How the War in the North was won

Osborne-KeySo that settles it, Winston is awesome at campaigning. Better than Joyce. And Joyce is supposedly awesome. So awesome > supposedly awesome.

I almost wish there had been no polls of the electorate pre-election because people assumed National was going to win. And then they got smashed, smashed like a Black Cap in a world cup final (too soon?).

That said, I’m not leaping for joy like a lot of my lefty brethren, because Winston is still a revolting politician who says revolting things. But, as was pointed out to me repeatedly, this was a loss for National, a loss for Steven Joyce and a loss for John Key. It was also plausibly a win for the RMA as it stands, so we’ll see how that plays out.

I don’t think this is necessarily a sign of doom for National. The beginning of the end! It’s all downhill from here! That’s what we’re seeing from a lot of excitable pundits (one right wing pundit texted me over the weekend and said “better get back together with Labour, they’re going to be doing very well over the next six months). Every time the All Blacks lose a test, some smart arse coach of some other country always says “the aura of the All Blacks is dead, they’re just a normal team now.” And maybe that’s a better way to look at it.

Rather than an assured victory for the left, it’s a chink in the armour of one of the slickest political machines I’ve ever seen. They’re not invincible. It just takes putting up a muppet candidate, giving him an over-rated campaign manager, trying to bribe the electorate in a ridiculously transparent manner and having him be opposed by the canniest MP we’ve ever had. Not much to ask then.

Of course there are a number of happy points that the left can take out of this:

  • go after the regions; historically it’s been the urban centres that Labour/the Greens has targeted but this shows that those out in the regions are not that stoked with the Government as this economic growth we’re allegedly experiencing is not reaching them.
  • blame Wellington; yeah! Fuck those Mandarins in Wellington! Telling me how to live my life (actually I live in Wellington, but y’know). There’s a lot of anti-Government sentiment that settles in after three electoral victories, exploit it.
  • John Key is not invincible; despite wheeling himself out to go up and down the street of Northland waving, Key didn’t manage to help much. And also, he’s a bitter little shit, bailing on Osborne and creating the most awkward group of MPs having to stand behind Osborne as he gave all the talking points for why he’d lost (former tobacco lobbyist Chris Bishop did a very good job of nodding his head at the right times, while Alfred Ngaro hung over Mark’s wife so closely it was like conjoined-bi-racial-mix-gendered twins (the perfect leadership candidate for the Greens).

So where to from here? It’s been interesting, we’re seeing an up-tick in Labour’s support in polls based on them doing … well nothing. And that’s the ideal isn’t it? When the Government fucks up, just let them. When the Government doesn’t deliver like people expect, let the natural malcontentedness settle in, just don’t balls up yourself.

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