Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Good faith"

It seems we have elected a starry-eyed moron as Prime Minister:

Prime Minister John Key says the "good faith" of employers means employees will not be pressured into cashing in their fourth week of leave.
And if you believe that, I have a cycleway I'd like to sell you...

And this from a member of a political movement which derides the left as "utopian" and which prides itself on its hard-nosed, reality-based cynicism about human nature. According to conservatives, humans are inherently Bad People who Cannot Be Trusted; hence the concern about "incentives" and their belief that anything smurfier than dog-eat-dog can never work. Except, it seems, when they are trying to sell us something. What sort of fools does he think we are?

As for his contention that employers who offer take-it-or-leave-it contracts will be prosecuted, it's simply laughable. Oh yes, there might very well be a clause in the law declaring it to be an offence (though good luck getting that past National's rabid anti-worker caucus). But there are significant evidentiary problems in bringing such prosecutions, and fundamentally they rely on workers being aware enough of their rights and sufficiently unafraid of getting fired-at-will to complain. Given the problems there already are with enforcing existing entitlements around holidays, that is an unlikely proposition, and I doubt the government is going to devote resources to running a public education campaign showing a boss - their prime support group - being stuck in the slammer for trying to steal his workers' holidays. "We'd love to, but we just can't afford it. There's a recession on, you know..."

It is simply insulting to be fed such transparent bullshit, and it speaks volumes about Key's utter contempt for the rest of us that he would spout it. He thinks we are total rubes. I guess that's what a four-month honeymoon of the media lapping up your every word does to you. But if he's like this now, imagine how arrogant and contemptuous he'll be after three years...