Alice Snedden: why Jacinda made politics exciting
OPINION: Breaking news: Jacinda Ardern is the new leader of the Labour Party. You heard it here first. It's a huge scoop, and I got the exclusive. I'm sure this article will be the start of a wild fire of media attention that covers everything from her relationship to her possible future decisions to have children (NOTE: Policy won't be discussed because it's a waste of time and not important to the election).
This is the best thing that could have happened to this election. It's like the left were choking to death in the corner of a restaurant for nine years and finally someone's noticed and given them the Heimlich.
New Zealand has never been more alight with election buzz. It's like the whole country has a pregnant glow.
For the first time in a long time (ever?) people are excited by politics. The "Jacinda effect", as I am the first to call it, is happening because finally we have something to pin our hopes on. It doesn't matter if the change is substantive to party policy or not, merely putting her in the position of power has finally made the choice between the two parties clearer. It signals to us, the voting public, that Labour are not just business as always. Whatever your personal inclination (left leaning or wrong), now we have a race. The left are genuinely putting up a fight and giving us something to vote for.
Credit to the the Green Party who have been putting up a fight for a while now. They have been the beacon of hope for young liberal snowflakes, but their position as a supporting party has meant they'd never have the same impact. What Jacinda's appointment represents is the opportunity for a real change of government. Which brings me to my point, that we should be changing this government.
The prevailing wisdom is that the left are a bunch of disorganised nut jobs. I'm not sure where this comes from, maybe it's the communism, maybe it's the fact that every time we're on the precipice of victory a bunch of MPs resign. It's hard to know. But the fact remains, every single successful social movement has been organised and carried out by left-leaning political ideologies. There has and always will be examples in history of right ideology refusing to die, but successful, sustainable, social change has been driven by the left. I guess we have the time to do it because we're all unemployed.
My point is this, if you believe in left ideology (cradle to grave) and have previously thought there isn't a difference really between the two main parties, you're now officially wrong.
Even just by the action of making Jacinda leader, Labour have signalled they're pushing for new fresh change. A vote for the left is no longer just the lesser of two evils, it's an actual change in how the country is run. I've heard people argue that time and time again that a vote for the current government is safe vote, it's a steady hand.
To that I would say two things. Firstly, to those struggling, the hand is not steady, it's absent. And secondly, if a ship is sinking, you don't vote to do nothing, just because you can see how that plays out. You vote for the messy solution. You vote for the opportunity to fix the problem. We have a chance to finally change this government and make a change, but we have to act now in this election. The attitude of we'll win in three years is not enough.
Having said all that, as a young, white, homeowner who runs a small business, I'll be voting for National, as it's in my best interests.
- Sunday Star Times