Archives for November 2023 | Josie Pagani



Conservatives can't decide who they are

Another punk-right populist has won in Argentina. Javier Milei, whose 1970s hair makes him look like the offspring of Liberace and a Bond villain with the mad eyes of a coked-up Angry Bird, won on a promise to cut spending and taxes, ban abortion, close the central bank, and only make friends with countries that want to “fight against socialism”.

Conservatives around the world are confused whether they are libertarians, authoritarian populists, or prudent managers of the status quo.

National campaigned on the slogan “Get our country back on track”. Like “Make America Great Again”, the statement seeks to own both the past and the future. ACT has liberal ideas for conservative government – cutting taxes and spending. NZ First is culturally conservative, more supportive of big state intervention in the economy. The profound changes they seek in the way services and government work do not sit easily in a cautious and managerial cabinet.

Christopher Luxon has yet to articulate a coherent theory for why they are in government. If he wants an authentic statement of moderate conservative values, he could channel Rory Stewart, now a podcaster and previously a Tory superstar.

"My vision of conservatism is about limited government, individual rights, prudence at home, strength abroad, respect for tradition, love of my country," he says.

Read the column here.

The Hoon, 23 November 2023

Josie joined Robert Patman, Bernard Hickey and Peter Bale to to discuss coalition n negotiations, Javier Milei's win in Argentina, Gaza and the US's support for Israel.

Listen here.

The Hoon 17 November 2023

Josie Discussed Gaza, Ukraine, China and the US, and the Pacific Islands Forum with Professor Robert Patman, Bernard Hickey and Peter Bale on The Hoon.

Listen and watch here.

Our Pacific neighbours are allies, not beneficiaries

Josie was at the Pacific Island Forum last week, where she says Pacific leaders bristle at being seen as bit players in their region.

The Pacific has become expert in navigating political changes in donor countries. Right-wing governments prioritise building stuff, from runways to solar farms. Left governments prioritise climate change. Often, lip service is paid to Pacific priorities. Pacific countries have commonalities, but they are as different as European countries. They speak different languages, look different, and their cultures are as diverse as any region. As a collective identity, though, they are getting stronger and they know their worth. Everyone wants a piece of the Pacific today. They want to call the shots.

Her column is here.

Successes and risks of the minor parties

The minor parties all have something to celebrate in the election result. In her Post column Josie argues the success of the smaller parties is partly explained by irritable voters choosing Neither Of The Above out of disillusionment with the old parties.

The minor parties stepped in where the old parties left a vacuum. They promised to dismantle bloat in the public sector, or introduce eye-watering wealth taxes, make dental care free, de-regulate, de-centralise and de-carbonise. They took risks, ran towards the frontline, not away from it, and were rewarded. Now, with greater power comes greater responsibility, or at least increased accountability and scrutiny.

Labour should be a party for working people

Josie joined Mike Hosking to discuss what happens next for the Labour Party in opposition.

The Hoon

Josie joined Peter Bale and Robert Patman on The Hoon to discuss the Gaza war, and the potential composition of the government now that the final election result has been declared.

Watch here.

The angrier we get, the more we need free speech

In her Post column this week, Josie looked at how we debate the war in Gaza.

"The right to speak your mind is not about disagreeing politely. It is about what happens when you are really angry and offended by someone else’s views. The point of democracy is to tolerate people you disagree with on fundamental issues. The alternative is to fight it out.

"The reason many will hesitate to share a view about Israel and Gaza, let alone write about it, is that the cultural norm of tolerating speech and others’ views has weakened.

"We need to restrain more than threats of violence if we are to navigate our way through the things that make us most angry. We need also to exercise restraint in de-legitimising people with other views, people who give offence, even people who are outright wrong."

Read her column here.

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