Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Sunday 09 November, 02008

Time for a change

by Eliza @ 6:12 pm

Perhaps unlike many of you who read this blog, I am feeling pretty sad about yesterday’s election results.  However, I believe that by standing aside immediately, Clark and Cullen have given their successors the maximum chance of leading an effective opposition for three years, and preparing successfully for 2011.

I guess this is just another example of the decisive, insightful leadership we needed a change from.

11 responses to “Time for a change”

  1. richie_f says:

    The Nazis were also decisive and, in some respects, insightful. They were also wrong.


  2. Eliza says:

    I am not suggesting that decisiveness are the only positive attributes that Clark and Cullen have brought to leading the country, as you well know, Richie.

  3. Eliza says:

    Also, reductio ad Hitlerum.

  4. richie_f says:

    Apologies. Poor form, I know.

    And certainly, kudos to Helen and Dr Mike (NB: not the medicine woman) for being gracious and stepping aside.

    It’s a smart move, too — prevents Phil Goff or anyone else doing to her what she did to Mike Moore, and lets her leave with dignity intact.

  5. Jon Marinus says:

    My my, it’s been a long time. Too long. Top of the evening to you Matt and Eliza! Perhaps Matt can fill you in on my person, Eliza, considering you and I haven’t met . . . I’m trusting all is well with you both.

    I have to confess I feel relieved at the passing of the Labour government. No doubt good was done by them. ‘Tis true that certain aspects of national life were managed well. Yet, I feel relieved because their response to the Exclusive Brethren ‘threat’ was little short of vicious. As leaders of a democracy, they ought to have publicly reaffirmed the right of all parts of the community, especially law-abiding ones such as the Brethren, to express themselves politically. Instead, Labour moved to marginalise, demonise and suppress them. Disturbing stuff.

    I feel relieved, too, because, during their reign, the state’s stranglehold on education was tightened. The real funding available for independent schools declined, threatening the very survival of some institutions. As an educator, I have come to see great value in promoting healthy competition in education and great danger in accepting state hegemony over the training of the nation’s youth.

    Finally, I feel relieved, too, because, under Labour, my family became state beneficiaries through the Working for Families scheme. The introduction of that scheme was, for us, not an achievement, but an insult. It seems to me that something is very screwy when a professional working full-time and another professional working part-time cannot support their two-child family without financial aid from the state. Surely there has to be a better way that liberates people from dependence rather than locks them into it?

    I didn’t want this to be rant. I hope it isn’t read that way. It’s simply a collection of observations of an average citizen under Labour rule.

  6. Ben Hoyt says:

    Hi Eliza … I’d be interested to know the reasons you’re sad about the election. (Not being cheeky, but curious.)

    Good post, Jon, thanks.

  7. FWIW, I’m sad about the election because

    • I think National will be worse at governing with the good of all of New Zealand in mind than Labour were (factoid: 90% of large-company CEOs preferred Key to Clark)
    • the Greens are likely to have much less influence this term, and ended up with quite a bit less of the vote than many of the polls were indicating
    • John Key doesn’t get that the human economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the natural economy
    • of the increased likelihood that our country will continue to do poorly at e.g. climate stewardship
    • my impression is that National are in not because most people thought they could do a better job, or had perused policies and decided they agreed with them, but because it is “time for a change”
    • the newspapers and TV were still in FPP-land
    • of low voter turnout
  8. Eliza says:

    I share Matthew’s reasons, which hasn’t left me with a great deal to add. In response to some of your comments, Jon and Ben, I would also say that..

    I am concerned by National’s approach to the justice system. I don’t support calls for ‘three strikes’ or ‘longer sentences’ or restricting parole. I would like to see our justice system policy based more on research, rehabilitation, and restorative justice models. This is not to detract, for one moment, from the need to recognise the needs of victims. I just don’t think National’s policies will lead to better outcomes for our society or for offenders.

    The idea of being a ‘beneficiary’ when Matthew and I benefit from Working For Families next year does not concern me. I do not feel like a beneficiary when I get to go to hospital for free, or when my doctor’s visits are subsidised. Even if I did, I think it is right that citizens benefit from the state – that’s what it’s for – to look after us. Moreover, National has no intention of abandoning this scheme.

