Friday, September 29, 2023

Capitalist: Could the Dam Be About to Break?

I remember a radio discussion a couple of weeks before the 2002 general election between the respective party Presidents – Mike Williams, and (You-Know-Who) for National. Williams delivered what probably turned out to be a king hit by lisping “National cannot win the election so supporting them is a wasted vote”: this when National was polling higher than Labour is today. I shall draw a polite veil over the embarrassing response from the National Party president.

Could the following scenario be about to occur? (Apologies in advance for the history lesson.)

In 1955 in Australia there was a massive split in the Labor party; it’s complicated so I shall paraphrase things a bit. The ALP was stuck in the past: had policies to prevent another great depression – which seemed bizarre in a booming, post-war Australia, along with a healthy dollop of class war nonsense which seemed anachronistic to most people. They were also seen as rather soft on communism.

Eventually, the right wing of the party in Victoria and Queensland had enough; they quit and formed the DLP, the Democratic Labor Party. This was a very catholic, very right-wing political party: pro-business, fanatically anti-communist, pro-family values, pro pro-aspiration. They never won a seat in the House of Representatives but did very well in Senate elections, holding the balance of power in the Senate for nearly two decades.

The DLP would preference the Liberals – urging its supporters to put a “2” beside the Liberal party candidate – ahead of the ALP candidate and around 95 per cent of their supporters did so, which enabled Bob Menzies and the Liberals to remain in government without much difficulty.

So visualise the scene: you had people in their 30s who were Irish Catholics; had gone to war, come home, were building a new life, perhaps had a white collar occupation, had bought a house; lived in the new suburban mortgage belt in a marginal electorate. To them, the very notion of voting for the Liberal party – and the bogeyman Bob Menzies – was “uncomfortable” at best. But they could happily vote for the DLP, put a “2” beside their Liberal MP’s name, and plausibly convince themselves they hadn’t really voted for Menzies.

The DLP was a kind of circuit-breaker for aspirational Catholic Australians; you vote Liberal by not voting Liberal (“…and wasn’t the ALP riddled with dangerous men like Jim Cairns, Clyde Cameron, Tom Uren, and other commies?...”).

Could a similar thing be about to happen in New Zealand? Could a lot of hitherto Labour voters be about to walk away in disgust having realised they’ve been conned their entire lives? Voting National is anathema to them, but they can vote for Winston.

Picture the chap who drives a bus, or builds the roads, or works in a factory and voted Labour all his life and who remembers men like Lange and Moore with affection. But the last thing he believes in is all this Maori stuff or the left-wing commie stuff, or that he’s in any way a racist. He’s conditioned to view the National party as ‘the enemy’ but can happily vote Winston and convince himself he’s “not really voting Tory”; the chap Chris Trotter dubbed “Waitakere Man”.

As it becomes increasingly implausible that Labour can win, could the dam be about to break? Winston soars to 10% and Labour crashes to around 20%? It would be our own version of the 1955 ‘split’ in the ALP whereby the ‘sane’ people just walk away, having found someone speaking their language, and leave the commie rabble to it.

Capitalist is a simple country boy from the deep south who seeks nothing less than the destruction of socialism and collectivism in New Zealand. This article was first published HERE

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