Friday, February 02, 2007

Trotter twists again

From today's DomPost;

Chris Trotter has a dilemma. He fawningly approves of the Maori Party, loathes National and is disenchanted with Labour. When the Maori Party and National line up with the same policy, work-for-the-dole, he is faced with the task of praising the first and damning the second. If he gives Labour a biff at the same time that’s a bonus.

So he begins with a history lesson about the “hated relief schemes”, conveniently forgetting to mention they were a saviour to many during the depression of the 30s. These "slave camps" were the early equivalent of work-for-the-dole.

But then Pita Sharples said he wants a return to work-for-the-dole and that it should be compulsory! Which leaves Trotter no choice but to tell us, quite patronisingly, that Pita didn't really mean that at all.

“Allowing people to subsist without working turns the social welfare system into an intravenous drip, and converts confidant citizenship into demoralising dependency. That was all Pita Sharples was trying to say.”

Then comes the attack on Labour. “Mr Benson-Pope could have responded positively to the Maori Party co-leaders statements by reiterating the links between paid work, human dignity and healthy communities…...sadly, he (preferred) to interpret the Maori Party’s urgent plea to address the disproportionate number of Maori families dependent on the state for subsistence as a call for a return to the ‘Work For the Dole’ schemes formerly favoured by National.”

Hang on there. There was no interpretation needed. Sharples made a clear statement and Benson-Pope responded by slamming work-for-the-dole schemes, which is exactly the position Trotter takes.

Then Trotter says that the state is the only institution capable of solving social demoralisation, after only just blaming the state practice of putting a couple of hundred dollars in beneficiary bank accounts, with no work requirement, FOR the demoralisation.

To shed light on that seeming contradiction I will use Trotter's literary device of telling you what he really means.

What Trotter really wants is the state to use its might to heavily regulate profit and the private sector in an effort to produce higher wages and (superficial) full employment. The reason he doesn't spell it out is we all know that is a tried and failed solution.


Anonymous said...

Don't you just wish the Dompost would bring back Michael Basset to bring some sanity to their political pages.

Anonymous said...

I lost interest in Trotter's articles a few months ago.

In the past he was a mind- challenging left-wing journalist, these days he dishes out rubbish and inane articles. A mere shade of his former self. The Dom Post should drop him.

Anonymous said...

A very good post Lindsay - well done. Like Manolo says, Trotter has truly passed his use-by date and should go.

Anonymous said...

It's plain obvious that it was only real paid work that is the way out of poverty. Work for the dole is not the way out of poverty and it never has been. That is the reality of the 1935-1949 Labour and 1999-2007 Labour. Moving on from failed work for the dole and onto moving people into real paid work.

Earning a hand out, is not a way out of poverty, it is a poverty trap.