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The political media and the blogs

Written By: - Date published: 10:34 pm, November 29th, 2012 - 110 comments
Categories: internet, interweb, making shit up, Media - Tags: ,

Chris Trotter, like myself, was at the Labour party conference a week and a half ago. Like myself and damn near every left wing blogger who was there, he saw a massive discordance between what was being reported and what was actually happening in the conference. And since then, well, the hysteria at having a carefully constructed fiction of media and the beltway PR being torn to pieces by ordinary citizens writing has been extraordinary.

Chris has written a post on it.

SOMEWHERE THERE’S GOT TO BE a focus-group report. Nothing else adequately explains the current behaviour of the “mainstream media” (MSM). Somewhere, somehow, someone has been incautious enough to ask a representative sample of readers, listeners and viewers how often they read, and what sort of credence they give to, the blogs. Their answers appear to have shocked some journalists into full-scale retaliation.

My guess is that the consumers of news and opinion are not abandoning the MSM altogether – not yet. Most probably it’s still just a case of people turning to the blogosphere for a second opinion. The big problems will only arise when the stories people read on the blogs begin to sharply contradict stories being printed in the newspapers and broadcast over radio and television. That’s when the MSM should really begin to worry.
But if the note of alarm that has crept into the MSM’s coverage of blogs – especially political blogs – over the past few weeks is anything to go by, some of that worrying has already begun. The final edition of The Nation, broadcast on TV3 last weekend, warned ominously of the potentially destabilising political influence of the left-leaning blog The Standard. Senior Parliamentary Press Gallery journalists have launched repeated attacks against “anonymous bloggers” with many eagerly accusing their blogs of playing a sinister role in David Cunliffe’s alleged “attempted leadership coup” at the Labour Party’s Annual Conference.

The tone of these attacks leaves little doubt that not only do these political journalists consider bloggers to be unwelcome and illegitimate contributors to the nation’s political discourse, but that nothing would make them happier than to see them tightly regulated and controlled. It’s an attitude that should send a shiver down every New Zealander’s spine. A genuine “Fourth Estate” would welcome the democratisation of the gathering and distributing of news which the Internet has made possible. That so many MSM journalists have greeted the competitive spur of the blogosphere with a mixture of self-serving patch-protection and outright authoritarianism is cause for considerable concern.

It also casts much of their recent reporting of political news in a new and worrying light. If the truth is indeed out there, then presumably it’s as readily accessible to bloggers as it is to members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery? If both are present at the same event, then their reports should be (with obvious allowance for nuance and emphasis) at least broadly similar? But what if they are not similar? What if the MSM’s coverage of Event X is radically at odds with both the experience of participants and the reportage of bloggers? Wouldn’t that raise some extremely disturbing questions about the credibility and trustworthiness of MSM journalism?

Indeed… And then he points out that this is exactly what many bloggers who were actually at the Labour party conference two weekends ago saw. And I am sorry that Brian Edwards was not one of those watching the modern news media in action. He’d have loved to have seen how different the actual conference was to the message that the media reported. It would have kept him on posts for weeks. Instead we got this

Now ordinarily I’d dismiss the type of hysteria that we have seen in the last week as being the usual ranting by the opponents of change. However at the same time as this is going on, we are also seeing some action on the Law Commission’s extremely poorly written set of recommendations about cyber-bullying of teens. Or that is how it is being sold. The reality is somewhat different.

Unlike David Farrar, I think that from this turgid mess we will get law that is ostensibly for a pious purpose, but could so easily be turned to stripping privacy whenever anyone has a unsubstantiated complaint. As it currently stands there is no protection against misuses of any information obtained through the proposed procedures apart from a government appointed psuedo-court who can be easily subjected to pressure from groups like our byline addicts in the media. After all this is the government of Paula Bennett with her serial abuses of privacy for political gain. Who could trust them?

That violates several important underpinnings of net culture. Not to mention the explicit privacy provisions of our policy.  So rather than co-operating with NetSafe or whoever to get rid of a few malefactors, I’m going to have to help people to learn how to making any open-ended law like that proposed  ineffectual before it gets put before the house. On the way through, it will probably destroy our ability to cooperate with getting rid of some malefactors even if we wanted to do so.

I’m a programmer. It looks pretty simple avoid such a unlimited law in the classic internet style. Time for outlining some code

110 comments on “The political media and the blogs”

  1. RedLogix 1

    I read Chris Trottter’s article a few hours ago and I’ve thinking about it ever since. I wonder exactly what the MSM response will be.

    Ignore it and increase the dissonance; ramp up the ‘cowardly blogger’ meme although that will hardly work in Trotter’s case … perhaps or at his next Press Conference someone has the guts to ask Shearer “What is your response to the suggestion that it was Grant Robertson and not David Cunliffe who was actually running the leadership bid last weekend?”

    And how will Gower react to being named as either colluding in the bid or being it’s useful dupe?

    Because from my reading of events Gower’s ‘hyperactive monkey on P’ behaviour strongly suggests the former.

    • Jim Nald 1.1

      Ahmm …

      “it was Grant Robertson … who was actually running the leadership bid last weekend”

      – I would like to agree with you and others on this and the related issues. However, the more likely set of circumstances is that there is no Grant Robertson faction (in contrast with a Shearer faction) or a Grant Robertson leadership bid (versus the current Shearer leadership) – there is just the one Shearer-Robertson faction and what should be an already agreed Shearer-Robertson deal and understanding about the transfer of leadership. Shearer is keeping the seat warm for Robertson who will, in time, reward him for doing so. Robertson has the support of the old tired guards such as Mallard and Dyson to help him mind Shearer.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        :shock:

      • lprent 1.1.2

        That isn’t how I’d read David Shearer at all.

        I suspect that there is quite a lot of untempered steel in there that needs quite a bit of a rark up to get serious. I think that this site is certainly helping make that happen as people express their various opinions and that translates out into the left world. But regardless of if he likes it or not (or reads the blogs), that is probably the most effective way to get him to exit the pupa. I’m just not that sure if he or the NZLP will survive the attempt well or not.

        His issue is that he is simply inexperienced, overly focused on the tactical rather than the strategic, and he hasn’t been accustomed to thinking widely amongst differing groups. At present he relies far too much on a small group of advisers who I’d guess are far too focused on parliament rather than the party and voters they are meant to represent.

      • prism 1.1.3

        Jim Nald
        Isn’t that what Tony Blair and Gordon Brown did? Made an agreement that the PMs job would devolve to Gordon after Tony having a pop at it. Talk about succession organisation!

  2. just saying 2

    I love this.

    I had a long, painful, demoralising experience over many years of being one of just a couple of surviving complainants standing up to a power elite. Ultimately, we won most battles, but with that kind of experience, to win is still to lose.

    This new i-democratic power is a whole new collective experience. The same shitty machiavelian tactics are used, witness what happened at the conference. But the difference is like night and day. We can’t be picked off and attacked, smeared, and beaten down as individuals. The truth wont lie down and die before the oh-so-reasonable tones of those spinning on behalf of vested interests. Because there are too many of us, diverse, from all over the place we can’t be pinned down and we can just keep coming.

    • lprent 2.1

      Yep, connected by the web and expressing ideas without retribution, apart from the relatively benign attentions of the local moderators and fellow commentators.

      But looking at this upcoming bill, I can see too many ways that it can easily be abused – so this site will have a few mostly back-end changes to ensure than it cannot be used some possible ways on us. I suppose that I should really pay more attention to these types of bills. However I have to say that it is more fun simply making them unworkable with tech.

