The latest Coen Brothers offering, Hail Caesar!, is a screwball homage to fifties cinema, a careering narrative where in the end almost nothing has changed significantly. Integral to the story are a group of communist screenwriters who first befuddle and then convert George Clooney’s wonderfully gormless matinee star, Baird Whitlock.
To anyone who has attended a left study group or party meeting, it would have all seemed hilarious and yet utterly haunting. The faith in the all powerful dialectic, the academic sterility of the arguments and the unshakeable belief in the theories which explain the past, the present and also predict the future.
The sheer inscrutability of it all to someone not fully immersed and saturated, leaves newcomers with two choices; either fully commit or get the hell out. It’s a gorgeous microcosm of politics as a whole in fact, or at least it seems that way sometimes. Politics is a hierarchy of the serious where your position within the hierarchy is often determined by how seriously other people in politics take what you say.
Politics is attritional. The vast majority of the public seldom care about the daily grind, the seemingly never-ending warfare of examining every interview, commenting on every issue and become increasingly angry, frustrated and isolated when nobody listens to you. This oft-mentioned beltway, or bubble, extends far beyond the Beehive and encompasses the whole grinding industry of political commentary. And most people, most people, don’t have the time to commit.
But we’re all committed, in a helpless fashion, to the future. The future provides us with the particular pleasure of prediction, the chance to exercise the art of telling a story that hasn’t happened and may never. Possibility lies in the future, hope too. And dread, mind you.
Prediction is a game we can all play, it’s a game we all play. There are no losers, unless you consider guessing wrong a dreadful affront to your intellect. So here’s some questions about the future to consider, I’d be fascinated to have your opinion on them;
What does a post-Key National look like and who is in charge?
Will Peter Dunne become the Hone Harawira of the 2017 election? What does that mean for coalition maths.
Will the Maori Party be able to continue its role as everyone’s coalition partner if they lose any more seats?
Can David Seymour revive the party in an electoral sense, and is he relying on peeling off soft National voters to do so?
Are they ready to win yet, or, can they establish the look of a Government in waiting by 2017? If not, is it Jacinda time?
With Green issues increasingly going mainstream, how can that be translated into electoral success? If it can, where do those votes come from?
New Zealand First
Can NZF continue to punch above its weight without the redoubtable Mr Peters in charge?
Can they come back?