There is a pervasive myth on the left that while we may want to see significant, systemic change to society, we have to constantly tone down the demands we make and the reforms we argue for, because doing so will win support from business and the media and neutralise the arguments that National and their outriders try to make. This argument has been disproven time and time again, and this article demonstrates precisely why. Simon Bridges is saying that Ardern and her Government "must pause radical reforms or risk economic consequences of falling business confidence".
Now, which of the policies that the Government is proposing are "radical reforms"? Apparently, the main "radical reform" is the ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling--a supposed environmental win which in reality is tiny and fairly meaningless, given the likely expansion of onshore drilling, and given the difficulty at this stage of finding anywhere else to drill in our oceans since all of the low hanging fruits for offshore drilling have already been handed out in decades-long permits, which Labour have committed to honouring. The other concern Bridges mentioned is the minor changes the Government is proposing to industrial relations.
We saw this exact same thing during the election. National didn't care for a second that Labour and the Greens had committed to neoliberal, small government economics with the Budget Responsibility Rules. They accused Labour of having an $11 billion hole in their manifesto, the media endlessly repeated it as if it were true, and the kind of people who fall for that kind of rhetoric were convinced. The kind of people who aren't inclined to believe National didn't. Labour didn't fight back, they conceded ground, and did a u-turn on their tax policy.
It is so important for those of us who do want real change to understand that moderating all of the reforms we propose, that giving up on hope of significant progress in favour of tinkering around the edges to blunt the worst aspects of the system we live under, never actually works. A supposedly progressive Government can put forward the most pathetic, milquetoast platform, and still get attacked by business, the media, and of course the National Party, with the exact same lines they would use if we were actually fighting for a transformational agenda: business confidence is down, the economy is going to collapse, stop these "radical reforms", the left are crazy radicals, etc.
Both the National Party and the corporate-owned media exist to perpetuate the interests of the business and property owning class. They will fight tooth and nail against the tiniest concession to the working class or the environment if it at all harms the capital accumulation of the wealthy. They will NEVER compromise with us.
So we need to stop compromising with them. Call their bluff. See how ordinary people feel about a programme which fights for the interests of the many, not the few. And stop paying attention to the lies, smears and attacks of those who will never, ever stop howling that we are ruining everything every time we take any action, no matter how small, against the vested interests of the establishment.