September 29, 2008
Probably the most interesting thing that struck me in Someone Else’s Country was the role of crisis in providing cover for the enaction of extreme legislation in both the 84 Labour government and the 91 National government. In both cases, economic “crises” (quotes cos the 91 one seemed… thin) provided the impetus for the ramming through of massive economic reforms – which were un-publicised in advance – under FPP. (And the peculiar mechanics of economic illiteracy among Cabinet members of both governments which allowed the ideologues their head, and the extent to which it was Treasury driving the reform.)
In any case, the importance of the crisis factor for today’s situation being, of course, that the next government will likely inherit a global economic crisis, which will provide cover for whatever the hell they claim is the only option to save us. And that makes the prospect of a National government a damn sight scarier, and increases the relevance of stuff like The Hollow Men – remember, John Key was Brash’s deputy throughout that process… – which is all about not revealing just how freakily right wing your wet dreams are to the electorate because they will justifiably burn you at the stake.
The other thing of particular note, on reflection, is just how lucky we are that MMP replaced FPP, as the referendum seemed something of an offhand gesture from the politicians, which they were surprised the public was overwhelmingly in favour of (after a decade of dictatorial reform, how odd). The doco was made in 1996, so we don’t get the comparison with the MMP era in the film, but having lived it, yeah, democracy and negotiation seems well preferable to democratic dictatorship. (Also, interesting that Michael Laws claimed Helen Clark was part of a biparty group who were dead against MMP, but disbanded because they realised how bad it looked to be working together on that issue… funny how things work out).
The most random factoid was that Bob Jones’ New Zealand Party had stood on a platform of what was essentially Rogernomics, way back in the Muldoon era. I don’t think I knew that.
And finally, it was striking that yes, actually, almost every time they open their mouths, almost every member of the Business Roundtable does seem like a soulless cunt in need of a severe beating.