UK political winner: David Cameron. Proof that there is a year long honeymoon period in politics for the nice young man who smiles, utters vapid catchphrases and “listens” to everyone. He has made the Tories electable by making them New Labour Lite.
UK political loser: Tony Blair. With national popularity at an all time low, not loved by the party he saved or the man likely to succeed him, Blair has visibly aged as he slowly plods to his retirement. You’d think after winning a record third successive victory for Labour he’d still be their hero.
UK political nutcase: Ken Livingstone. Red Ken has always been a socialist maverick, but flying at taxpayer’s expense to Cuba and then Venezuela to try to meet Castro and Hugo Chavez, being snubbed by both and unable to pull off a deal he claimed could be done to get cheap diesel for London buses was outrageous. Now he is calling for a wealth tax on City bonuses, could there ever be a Mayor who if let off the leash would single mindedly destroy the goose that lays London’s golden egg? The Tories also deserve a brickbat for being unable to find a suitable candidate to put up against him – this is London, surely SOMEONE can be found who is talented.
Number 1 UK political theme: Environmentalism. The Stern Report predicted doom and gloom if climate change wasn’t addressed, without explaining how it could be addressed when most greenhouse gas emissions come from other countries. The media is full of obsessions about carbon footprints and Protestant guilt about flying to holiday destinations, which can be easily offset by the latest tithe – paying to offset your carbon emissions. It doesn’t of course, but hey it makes people feel better. Recycling is the national obsession, with EU targets for recycling and some councils fining people for NOT recycling. Meanwhile, rubbish collection remains free and nobody has made an evidence based evaluation of why government intervention to support recycling will deliver net benefits to the UK. It is faith not fact based. The local food/food miles lie continues to be spread by the protectionist farming industry and the BBC.
So how about NZ?
NZ political winner: John Key. Having inherited a revitalised National Party from Don Brash, a general public mood of tiredness with Labour, John Key has been quick to put his stamp on the National Party and flung it towards the left. He too is having a honeymoon period, he too is following the lead of David Cameron in ditching previous policies and philosophy and generally being “nice”. He too is leading Labour Lite.
NZ political loser: Don Brash. Having revitalised the National Party from its worst ever electoral result and bringing it within one seat of victory, Brash was hung out to dry by his own party. The public never did this, National’s public support remained generally above Labour’s, but the wets in National discarded Brash with the support of a media generally lacking in intellectual rigour. Brash lost because he failed to be himself, and be upfront and honest - the characteristics that saw him do so well, the characteristics that are an anathema to most politicians.
NZ political nutcase: Dick Hubbard. One of the most ineffective Mayors Auckland has had in recent history. He has surrendered control over to his leftwing council which is now embarking on its grand Auckland takeover strategy with the ear of Helengrad. Labour supports Hubbard despite his strong esoteric religious beliefs – you know, the ones that put him closer to the Exclusive Brethren than atheism – but it’s ok because he supports Labour
Number 1 NZ political theme: Corruption and lies. Corruption ranging from almost all Parliamentary parties using taxpayers’ money to fund their propaganda campaigns, but Labour the most. Labour’s litany of lies and unwillingness to face the facts of its own fundamental misjudgement. Labour with its United Future and NZ First lickspittles voting to retrospectively legalise this theft. Labour now promoting that this theft be made compulsory every year with a ban on private donations to parties. National for overspending its broadcast spending money by failing to consider GST. Taito Philip Field for giving favours for getting favours. Nicky Hager for writing a left wing attack on Brash without revealing his own personal political agenda and most of the media for not questioning that he had one. Labour for accusing Brash of National leading an orchestrated campaign of attacks against Helen Clark and Peter Davis regarding their marriage, and then leading a campaign against Brash about his own. Labour for endlessly spinning the non story that the Exclusive Brethren led a campaign against Labour and the Greens, with moral support from National – as if this is wrong in a liberal democracy.
Most enlightened political moment: Bernard Darnton, Libertarianz Leader commencing legal proceedings against the Labour Party and Helen Clark over breaches of the Electoral Act and Public Finance Act.
Global political winner: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. While continuing to pursue “peaceful” nuclear energy in the guise of a weapons programme, he has avoided further economic sanctions. He continually leads much of the political debate in the Islamic world, wears his anti-semitism on his sleeve and still the West tries to placate him. Ahmadinejad has shown that the Islamic Republic is still solid, that the West gives few articulate and reasoned responses to Islamism, and he can grab the attention and sympathy of much of the Islamic world. He is liked more in the West than George Bush and Tony Blair
Global political loser: George Bush. Having lost the congressional mid-terms, the ongoing difficulties in Iraq, he has lost much momentum for the last two years of his Presidency. Possibly the most hated political figure alive today, he has often failed to communicate clearly what his objectives are, and could hardly have less sympathetic media. With his foreign policy goal in Iraq well out of reach, and domestic policy about to be stymied by a revitalised centre-left Democrat majority in Congress, Bush faces a difficult repositioning as Republican nominees for the 2008 presidential election will want to stand apart from him.
Global political nutcase: Hugo Chavez. After talking of Bush as being the devil from hell, and bribing voters with the vast oil money that Venezuela is bringing in for now, Chavez continues to be the Western socialists’ favourite rebel. His own penchance for roughing up political opponents, corruption and crazy rhetoric are ignored.
Global environmental scare in decline: Genetic engineering. Fewer are scared of it now than ever before. The doom merchants have quietly shifted towards climate change.