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Random Comments 8

Entry 1333, on 2011-09-30 at 22:55:27 (Rating 4, Comments)

It has been about a year since I last made a "random comments" entry but fear not! Here is my latest effort...

Another New Zealand SAS soldier has been killed in Afghanistan. The government seems to be changing it's official line on this. Originally they insisted the unit was there to help train the Afghan security forces but now are saying they are there to take part in combat. Does this mean they admit they were lying previously?

Most people would accept this casualty as an unfortunate but unavoidable consequence of a just and worthwhile war, but is that really the case here? There are so many questions about the legitimacy of the conflicts the US is currently involved in that sustaining losses like these in a small country like ours should raise a lot of questions.

Of course the prime minister says we must remain courageous and fight on! Well that's easy for him to say from his safe and comfortable office in Wellington. Another of my favourite quotes: nothing's too hard for the person who doesn't have to do it himself!

To make matters worse there have been questions recently about the justification for the raid. Was this really a mistaken attack on an innocent group which turned ugly? Are we now going to be associated with the US and its unfortunate international reputation for shooting first and asking questions later?

My second comment is a bit closer to home. About a week ago the prime minister was speaking in glowing terms about how well our economy is going. He was congratulating himself (who else would) on what a great job he is doing and how well managed our economy really is.

A couple of days later the minister of finance contradicted a lot of what the PM said and commented that it would be unlikely we would meet most of the targets the government has set itself. Today the country's credit rating has been downgraded. If this is an example of good financial management I would hate to see an example of bad!

Finally I must mention the nuttiest political party of all. The rabid libertarian Act party seems to be self-destructing. In fact this phenomenon has been going on for a year or two now and it looks like it's only through the use of dirty tricks that the party will survive. That is, of course, if you think there even is a party. Isn't Don Brash the only one left? All the rest have deserted him. Even the crazies who were in the party in the past don't want to be associated with someone as nutty as Don. Who can blame them?

So the political right gets a big fail mark from me. I don't really know whether Labour would have done any better but their general policies of intervening where it is necessary, doing what is right rather than what will make our political and economic partners happy, and not pulling dirty political tricks to get an unpopular and dangerous party into power make me think that they would be the preferred option.

But the prime minister is a skilled politician if he is anything and he seems to have fooled a lot of the population of the country at this point, so I suspect New Zealand will continue its downward slide because National are likely to win the upcoming election. That's rather unfortunate really.

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