Sadly, the final edition of The Independent came out last week. I’ve been reading this newspaper fairly regularly for the 18 years that it’s been published – primarily to read the latest political analysis of Chris Trotter (pictured on the right, in the 1980s). I’ve been variously outraged, inspired, informed and impressed by Trotter’s 1000-word essays on a weekly basis. So as a tribute to Trotter – which he possibly won’t appreciate – I’m reposting an old parody of one of his columns that I originally read back in 1996 (in Metro, I think). It nicely captures the more romantic and whimsical style of Trotter’s sometimes personal polemics. Also, check out Trotter’s excellent final column on his Bowalley Road blog, and also Jenni McManus’ farewell piece. [Read more below]
You Can’t Sack Me, I’m Part Of the Journalists’ Union
By Chris Trotsky
The other day, I watched Ken Loach’s socialist drama Land and Freedom for the 456th time. As the credits rolled to the strains of “The Internationale”, I felt the tears rolls down my cheeks. I wept the tears of the disaffected and dispossessed. Tears for Biko. Che Guevara. Bill Rowling. The kind of tears that only a wooly liberal who thinks he’s still at university can weep. [Pansy! – ED.]
Remember the 60s? I do. And the 70s. I remember the Tour, too. And Nuclear Free New Zealand. But after that, it all gets a bit hazy for a while. Then Jim Anderton came along.
As “The Internationale” continued to play, I asked myself this question: Had the New Right ever listened to this song? Hadn’t Sir Roger ever sung “The Red Flag” at a Labour Party conference? Had Ruth Richardson never playfully whistled “If I Had A Hammer” to herself as she slashed welfare spending? What if Roger Kerr took the time to hum “Blowin’ In The Wind” as he gazed out over a city radiating the acrid stench of big business? Surely Don Brash had seen Les Miserables? [Get on with it, commie – Ed.]
Bruce Springsteen had the answers, of course, even before The Ghost of Tom Joad. All of these years after the New Right promised us light at the end of the tunnel, we’re all still dancing in the dark.
When I awoke from this reverie, the credits had stopped rolling and the only other person in the theatre was a pubescent lad sweeping up popcorn and empty jaffa packets, probably for less than the minimum wage. “Jesus, you sad Lefty bastard!” he appeared to be saying. “Haven’t you got a home to go to?” My conclusion is that the Alliance stand to benefit greatly from all of these recent political developments.