Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dude’s not crazy

The New Zealand media has spent a lot of time on Colin Craig and his Conservative Party. Many are openly asking if he’s “crazy”. He’s not—he’s something far worse.

Colin’s “party” is being touted as a potential coalition partner for Prime Minister John Key’s National Party; in fact, it’s widely thought that Key wouldn’t be able to hold onto power unless Colin gets into Parliament because, based on some polls, they’d bring in three or four religious extreme rightwingers—that’s IF they win an electorate seat.

Colin’s a conservative Christian who puts his particular beliefs at the core of the ideology of his “party”. He claims it’s not a “Christian” party, but the evidence doesn’t back him up.

Like other rightwing Christian politicians, he doesn’t believe in climate change, saying that sunspots have more influence than humans do. He also believes that fluoride in drinking water is a poison. Clearly he has a real problem understanding science.

That’s not surprising, since Colin also doesn’t know the difference between real, published and credible international research and goofball, fake online surveys. Last year, Colin relied on a garbage online survey from a condom manufacturer to declare that NZ women are “the most promiscuous in the world”. And this guy thinks he’s smart enough to be an MP?! Not based on this evidence.

In an editorial today, the Herald on Sunday called Colin “troublingly dim” and said that “if Colin Craig is the answer to John Key's problem, then National is in trouble.”

They weren’t done: The Herald on Sunday also implied that Colin is lazy and unable to do the work of an MP because he wants to shove off decisions to referendums, rather than actually doing the job MPs are elected to do.

When the conservative New Zealand Herald attacks a rightwing politician, that politician is in trouble.

Over on Fairfax’s Stuff news site, they ask if the Colin Craig party is “crazy or credible”. Their article, however, provides startlingly clear insight into what Colin would do to New Zealand, given the chance. At the end, they have a section they call “Craig’s List” (cute, eh?) in which they look at ten party policies and what’s behind them.

At number nine, Stuff talks about “binding citizens-initiated referendums and a 100-day delay on initiating legislation to allow it to be overturned by the public”. This is the laziness that the Herald was talking about, but Stuff points out, “This appears to be a not-so-sneaky way to make gay marriage illegal again.” That’s exactly correct: Colin opposed marriage equality, and on the very day that the law took effect and the news media showed happy couples celebrating, Colin boomed that it was “a sad day for New Zealand”. If he had the chance, of COURSE he’d make it illegal again. He’d also outlaw all abortions and re-legalise parents smacking children.

But Colin is like most American religious extremists in another way: He wants all New Zealanders to be able to have guns, just like the USA, and he wants people to be able to shoot and kill an alleged burglar. He also wants a massive increase in military spending, though he’s never exactly said why. Actually, on these and all other issues, the shallowness of Colin’s understanding is really quite shocking.

The Stuff article talks in detail about the ways Colin and his Merry Band of Bigots could get into Parliament. If John Key really does a deal with Colin, it would certainly seal the doom of his government. Polls show that a majority of voters—including a clear majority of National Party voters—oppose any deal with Colin. What makes Key think that voters would allow him to get away with installing a bunch of religious extremists in positions of power?

Despite what some people say, Colin Craig is not crazy—“troublingly dim”, sure, but not crazy. Instead, he’s actually something far worse: he’s dangerous. If John Key really does a deal with Colin that would threaten our secular democracy as it’s never been threatened before, he’ll end up energising mainstream New Zealanders—Labour and National voters alike—to make sure that Key is retired from politics. And that wouldn’t be crazy, either.

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