Feb 11, 2011

Spot on, Tim

Tim Selwyn provides some useful insight in his latest post. It is worth reading the entire post but I want to focus on this point;

I put it like this: Pita Sharples is like Martin Luther King Jr. He has the weight of the movement on his shoulders and his mantle of leadership and responsibility
means he has to be more conservative than people with less to lose and will co-operate with the authorities when the opportunity arises to gain concessions.

Whereas Hone Harawira is like Malcolm X. He is the firebrand who won't shut up. He will tell the brutal truth to anyone and everyone at every opportunity, and he won't be part of any half-measures and compromises. Both have used the "field negro/house negro" comparison in describing the situation of their people in their own societies.
Both men were assassinated - Malcolm X at a point when he may have joined up with MLK.

So I think about the political assassination going on here where Hone is being taken out in order to keep the "moderate" collaborators inside the government as the official representatives of the movement.

This is an excellent comparison and it goes some way towards explaining what is behind Pita Sharple’s apparent ideological transformation. Weight of expectation is always likely to breed caution (i.e. conservatism). For small parties politics is often a choice between risk and result. Small parties can take a risk and engage in a bit of political gamesmanship and come out with all or nothing. Alternatively small parties can play a safe game (i.e. play by the script) and come out with regular concessions. Pita has obviously chosen the latter option. 

In my opinion Tim’s assassination analogy also holds true. Hone continues to strain the National Party/Maori Party relationship and, in the interests of government stability and continued concessions, the MP needs to isolate or eliminate him.

Lastly, it is pleasing to see a post that offers a rational take on Pita’s conservatism (conservatism doesn’t feel like the right word but you get the picture). I’m sick of hearing that Pita and co. have just become seduced by the ‘baubles of office’. That’s such an easy smear and it lacks any intellectual integrity.

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