Mass Debate

Hey, let’s debate the debate!

Russell Brown on Public Address has been unusually silent on Labour and National’s withdrawal from TV debates with minor parties. More surprising still, Laila Harre’s come out partially in favour. The rationale, according to her on Kiwi Blog is that because Labour and National are the parties most likely to form a government, therefore they are deserving of more air time than others.

Well, that hardly seems fair or democratic to me. Like, isn’t the idea of the election to give voters a chance to express who they want in government? Let’s do that, then whoever actually becomes the government, trust me, they’ll get their airtime.

It’s a surprising position considering her own background in small parties. And also considering her usually unflappably logical, rational identification of relevant factors in complex issues.

She also goes on to suggest two more debates, one each among the lefty parties and one among the righties. This – to me – is bordering on crackpot. I’m always the first to encourage out-of-the-box thinking, so it’s good to share the idea, but let’s can this one. For one thing, neither the Maoris nor the Greens are really very interested – at all – in left or right politics. And Dunne and Peters represent the single issue parties who are only interested in being in government, so they don’t easily align on the old spectrum either.

Leaving actual parties aside: what if your policy is that left and right is the wrong way to think about politics anyway? What if you believe policies on tax and government involvement are not defining absolutes, but incidental to greater issues, like: peak oil, climate change, pollution, bio-diversity, healthy food, quality health, transportation, revenue, justice … oh yeah, that would be the Greens.

Of course, and I hate to raise this because the trains getting near my stop, but there is the issue of where you draw the line. The Legalise Cannabis party for instance. The McGillicuddies. Every single independent. Nah, Nobody takes em seriously anyway. More on that tomorrow.

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