      I’ve been dying to stealth this site. Just never had a good reason to make the effort.

      • ad 2.1.1

        It is particularly telling that you are having to be as defensive as David Cunliffe was to the TV3 reporter in the fated interview.

        The writers on this site use anonymity with such glee in the same way that the Labour Party members felt freedom when they were given the right to choose who led them. They were simply “taking the Party back”.

        It’s not an impulse of vengefulness – it’s the will and urge to regain a kind of power previously denied to them for many, many years that has built up and built up.

        So it’s quite likely that, because TV reporters sense shifts of power just like politicians can – that members of this site would be hunted down and exposed just like Cunliffe was. Check how Red Alert harvests addresses and compares handles to The Standard users.

        Strong blogsites directly challenge the media power hegemony that has existed for too long. Just as it has in the Labour Party.

        If you think I’m wrong, just listen to Lord Leveson this morning. He said this morning along the lines of “If any other industry had caused this much damage to people’s lives, the media would have gone after them hard.” We are causing damage to the MSM.

        Hold tight.

        LPrent you are nothing short of heroic in your dedication to this site, but don’t underplay the power you are dealing with and are in play with. The popularity of these sites are a direct challenge to TV and newspapers. They have major corporate backers and owners, and will have no hesitation using their influence to change legislation if it suits them. Their share price depends on retaining their market territory against these sites for as long as possible.

        In the words of Agent Smith from The Matrix, “That is the sound of ……………inevitability.” Agent Smith was however shortly after hit by a train.

        Go hard Neo.

        Prepare for the couterattack.

        • lprent 2.1.1.1

          I have, ever since the site started. This was inevitable assuming that the site was a success.

          That is why we have pseudonyms built in as and I have had contingency plans about what to do for 5 years.

          It was always pretty obvious that this style of thing would eventually be attempted. The underlying strategies for dealing with it are just about as old as the net.

    • geoff 2.2

      yeah baby!

  3. McFlock 3

    I hadn’t actually read the bill until tonight, and I’m a bit worried.

    I’m not a legal guy by any stretch, but the emphasis seems to be on “cause offense”, with no mention of balancing that against “freedom of speech”, which is a necessary foundation of any society with pretensions of democracy. There is a “public interest” factor, but the onus seems to be on the author/distributor to demonstrate it if they don’t want a comment pulled. Now that would probably be backed by an appeal through the courts, but in a free society it shouldn’t have to be appealed: it needs to be explicitly protected.

    A surprising oversight.

    I missed the bit where they distinguish between “anonymous” and being tracked to a consistent username or handle, too.

    • lprent 3.1

      Read the briefing notes where they are explaining the ‘logic’. They are really kind of confused.

      Pulling the comment isn’t as bad as that they can and probably will require that people get their privacy stripped and by the look of it given to the complainant.

      The thing that I didn’t like about the whole thing is that there really isn’t any recourse to actual courts within a reasonable timeframe. ie you have to conform and by then the data could have gone anywhere. No recourse at all for the poor bugger who had their privacy stripped. In other words a reasonable sounding excuse would do.

      The history of police abuse of a search warrant requests comes distinctly to mind. Most of the ones I have seen for protesters and net have this lovely trait of referencing complete speculative crap from the internet overseas and calling it authoritative. Good enough for court registrars who are who usually reads and signs the search warrants. I’d expect that is what will happen here in the first instance, which you’ll note is the one I’d have to comply with and argue about later.

      At present I’m thinking of simply making the signature information disappear so we never store it in any identifiable manner. Don’t log at all. Use a non-reversable hash in persistent data. In other words if we don’t have the data, then we can’t give the data anyway.

      In the worst case this means that if someone did a man-in-the-middle or managed to get access to the storage server they could identify people if they came back.

      The only actual thing that I’d like to store is the gravatar, and the API indicates that it has a hash of the right kind of type already.

      So the current storage server is in NZ but everyone apart from admin runs via cloudflare servers as the CDN. So I shift admin into the cloud as well and move the main server well offshore, and shift into SSL for MITM between the server and the CDN. Then I make the server conform to the law in the jurisdiction it is in.

      Still looking at backups. But it looks pretty doable.

      Just need to figure out how to pay for a year or so without it being traceable. Good old sneakernet would do.

    • lprent 3.2

      I missed the bit where they distinguish between “anonymous” and being tracked to a consistent username or handle, too.

      Yeah. As I said, pretty damn confused.

      Loved the section in the briefing notes where the big forums like facebook and trademe all disavowed responsibility for comments on their systems as well.

  4. Blue 4

    Trotter’s column is a great read. I had noticed that the mainstream media narrative about what happened at the Labour conference is being challenged in the comments left by the public. They aren’t buying it, and are telling the journos to put up or shut up on the ‘Cunliffe coup’ allegations.

    That would never have happened when the mainstream media narrative was the only one in town and what they reported was the only story the public got to hear.

    One slightly mad journalist going beserk over an imaginary coup and the rest falling neatly into line lest they appear to be ‘out of the loop’ – it was a perfect example of reef fish behaviour.

    I can’t imagine a single journo publishing a piece saying ‘hang on, it’s all a beat up, there was no attempted coup’. The ‘coup’ was the hottest story in town and no journo wanted to be the only one who didn’t have the story.

    Thank goodness for the blogs, I say.

    • Agreed.

      Good post Lprent and Chris Trotter’s column is a must read.

      I had a go at this subject a while ago and I talked about the commentariat, a group of mainstream accepted bloggers and senior MSM types who seek to dominate political discourse in New Zealand. 

      Of course Trotter and the Standard are the enemy.  Writers without personal ambition who just want to say things the way they are pose a significant threat to the status quo.

      No wonder there is this attack on them now.

       

  5. jbc 5

    The anonymity/privacy issue is complex, and the briefing on “Harmful Digital Communications” raises anonymity several times.

    On one hand we have people who wish to freely express personal opinions in a forum that is quite separate from other aspects of their life (and for many this will mean separate from their “day job”). There isn’t much wrong with this and we expect different behaviour and language from people in different circles. Healthy!

    For some people: their day job and their expression of personal opinion are one and the same (eg media personalities and name brand bloggers). For some others it doesn’t matter. However, some of us that engage with well-known businesses (with their own distinct values to project) on completely unrelated subject areas (eg software) prefer to avoid the connection for professional reasons lest it cost us our rice bowl.

    We vote anonymously, and for good reason.

    This is not to be confused with personal attacks, and truly “Harmful Digital Communications”. Any steps to prevent that will need to carefully avoid trampling over privacy issues.

    In my case I have no issue with anyone here knowing who I am. I’d happily make the same discussion in person over a coffee or beer. In other less political forums I’d expand my initials to my name.

    I have been burned by the MSM before and I now hold them in contempt. They are mostly controversy whores first, and sincere upholders of public good last. Fuck ‘em sideways with a spade handle for all I care. I wouldn’t give them the time of day.

  6. BLiP 6

    .

    The MSM has only itself to blame for the rise of the citizen journalist. The massive media consolidation over the past 25 years has resulted in, just as public choice theory posits, the “capture” of its regulators by business which, ironically, has committed the fundamental error of ignoring “core-business” in the take-over process. Or maybe, as many suggest, it was the usurping of the media’s core business which was the intent of MSM owners all along.

