Chris Trotter’s latest column sings the praises of good ol’ conservatives like Jim Bolger. But instead of recalling the Bolger days of the introduction of the Employment Contracts Act, benefit cuts, and engineered mass unemployment, Trotter only seems to remember National joining Labour’s bicultural consensus and negotiating the treaty settlements. He seems to be asking ‘Where have all those kind, compassionate National Party members gone?’ Read more below:
For those curious about Chris Trotter’s recent rediscovery of the joys of the Labour Party and how former National prime minister is misunderstood, I think it’s important to understand that left-leaning commentators like Trotter seem to have a very strong agenda at the moment, which is to totally demonise the traditional conservative parties in the desperate attempt of justifying support for the 'traditional left'. Their subtext is, ‘Hey we know that parties like Labour aren't very leftwing and there's no great reason to support them, but look at the alternative - conservative parties that have transformed into a near fascist 'cancerous' movement controlled by sinister forces such as the religious right and secretive foreign elements.’ The reality of course is that there's less difference between most mainstream 'social democratic' parties and conservative parties than ever before.
A more intelligent discussion of the political nature of the National Party can be found in Colin James’ recent column Eclipse of superconservatives lets core conservatism breathe – which argues conversely that neoconservatism and religious superconservatism is dead as a political force in the US and NZ. Instead, ‘core conservatism (with its fellow-traveller, moderate liberalism) is alive and well and a big factor in the runup to the 2008 election’. James – unlike Trotter – proclaims ‘National's emerging reclamation of its core conservative tendency after its radical deviation in the early 1990s and 10-year wander in the ideological wilderness.’