One gets a sense that Conservative heads control NZ politics. On Campbell Live, we have John Compbell criticising the ACT Party for having two candidates with two different attitudes on a particular policy - the decriminalising of cannibis. This is a weird position to take. Surely, whatever their position, the fact that they are allowed to display an independent perspective is good in itself. Why is this so controversial? Now, we can have a debate about the merits of the issue. Oh story, John Campbell was not interested in the issue. He was far too cynical for that. Instead, he comes out with another claim....that the ACT Party purposefully caused this controversy in order to get media attention. Well, good for them!
When you consider that the media gives no air time to the minor parties, any strategy they take for getting attention strikes me as good policy. The media loves scandal, and they provided one. And then, the media (aka Joh Campbell cynically rebutts that they were looking for media attention). So why did they engage on this basis. Why don't they engage ACT on any issue, simply because exposing all significant political discourse is desirable. No, that is not the role of the media. The role of the media is:
1. Appeal to the interests and values of the two major parties because they are alligned or relevant to most people
2. Attack minor parties for scandalising issues in order that they may gain some media exposure.
Sadly, the minor parties once again get the short straw. No wonder we have no hide of a chance of getting a third force in parliament. Your choice? No choice. Just a pretense of one.
The poll conducted by Campbell Live showed that 72% of voters believe in decriminalising cannibis. Rest assured that this sample is not representative of the population. Why? Because:
1. The affirmative voters care a great deal about the issue
2. The repudiating voters care less because its just one issue, and they probably don't think it will change.
There is a symmetrical distribution of sensitivity to the issue. Remember - the issue was knocked down by ACT Party Member for Epsom - John Banks, so this issue is going nowhere.
Cannibis should be delegalised, but in a specific context:
1. In the short term 'strictly' for health reasons
2. In the long term when people display a respect for facts and rationality
There is no prospect for that under democracy, because it places perceptions above facts and evasion/repression above rationality.
Brash's rationalism and Bank's pragmatism are both wrong, but then, its not core policy, and at least as a party, they have the freedom to display their own views. Where is the personal integrity in the other parties, which are in fact governed by a form of majoritism-based extortion. Take for example, my local National MP Chester Burrows. He complains to people opposed to the closure of a local DoC's office. "My hands are tied. I've vented my views to the caucus. Its all I can do. You will have to accept my assertion on faith". Even if this were true; it does not serve the electorate he represents to have just a 'vote' for his electorate, but a voice outside the caucus as this will have influence beyond his electorate. Mind you, that would be extortion too, but at least he would be representing his electorate, if that was ever his objective. Nope, as he made clear, its his position first, electorate 2nd, and there is a huge conflict of interest in between. Compare that with the ACT Party representative. He expressed both party and non-party positions at a political meeting.