    There was a time when the media acted as a regulator of business by refusing to entertain advertorial concepts and ensuring both sides of each story was investigated, fact-checked, and presented by journalists who justifiably adopted a consistently cynical lens. The provision of unbiased, albeit harsh truth so as to engage citizens more fully in the functioning of society was the media’s core business. These days, alas, such core media functions have been replaced by the business imperative of maximising returns to shareholders, not just of media owners but also to advertisers. A WIN/WIN for the 1%. Accordingly, the incremental presentation of political news as little more than an inconsequential circus sideshow has created a small yet, thanks to the internet, vociferous vacuum filled, generally speaking, with people who care about the functioning of society and put its betterment above that of business. The required universal cynicism and desire to speak truth has trickled over into the internet where political bloggers have taken up the cudgel, regularly demand DOX or GTFO, usually know what they are talking about, have no fears about spilling their guts and shouting their opinions. The MSM response is to lash out at those it has so far failed to corrupt by reducing them from citizen to consumer.

    Considering the corporations which now own the MSM, it is of little surprise that we have seen the rise of the “celebrity” journalist. This might not have been such a bad thing were it not for the media version of the “Peter Principle”: a journalist will continue to be promoted until such time as they have reached the level where they manifest the blandest, least threatening, and most easily led disposition. So there they sit, dribbling out advertorial-laced infotainment masquerading as truth. One recent example of this comes from the “MARVELLOUS” John Campbell. Remember that chilling story about the decile 1 vs decile 10 lunchboxes? Great stuff. But, rather than taking it further, looking at why such disparity exists in society and sheeting home accountability, he writhes instead in an orgy of manufactured feel-good in a community “soup kitchen”. In effect, he forwards the National Ltd­™ agenda by surrendering to the fact there will always be “the needy” and privatised charity is the way forward. Sure the symptoms were temporarily eased, a bunch of go-gooders got to feel special for a while, but the causes are still there, unaddressed and, ultimately, made worse by the stigmatising of the underclass. At least TV3 attempts something of a current affairs show, even if it is to display the grateful hungry being fed by the largess of the rich for the teary viewers to feel that that “something” is being done. Over at TV1 they’ve given up on the idea of current affairs. Its 7pm slot is soon to be filled by a bunch of jocks taking the piss about the day’s event, the sub-text being: “since you can’t do anything about it, might as well have a laugh, eh mate?”

    And as for the political reporters . . . good grief, what a disappointing bunch of soft-cock know-it-all wannabe “operators”. Silly me, I had great expectations for Patrick Gower. He did excellent work while at the New Zealand Fox News Herald but, of course, showed up the incumbent googly-eyed womble, so had to go. He made a great start at TV3 but, alas, appears to have been “captured”. Now we get regular episodes of the Doughnut Garner and Lurch Gower Puppet Show with journalists interviewing each other pretending they are “in the know” but actually just repeating the Crosby/Textor talking point they were most recently “privvy to”. Rather than learning from and seeking to engage with their internet compatriots, they revile them as an enemy. Professional protectionism, maybe, ego discomfort and concern for long-term income and status maintenance more like. I don’t blame them personally, though. Rather, I see them as prisoners to the corporates, manacled with golden handcuffs and locked into the contrived “I’m a celebrity” mind-fuck cell block with the rest of their mates. Its probably too early to give up on the Press Gallery at this stage, but its not looking good.

    Meanwhile, don’t be fooled for a minute that the current attack on anonymous blogging is anything other than MSM corporations looking to further “capture” the media, the target this time being the interwebz. The proposed legislation is ducking under the cover of protecting sensitive spotty teenagers from “those big, bully-boy, terrorist, organised-criminal meanies” to obscure the fact its really about the protection of the corporation’s “intellectual copyright” – and even that is a very dodgy premise as it turns out. Anyway, why should the internet be subject to controls just because the corporate’s business-model can’t handle it? So much for their free-market, competition-is-king, individual freedoms prosthelytizing. Fuckers.

    Fortunately, and as pointed out by the OP, gaining control of the internetz is not going to be quite as easy as the corporates might think. Ultimately, I suspect they imagine individual internet accounts which can only be accessed by retina-scans of people who have already handed over their micro-payment credit card for pay-per-page sessions which can be suspended without recourse and for no reason other than failing to pay or expressing unacceptable dissent. Perhaps that’s a possibility in the years ahead but, just at the moment, the keyboard is the new printing press and The Stanard the town square where we can pass out our leaflets. Changing that situation to one where the internet is little more than a shopping mall where we have to ask the owners’ permission to hand-out information is one which should be resisted by us all, even if we never agree about anything else ever again.

  7. vto 7

    This is just silly. I am not me. If some goon in tight pants and jackboots turned up and said we are arresting you because you called Nick Smith a liar and a c#&t, I would have to say go see vto about it.

  8. karol 8

    It seems to me the focus of the report and Bill is on stopping bad stuff (harassment, abuse), and not on enabling good stuff (freedom of speech, open democratic debate).

    They continue to use the term anonymous and don’t differentiate it from “pseudononymous”.  They especially don’t consider the positive value of using a consistent handle on a well-moderated site.

    I understand the concern about the ways (young) people can use facebook etc to harass other individuals.  This is the focus of a lot of the report.  But they seem to conflate that with any website, and don’t differentiate how a well-moderated website works.

    p.27, of the Harmful Digital Communications report:

    For the first time in history, individuals with access to basic technology can now publish, anonymously, and with apparent impunity, to a potentially mass audience. This facility to generate, manipulate and disseminate digital information which can be accessed instantaneously and  continuously is producing types of abuse which have no precedent or equivalent in the pre-digital world.

    This seems like a gross over-statement.

    P.64:

    3.69 Also, web-based interactions are mediated by the same sorts of power imbalances that exist offline: mob-like bullying behaviour by cliques of like-minded individuals congregating online is not easily countered by the lone voice of the targeted individual. And while it is possible to comment anonymously online or to adopt a different persona, it will often be the case that participants in online discussions will know each other’s real identities.

    I agree that there are power imbalances that can develop online, but using pseudonyms can be a bit of a leveler.   Then people achieve status through the quality of their posts – at least on a well-moderated site where bullying is not accepted.  And, as we have been discussing, it can provide a corrective to the MSM’s abuse of their power.

    And there seems to be an element of the conspiracy-theory of anonymous bloggers in darkened rooms. (I certainly don’t know the identities behind the pseudonyms of TS posters and commenters.

    • just saying 8.1

      …Also, web-based interactions are mediated by the same sorts of power imbalances that exist offline: mob-like bullying behaviour by cliques of like-minded individuals congregating online is not easily countered by the lone voice of the targeted individual….

      A more accurate phrase would be: ” web based interactions are mediated by some of the power imbalances that exist online…”

      Followed by a sentence like: However, some web interactions are also uniquely placed to mitigate other kinds of power imblances that have proven unassailable offline. Many socio-economic, and political power imbalances particularly those relating to inequality of relative privilege, disadvantage, status and economic freedom between groups and individuals can potentially be alleviated. Individuals using stable pseudonyms in well moderated spaces may be able to contribute to public discourse in a more democratic manner than most, in not all off-line fora may allow. It is therefore essential that any new regulation in this field takes care to protect the the potential new democratic freedoms that may prove to be as powerful in combating abuses of power, as the destructive forces this legislation seeks to curb……etc.

    • lprent 8.2

      A lot of it would come down to trust of whoever is doing it. Problem is that while I generally trust bodies like InternetNZ who are accustomed to balancing differing imperatives of net users. I may not agree with them, but they have at least had an informed look.

