That was going to be my post title if by some miracle Don Brash managed to form a government. But somehow, Johnny Rotten's sneer seems appropriate to the new arrangements announced today. Labour voters, who voted for at least a nominally left-wing government, have got one so reactionary that the Greens cannot in good conscience support it. And looking at the policy agreements, it's easy to see why. New Zealand First [PDF] gets a review of the whole immigration system, new measures to target youth offending (because of all those pensioners scared shitless by the young), the return of waka-jumping legislation, and support at least to select committee for bills to purge the Treaty from the law and to lower the age of criminal responsibility to 12 (so we can join countries like the US and Sudan in jailing kids for life). Meanwhile, United Future [PDF] gets a review of company taxes and the carbon tax, and a review of the Prostitution Reform Act, public funds funneled to private hospitals for private profit. And both get a hefty dose of pork in the form of big roading projects in their electorates. If I'd voted Labour, I'd be feeling pretty cheated about now. Still, you play the hand you're dealt, and Labour has made the best they could of it given the Maori Party's descent into pure spite. And it is still better than a tax-cutting, wage-slashing, union-smashing, RMA-gutting, Maori-bashing National government led by Don Brash. But only barely.
I feel very sorry for the Greens; while they got a few policies, they were forced aside by the reactionaries. Still, it means they get to spend the next three years being the conscience of the government, and reminding everyone of what we could have had - and I don't think that will hurt them at all. And if they are smart, and build their own bridge with the Maori Party, they may be in a position to step in and save things when Winston inevitably throws his toys out of the cot.
Oh, there's a plus side - a higher minimum wage, increased eligibility for student allowances, a rewrite of the Cabinet Manual to further weaken Cabinet Collective Responsibility and a further shift towards an MMP-style of government - but the overall feeling is of disappointment. And the lesson is simple: if we want a progressive government, we have to vote for one. Hopefully three years of Winston jerking the chain and trying to lock up twelve-year-olds will remind people of that fact.