Yesterday’s editorial in the Northern Advocate offers some intriguing observations about the launch of the political (i.e. election) year.
Noting that the PM seems to have spent more time ‘belittling’ the Greens than attacking the policy of National’s largest opponent, the writer proposes that “Of course the Greens are the bogeymen, for one simple reason: They’re right. They might be mocked as “loony left”, but they’re really a pro-environment party with a social conscience…a Green future implies real change, not just tinkering and shadow-plays”.
That’s dead right. One reason I joined the Greens many moons ago was the Green political analysis that said ‘business as usual’ is not a sustainable option. We do need real change, not just meddling – we need to live differently, and if we are smart then ‘differently’ need not mean living any less well.
We are routinely accused by our political opponents of being communists; admirers of the command economy; ‘watermelons'; loony lefties. This mindless and frankly boring nonsense reveals first that our opponents have no understanding of Green principles and policy, and also that they have failed to notice that the old ‘left-right’ continuum (dating from 1789!) is entirely incapable of capturing the complexity of modern political ideologies.
Nearly two decades ago I was teaching politics students at Auckland Uni that the one dimensional left-right spectrum concealed more than it revealed, and that at very least we need to use something like the multi-dimensional ‘political compass’ approach to even begin to understand current realities.
Maybe we should revive the catch-cry of the 90’s; still valid, and easy to grasp even for the least astute – ‘The Greens are neither left nor right, but in front!”