The Age of Reason
By Peter Carr
One of the pleasures I experienced over the weekend was listening to President Elect Joe Biden set out his view on how he will proceed during his four-year term.
As a piece of political rhetoric, it was not startling – and most certainly not Churchillian – but it did have a pleasant ring to it. This by seeking the gains to be made by encouraging a total way forward that embraced everyone. To use JB’s words ‘no blue, no red – just Americans together’. After the ugly and crude bifurcation of the past four years these were sweet words indeed.
Now Joe is no fool in the political sphere.
He was elected by his (small) state to be one of their two senators at the age of 29 – no small feat. He must have wondered what he had walked into when, in those days, Senators lasted well into their 90’s, had not travelled outside of the US and in many cases did not have passports. But they were in a position of huge power that affected many nations well beyond their own shores. JB has hung in there for 48 years in this messy, self-centred system and many would have become so embroiled in the restrictions of ‘belonging’ that their effectiveness would have been well watered down after nearly five decades in this swamp.
But Biden is a rare breed. He is a consensus politician – perhaps something that New Zealand was looking for when we (sadly) created MMP. That was a Teutonic system thrust upon a small nation where rigid political dominance was not in our nature.
And what happened to the promised second referendum post MMP when we would be given a chance to review if it worked?
So, every triennium we succumbed to the power-seeking dominance of one man who held the nation to ransom. Because he could. Because we stupidly did not see the chance of this when those who opted for MMP in 1993 did not think the options through properly.
Now we have a parliament with a Cabinet of just a single political party. Intent on improving on their partner-dominated bumbling of the past three years. All promises and no follow through.
But now the left-of-centre government has a chance to make amends. To be bold and decisive. To put aside the drivel that emanates from many local areas to grasp instead the big picture. Remember, it was the snivelling of the Greens that crudely pushed aside the extension of the Cambridge by-pass aimed at providing longevity to a large number of people hitherto doomed to die on the road out to Piarere. The party that had undue dominance on the last government are just minnows on the side having been cast the crumbs of climate change. And they may well do a good job of that.
But in a country where political sniping is an energy wasting art form perhaps the ‘blue and the red’ could perchance come together in some sensible and money saving initiatives where consultants reports, Royal Commissions and the like will be consigned to the bin.
Just get on with it and govern in a manner that will benefit this fine country on a sooner rather than later basis.