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The end of conventional wisdom?

Written By: - Date published: 10:03 pm, February 6th, 2016 - 69 comments

feelthebern

After Bernie Sanders’ dead-heat with Hillary Clinton in Iowa, the race to the Democrat nomination at the upcoming convention just got much more interesting. A Quinnipiac poll now has him trail her nationally by two points. Just as with Corbyn in Britain, the pundits are tying themselves in knots trying to make sense of it.

Left Internationalism

Written By: - Date published: 8:55 pm, December 5th, 2015 - 39 comments

norman_kirk_bids_farewell_to_hmnzs_otago_as_it_set_534788c81b

Hilary Benn and Maria Eagle have invoked “Labour’s proud internationalism” to support their votes for bombing ISIL in Syria to keep Britain safe! As Michael Chessum points out in the LRB, this view of Labour’s internationalism is statist rather than socialist. We can be proud that Kirk, Lange and Clark have all shown a different  version of left internationalism that is much more genuinely “labour’s answer to capital’s global power.”

The Centre of Attention

Written By: - Date published: 9:43 pm, August 22nd, 2015 - 91 comments

4896

In a post on Public Address titled “In defence of the centre” Rob Salmond uses a Guardian article by George Monbiot to pose the question “whether the old political orthodoxy of ‘move to the middle’ is, long term, a death-knell for left-leaning parties.” It’s good that Salmond’s raised the question; it’s certainly a matter for debate.

Corbyn and the Overton Window

Written By: - Date published: 4:09 am, August 13th, 2015 - 100 comments

corbyn

A recent YouGov poll in the Times predicts Jeremy Corbyn will win the UK Labour leadership on first preferences alone.  If he does win, Corbyn will shift the “Overton Window” of acceptable ideas leftward in the face of formidable opposition.

Gender, Power and Culture

Written By: - Date published: 9:07 pm, June 24th, 2015 - 10 comments

fabian logo

Catriona MacLennan and Prue Hyman will discuss this topic at Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace, Wellington, Thursday June 25th at 5:30pm. All welcome. Read more…

Effective political communication

Written By: - Date published: 9:13 pm, May 26th, 2015 - 61 comments

politik

Richard Harman concluded his presentation to the recent Fabian “Destination Next Progressive Majority” event by quoting the noted political scientist Bob Chapman’s remark that he had “reluctantly come to the conclusion that it was far more important for a political party to have a communication strategy than an economic policy.” I’m inclined to agree.

Political Strategy for a Progressive Majority

Written By: - Date published: 8:53 pm, May 25th, 2015 - 66 comments

cullen

Sir Michael Cullen discussed political strategy at the “Destination- Next Progressive Majority” seminars held recently by the Fabian Society in Auckland and Wellington. He started by sharing what he used to say to his students when they were facing a test – “never forget to state the obvious.” For a progressive majority that means “get more votes than the others” – he had some good ideas how.

ILO – 75% of world jobs insecure

Written By: - Date published: 12:44 pm, May 20th, 2015 - 8 comments

insecurework

Only a quarter of the world’s workers have permanent jobs. A worldwide trend away from secure jobs risked “perpetuating a vicious circle of weak global demand and slow job creation” that has dogged many countries since the 2008 crisis, the ILO reports. Decoupling of wages from productivity has led to a loss of aggregate demand the report estimates at $3.7trillion.

Destination: Next Progressive Majority

Written By: - Date published: 8:34 pm, May 4th, 2015 - 3 comments

fabian logo

The Fabian Society invites all those interested to join a discussion with Sir Michael Cullen, Peter Harris, Sarah Helm, Tracey Martin MP, Richard Harman and Lyndy McIntyre at  St  Andrew’s on the Terrace, Wellington, on Sunday 10th May at 1pm. Ideas on strategy, economy, party relations, communication and organising will all be canvassed. Read more and register here.

Miliband ko’s Johnson

Written By: - Date published: 10:50 pm, April 27th, 2015 - 18 comments

boris-ed

Miliband ko’s Boris on Andrew Marr show. Marr opined this might be a foretaste of things to come when Ed is PM and Boris has knifed David Cameron, which Rupert Murdoch thinks likely.  Johnson flails and Miliband counter-punches – “don’t get rattled, Boris;” same primary school “but not same secondary school;” on back-stabbing accusations “you can do better than Lynton Crosby.”

