sum, it will get less money from voluntary donations than National. It thinks this is unfair, so it wants to ban the spending of such money, and force you to pay for political parties to be equal.
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Well not all political parties. The big ones would be nearly equal, the small ones would get bits and bobs - because, after all, Labour finds it hard enough competing with National, to have to worry about those annoying small parties "stealing" votes from their left and right flanks.
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So let's not forget what Helen Clark means when she says "the National Party benefits enormously from big money in New Zealand politics." She means "I wish we did too, and if we can't attract it, they are not allowed it." It's naked party political self interest, and it is, as the Herald has said, all about keeping Labour in power. The last major electoral reform carried out was MMP - by National - and nobody can ever accuse that move of being about keeping the National Party in power!

1 comment:

sean14 said...

Hi Scott

An excellent post. I amazed at the act of deliberate self-delusion people engage in when they say that money wins elections.

This is particularly risible coming from the Labour party considering that they won the last three times out.

Cheers, Sean.