Monday, August 25, 2014

The politics of Jesus - Monday 25th August 2014

A week is a long time in politics and the last week must have seemed very long for some of our politicians.

On Saturday night I watched an hour of party political broadcasts. Some were particularly bad, no doubt at least partially explained by lack of funding compared to the 'big boys' (National, Labour and Greens). My vote for the best broadcast goes to Labour. They managed to keep their leader, David Cunliffe at the front and centre of the piece while also giving room for his shadow cabinet team to speak. It was warm, clear, attractive.

Notwithstanding that, I think, despite National having a 'media/bad press week from hell', that a National-led government will win the election. That is my prediction just over three weeks out!


1. Listening carefully to what I hear people saying, I do not sense that any loyal National and associated party voters are going to change their minds because of last week.

2. Swing voters are going to face the dark side of National in a variety of ways, swinging to Labour/Greens only being one of them. I detect, for instance, a degree of cynicism: the left has a dark side too, so exposure of the dark side of the rightwing is not a sufficient reason to vote leftwards. I also find that policy coming out of Labour and the Greens (to say nothing of Internet Mana) raises its own questions. The questions, incidentally, are not about whether figures on a piece of paper add up (tax in = spending promise out) but whether voters believe the figures will or should translate into reality. As long as voters doubt that (say) taxing water usage by dairy farmers - a Green Party policy - is good for the economy then none will vote for such a policy simply because the 'dark side' of politics has been exposed in Dirty Politics.

3. That is, to win an election each prospective coalition has to retain their loyal base and capture the votes of swinging voters. I do not sense, both through wide reading and careful listening, that the last week has changed the fundamental sense, prior to the publication of Dirty Politics, that swinging voters perceive a National Party-led government will manage the economy better than a Labour-Greens-led government.

What does this analysis have to do with the politics of Jesus?

Not much!

In the politics of Jesus, in the kingdom of the Son of Man (featuring in this Sunday's gospel reading), people do not plot and play kingmaker, nor do they steal emails from one another, perception equals reality and reality is not distorted via deliberate manipulations of people's perceptions.

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