The youth division of any political party is important to any movement. They are the young guns, the lifeblood, and the next generation of the party. Amongst them all lies talent and potential. Sadly, in some cases, this is all hidden behind a wall of stupidity and horrid behaviour. This is the case for members of all political youth divisions, but speaking from experience, some of the worst I have seen is from the National Party’s youth division. I personally compare them to a carton of eggs loose in a car boot. A few are fine, but most have cracked.
The first example I have is from their Facebook page. The Young Nats boast several titles, including the biggest political youth movement in the country as well as the most popular youth party page in the country, though this may be for other reasons. Whilst some posts do discuss policy, most are born out of sheer stupidity. A lot of posts I have seen are screenshots from Twitter or Facebook attacking Labour MPs or figures simply for misspelling a word or a hashtag. Another cited a preferred PM poll which had John Key at 44% and David Cunliffe at 10%. You can see why it is so stupid just by reading the post. Preferred PM polls don’t matter very much when thinking about elections. Yes, having a strong leader is good, but what matters most is the performance of the party. Everyone, even those not actively involved with politics realise that. This post ended up the subject of ridicule from left wing commentators, much to their chagrin. There was also one case identified by [Insiders contributor] Bennett, when one Young Nat had his rear handed to him by Lorde after trying to claim her as one of their own, but I won’t go into detail about that.
Another incident I record is courtesy of an Epsom based member of the Young Nats. Early last year, the Green Party sent leaflets to Epsom residents, campaigning for the party vote. This Young Nat received one and uploaded a picture criticizing them including a hashtag, #ThisIsEpsom. This has now got me into the habit of humming the hashtag to the tune of This Is Halloween, which I think is somewhat suiting for the electorate under Seymour. He later posted a comment saying “Oops.” Underneath was a picture of the leaflet being burnt.
This Young Nat has every right to disagree with the Greens, but to publicly condone burning Opposition leaflets is not only rude, but impacts badly on the reputation of the person who did it as well as on the party.
The list of behaviour goes on, but I don’t wish to list it all for a few reasons, one being I wish to refrain from the dirty, malicious attack tactics used by right wing commentators and bloggers in debates and their own blog posts. But suffice to say, this needs to stop. These people are the next generation of the National Party, future members of the caucus and this sort of behaviour is doing no favours. The people don’t want to elect people who pick on politicians for simple spelling errors or who condone burning their opponents’ leaflets. They want to elect people who will focus on the issues that matter most to them and will act and represent their views and constituents with dignity, honour and respect. They are more than capable of doing that, they just need to actually show it. That is what will get them respect from the public. They can steer away from the bad reputation they are making for themselves, but they must make the effort to do so.