      I hold no such trust for NetSafe because they are a single issue organisation that appears to have so little expertise on the net that I can’t see it.

      I don’t trust MP’s, judges, or media to make law in this area because you have to start from explaining basics. For instance really simple things like pseudonymous is not anonymous, at least not to the people on a well managed site.

      • jaymam 8.2.1

        The judge who was reputed to know the most (among judges) about the internet appears to have stopped posting after he was caught out posting anonymously and defending his decisions.
        The evidence for that is still on Usenet. All other NZ judges would know even less about the internet, i.e. not very much at all.

  9. Rich 9

    I’d suggest the use of offshore anonymous proxies paid for with a Presi card or similar.

    Also, it’s feasible to pay for Amazon hosting with a Presi card and to use a prepaid mobile for the confirmation message.

  10. The Fan Club 10

    Again, if Matt McCarten’s in on it, it probably isn’t a vast right-wing conspiracy.

  11. just saying 11

    As far as I’m aware, Matt was not at the conference, nor is he a member of the Labour Party

    • lprent 11.1

      He wasn’t and he isn’t.

    • The Fan Club 11.2

      Yes. On the other hand, he’s also basing his statements on first hand observations, and is pretty much unimpeachable as far as serious left credentials goes. Mike Smith was at the conference, is a member (or so I’m told) and agrees with Matt. At this point, “nothing happened, it’s all just a beatup” is untenable, until you can explain McCarten and Smith.

      • karol 11.2.1

        Why?  

        Until you can explain why so many people, including Trotter, who were at the conference provide a different account of the conference, claiming there was a Cunliffe coup attempt is untenable.  

        Where is the evidence?  It wasn’t shown on TV.  And it just doesn’t make sense.  Why would Cunliffe have attempted a coup at such a conference?  Why would he have done it without a high degree of certainty that it would be successful?

        • The Fan Club 11.2.1.1

          It wasn’t shown on TV? I mean for reals? Is that what you’re reduced to? The highly mediated re-presentation of conference I saw for thirty seconds on the evening news didn’t have that in it, so it didn’t happen? Did you go to conference? Are you a member?

          I do have an explanation for Trotter: he’s a fucking idiot who’s misread every annual conference for the past thirty years now. I have similar explanations for half the Cunliffe-did-nothing brigade.

          • karol 11.2.1.1.1

            It wasn’t shown on TV NOR has any other evidence been presented of the alleged coup.  If there was evidence, why would the news media continue to make such claims without presenting the evidence?

            And citations please re-Trotter etc.  All you are doing is presenting a lot of emotive rhetoric. 

            • The Fan Club 11.2.1.1.1.1

              Citations re Trotter being a clown? Are you for serial? Like, Waitakere Man Trotter? Chris `never seen a splittist movement that I didn’t love and subsequently lead to further splittism and inevitable electoral failure’ Trotter?

              He’s been a by-word on the left for organisational incompetence and romanticised distractability for almost 3 decades now.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Fir enough, I don’t really rate Trotter either.

                And yet you rate Mike Smith’s opinion?

                really?

                he was on this blo0g saying that the ridiculous 100% Pure Shearer vote in caucus would mean an end of taunting from the Tories about his leadership.

                Either he really thought that was true, (in which case he is really really out of touch with how politics works), or he thought that by him saying it would cause people here would all line up and salute, (in which case he is really really out of touch with how politics works).

                • The Fan Club

                  Hey, Mike was General Secretary for a decade during which we kinda drove all before us. I mean, I dunno, but I reckon he might be quite good at this `organising’ game.

                  I don’t know if I think he’s an amazing politician, but I do take him seriously. Same with McCarten.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Bully for him. He also said that the caucus vote would end taunts from tories in the house.
                    That’s just barkingly ludicrous.

                    So either he is an idiot, or a bullshit artist.

                    • The Fan Club

                      You’re saying that one of the more prominent architects of Labour’s impressive decade of electoral success, who has subsequently set up one of the NZ left’s most important and successful think tanks, is either an idiot or a bullshit artist?

                      Because if so, I really am sorry, but you don’t know what you’re talking about. Of course, that’s the kind of contortions you’re forced into to defend Cunliffe…

                    • Blue

                      You’re saying that one of the more prominent architects of Labour’s impressive decade of electoral success, who has subsequently set up one of the NZ left’s most important and successful think tanks, is either an idiot or a bullshit artist? Because if so, I really am sorry, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.

                      Gotta love the young. Unquestioning adulation for their idols. And this is evidence?

                      Sorry, kiddo, but no one is infallible. Whatever Mike’s successes in the past, lately he has been posting some pretty loopy stuff which is hard to reconcile with, ya know, reality.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      How else do you explain what he said?

                      Either he believed it, or he didn’t.

                      If you have a third alternative, I’m all ears mate.

                    • The Fan Club

                      Even Shakespeare nods. Right. That’s a fact. But Shakespeare — or even merely well respected party elders — doesn’t suddenly turn into idiots or bullshitters. (The excluded middle cries out in pain.)

                      (But that raises another point – well respected party elders – you aren’t a member, are you PB? You’re sort of floating left, without any real attachment to the hard slog of actually making shit happen. Which explains the swift dismissal of someone who has, in fact, made a lot happen.)

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Lol.

                      So on the one hand you are saying that Smith must be on to it, because some good stuff happened and he should get all the credit for it.

                      This brilliant argument is the sum total of evidence for why what he said on this blog isn’t bullshit or stupid.

                      On the other hand, my pointing out that what he said on this blog is either bullshit or stupid is dismissed because of who I am.

                      Think about that for moment. What is the argument you are making? Is it based on whether or not an idea is stupid, or is it a bunch of lickspittle personage worship like we laugh at when tories do it?

                      So I’ll ask again.

                      If what he said wasn’t stupid or bullshit, then what in god’s name was it?

                      What he said was stupid as a matter of fact. It’s not something anyone with a clue would believe.

                      That just leaves the question of whether or not he believed it.

                    • The Fan Club

                      But that’s not right — you are now talking about an individual statement, which, as I said, even Shakespeare nods. But half an hour ago this individual statement meant Smith himself who was either an idiot or a liar totally and utterly.

                      And yes, when we talk about the authority of someone’s word, who they are comes into it quite a lot. You’re some blowhard on the internet; Smith’s a well known well respected member of the Party, who’s done a lot for the movement.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Yes. An individual statement that he made.

                      two options. Either he believed it or he didn’t.

                      If he believed it, then he’s an idiot.

                      If he didn’t believe it, he’s a bullshit artist.

                      Not difficult mate.

                      Saying ‘Shakespeare nods’ over and over doesn’t resolve that, because when shakespeare nodded, his haed didnae fall off.

                      This is quite a fucking nod we’re talking about here.

                      Care to discuss it?

                    • The Fan Club

                      He said one thing that was, charitably speaking, overly optimistic. If you want to be hard, it was pretty dumb. Against that, he’s been involved for most of his life, he helped run the party for 10 pretty successful years, and has gone on to contribute heaps to the movement after that. You chose: idiot who fluked heaps, or bright, honest guy who sometimes fucks up? And then once you’ve done that, you have to ask the same question about McCarten. And then about Felix Marwick. And then about …, until you’ve either decided that most of the New Zealand political establishment, left and right, is deluded/in-an-organised-conspiracy-to-run-down-Cunliffe, or possibly that maybe they are telling the truth.

