Title: Triangulation Games? Credit: Craig Young Comment Thursday 17th November 2011 - 11:14am1321481640 Article: 11058 Rights
"Earlier, I defined the Key administration as one of 'inertial conservatism.' How does that work in practice?" Craig Young explains. Evidently, Key has decided that there will be as little progressive social reform as possible during his term of office. This 'rewards' any religious social conservative supporters (who don't back Winston Peters or Colin Craig instead) through obstruction and delay of those reforms. Key can appear 'progressive' through refusal to reverse any Clark adminisration social reforms either, thus refusing to antagonise and mobilise LGBT and other communities of interest. This is thus a 'triangulation exercise.' Key looks "moderate" because he isn't "too" liberal or conservative. Inertial conservatism isn't without risk to the current government, however. During the last three years, the 'ice' of inertia has been starting to crack as social movements, professional allies and individuals accumulate behind inclusive adoption reform and other wilfully delayed or obstructed social reforms. As well, LGBT lobby groups have started to form over adoption and marriage equality, such as the Aoteroa Rainbow Alliance and Legalise Love. Inertial conservatism is also based on the faulty assumption that religious social conservatives are pragmatic enough to view Key as 'optimally' conservative enough to vote for him, instead of either Winston Peters and New Zealand First, or Colin Craig and the Conservative Party. Granted, some of them will vote National because they see it as the best hope of keeping out Labour, but Family First's Value Your Vote guide suggests that Key is also seen as ideologically impure in some religious social conservative quarters. Effectively, the Christian Right seems split between Maxim Institute pragmatists and Family First purists. However, as the Rena disaster has so dramatically demonstrated, events can disrupt inertia. National refused to take neccessary environmental risk management and amelioration steps that might have diminished the magnitude of the grounding and cut public sector capacity and expertise in crucial areas. Similarly, I suspect that its constitutional inertia and refusal to allow a republicanism referendum may backfire if Elizabeth II passes away in the intermediate future. Triangles are not impregnable structures. With enough pressure applied to the obstructing side, they can cave in. In the case of the Rena disaster, National has been caught on the backfoot and probably lost ground to the Greens and Labour on environmental policy. With enough further miscalculations and public policy mistakes, the Key administration will decline and fall. Recommended:Anne-Marie Smith: British New Right Discourses on Race and Sexuality: 1965-1990: Oxford University Press: 1995. Craig Young - 17th November 2011    
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