Title: Is this a con job? Credit: Craig Young Comment Wednesday 9th May 2012 - 12:30pm1336523400 Article: 11718 Rights
As I predicted beforehand, the National Party is starting to panic over the prospects of coalition partners at the 2014 Election, given John Banks' credibility problems. And so, it is wooing the Conservative Party. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. However, I want to draw some attention to the current situation that National finds itself in, and warnings from past similar political situations and those overseas. I must also ask why the straight media isn't doing its work properly. When I sat down and investigated Index New Zealand for any in-depth analytical articles about Colin Craig beforehand, in Metro, North and South, the Listener or elsewhere, none seemed to be forthcoming. This is unsatisfactory. Colin Craig is a past Auckland mayoral candidate and stood for Rodney at the last general election. However, he has received no in-depth analytical scrutiny from either Auckland-based or national media outlets whatsoever. This is sheer lack of professional diligence. It is also dangerous, as it avoids questions about civic responsibility, transparency and political accountability. It means that declining newspaper circulation, newsroom staff cutbacks and a tabloid culture of intensity, direction and celebrity focus have replaced the need for historical perspective, memory and depth of analysis. In other words, we just sit back and accept spin and pre-packaged candidate or party stories about candidate or party virtue, over substance and analytical depth and precision. New Zealand's straight media do this all the time with religious social conservatives and it is left to centre-left political activists to undo the possible damage, with some bipartisan assistance from centre-right social liberals disturbed about the likely consequences of ill-considered relationships. Remember Bruce Logan and the Maxim Institute? Logan was exposed as an unoriginal thinker who had excerpted large chunks of work from Anglo-American social conservatives and it took Paul Litterick of the Fundy Post blog to expose it. For several years, Logan had written columns for the Christchurch Press without any such detection, nor did he tell his fellow Maxim Institute colleagues. And why did it take the sterling investigative efforts of Nicky Hager and his Hollow Men exposure of "Brethrengate" to stop Don Brash's bribe-induced pandering to the Exclusive Brethren sect, which cost the National Party a general election victory back in 2005? Or yours truly and the opportunism of the Christian Coalition back in 1996, for that matter? In my case, I was monitoring the Christian Right as usual and found a Challenge Weekly article which was duly forwarded to Labour and National Party activists. Yet, here is the National Party once more risking the same thing with Colin Craig and his Conservative Party. Let's examine this man's claims. Colin Craig is trying to downplay his actual fundamentalist Christian religious beliefs and the religious social conservatism of much of his party. That is misleading. When I scrutinised his candidates in closer detail, I found that many of them had affiliations to fundamentalist churches or Christian Right political organisations past or present- indeed, note that Colin Craig himself has done an interview with the fundamentalist Challenge Weekly newspaper in the reference section below. It also flagged its anti-abortion policies in the same publication, trawling for Christian Right votes, no doubt. Again, one only needs to witness the link below. As for his candidates, I subjected them to scrutiny in Facebook. By their own admission, over half of those standing on the party list or seats had linkages to Kiwi Party, LIFE Churches Manurewa and Auckland, Youth With A Mission, Voice for Life Kapiti (anti-abortion), Voice Waikato (anti-sexworker), Orewa Baptist Church, and Carey Baptist College. Indeed, the Conservative Party absorbed the Kiwi Party, itself avowedly fundamentalist Christian in political and religious orientation. If the Conservative Party is not a religious social conservative party, then why is there so much disproportionate representation of fundamentalist Christians within its party list and constituency candidates, compared to National and ACT? Why is it the case that Colin Craig scored so highly on Family First's Value Your Votes guide? The Conservative Party and Colin Craig also need to answer some practical questions. It is transparently obvious to anyone who examines their website that its primary focus is religious social conservatism and that its "clip-on" additional policies are mere garnish. For example, it opposes asset sales and Labour/Green capital gains tax proposals. How is it going to fund core health, education and welfare services? And how can they justify running expensive continual binding citizens referenda? Apparently, they believe in radical welfare privatisation, but that policy is unelaborated. There is slender justification for its opposition to Emissions Trading Scheme carbon charges and climate change denialism. Yet, the Prime Minister has stated that he opposed binding citizens referenda and has still signed up to the ETS. Why hasn't Colin Craig been examined in detail about the credibility and paucity of his sources insofar as his clip-on policies go? Why is National even talking to these people? Do we really want repetition of the shenanigans that ensued with Peter Dunne's United Future cabal of fundamentalist stealth MPs during the second and third terms of the Clark administration (2002-05)? Why hasn't it learnt from overseas instances like the horrific experience of John McCain during the Republican presidential campaign of 2008, either? As Geoff Dunne noted in his analysis of the MacCain/Palin Republican ticket, conservative movement media (Murdoch's Weekly Standard and the more respected Commentary) made a brief visit to Juneau and took insufficient notice of serious questions that Democrat and Republican legislators and activists alike had about Palin's single term of office in Alaska. Right-wing bloggers inflated her reputation and competence. Prior analysis of her disastrous governorship did not occur, with fatal results for the Republican campaign. Once Palin's defects became obvious, even Reagan era veteran conservative stalwarts like Peggy Noonan and Irving Kristol (Commentary) criticised her lack of competence, intelligence and readiness for the vice-presidential role. Subsequently, her Tea Party vehicle failed to deliver some of its promised gains in 2010's mid-term elections. Is the Conservative Party fit to hold the balance of power after New Zealand's next election? No. It is a sectarian religious conservative party and it must not be entrusted with that civic responsibility, or it will damage human rights and social justice in this country. Recommended: Geoff Dunne: The Lies of Sarah Palin: North Melbourne: Scribe: 2011. ”Colin Craig will stand again” Challenge Weekly: Gemma Margerison: “Making a Stand ” Challenge Weekly: Conservative Party website: Value Your Vote (Family First): Craig Young - 9th May 2012    
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