It is with a degree of bemusement & frustration that I have observed the almost complete self destruction of ACT over the last 12-18 months The Whig has blogged on his reasons for rejoining ACT.
The first and most immediate was alarm at the nature of National's large reinvigorated caucus and a realisation that, at this point in time, I could never swallow enough rats to be a member of their party. There are a few liberals there but most of the rest of them are dropkicks.
Further comments are made over at andrewfalloon.blogspot.com: Speculation, half-truths, and complete lies. Aaron Bhatnagar comes in for and gives some stick over his decision to leave ACT and join National. Aaron says
As I've mentioned previously, ACT won't have a democratic internal culture until "the other side" or the contrarians get a chance to run the party.
All of you would do well to read Trevor Loudons piece on socialists & communists joining Labour to get their ideas in parliament.
By the late '80s, the Socialist Unity Party and it's fellow Marxist parties had long abandoned any idea of winning electoral support under their own banners. Consequently they relied on infiltrating and manipulating larger parties in order to gain leverage and influence.
Think about its application to ACT & National. Think about how much time is wasted fighting amongst fellow travellers in the direction of Freedom with Responsibility. (Recognise that Trevor?) We are trying to travel in the same direction.
I thought deeply some years ago about whether to join ACT or National. I decided that whilst ACT was closer to my own beliefs & Roger Douglas would be the politician I most admire by a long stretch, ACT were very unlikely to play a serious part in a government due to their lack of pragmatism. I could not see the point of devoting a huge amount of time to politics and political comments if there would be no practical benefit to that investment.
Better having Winston Peters as Treasurer with Bill Birch there to squash spendthrift ideas than to have Cullen letting Labour come up with such vote buying stupidities as free tertiary education and Maharey scrapping work for the dole.
Better to have an internal party policy discussion about whether drugs should be legalised and taxed than stand on the sidelines sniping. What is most amusing is that the man who did the most for New Zealand in the last 50 years was originally a member of Labour.
I wonder about people like Blair & Peter Cresswell at Not PC. Peter is obviously extremely well read and has some brilliant, insightful commentary. But what is the point of standing so firmly on points of principle that instead of them going to parliament and actually being able to have an influence, we get the likes of George Hawkins and Steve Maharey.
I think there is a strong difference between betraying moral ethical principles and doing actual hurt to someone or a group of people and in compromising on principles in order to achieve a wider aim. To give an example that is the basis for my support of compulsory saving. In the longer term it will provide financial freedom with responsibility. In the shorter term there is compulsion, but that compulsion does not actually harm anybody. Compulsory saving is not the point here.
Much as we can blow smoke up our backsides over the impact that blogs have, even the stupidest MP on a select committee can have an actual impact on law.
I understand why Aaron joined National as I made the same decision, but without having joined ACT. I understand the reasons why National is pulling towards the centre. I am forming beliefs about leadership of National but will also blog on that separately.
I would be interested from comments by those of you who read this blog. Instead of getting buried in point scoring amongst our own we should put the focus on the tremendous long term damage that Helengrad is doing to New Zealand.