                      I mean, ffs, you’re putting your faith in the Trotter/Bradbury axis of incompetence here.

                      I note you still haven’t explained the conspicuous activity of Cunliffe’s surrogates at conference, or the failure to back the leader in unequivocal terms, or the subsequent off-the-rails behaviour from the New Lynn LEC.

                    • lprent []

                      …the conspicuous activity of Cunliffe’s surrogates at conference…

                      There wasn’t any that I saw. Not unless you were a paranoid git who sees more what you expect to see than what is happening. Which is who you evidently are.

                      Ditto, and ditto

                      Basically you can be into dumb obedience like a sheep. I’m not and most people in the party have more sense. I use my brain.

                      I’m not a Cunliffe fan, and yet I wrote a post a week before the conference saying that Shearer wasn’t shaping up. This isn’t exactly news around the party that caucus appears to have screwed up the selection. It is something that I hear all the time either by quiet grumbling or significant omission when it isn’t outright complaint. Which was why caucus got a stinging rap over the knuckles from the party for making a stupid selection based on their own incestuous reasons that wasn’t good for the party.

                      One nice thing about the criticism over the last few weeks is that it looks like DS is starting to really work on lifting his performance. The question is if it will work before the next election (or maybe Feb), and prevent a pile of people party voting Green like I’m will do.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      ‘I mean, ffs, you’re putting your faith in the Trotter/Bradbury axis of incompetence here.’

                      Really? Where am I doing that? If I’m doing that then you’re putting your faith in Pete George and Cameron Slater.

                      But to get back to the actual points we’re discussing, it seems that you think Mike believed what he wrote, and was therefore stupid rather than dishonest.

                      Some progress.

                      So then, if we accept that he believed this, then what does that tell us about what was going on?

                      I think that would give an insight into what the Shearer camp were thinking, What they thought was the problem, needing to be solved.

                      If they thought that the real problem was that National was mocking them about the leadership, and that a show of force would stop that, then we have an explanation for what went on.

                      I don’t think that was the real problem, it was a symptom of it.

                      I think they didn’t want to face the fact that the real problem is Shearer’s performance. Instead of fixing that problem, they decided that the real problem is ‘party disloyalty, leading to mockery from National’.

                      If that was the real problem, then the solution they went with makes a bit of sense. The problem is, (and this is where the stupidity comes in), that wasn’t the real problem.

                      Cunliffe wasn’t stirring up a wave, he was attempting to ride one. Knocking him off didn’t calm the waters, it stirred them up even more.

                      Mike’s stupidity wasn’t in ‘saying’ that thing, it was in his reasons for believing it. (If he did believe it.)

              • thatguynz

                Sorry mate, but that’s largely empty rhetoric so you seem to be running a little short on the evidence or citation.
                 
                Using your example of evidence I could say the following about the current Labour caucus…
                “never seen a splittist movement that I didn’t love and subsequently lead to further splittism and inevitable electoral failure”….

      • weka 11.2.2

        People have different definitions of what an ‘organised coup’ is. I think the ‘Cunliffe did it’ brigade are misinterpreting or inflating a series of events and calling it a coup. I’ve yet to see any evidence of a coup other than people calling it that. When someone makes a list of the specific actions taken by Team Cunliffe* (and we’ve asked for this repeatedly) then I’ll take Mike and Matt’s views more seriously.
         
        *and if you want to include the Standard in this, please also provide some evidence of which ts authors and commenters are part of the team.

        • The Fan Club 11.2.2.1

          Again if you think that those two, who, let’s be honest, have run more coups than the CIA, are somehow just making it up — and let’s be clear, if the Cunliffe line is right, there’s pretty much complete mendacity on the part of McCarten and Smith — you need to come up with some explanation better than `I just don’t like it’.

          • One Tāne Huna 11.2.2.1.1

            lol

            They’ve “run more coups than the CIA” and you can believe their every word.

            That’s…really convincing…no, honestly, I really mean it. Truly.

          • karol 11.2.2.1.2

            I don’t have to come up with anything. I’m not saying “I don’t like it”.  I’m saying “There is no evidence”.  I’m not alleging a coup attempt happened. 

            I believe it was Ancient Athenians who were able to convict people based on past reputation only.  Today we actually require evidence, especially that the alleged crime actually happened, then that it was committed by the accused.  Until that happens, a person is considered innocent.

            Until you can produce evidence of the “crime”, I’m done with this non-productive series of exchanges. 

            • The Fan Club 11.2.2.1.2.1

              The thing is, there’s evidence. It’s McCarten’s word. It’s Smith’s word. It’s Cunliffe’s failure to back the leader when pressed. It’s Cunliffe’s surrogates arguing for rule changes that just so happened to help Cunliffe’s leadership ambitions.

              You are the one denying the evidence; you need to show how come this evidence should be disregarded.

              • Socialist Paddy

                So we should trust McCarten talking about something even though he was not even there and did not witness anything.

                FFS. 

              • weka

                Tell you what, you present some actual evidence and I’ll tell you if I want to disregard it or not. I haven’t even gotten to the point of disregarding anything, because there’s nothing to disregard. Other than the say so of two people, who have expressed opinion without backing it up. We disregard that all the time.

                • The Fan Club

                  No, they’ve backed it up with their word. I think that when Mike Smith, Matt McCarten, Jane Clifton, Felix Marwick, Patrick Gower, and Matt Hooten all agree on something, there’s probably something to be looked at there. You’re either positing delusion or a vast conspiracy to explain the fact all of them are saying something pretty similar.

                  • thatguynz

                    Yet on the other hand you are equally quick to dismiss the eyewitness reports from others who were at the conference who have also proffered their “word”.
                     
                    Without fear of confirmation bias I’ll take the word of people that don’t have a vested interest over media figures every time thanks.

                  • geoff

                    Haha!!
                    I don’t know enough about Mike Smith, Matt McCarten or Felix Marwick to pass comment but the other three?!

                    Jane Clifton: Political Editor for the listener, who for many years wrote with a right-wing bias, primarily because she was married to Nation MP Murray McCully!

                    Now she is shacked up with Trevor Mallard and, suprise suprise, the editorials in the Listener have swung back to the left.

                    Patrick Gower: Young, ignorant muppet. Judging by his style of journalism I’d say there’s a good chance he’s also a premature ejaculator.

                    Matthew Hooton: nuff said.

                    Reminds me of the small town I grew up in and for good reason too. The political + media community in NZ is probably only the population of a small town. And along with it goes all the joys of small town life; entrenched biases, fear of outsiders, ignorance and, of course, incest.

                    • vto

                      ” a premature ejaculator.”

                      this always makes me laugh. it is an impossibility.

                    • xtasy

                      “Patrick Gower: Young, ignorant muppet. Judging by his style of journalism I’d say there’s a good chance he’s also a premature ejaculator.”

                      Somewhere I read accusations of sort that “Prince Charles” was also one of them.

                      In any case, be fair, it may happen more often to too many than ever would desire to be labelled thus. But really Pat Gower to me has a kind of “vulture culture” image. He is through with me, after initially I thought, he was sincere in digging up stuff about Banksie.

                      It seems he is working hard to get an overseas career in the gutter press in the UK.

                  • lprent

                    Turn that around for the other side like myself, Trotter, Scott Yorke, Winter, probably Ben (based on how he was buzzed up), and many of the commentators here who were actually at the conference. Now it looks like many many delusions at the same time.

