I’m reading everyone’s reckons on Jacinda becoming Deputy and I think there are two main things most seem to be missing in their analysis.
1: Why Jacinda is popular
Some on the Left and in the media feel that Jacinda is underwhelming in some way. That intellectually she isn’t hard enough, in the House not combative enough and everyone always asks ‘yeah but what has she done’.
This is a very narrow narrative, and I think it’s written by mainly older pundits. Like Rachel Smalley whose latest thoughts on this issue, seems to weirdly go down a rabbit hole and stay there confusedly scratching in a wall. Actually, as a side note, this is like the second weird column she’s written recently. Remember that one about the Indian students who had been mistreated? Didn’t that like go way off where you thought it was going? Like you’re feeling after the next few paragraphs that as the reader you need to step in and say, ‘Whoa Rach, they’re on the ground and not moving now mate and you’re still kicking them in the head. Steady eddy. Maybe now would be a good time to stop?’
Let’s hope all is well with Rachel, because we all have bad columns.
I mention Rachel’s age because it’s relevant.
I think that what Jacinda represents is a generation and cultural shift from Gen Xers and Boomers.
Jacinda is the first political representation of Gen Y. The thing that makes her so unique is her total lack of Ego. She is conscientious to a fault, she’s part of a Generation that was taught empathy and compassion and consideration for others and recycling.
Always with the bloody recycling.
Baby Boomers – “Me, me, me”.
Gen Xers – “Why me, why me, why me”.
Gen Y – “Why you, why I, Why us”.
She’s part of a kinder Generation taught and brought up in a culture that was desperate to be inclusive of others and that ignoring inclusivity was the greatest sin.
This is why she is so widely popular. She brings with, she doesn’t talk down to, she is all about getting agreement to move forward because that was how decision making was being taught in our education system.
Jacinda is a product of her generation, and because most of the pundits are older than her, they judge her by their own generations combativeness and cynicism.
Which is why they don’t get her.
I think her skills to quietly bring together and find unoffencive ways to work alongside each other for a common good came incredibly early for Jacinda.
In 2008, Jacinda was the President of the International Union of Socialist Youth.
Can you imagine the idealogical schisms in the bloody International Union of Socialist Youths? It would be like the NZ Twittersphere on Meth and Marx. Half of them would be denouncing the other half for arguments no one could remember while fringe groups were posting pipe bombs to class traitors.
I think growing up in a generation that prized inclusivity, such a position would demand skills that needed to be implemented from day one. Finding ways to get things done without shouting would have been a skill any successful President of the International Union of Socialist Youth would require.
Jacinda as a Gen Y brings a totally different skill set to the table and her popularity has to do with her reflecting those values on inclusivity.
Suggesting it has to do with her looks is just the most ridiculously shallow reading of her as a person.
2: Why she became Deputy
Like I said, Jacinda doesn’t have an ego, so she never sought Deputy as a power grab, it was genuinely thrust upon her by the party because they want what she represents on the Front bench.
The Right wing faction of the Labour Party have been liquidised.
Since Little became Leader, the right wing of Labour, those who agreed with the free market reforms, those who stood by and allowed Helen Clark to do nothing about the Ruth Richardson beneficiary cuts and those who were too frightened to reawaken the sleeping dogs of the 1980s betrayal have all been quietly moved along or left without any choices but total obedience.
This is the biggest idealogical shift of power within the Labour Party since Rodger Douglas. The sidelining of the right means that there is no internal opposition to some genuinely left wing policy.
When ‘gaggle of gays’ Damien O’Connor is currently arguing for NZ to grow raw cannabis for medicinal use, you appreciate just how far removed Labour’s old social conservatives have also come.
The proof to this reckon will be Labour’s election policy platform.
Little has huge power and sway inside the Party right now, he has eliminated any faction that challenges him and he has their solidarity. He will never have a better chance to show NZ that Government can behave in a very different way to the one we’ve had over the last 9 years.
He will have no excuses to not put everything on the field for September.