A last bleat

There should never be such a thing as a free lunch for a political leader. Shorten the leash New Zealand.

Well my goal for seeing twenty films at the film festival has not quite been matched by reality as the festival finishes on Sunday and so far I have only seen seven. That is what happens when such things clash with an election campaign clashing with the screenings, but I have another couple of reviews to post tomorrow, and will manage a few more this weekend.

The New Zealand general election is a day away, while the Scottish independence referendum is unfolding as I write. On the latter topic I have sympathy for the historical significance for the United Kingdom, but I cannot quite satisfy myself that that is reason enough to vote no. Independence is a leap into the unknown, and although there has been much in the way of scaremongering I do believe the Scots are more than capable of standing apart.

The NZ election is the reason for my hurried scribbling right now because we are in that existential zone of quiet inertia before the fall. Where we are going to land is not certain, although the impact will hurt regardless. 

The newspapers continue to batter round their clichés of how this election has been the dirtiest and messiest in memory (seriously, can no-one recall 1996, 2002, 2005?), genuine concern about the capabilities and practices of spy agencies in NZ get dismissed with vaguely racist and clearly second-hand bather about the ‘imposturous’ Kim Dotcom. 

Meanwhile the political press appears to have largely given up on the real possibility of a change in government for the sake of conveniently being able to claim that they were right. Whenever I am asked ‘who is going to win?’ I don’t feel buoyed by the invitation to give my soothsayers opinion from observing the entrails of politics, rather I feel a bit disheartened that so many people have missed the point. You decide who wins. By taking part in the hard won franchise and affirming the perhaps laughable principle that the sovereign power of parliament is transferred from the people by means of voting — you step beyond cynicism and towards a better society.

My conclusion from this campaign is that while we always need better politicians, first we need to be better citizens. Revelations of ministerial collusion in underhand political attacks should enrage everyone. A proposal put forward by GCSB to allow them to tap the undersea internet cable while the government pushes through legislation to clarify their powers should never have been suppressed, and when it was finally admitted the citizenry should have torn at the system and demanded the resignation of the PM. Instead I see swathes of the public tucked up ready to go back to sleep as the balloons fall on Saturday night. 

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