                    When you remove the people who were not actually at conference in your list, you’re left with just Mike Smith and Patrick Gower. Jane Clifton in particular appears to attend many events in spirit – like the manufacturing one at the EPMU.

                    Now I disagree with Mike all of the time at the best of times (and have been doing so for a decade) when we’re looking at events. This is hardly an exception. And I tend to regard Patrick Gower as not being the brightest political mind around. I think that obsessed with getting a good sounding story would be the best description.

                    Somehow I prefer to trust what I saw.

                    You really are a authoritarian loving dork aren’t you….

                    • xtasy

                      First sight and clear impression is always good, if not best evidence!

                    • felix marwick

                      Just to clarify – I was at the conference. Friday through Sunday.

                    • lprent

                      Apologies Felix.

                      But I really did get a sense that the media were biting on a well prepared simple story. A lot simplier than members getting fed up with having a silly caucus and wanting more say. Been interesting recently finding out which MP’s were lobbying during conference and on whom. I think that was what swung the vote against the way that many MP’s wanted.

                  • weka

                    “You’re either positing delusion or a vast conspiracy to explain the fact all of them are saying something pretty similar.”
                     
                    No. You’re not really paying attention are you? Reread my posts. I gave a credible alternative reason for why those people think there was a coup when there wasn’t.
                     
                    Try responding to what people are actually saying.
                     
                    Still waiting for some evidence of actions taken by people involved in the alleged coup. If all these people saw it happen, why can’t they describe the actions?
                     

                    • Anne

                      Been interesting recently finding out which MP’s were lobbying during conference and on whom. I think that was what swung the vote against the way that many MP’s wanted.

                      That is exactly what happened. I was originally happy for the caucus to have the majority say in leadership election processes. That is, I planned to vote for either the 50%+1 caucus majority ‘trigger’ amendment or the 55% amendment – whichever one was most favoured by the delegates. When the MPs came up with their 2/3rds majority amendment, I realised they were attempting to block the membership from ever having a say in leadership matters. I changed my mind and voted for the 40% trigger…

                      The arrogance of it is what swayed me to go against them. Did they really believe most of us are so dumb we wouldn’t recognise they were intending to cut us out completely?

                      They were the author of their own failure.

                    • RedLogix

                      And when you consider that all other comparable Labour Parties around the world (someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) have confidence triggers in the range of 20-40% the arrogance of demanding a 60% trigger is galling.

                      A 60% trigger level effectively defeats the entire constitutional purpose of such a vote in the first place.

            • weka 11.2.2.1.2.2

              Exactly. For me it has nothing to do with like or dislike (don’t really care who Labour has as leader as long as they’re competent at forming a left wing govt with the GP). It’s all about the evidence.
               
              And yeah, this conversation is getting unproductive.
               
              “if the Cunliffe line is right”
               
              Missing the point, or maybe just manipulating the situation. I don’t give a shit what Cunliffe thinks or says. And authors and commenters on ts haven’t been running Cunliffe’s line, they’ve been expressing their own opinions. Stop misrepresenting what is going on.

        • Hami Shearlie 11.2.2.2

          Shearer won’t say what Cunliffe actually “did” to undermine him. He was asked at the Cunliffe demotion press conference and on Q & A but he won’t say what Cunliffe actually did. I would have thought that he would say, if he actually had real evidence of being undermined by Cunliffe.

      • lprent 11.2.3

        Mike Smith was at the conference, is a member (or so I’m told) and agrees with Matt.

        Yep. The problem is that Mike lives in Wellington (which is like a bit of a enclave of irreality) and was out of the country in the UK for much of the leadup heading into the conference. So he tends to see it as political actors rather than party members getting pissed.

        Matt wasn’t at the conference and I suspect has relatively little contact with active party members.

        Neither are particularly active on the nets from facebook through to twitter to blogs, which is where a lot of the discussion amongst the under 40’s goes on these days amongst party activists. As we now know of course is that caucus takes little notice of that :)

        I was also at conference as were many of the other bloggers and commentators around. When you look at rough splits, what you will find is that they tend to be generational (have a look at Jordan Carters blog), and Wellington compared to the rest of the country (especially Auckland).

        I’m not surprised that there are differences of opinion. The distinction is if you could see the party getting pissed because you speak electronically with others, or if you don’t.

        • The Fan Club 11.2.3.1

          Erm. Yeah. That generational difference. The one where Jill Ovens and Len Richards and Trotter and the rest of the old 80’s lag are on one side, and Labour Youth’s on the other? Somehow not really evidence for the argument you’re trying to make here.

          • lprent 11.2.3.1.1

            Interesting viewpoint – “Labour Youths” – please link to it. These are the people who spend a lot of time on-line so that shouldn’t be hard.

            The people I tend to be most interested in are the ‘youth’ who are out of Young Labour (I think that the age limit is 25) but who tend to still turn up at Summer School every few years to help mentor more people through into the party (just as I used to do). But generally anyone under the age of 40 would do. In other words the people who are providing the continuity of the party. They were the people I noticed at voting for all of the democratization remits along with the people from the losing side of the 80’s

            But I suspect you’re just thinking about young labour. Nice people and exactly who you want waving placards at street corners, and have a tendency to remind the more elderly like myself of mayflies :twisted:

            • King Kong 11.2.3.1.1.1

              You mean these guys

            • The Fan Club 11.2.3.1.1.2

              So, apparently, the Goldilock’s crowd voted for it: not too old, not too young, just right, eh?

              • the pigman

                The Fan Club:

                the “Young Labour” you’re talking about are the beltway all hoping for their big break in Wellington, who want to emulate the success of “Chippie” and who would happily gobble up anything Grant Robertson feeds them in order to get there.

                Young and radical, you are not.

                P.S. mods – changed my handle after being inspired by the anonymity/pseudonymity discussions – not trolling/astroturfing, I promise :D

        • xtasy 11.2.3.2

          I found your reports and comments from the conference quite sincere, honest and reliable, so I tended to take them also for face value. I drew my conclusions on parallel developments as they developed.

      • Jenny 11.2.4

        The fact of the matter is that Matt McCarten is with the majority opinion of the union movement in loathing David Cunliffe. David Cunliffe is one of the few politicians in parliament who has spoken up for taking strong action to avert climate change, which (there is no escaping it) means cutting back on coal mining oil drilling etc. The union movement which most heavily unionised section is in these so called black trades, coal mining, oil drilling etc have more than enough material motive to go along with any MSM calumny against Cunliffe.

        The irony is that these sections of the workforce are heavily unionised because they have to be. The vicious greed and ruthlessness of the owners of these industries is legendary.

        If union leaders like McCarten thought in the long term, rather than short term, to protect their little hill of beans. Then they would realise it would be better to use their organisational strength to negotiate the wind down of these industries with proper retraining and redundancy agreements for their members.

  12. Rhinocrates 12

    Listening to Nine to Noon this morning, I was struck by the parallels or intersections with the debate over the role of the newspapers in the UK. There the hacking scandal has revealed a cosiness, leading to collusion, leading to conspiracy between press, police and politicians.

    A lot of people are resisting state regulation of the press in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry – and rightly so, because the press should never be an organ of state, but de facto there has been a drift towards that condition anyway.

    There is this quote, which is work considering:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_estate

    Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament [nobility, clergy and townsmen]; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.

