Tag Archives: endneoliberalism

​Blind leading the blind.- Bryan Bruce. 

Three weeks ago Bill English was crowing about the government’s books being in surplus. Today I read of 30 people going blind in Southland while waiting for eye operations . 
English was born in Lumsden in Southland. He represented Clutha- Southland for many years before he became a list MP.You’d think he might be interested in this problem.
Yet the talk is of tax cuts rather than increasing the health budgets of DHB’s who have patients  going blind waiting for surgery.
In the end all economic decisions are moral decisions. How you spend your money and what you spend it on reveals a lot about your core beliefs and moral values. 
Neoliberal economic theory, introduced by Labour and put on steroids by National, is morally bankrupt. It has blinded many of our  politicians to the fact that allowing a few people to get very rich at the expense of the many  is taking us back to the Nineteenth century and the days  when if you could afford a doctor you got treated. If not,you suffered.

We have got this every wrong folks. We need to decide what kind of society we want and then figure out how to pay for it. Not live in the  society some self-centred economic theory wants us to have.
As Nobel Prize Winning economist Prof Muhammad Yunus  astutely observed during an  interview with me for MIND THE GAP …
“We follow the theory.Theory should be following us!”

Advertisements

Labour Memorial Day. – Bryan Bruce. 

It’s  Labour Day again – the Public Holiday set aside to celebrate the rights of workers and in particular the right to an 8 hour working day.The great irony is that like many New Zealanders I am working today because I’m a contractor and not an employee with rights to holiday pay .

There was a time when all the shops and businesses were closed on Labour Day and parades were held to celebrate the dignity of working people and their battle against exploitation – a day when we trumpeted the equality of opportunity and family values that once made us proud to be Kiwis.

So what went wrong? What happened to that New Zealand I grew up in where the weekend really did mark the end of the working week?

Answer – selfishness. In 1984 – the Labour Party introduced the economic theory of Neo- liberalism we’ve been living under ever since. A theory that says the state shouldn’t interfere with the financial marketplace , that workers are a “resource” not our friends and neighbours , and the public utilities we all paid for with our taxes could be re-labled as “assets” and sold off to the highest bidder.

Then in 1991 National introduced the Employment Contracts Act that made Union membership voluntary . It  immediately undermined the power of collective bargaining and as a result we have  become a low wage economy

And why did we buy into all that? Well I am ashamed to say that it is largely down to the self centeredness of my generation – the baby boomers- whose parents and grandparents worked so hard to give us the opportunities in life they never had. And when we were given those privileges on a plate – affordable housing, free education, free health care, we spoilt post -war brats allowed ourselves to be wooed by Margaret Thatcher , Ronald Reagan and Roger Douglas and the politics of selfishness, into believing that the rights of the individual were far more important than the rights of the many. That a ME society would be a far better place than a WE society.

So we pulled up the economic ladder, and denied our children those state provided privileges we ourselves had enjoyed , with the result that , for the first time in nearly a hundred years, today’s generation of young people will be generally worse off than their parents.

Labour says it has seen the error of its ways. Well, we shall see.

Certainly by voting in some co-alition of the left next year is the only way can restore some semblance of fairness back into our society. Until then – please think of the person you meet over the counter today at any of the retail outlets and  working on this ” Public Holiday”-  who is very probably earning the minimum wage and  unable to make ends meet.

And let’s relabel today as Labour Memorial Day for there is more to mourn than celebrate.

Corbyn mark II looks like a leader – he must set out a clear, coherent vision. – The Guardian

In the last year, Corbyn’s leadership has been battered by the most relentless and extreme media campaign against a mainstream politician in modern British history. Labour MPs attempted to turf him out of his office in a botched coup at a time of national crisis, and 172 members of the parliamentary Labour party voted no-confidence in his leadership.
A leadership team that had no expectation of winning last year has made repeated and undeniable mistakes in communication and strategy. Yet not only has Labour grown into perhaps Europe’s biggest political party, but Corbyn has been granted an electoral mandate even greater than his overwhelming victory a year ago. Last year he won 59.5% of the vote. This time he won almost 62% among an even larger selectorate. The Guardian

​Corbyn victory gives message to NZ Left. They certainly won’t succeed by continuing to pitch to a mythical “middle New Zealand”. – Bryan Bruce

The news that Jeremy Corbyn has been returned as Labour’s leader in the UK with a vastly increased majority, yet again sends the message to the  Left in New Zealand that the way to win the next election is to  marshall the votes of all those Kiwis whose lives are being being daily diminished by the government’s  ongoing neoliberal economic policies.
Corbyn is not charismatic .He is not a Bernie Sanders, But he is giving a voice to the working poor and those who are struggling to make ends meet, because wealth has not “trickled down” as promised by 3 decades of neoliberal governments.
The idea that winning  the next election still depends on wooing “middle New Zealand” is a nonsense.
Middle New Zealand (if it ever existed) has gone.They have been replaced by Struggling New Zealand, the Working Poor and the Unemployed  Poor.
So the  message to the Left in all this is – listen to what the people are telling you. Houses are unaffordable, rents are high, good food costs too much, our school system is unfair…. the list goes on and on.
Around 1 million of us did not vote last time.
The reasons for that are many and varied – but one reason is that lots of people felt they had no real choice given the  two neoliberal alternatives.
The Left have to find a way of motivating those disillusioned non -voters if they want to form a government next year, for they certainly won’t succeed by continuing to pitch to a mythical “middle New Zealand”.