The Move Away from the Centre – Voters Move to the Margins

New Zealand politicalcommentators have recently discussed why voters are shifting from the centre of the political spectrum to the margins. These commentators have implied that this is unique to New Zealand, however, it is not.  According to recent polls, 60% to 65% of voters identify as centre block voters, whilst  35% to 40% of voters have moved to the margins. Do these voters know what the “far” right and “far” left stand for?

The ACT party on the right of National, are a libertarian party with economic views that believe in stripping away much of government spending and reducing the size of government. I would not consider this view “far right”, simply a justifiable right-wing position. ACT is currently polling about 14%.  ACT’s social contract is vastly different to the Greens, who are currently polling about 9%. The Greens proport to be an environmental party, but much of the environmental base of this party has been stripped away recently as a more radical left-wing faction has stepped in to remove the environmentalists from its core. In a sense, the Greens are now the anthesis of the ACT party, a left-wing party hell bent on bringing down the current social order and replacing it with a heavily indebted socialist structure, closely aligned to the principles of Critical Theory.

Thus, do many voters understand  what these two parties stand for, and if they did, would they vote for them? The main reason voters are moving to these two very different parties is discontent with the two main “centrist” parties. New Zealanders feel alienated and let down by policies they do not understand. Labour has failed to deliver on all metrics and has left (leaving) the country worse off than when they came to power six years ago. Conversely,  National has also failed to fulfil past promises that they made while in power and in some ways created the environment for Labour to come to power. Many of those on the right now feel uncomfortable with National for two reasons. Firstly, can they be trusted to do what say they will do?  Secondly, do voters know what National stands for now?  

As a result, voters are moving further to the margins,  including ACT and the Greens (and to a lesser extent, NZ First, TOP and Te Pati Māori) because of dissatisfaction with the centre block.

An interesting case in point is South Africa. In recent local elections, the ANC party received less than 50% of the vote for the first time. In the earlier general elections, there was an increase in support for the communist party and the Afrikaner parties. Overall, the vote for both the ANC and the moderate Social Democrat party (the ANC’s main opposition) fell. South Africans rightly felt this was a worrying trend. Yet recently, opposition parties have been discussing the possibility of forming an alliance to remove the ANC party from power as its popularity continues to fall due to allegations of corruption and incompetence.  

The same can be seen in countries like Italy, Hungary, and Poland, and recently Spain, where voters have become disillusioned with the liberal centre governments of both the right and left. Italy is governed by a more right-wing government and both Hungary and Poland have moved to the right because they have perceived their previous liberal governments have failed to preserve matters of national security, immigration problems and issues of national identity. For example, as Ed West wrote, Jews are now safer in Hungary than they are in the United Kingdom*1

In essence, people are becoming disenchanted with the established order because of their failure to protect them, listen to them, or because they seem to have totally different views to them. They are disenchanted with the established order; the rule of law; the old order; frustration with nothing being done; feelings of being ignored or not heard; the new elite – managerial class of university graduates not listening or ignoring what the people are wanting; and the rejection of CRT. Yet the media see much of this thinking to be “populist”, or “far right” views.

As Karl du Fresne, writes, “The international media routinely pin the same label on any government whose “populist” policies offend the neo-Marxist Left, the word “populist” now being treated as synonymous with “far Right.” This poses a credibility problem for the media as more and more European voters turn to parties that reject left-wing policies on hot-button issues such as climate change and immigration. Are we to believe that much of Europe has mysteriously succumbed to an extremist right-wing bacillus, or are those voters simply making an informed and rational choice?”*2

In Matt Goodwin’s article, “The Revolution is Failing,” he summarises Britain’s problems as;

“I’m talking about mass, uncontrolled immigration. I’m talking about the fact we can no longer control our own borders. I’m talking about a stifling political correctness which has left so many of us unable to say what we really think.

“I’m talking about a political economy which is completely broken —which is still organised around London, consumption, importing cheap workers, and prioritising the interests of big business over the interests of the wider national community.

“I’m talking about how we no longer really own anything anymore, how we no longer really make anything anymore, and how we no longer put British workers first.

“I’m talking about what we’re teaching our children in schools about race, sex, and gender, how we’re exposing them to radical ideas which often have no serious basis in science. And how these ideas are now fully entrenched in our elite institutions.

“I’m talking about how nobody in power seems to take crime seriously anymore, how our police did not even attend 45,000 burglaries last year, and how most people say they no longer have confidence in the police to keep them safe.

“I’m talking about how Britain now has some of the highest rates of family breakdown in the Western world —where nearly half of all children are no longer living with their mum and dad by the time they turn eighteen-years-old.

And I’m talking about how nobody in power seems to care about these issues while those who do are routinely derided as reactionary and old-fashioned when, in reality, they are speaking for a majority of the country.”*3

Finally, we have seen this happening in Australia with the rise of the independents and the Green Party. The move away from the centre, liberal left/right block, is due to public disillusionment with the established order. In a way, people are looking at how they can regain control, whether it is to the margins of the left or right. For now, it seems more people are moving to the margins of the right (but not the “far” right as the media would have us believe), to regain control in their lives, for a sense of preserving commonsense values and for the protection of their values and children. In contrast, the liberal centre and leftist movements now threaten people’s very existence as to what they know and believe. The October election in New Zealand will determine how far voters in this country have moved to the margins.

*1 – Ed West, Where are Jews safest in Europe?, 21 July, 2023

*2 –  Karl du Fresne – My response to Professor Mohan Dutta, July 29, 2023

*3 – Matt Goodwin, The Revolution is Failing, 5 July 2023

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