    There was irony intended in its original use, but the press and PR businesses have merged due the increasingly close work between them and the shift in personnel as part of their usual career path from press to PR (as is the case with Brian Edwards) and the rise of “churnalism” with press releases simply being recycled as news while celebrity reporters compete for access and favours with politicians (Paul Henry and John Key for example).

    The press/PR business as a fourth estate now do indeed imagine themselves as a specially privileged class, a kind of nobility with exclusive membership that brokers information.

    Blogs have disrupted that relationship* and undermined their status, hence the fury.

    *Thrown a spanner in the works, a clog into the mill – sabotage as it were.

  13. ak 13

    Rightward media bias has been as logical and obvious as the nose on Bozokeyo’s face forever.

    Organ owners and advertisers benefit from, and thus promote by any means possible, tory power. Period.

    But the seeds of their own destruction were sown the minute they created the “Kiwi blog” in their own image.

    Spectacularly successful initially: the vast torrents of hatemongering filth, racism and misogyny generated in the sewer and its putrid spawn suppurating just sufficiently into the mainstream to snatch political power.

    While inadvertently, concurrently, fatally undermining their own opinion-forming monopoly.

    The scarlet Standard and her powerful conduits of truth fly again, bringing twin terrors.

    For this time they don’t rely on mammon; and they appeal to the youth.

    Legislation the final, desperate gambit as the end nears.

    Kia kaha Standardistas. And kia tupato. Cornered rats have sharp teeth.

    • King Kong 13.1

      I think you might want to talk to the doctor about your dosage.

    • Saarbo 13.2

      Nicely put AK.

      Trotter has nailed it.

      No proof of a potential Cunliffe coup has emerged at all.

      And well done The Standard!

      This will bring pressure onto the MSM to sort their shit out.

    • Rogue Trooper 13.3

      I thought it was just lovely ak :)

  14. ” However at the same time as this is going on, we are also seeing some action on the Law Commission’s extremely poorly written set of recommendations about cyber-bullying of teens. Or that is how it is being sold. The reality is somewhat different.”
    Being a victim of bullying myself during school, even though this isn’t related to cyber-bullying as such. There is absolutely nothing in place in schools to help take care of bullying, beyond counseling. Thanks to the removal of teacher aids (the level of was already woefully inadequate in comparison to Australia) people with disabilities are going to fall through the cracks. Already there are potentially thousands of kids with disabilities in New Zealand that never got the support in school and now are in poverty or welfare dependency. Most disabilities don’t get in the way if you get help kids early, but now they get no help at all and so what are otherwise treatable disabilities are being allowed to destroy kids lives.

  15. PlanetOrphan 15

    Interesting read Lynn, yell out if you want hand with encrypting peoples personal info.

    Like you said, if it’s trapdoor encrypted, all they’ll ever get is a time stamp string etc.

    U can still validate the user, their personal info never gets recorded (i.e Make it the pad), problem solved.

    After that the worst they can do is demand a retraction / apology.

    They can’t prosecute U for information you never had aye bud :-)

    • lprent 15.1

      That was my thought. The way they have this bill written to protect the site operators who aren’t doing their moderation tasks.. Well there would be no way for them to demand a retraction or apology from the site. The best that they could do is force the material to be removed, and presumably replaced with a great big comment saying why the decision was or was not justified.

  16. xtasy 16

    This morning select committee hearings were conducted on the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill at Novotel Auckland Airport Hotel. Yes, you will instantly wonder, why the hell does such a “public” meeting get held at a luxury hotel next to the Auckland International Airport, near impossible to reach by many affected poor, to present their views and objections to the draconian, hostile and inhumane welfare reforms that NZ has not seen for at least one generation.

    But that seems to be part of the agenda. Select a location as few as possible of the “riff raff” of society are able to find and get to, to hold a high level hearing about their bloody lot.

    So this went on, but I do not remember any raising the location issue.

    There were a number of submissions presented this morning, virtually ALL resolutely and vocally against the welfare reform that this government wishes to push through. I saw NO television media, NO radio media, and apart from a few persons sitting at tables against one wall on one side, there appeared to be little attendance at all. I may suspect, that some of the side sitters were admin staff working for Parliament, but perhaps there may also have been the “odd” journalist. I did not recognise any of the commonly known MSM journalists there at all, so the hearings went ahead, and I fear, largely UNHEARD by MEDIA.

    This is just another one of those incidents, where you would expect serious and genuine media persons to be present to hear and report on the concerns that people affected, advocates and other community and interest groups would represent. But NO, we have NONE of this.

    The beneficiaries are the scum of society, it seems, they are not even deserved more focus than suspected criminals always hitting the headlines. They are the shadow persons that this society rather would do without, for most that is. Pity we have no 3rd Reich system, the solution would be so “silently convenient” and “clean”, nobody would even take notice of that.

    I at last spotted AAAP and Sue Bradford, some of whom delivered an excellent presentation of their concerns, and there were many others doing the same. So where, dear prostitute shit media of NZ is YOUR story on this? I mean the main TV channels, radio (commercial and even Radio N(a)Z(i)) and the likes?

    I f this is what “reporting” in NZ is about, well just abolish those over paid parliamentarians then, as we DO NOT NEED THEM anymore, as they and their actions (or lack thereof) is not worth reporting on and even having.

    I heard the midday news, and after, and it again about crime, a guilty conviction of a fraudster, admittedly a deserved vote for Palestine in the UN, but otherwise heaps of drivel and stuff, that will not ever really affect any one of you and me.

    NZ is a DICTATORSHIP of sorts, it has never become clearer to me. A total BS media here is redundant of any morality, any justification and any right to exist.

    Bring it on, Hone Key and gang, Sieg Heil!

  17. xtasy 17

    By the way, I found out through reading some OIA docs last night, that our Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff, was under a Nat led government in 1998 or so, the Clerk for Cabinet, or sort of.

    So she appears to belong to the “conservative” spectrum of personnel, which I never knew, but which now well explains some decisions of hers I have seen and read.

    I am looking forward to yet more (I expect rather “unpleasant”) surprises soon.

    Gosh, this country is full of graveyards and hidden skeletons, I am busy now digging them all up.

    • RedBaron 17.1

      Hi xtasy. As far as I know, and I’m open to correction, the Clerk for the Cabinet is a very senior civil service post, and has nothing to do with the ruling party. Basically, they seem to ensure that all decisions are properly signed off, legally correct, signed by the Governor General etc etc. In charge of the process not the decisions.
      I also seem to remember that they hold some residual powers when we are waiting to form a government after an election. When Winston took three weeks to decide who he was going into government with in 1998? I think it was her that held the residual powers that kept money flowing to pay civil servants etc. After 3 weeks of her running the country the politicians started to look a bit redundant.

      • xtasy 17.1.1

        RedBaron: I thank you for that clarification re the “Clerk” for Cabinet position, which I suppose is now called Secretary to/for Cabinet. I understand though that the PM nominates or chooses the person for the job. It is supposed to be a neutral position, but would the PM not prefer someone who is more to his/her liking?

  18. xtasy 18

    “The tone of these attacks leaves little doubt that not only do these political journalists consider bloggers to be unwelcome and illegitimate contributors to the nation’s political discourse, but that nothing would make them happier than to see them tightly regulated and controlled. It’s an attitude that should send a shiver down every New Zealander’s spine. A genuine “Fourth Estate” would welcome the democratisation of the gathering and distributing of news which the Internet has made possible. That so many MSM journalists have greeted the competitive spur of the blogosphere with a mixture of self-serving patch-protection and outright authoritarianism is cause for considerable concern.”

