Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Herald supports oligarchy

Just a few years ago, the Herald cast itself as a defender of democracy in the debate over the Electoral Finance Act. But in its editorial on the Labour leadership election yesterday, it showed its true colours. According to the Herald, letting a party's members vote on its leader

carries risks not just for Labour but for the good government of New Zealand if the consensus between the two major parties on economic fundamentals is undermined by a leader's public commitments in a campaign for the party's vote.

There is good reason to confine these elections to a party caucus. MPs are generally well briefed on policy issues and aware of the national interest. They also work closely with leadership contenders and are best-placed to assess their character and capabilities.

So, letting us dirty peasants have a say is a threat to "good government" (whatever that means). Better to leave the decision in the hands of a nice, safe, well-insulated and easily subvertable elite. Of course, exactly the same argument applies to national elections. So I guess we can conclude that the Herald supports oligarchy there as well.

What the Herald fails to recognise is that democracy isn't about making good decisions - its about making our decisions. Those decisions may not be to the liking of the Auckland business elite the Herald exists to provide a voice for. But if they don't like it, they should try and convince us, not demand that power be returned to a tight little circle who know best what's good for themselves "the country".