Hip throw to the lions

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, April 24th, 2015 - 38 comments

grantbrown

For once I agree with Mike Hosking – the Hip cafe owners are also losers in the fallout from John Key’s ponytail-pull fetish. But not for the same reasons as Mike. It seems Grant and Brown threw their employee to the lions for quite selfish motives. They appear to have betrayed their responsibility of trust and confidence to their employee.

Dirty Politics on Nine to Noon

Written By: - Date published: 11:18 am, April 21st, 2015 - 154 comments

DP!

Matthew Hooton’s attack on Nicky Hager’s journalistic credentials on Nine to Noon yesterday was straight out of the “Dirty Politics” playbook. Kathryn Ryan wasn’t impressed and neither was I. Coincidentally Hager spoke last week about his investigative journalism – you can judge for yourself who spoke the truth.

Destination – Next Progressive Majority

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, April 14th, 2015 - 7 comments

seed_packet_RR

At a Fabian Society event on Saturday April 18 in Owen Glenn Building, Auckland University speakers Michael Cullen, Peter Harris, Sarah Helm, Anne Martin, Richard Harman, & Annie Newman will offer their thoughts on what will be needed for political strategy, economic policy, government formation under MMP, political communication and organisation if we are to reach the destination.

Plenty of room for discussion and chat afterwards. All interested welcome; please register here.

Bait and switch

Written By: - Date published: 10:58 pm, March 30th, 2015 - 64 comments

091014NZHMMLITTLE6.JPG JPEG 0540398350

Congratulations to Labour for a very clever strategy in the Northland by-election – lulling and gulling John Key into thinking they were going to run a conventional proxy-partyvote campaign, where National would have the upper hand.  Key, the rockstar politician, also thought Andrew Little would be on the training wheels.  He got that badly wrong; Little’s handling was superb.

Labour Listens in Newtown

Written By: - Date published: 7:36 pm, March 8th, 2015 - 15 comments

newtlab1

Thousands came to Newtown today for the Annual Fair on a beautiful sunny Wellington day. The Labour party stall was right in the middle and instead handing out lots of leaflets had a big sign saying “Tell us what you think” – and they did – have a look.

Kelsey et al on TPPA Wn 4 & Akl 5 March

Written By: - Date published: 9:33 pm, March 2nd, 2015 - 6 comments

fabian logo

It’s High Noon for the TPPA – Jane Kelsey with others will speak in Wellington at Connolly Hall 5:30pm Wednesday 4 March and in Auckland at Owen Glenn Building 6:30pm (correction 5:30pm) Thursday 5 March. All welcome – more info and register Wn here and Akl here.

Key’s Plazatoro guts

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 pm, February 24th, 2015 - 81 comments

plazatoro

John Key’s frothing exhortation to Andrew Little in Parliament to “get some guts” reminds one of opera’s famous Duke of Plazatoro “who led his regiment from behind, he found it less exciting.” Key’s not going to Iraq – our soldiers are the ones in danger.

The Precariat Charter – Guy Standing – Wellington 19th Feb

Written By: - Date published: 9:35 pm, February 18th, 2015 - 5 comments

fabian logo

Professor Guy Standing will discuss the ideas in his new book ‘A Precariat Charter; from Denizens to Citizens” in Wellington on Thursday 19 February at St John’s Church Hall, Willis Street at 5:30pm. “Throughout history, class-based revolt has led to the creation of charters of demands, from the Magna Carta to South Africa’s Freedom Charter. It is now time for a Precariat Charter.” All welcome

Sky City’s playing us for suckers

Written By: - Date published: 8:14 pm, February 10th, 2015 - 86 comments

Casino-Key-Joyce1200

Sky City crying too poor to build a bigger casino – give us a break, please!  Casino expert Sudhir Kale estimated the extra pokies gained by Sky  to be worth $35million over figures used by government. That’s for year upon year to 2048. It could cover any casino upgrade in four years. Either Joyce and Key are being played for suckers, or they are playing the rest of us for suckers. The deal stinks.

The Enduring Legacy of Neo-Liberalism – Sir Edmund Thomas

Written By: - Date published: 4:25 pm, February 10th, 2015 - 6 comments

fabian logo

Sir Edmund Thomas will discuss this topic in Wellington at Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace,  tomorrow Wednesday 11th at 5:30pm. All welcome – see synopsis – if you would like to come please register here.

