Thursday, 10 May 2012
The Rise of Colin Craig...maybe
There has been a lot of talk recently about the possibility of the Conservative Party in partnership with National if John Banks is finally tarred, feathered and tossed out of Epsom. Of course, Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig would have to run in the Epsom by-election – his Party garnering less than two percent of the vote (ed note: Conservatives got a little over 2%) in the 2011 election – and defeat Paul Goldsmith, but National could still endorse the Conservative Party candidate.
The question is, would the people of Epsom listen? And would National find an ally in a social conservative?
While the New Zealand Parliament begins each sitting with a prayer, the religious nature of our politicians is rarely – if ever – a consideration. Helen Clark was openly agnostic and, while he attends church, so too is John Key – who believes that religion is “doing the right thing”, as opposed to submission to a heavenly being. Contrast this with the US where, not only would it be near impossible for an agnostic or atheist to be elected to higher office but, atheists are the least trusted segment of the population.
Coming from New Zealand – where the 2006 Census showed that nearly a third of the population self-identify as ’non-religious‘ – I find rather bizarre that atheists are so reviled.
So where does this leave poor old Colin Craig and his Conservative Party? Although there is no doubt that Colin Craig is a Christian he doesn’t, in fact, attend church and his Party policy page doesn’t provide much insight into his proposed method of governance – aside from being tough on crime while oddly libertarian in some aspects but a freaking hard line conservative in others.
Will the New Zealand populace accept a religious social conservative comparable to Rick Santorum on sexual issues, Newt Gingrich when it comes to personal wealth and Rick Perry on his bizarre bloodlust when it comes to crime?
History doesn't seem to be on Craig’s side and the closest New Zealand has been previously to any type of socially conservative and/or religiously motivated political power was the Christian Heritage Party….and we all remember what happened then…