Can the left be allowed to choose a new spokesperson please?

For some bizarre reason the political left (which for clarity’s sake definitely includes me, and many of the Green Party’s policies but not necessarily the Green Party as a whole*) has spent the better part of a decade lumped with Chris Trotter as its media spokesperson.  When comment is needed from a left wing perspective he is inevitably rolled out by the media to give some pompous talk about the 1950s wharfie strike and its relationship to British social democratic theory in the later part of the 18th century.

Left wing thought has long since moved on incorporating democratic, feminist, anti racist and environmental strands to it’s philosophy, and leaving Trotter to his historical reminiscences. (I should be clear that I don’t think that Trotter is racist, sexist or anti-democratic – just dated). While Trotter was speaking to the NZ First conference in 2001 assuring Peters and his cohorts that they were the victims of pretentious snobbery by a Wellington political elite, the rest of us recognised that no matter how economically left-leaning Peters’ rhetoric was, his campaigns were a nasty influence on New Zealand politics. And things haven’t changed. Not changed, that is, except that Peters got caught.

Today Trotter is attacking the Maori Party and the Greens because we did not blindly defend Peters from his accusers, the same way Labour did:

The level of discomfort in the Greens and the Maori Party can only be imagined.

To find yourself patted on the head by the right-wing news media for playing the role assigned to you so well.

To hear yourself praised by National and Act for your sturdy ”independence” and staunch “neutrality” (while they laugh in their sleeves at your naivete, and noisily celebrate the triumph of their own utterly ruthless partisanship).

So, with all that in mind, please can we have a new media spokesperson.

*Blah, blah, neither left nor right, but out in front, blah, blah…

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7 thoughts on “Can the left be allowed to choose a new spokesperson please?

  1. I quite like Gordon Campbell from Scoop and think he’d be an acceptable alternative. But I recall hearing he worked for the Green Party at one stage, so maybe that’s why. 😉

    But yeah, watching Chris Trotter try to bully The Hand Mirror left me thinking similar things.

  2. Great idea.

    Don’t anyone look at me, there’s enough misogynist journo’s gunning for me without having a regular column going anywhere mainstream!

  3. Thanks for writing about this Steve, I find it so frustrating that Trotter seems to be the first port of call for the media when they want to be seen to be balancing up a right wing commentator, yet he represents such a narrow section of the Left (and one that is getting smaller all the time).

  4. or perhaps even …a woman?

    That would be a welcome change too. 🙂 Tracy Watkins being the primary female editorialist in political journalism REALLY bugs me.

  5. I think Laila is doing a FANTASTIC job personally. The other day she was off sick or something from her normal spot with Matthew Hootten on 9-noon and they had Chris Trotter in her place. He was atrocious. He practically yelled at Hootten, was argumentative the whole time and was generally unpleasant to listen to. I turned it off.

    Laila is smart, articulate, informed and most of all not afraid to be critical of the ‘left’ when there’s strategic blunders.

  6. I made a remark to someone the other day along the lines of:

    Mathew Hooten/David Farrar (Stock Right wing commentators) seem to be (from my perspective) somewhat linked with nats and often tow National Party Line (Not always but usually). Left wing commentators Lila & Trooter quite often get stuck into there own team as much as the right wing commentators and don’t seem to be anywhere near as much “insiders”.

    Kakariki –
    As much as I like Lila she does let Hooten just talk over the top of her and back off quite oftern – at least from my perspective. I did enjoy Chris Trotter refusing to allow Hooten to dominate. Though I do admit it wasn’t the most constructive thing to do.

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