Captain’s Call

Written By: - Date published: 7:32 pm, February 9th, 2015 - 53 comments

keyabwc

Leaving Mike Sabin in charge of the Law and Order Select Committee was certainly a captain’s call by John Key. Just like Tony Abbott’s award of  a knighthood to the Duke (as if he needed more fruit salad), this was a judgment call. And it does call Key’s judgment into question. It’s not about when he knew what he knew, it’s about what he did when he knew.

The War Club Family

Written By: - Date published: 7:35 pm, February 8th, 2015 - 73 comments

EnglihEmpire

There’s a fascinating article in the latest New Statesman titled “An Empire that speaks English: the right’s dream of a new world order.” Suddenly UK Foreign Minister Philip Hammond’s recent visit here makes sense. So does John Key’s references to sending troops to Iraq on behalf of the “club” or the “family” – he’s at the heart of the Empire.

Local Leadership

Written By: - Date published: 10:26 pm, February 4th, 2015 - 3 comments

llgcJan

The Labour Local Government Council ran a hui last Friday in Wellington. I went along and it was one of the better Labour events I have been to in a long time – community-based organisers sharing and discussing what works. Crosby/Textor is onto it too.

Queensland and Northland

Written By: - Date published: 5:30 pm, February 1st, 2015 - 49 comments

palaszczuk

The conventional wisdom re the Queensland election late last year was  ”that converting (Labor’s) current tally of nine seats into the 45 needed for a majority will be a bridge or more too far.”  Anastascia Palaszczuk was obviously not conventional but was wise enough to dare to win on community issues. A community-issue based campaign in Northland could also spring a surprise here.

Odgers in s**t

Written By: - Date published: 3:45 pm, January 22nd, 2015 - 30 comments

Odgers

That’s as in spat. Characteristic. Richard Smith of Naked Capitalism questioned her Samoan fiduciary company fronting for a company delisted from GXG Markets, a small European exchange. It’s an interesting story, and Smith promises more to come from GXG about New Zealand if not Odgers.

But which club?

Written By: - Date published: 3:41 pm, January 21st, 2015 - 7 comments

2011logo

I think when justifying sending troops to Iraq the club John Key is really talking about is the group of right-wing political parties known as the International Democratic Union. Today Key chairs its Executive in Sarajevo, his first meeting as President. This move by Key to the IDU is calculated; he sees himself as leader of the world right-wing club and this is the first step to his international political career post New Zealand politics.

Top 1% own 50% of world wealth: Oxfam

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 pm, January 19th, 2015 - 241 comments

cliff

Winnie Biyanyima of Oxfam is one of six co-chairs at the Davos World Economic Forum. She says her role  is to challenge the powerful elites, and she goes armed with a new report that shows that on current trends by next year the world’s richest !% will hold more wealth than the other 99%. She’s got some good ideas on what to do about it too.

The “pop-star” economy could go pop

Written By: - Date published: 4:36 pm, January 17th, 2015 - 38 comments

popped ballon

This the time of year when papers are thin and economic prognostications abound as the pop-star economists from banks and brokers look to raise their public profile. In 2013 the same Cameron Bagrie gave us the “rock-star” economy, this year apparently in Wellington we can all be  part of the “movie-star” economy. Such puffery is […]

Organising to win

Written By: - Date published: 7:31 pm, December 9th, 2014 - 13 comments

andrewsvic

Labor’s win in the recent Victorian state election was historic – the first time a one-term government had been turned out for more than 60 years. It was also a fantastic example of how organisation can win elections. Labor leader Daniel Andrews’  focus was on having  5500 active volunteers behind him.

Fred Dagg – User’s Guide to NZ

Written By: - Date published: 10:07 pm, December 4th, 2014 - 35 comments

FredDagg

I miss Fred Dagg – John Clarke’s latest is a purler. “New Zealand … is an egalitarian nation made up of well over four million rugged individualists and naturally gifted sportspeople and is run on alternate days by the government and whoever bought the national infrastructure.” Read, laugh and weep – he might be gone but we’re not forgotten, and thank God for that.

Blowing smoke

Written By: - Date published: 3:31 pm, December 2nd, 2014 - 31 comments

farrardirt

Is David Farrar being paid to attack plain packaging? His latest post quotes research described by the Melbourne Age  as “pushed by the smoking lobby.” He also  misrepresents New Zealand researchers’ views. The Age says “a co-ordinated assault just ahead of the review of plain packaging laws is emerging.” Looks to me like Farrar has  joined it.

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