A Lotto win is all it takes to fix the vocal remnant of old-school labour politics who didn’t see the light in 1984.

Embittered old lefties still amusingly rant on about our greatest postwar Government, the 1984 Labour Administration. Thus it was good to see John Roughan pay that Government's key figures a well-deserved tribute in the Herald a month back, even if just to wind up those ranters (normally my thoroughly enjoyable domain), although he overlooked Michael Bassett in his heroes list.

Will anything cure the anachronistic, soured old diehards? Obviously death, which will be a blessing given their evident misery. In one sense that will be a shame as they provide ongoing entertainment, just as Social Credit once did. Largely the Social Credit nutters were harmless, not a view shared by some journalists, though, who once negotiated danger money for attending their annual conference.

Another option for the cornucopian state faithful is to visit Cuba and Venezuela and see their desired order in action or, more accurately, inaction.

Finally, they could win Lotto to experience an instant change of heart, as invariably happens to lefties experiencing a windfall. The record shows convertees from left to right tend towards extremism, as we saw with Roger Douglas who in the late 1970s was a price control advocate and by the mid-1990s, an Act Party founder.


So too Simon Walker, Labour Party communications supremo in the early 1980s and a John Major adviser by the early 1990s.

Another was Rob Campbell, an embittered early 1980s unionist, expected to eventually become the Federation of Labour president. But Rob saw the light and today is a captain of industry with a visibly happy outlook on life. Such dramatic changes amount to enlightened honesty, not hypocrisy.

The old diehard left survivors pose a threat to our political process, insofar as (to the despair of their political wing) they currently control the Labour Party, still our alternative Government.

Tony Blair shook them loose in the early 1990s, recognising he could never prevail otherwise. This dilemma confronts Andrew Little who cannot sustain acceptance on the sole grounds of not being Cunliffe.

Waiting for the inevitable pendulum swing also won't do it as the danger exists of other parties filling the opposition void.

Indeed, this is National's best hope for a fourth term, namely voters' disdain for a fragmented coalition alternative.

That said, some pre-1984 attitudes remain entrenched. For example, many folk constantly demonstrate a proprietorial right over private property. We witnessed this with the John Campbell hullabaloo.

TV3 is free to viewers, thus complainants demonstrated outrageous impertinence in condemning its decisions, their reaction being as if it was state-owned and they had an ownership right. They don't, and the channel can do what it damn well pleases, which is the essence of private property.


Although occupying a primetime slot, the undeniable fact is that Campbell pulls an uneconomic audience number for the ownership company, which recently was on the brink of bankruptcy. TVNZ would have axed him long ago on these ratings.

Enough has been said about Campbell's alleged virtues or shortcomings so I won't, but instead will comment on the claim he delivers serious investigative journalism. That's utter hogwash. Serious journalism can only be found in measured, thoughtful essays.

Television is the equivalent of comics when it comes to serious journalism, although undoubtedly it contributes a useful visual element, but that's it. At best it's akin to a pictorial book, say on Victorian London. Great for those seeking a once-over-lightly view but scarcely serious historical analysis.

Such books, aimed at the casual reader, tend towards sensationalism in their emphasis as to a degree they're published as informative entertainment. But they lack nuance and deeper and wider analysis, just as with what passes as serious television.

Most offensive in the Campbell hullabaloo was the abuse then heaped on TV3 for its other offerings, particularly The X Factor and The Bachelor. These shows are disgraceful down-market crap, was the cry.

Personally, I think The X Factor and especially The Bachelor are degrading to their participants although plainly they - or the show's audience - don't think that, and that's all that counts.

But instead of simply not watching, the innuendo was that these hugely popular, and for TV3 life-saving, shows shouldn't exist.

On that banning-lowest-common-denominator rationale, we should also prohibit McDonald's and other fried-fat purveyors, rugby league, rap so-called music, obesity, Pope worshipping, talkback radio, tattoos and everything else favoured by the lower socio-economic orders because as always with the old left relics, they know best with their enhancement prescriptions for everyone else's lives.

The indisputable fact, evidenced by Campbell's unsatisfactory audience numbers, is that his control-freak supporters comprise a small, albeit vocal sector of the public. But as ever, these deadbeats make lots of noise in lieu of substance, as the reaction to this column will make evident.

Debate on this article is now closed.