Friday, 12 August 2011

How to Unscramble Different Types of Politician

Manifesto Statement 2011: "Back to GST, there may be other ways to claw back monies to enable exemptions on food and fuel charges...  If the less well off members of our community are suffering, then ways must be found to exempt the essentials of life from GST charges, despite the arguments against such a proposal."
Question asked: The question I would like to ask is what precisely would you be committed to doing. In other words, would you be (a) committed to voting for exemptions on food and/or fuel, or (b) only doing so if enough revenue could be raised by alternative means. 
The position on Goods and Services Tax is a good way to unscramble two different kinds of politician.
One says that GST with exemptions on food or domestic fuel is immoral, and that's and end of the matter, They will always vote for exemptions. You can trust them to do what they say.
Of course, those who don't think that do not want you to cast your vote elsewhere, so they'll say other things like:
If we can improve on our savings record, then we should be able to remove GST from food and fuel - which is more or less what Alan Maclean has said in the past. Given this, it is possible for the manifesto to be really subtle - look below and you will see "should be exempt", and "we must" but no where in the same manifesto does it say "I will vote for exemptions if the matter comes up."
It's a statement of wishes, not a statement of intent. It is obvious if I said something like "There should be less poverty in the world", or "There must be more effort to help people in Africa" - it would be spotted straight away -  but it's obscured when it is something like GST.  It lets the voter read more into the manifest than is said.
GST - We must ensure the less well off are protected. They are the most affected from this new tax and we must ensure that the proposed low-income support scheme provides the desired protection. Medicines and medical services should be exempt as well as children's clothing. We must ensure that the 3% rate is maintained as a maximum.
And there's the Sean Power line - I'm against exemptions, but the system is new, and we have to leave alone and not tinker with it for the moment, so that we can see how it works before making changes. And by the way, we do also want a simple tax system as well. Death by a thousand qualifications! No commitment to vote for exemptions, but stealing the appearance of someone who does. Remember the phrase "wolf in sheep's clothing"?
So beware the politician who comes out with vague phrases - "there may be other ways" rather than definite statements of where they will vote.  Pin them down, make them be precise. Be wary of politicians who talk in clichés but don't really say anything of substance - here's an example from Alan Maclean:
The Economy: We need a strong and diverse economy in order to maintain and improve our standard of living. In recent times we have come to rely too much upon the finance industry.
Is it any wonder that Senator Maclean, in office, comes out with phrases in response to question time like "seek clarification as to what they relate to in the context of the ongoing discussions " ?
So watch out for fakes that make the would be politician look flexible, while not actually doing anything of the sort.
Now there is an easy way to remember the two types of politician, and once I've told you, you won't forget!
Do you remember how you could go to the supermarket and ensure you didn't get eggs from battery hens by making sure that the packet said "free range" on the outside. One the supermarkets caught on that the packaging was making the difference, they introduced a new kind of packaging for battery hens - "farm fresh". And it sounds so good! Fresh from the farm - what could be better. But strip away the label, and it is the same eggs from battery farms all over again. It sounds good, but it doesn't really deliver what you want; it is a advertising trick to make the unwary shopper buy it.
So when you look at people standing for election in October - just remember the difference between "Farm Fresh" and "Free Range" on eggs, one is a cheat, one is the real thing.
That's exactly how to unscramble two different kinds of politicians.
Who do you think are today's "farm fresh" politicians? And who is genuine "free range"? Why not leave a comment!


Tom Gruchy said...

We would all have a better understanding if sufficient so called "progressive" candidates agreed a common agenda on a selection of important aims.
They can disagree on other policies - but if sufficient will sign up to a commitment now there will be less wriggle room later.
The elctorate will benefit - the candidates will benefit - government quality will benefit - who will lose out is the mystery. So why will the candidates not even discuss this?

None of the above seems ever more as the best option on 19 October.

Anonymous said...

Some of those manifesto statements sound like an answer to a question asked in the States, they do not actually answer the question that the electorate want to know.

Its up to the media although their record is not too good, so its down to the blogs.

Pose the questions that everybody should ask:-

What do you intend doing about it?

How would you get this changed?

How would you vote on X?

Why have you said things in the past but then voted in the opposite manner?