In July 2010, NZ “left wing” political commentator Chris(opher) Trotter wrote this in respect of Labour MP Steve Chadwick’s proposed abortion law reform bill.
The first question I’d like to ask Labour list MP Steve Chadwick is: “Why now?” What’s convinced her that the time is right to reopen the abortion debate? What ill-omened denizen of the current political environment has told her that this is the moment to introduce a members bill permitting abortion-on-demand up to the 24th week of pregnancy?
I would really, really like to know who it was. Because, try as I may, I’m finding it really difficult to make the cost/benefit analysis come out in Ms Chadwick’s, her party’s, or even her gender’s favour.
In other words…. “No no no! Even though I agree with a woman’s right to choose, now is just not the right time for it, because it’s BAAAAAADDD for the Left.”
In November 2010, Chris Trotter wrote this in respect of Matt McCarten’s candidacy in the Mana by-election.
When Matt McCarten told me he was thinking of putting his name forward for the Mana by-election, I shuddered inwardly. … The political analyst in me pursed his lips and shook his head.
“With the Labour Party moving steadily to the Left,” he intoned disapprovingly, “this is precisely the wrong time to challenge Goff’s hand-picked candidate in an important by-election in one of the party’s safest seats.”
Then I caught the gleam in Matt’s eye, and I told my inner political analyst to go stick his objections where the sun don’t shine.
Because if being on the Left means waiting for the “right time” to fight for your principles, then, as the hero of Howard Spring’s wonderful political novel, Fame Is The Spur, discovered, when the fight comes to you, the bright sword of principle can no longer be drawn. Through all those years, while you were waiting for the “right time”, the sword’s blade was rusting fast to the scabbard.
So on the one hand, even though The Left holds principles dear, it must be pragmatic, but on the other, to hell with pragmatism: The Left should hold fast to its principles.
Guess what the difference is between the two cases….
Update: Chris Trotter has left a comment over at The Hand Mirror, where I cross-posted this. Chris Trotter’s comment.
I believe that’s what you call “a fair cop”.
Guilty as charged.
Good on him.