As the election of Donald Trump continues to send shockwaves around the world, New Zealand badly needs a revolt against the current political system for the good of our democracy.
Donald Trump is the latest political success to highlight the power of anti-establishment politics – but he’s not the best advert for it.
Instead, Trump is a reminder that revolts against the Establishment emerging around the world at the moment take many different forms. Some are left-wing, others right-wing, nationalist, populist, and so forth. So to be anti-establishment doesn’t necessarily mean being a supporter of reactionary politics.
What all these revolts have in common is their rebellion against the status quo and those in power.
Such a revolt could be beneficial in New Zealand – especially if it took a much more progressive orientation, compared to Trump and other more populist, reactionary and nationalist demagogues who sometimes surf the wave of public disenchantment with mainstream politics.
Anti-establishment politicians and movements are a necessary part of politics. They shake things up and open up possibilities with radical ideas. By asking difficult questions, putting forward unfashionable ideas and questioning authority, an anti-establishment force can highlight problems in the system and give voice to the powerless and forgotten.
Such a movement here is likely to be more left-wing. Earlier in the year when a UMR opinion poll on the US presidential candidates gave a choice between radicals, 77 per cent of New Zealanders chose Bernie Sanders, compared to 8 per cent for Trump.
Of course, radical politics is rarely idyllic. There will always be ugliness and problems and sometimes this involves the destruction of parts of the status quo.
However that can allow something better to be built.
Here’s my 10-point manifesto for change in New Zealand.