Friday, February 08, 2008

Trotter plays the race card

Once upon a time, Chris Trotter was a strong voice for progressive politics. But recently, with his columns on the abolition of the right of parents to assault their children, he has become a voice urging the left to shift rightwards and abandon efforts at social progress in order to pander to "working class social conservative" voters (which displays both a fairly dim view of the working class, and the typical "solidarity is one way" attitude which blights centre-left parties). Today's column takes this trend to its logical conclusion, surrendering any pretence of progressive values in favour of a naked appeal to racism. Discussing the Maori Party's welcoming of John Key at Waitangi, he reports that National is currently working on legislation of their own to repeal the Foreshore & Seabed Act. Trotter denounces this as a privatisation (a term which could technically be applied to any Treaty settlement, given that they almost always involve the transfer of public land or assets from the crown to local iwi), but then goes further:

By convincing the National Party leader that the foreshore and seabed issue is nothing more than a dispute over property law, they have opened the way to a much more radical application of indigenous rights.

For who can dispute that, at one time, the entire geographical entity we call New Zealand was the property of Maori collectivities?

And, if they have a customary right to New Zealand's beaches, then why not its rivers, estuaries, swamps, lakes, forests and everything else?

You get that? "If National gets in the bloody Maaris will get everything". This isn't even dog-whistle politics - it's simply outright racial fear-mongering. I disapproved of it from Don Brash, and I disapprove of it from Trotter. And if this is what Labour (through its proxies) is stooping to in their efforts to win re-election, then they deserve to lose.