    Chris Trotter – thank you, YOU got it RIGHT on this one! Many other attitudes should send a shiver down NZers spine. Since I came back from Europe in late 2005 I have been SHIVERING IN MY SPINE so often, just due to the undeserved power the existing MSM have, and how often they let the non performing, even lying and corrupt politicians running this country off the hook. I have always tended to favour Labour, but my criticism of them recently is not without cause.

    We need a real solid, resolute and radical shake-up in society, and having been to Mangere today, I feel, this can and will only come from that part of NZ. The rest is too busy navel gazing, or contemplating escapism, dreaming of a better alternative future in AUS.

    Patriotism is not a nice word, but in any case, I feel the “least patriotic” are those arse-holes always going on about it, blaming others, speculating in property, then selling it all, move to Queensland and start running down their own country. Wake up WANKERS!

  19. @xtasy: NZ doesn’t have a welfare system, unless you have kids. Just walk the streets and watch out for beggars, young people with sleeping bags and I am pretty sure the homeless shelters are packed too. The welfare system cuts people off welfare when they no longer qualify for a training course (which are nothing close to a trade school or a polytech – it is teaching people how to write cvs and do interviews, not providing skills to get back into work). In this way the government can fudge figures and argue reductions in unemployment; when all they are really doing is cutting benefits and leaving people to starve on the streets or end their lives. Lucky for me I still have family to support me overseas, not staying here to look through garbage cans thats for sure. ;)

    • xtasy 19.1

      kiwicommie: You are onto it, I agree in principle!

      I also will never forget that Swedish doctor on “Insight: child poverty”, which was shown on TV3 on Tuesday night, and what she had to say about NZ and the system here (not just welfare). It is a screwed system here, just starting with the political system.

      It speaks bloody volumes. I exactly know where she comes from, and I am so disillusioned, that hardly anybody here realizes also, what she and others meant.

      Ignorance, restriction and punitive regimentation will NOT work. It is all going to make it much, much worse.

      You will never get a functioning society by division, hatred, envy, punishment and that sorts, it is a disaster, best shown in the failures of major US cities of the past! Apart from that, go to Colombia, other similar countries, and you get what you bloody ask for.

  20. AmaKiwi 20

    There was a coup at the conference, but the winners aren’t crowing and the losers are too ashamed to admit they lost.

    The winners are the members, who now (think they) have substantially more control over the party and the caucus. They are not crowing because they have yet to see if it’s real or an illusion.

    The losers are ashamed because:

    1. They were fighting to restrict democracy, which is too disgraceful a cause to admit to.
    2. They claim to be the “we know best” wise party leaders, but they completely misread the membership AND did not line up their votes beforehand. In other words, the self-proclaimed “experts” in caucus proved themselves to be inept politicians.

    The losers were King, Goff, Mallard, Robertson, & Associates.

    • xtasy 20.1

      Saw Ardern today at Select Committee in Auckland, well, maybe some commitment, but I struggled, yes struggled and more so, to detect any SINCERITY about the lot of beneficiaries. I feel that Labour has screwed us right up the ANAL CHANNEL, and the rest of them spoke for that same meaning.

      I have NO faith anymore in Labour, they are dead men or women walking, I also am disillusioned with the once so vibrant Greens, honestly, WE NEED A TOTALLY NEW PARTY TO THE LEFT!!!

      So anybody got some ideas, networks and so forth, this is essential, dears, it is about SURVIVAL of the left, as otherwise it is an outfit of perma wankers!

      • newsense@gmail.com 20.1.1

        I saw Jacinda on Friday a week or two back walking anonymously down K’ Rd in a scarlet dress and sunglasses- I didn’t hear her say anything ‘cos she didn’t stop…but I sure woulda listened if she did!

    • Anne 20.2

      Thanks AmaKiwi: truer words hath not been spoke…

      I’ve been trying to say much the same on other Standard threads. The truth is: the bitter row had nothing to do with Cunliffe and co., and everything to do with an elitist group inside Caucus losing some of their power. The real heroes are the members and delegates who had the guts to stand up to them.

    • Colonial Viper 20.3

      What to do about it all, eh. That’s the million dollar (well, probably $500K is enough) question.

  21. ianmac 21

    @amakiwi: They were fighting to restrict democracy, which is too disgraceful a cause to admit to.
    The losers were King, Goff, Mallard, Robertson, & Associates.

    You are saying that they are “fighting to restrict democracy.” But these are democratically elected members of Parliament. No contradiction there?
    My guess is that the MPs would have reason to be fearful that should the wider democratic bar be set too low, this could lead to weaker leadership. Too many cooks? Be careful what you wish for.
    And a caucus too closely bound by the wider Policies of membership could hamstring the need to adjust for changing circumstances. Perhaps a compromise with another party to get the amended policy through?

    • AmaKiwi 21.1

      @ianmac

      Things like legislative policy (which the members now have more say over) are shades of gray.

      That’ why I wrote, “The winners are the members, who now (think they) have substantially more control over the party and the caucus. They are not crowing because they have yet to see if it’s real or an illusion.”

      • ianmac 21.1.1

        Amakiwi, there seems to be drive from some to paint these “losers” in the worst possible light, and my point is that there are very sound reasons for a group to be flexible enough to manage operations. It is hard enough to get agreement if a committee has more than 7 members, let alone hundreds. Are they losers to be democratically elected and want to be free to adjust to circumstances in a stable environment? Or just pragmatic?

        • AmaKiwi 21.1.1.1

          I saw Russell Norman on TV opposing TPPA. He was clear and precise. Labour wasn’t there.

          A few months ago I heard a speech by Grant Robertson in which he cautioned that Labour’s environmental policies should not be too extreme.

          At conference I sat near one of those I mentioned as “the losers.” Said MP was incensed when the card vote approved a 40% trigger for a February leadership challenge. UK Labour has used a 20% trigger for years.

          It’s almost 2013. But I find some Labour MPs stuck in the 1990’s. The militancy of the delegates said, “Move on.” I think some, like the one I was sitting near, cannot. I hope I am wrong.

          • newsense@gmail.com 21.1.1.1.1

            yeh- Ben Clark comes on here to say one thing, but with no assurances and the big kids of caucus are off saying another thing somewhere else and we have to wait until after the election to see if the principles make it through the dead fish process…

            That Green protest vote is looking less and less like a protest and more like a match for principles, ability and action.

            But watch this space I guess…!

  22. RedBaron 22

    I think the MSM feel under real threat. Look at Australia and Julia Gillard’s take down of Abbott.
    The press gallery pontificated about “she expended her credibility on a losing cause” only to have to eat a very large helping of crow when the clip went viral both inside and outside Australia to a huge cheer of “Good on Ya Julia” mainly from women, but women vote and they clearly demonstrated how fed up many of them are about sexist behaviour.
    Under the old system they would never be heard, must have put the fear into the policymakers.
    The landscape is changing.

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      Their next step then: to put more and more limits on access to the ‘net, and monitoring of who is writing what, and who is looking at what.

      According to a very recent Assange interview, the internet access of the individuals of entire nations is being constantly monitored and recorded.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5VMExwGhsU

  23. newsense@gmail.com 23

    Do you think not having someone front up for the MSM as Slater and DPF regularly do allows the standard to be dismissed and marginalised?

    Or that it allows it to avoid personality politics and not be identified with anyone person?

    Would it be ok to have a regular media rep for the standard in the future if programmes such as the Nation come calling?

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