    The election result means Anderton’s dental policy won’t even be considered, and paid parental leave won’t be extended.

    The green stuff is probably my biggest concern, and like Matthew I was very disappointed by media coverage of the election.

    Overall, philosophically I find myself on the left because I feel that they more effectively embody my ideals of social justice, including compassionate care of all members of society, particularly the vulnerable.

    Ok, so I did have a bit more to add.

  9. Eliza says:

    I forgot to add KiwiBank, KiwiRail, regulation of financial markets, etc. – I don’t feel the private sector has done a great job of looking after the world’s best interests.

  10. Jon Marinus says:

    I would love to talk this through more comprehensively with you. Am time-poor at present, though! I can say this, though: like you, I desire a government which administers justice and ensures that the vulnerable are protected. Indeed, a society can be measured by the way in which it cares for its weak.

    I also share your concern for the ‘green stuff’. I also think the biblical concept of stewardship is a critically important one to grasp and practice, not merely because it shapes our interaction with the environment, but because it shapes our interaction with everything temporal.

    As for which side of the left-right divide I find myself on, I have been described in the past as a right-thinking leftie. That’s probably a fairly accurate description. I share many of the concerns of the left – working conditions, living conditions, care for the weak and vulnerable. I don’t believe, however, that leftist policies are, generally, the best way to address them.

    Furthermore, I think it’s worth noting that the ‘left’ has done a great job of brainwashing the populace into sub-consciously associating ‘left’ with ‘compassion and care’ and ‘right’ with ‘cold and careless’. This mental association has little to do with facts and more to do with empty rhetoric.

    At the end of the day, I don’t feel ‘owned’ by either left or right. I take my cue from the Scriptures. Some key principles I’ve gleaned from there are:

    1. Don’t give your leaders too much power. They’ll abuse it because they’re like you and me – inclined to look after self before looking after others.
    2. Live and let live. Don’t mess unnecessarily with people’s lives.
    3. If the conditions are right, many people will exploit and abuse each other. Hence, we need to cultivate conditions which discourage abuse and exploitation.
    4. The individual has meaning and significance in and of herself. She does not derive her significance and value from being part of a group.
    5. People have a right to private property. This should not be taken from them without just cause.
    6. Inequalities of wealth are not necessarily bad and, therefore, should not necessarily be addressed. The far more important questions are: Why is he poor? Why is she rich?
    7. Politics cannot address or rectify all problems. Many social problems can only be addressed spiritually.
    8. The family unit – Mum, Dad and children – is the basic unit of society. It must be strengthened, not undermined.
    9. People will be happier and more productive if they maintain private responsibility for their own property, families and futures.

    If these and other biblical principles are honoured, I have every faith that you will see a society which does begin to embody the ideals you expressed and which I share.

    Phew. Forgive the inelegant expression. Am in a rush . . . That really was more than I had time for. Oh well, all for the common good.

    Have a fab weekend!

  11. aaron says:

    Hmmm. Matt, re. comment 7:

    – your implication that big-company CEOs are the bad guys introduces prejudice above argument
    – the Greens’ low influence and drop in polling-day support is their own fault – by declaring themselves exclusively a Labour prop, they lost many votes from anti-labour green sympathizers who wanted Labour out but Greens influence in (like me), and who would have been prepared to pressure National to be more green-friendly
    – your slogan about the relation between human and natural economies feels misleading, since we’re gardeners and stewards (i.e., beneficently in charge) under God, not obedient subjects of Nature

    Eliza, re. 8:

    – one difference between subsidizing health care and Working for Families is that the former applies to people when they actually need expensive help; the latter is applied carte blanc and irrespectively. For that reason it should perhaps have been a straight tax cut rather than being needlessly channeled through state hands
    – while it’s true that citizens should benefit from the state, the argument as between Labour and National seems to be in what respects and exactly how

    And Jon, re. 10:

    – individuals are made much more fully human through membership of groups. We legitimately derive significance and value from being part of them
    – ‘private’ property is not the only sort; there is also legitimately ‘social’ property as a consequence of being inalienably bound to membership of groups. Or at least, so we should see it: things ought to be given in service to others, not divided for the strict enjoyment of mythical individuals

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