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A photo finish

Written By: - Date published: 4:50 pm, December 21st, 2007 - 45 comments
Categories: humour, labour, national - Tags: , ,

I have glimpsed the future. I know how Election 08 will play out. It will be a thriller, going down to the wire. The election home straight, like that at Flemington in Melbourne, is a test of champions. In the end it is about class and staying ability. Helen Clark starts the year well off the pace. John Key canters along in front. Slowly but surely, however, Clark gathers him in. Key starts to feel the pressure. He races greenly, pulls hard at the bit, showing his lack of experience, stamina and preparation. Right on the line, Clark appears to nab him. The result is not clear and there is an anxious delay. But after what seems an inordinate amount of time, the numbers are confirmed. Clark has made it, by a short neck – known as a Hide. The Green stable belies their odds and feature strongly in the finish. The old brumbie Turry’s Fury has also rattled home gamely. They’ve helped the Labour thoroughbred to her fourth successive title. Winston’s Way crumbles in the run home and is immediately transferred to the knacker’s yard. The roaring of the crowd drowns the wailing of the hollow men.

45 comments on “A photo finish ”

  1. outofbed 1

    And John keys “owners” buy a new horse for next time

  2. East Wellington Superhero 2

    You are wrong.
    I’ve been talking to the people of eastern Wellington and they are sick of Labour.
    I’ve talked to many folk who normally vote Labour who have said they want to get ride of this government.
    Helen Clark will lose.

  3. Dan 3

    The result is correct: the style is wrong. Helen Clark and her team will roar past as Kiwi did in the Cup, because Labour has a philosophy and a sense of community. People will not vote for a party that has no policies, and relies on expensive billboards.
    Go Helen! $100 on the nose!

  4. the sprout 4

    whoah there EWS, i know superheroes aren’t known for their sense of levity but Tillerman’s piece isn’t intended as reportage, even by the Herald’s standard (hint, read the opening sentence).
    but feel free to keep talking to your “people and “folk”, they’re probably very grounding for you.

  5. r0b 5

    Labour are the underdogs, but the playing field is level. I’ll take them odds.

  6. the sprout 6

    me too r0b. but i’m glad the Blues feel like they’re in the race this time.

  7. r0b 7

    Indeed sprout, you could even say that they’re feeling their oats a bit…

  8. the sprout 8

    true. and colic soon to follow.

  9. Santi 9

    You guys should share some of the Jamaican Gold you seem to be smoking. Or is it Colombian Red Crest?

    Barring a miracle (touch wood) the socialist Labour Party is on its way out.

  10. r0b 10

    On it’s way out to parrrrrty! Jah mon!

  11. Monty 11

    Good Xmas loot has been coming thru the gate, including a bottle of “vintage Bollie”.

    This will be kept at a constant temperature then chilled nicley to celebrate the long long reign of John Key in about October 2008. For my socialist ex labour supporter fireman friend I have a bottle of Meths bought for $3.99 at Pak’n’save.

    Ahhhh – i will savour and enjoy the long awaited Chanpagne. Nine years has been to long to wait.

  12. Heard the saying “You can’t flog a dead horse”?

  13. the sprout 13

    “enjoy the long awaited Chanpagne”

    Monty, is that some kind of anti-freeze?

  14. outofbed 14

    Monti & Santi The polls left vs right are neck and neck.
    Lets debate some National policy and we will see a shift and it won’t bet to the right.
    So put the Anti freeze on ice and open a bottle of champagne now!!and celebrate Nationals High poll rating while you have the chance

  15. Monty 15

    19 points is the sort of lead that gives me comfort when the socialists (spit the filthy mongrols) were desperate for parity in the polls in the lead to Christmas. Hardly wat I would call neck and neck. I am sure Helen in her desperation would be wanting the polls to be much closer.

    Now I will sit back and watch the fun as Winston (on cue) goes feral against Labour as he tries to dis-associate himeself from them and as he tries (in vain) to seek out the role of Kingmaker come post election 2008. Nothing will save his sorry arse this time around.

    Also – I note my earlier spelling mistake – I am as bad as Jimmy Sleep – But I can blame the rotten 1970’s catholic education system for not beating me enough for not knowing my spelling.

  16. outofbed 16

    monty do you understand mmp ?

  17. But I can blame the rotten 1970’s catholic education system for not beating me enough for not knowing my spelling.

    But you can thank them for you having the decency to feel guilty about it. There’s hope for you yet.

  18. Mike Porton 18

    Zen – 10 Hail Marys.

  19. gobsmacked 19

    I’d like to wish everyone on here a Merry Xmas. Especially our visitors from the right. Have a good one, guys, because at the next one you’ll be raising a glass to Helen’s 4th term, or bitterly railing against John Key for his year of U-turns and the new vanilla government.

    The Sydney Morning Herald has an interesting perspective on this, featuring our own David Farrar, who quietly admits that the voters don’t actually support National policies!

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/right-has-no-idea-in-left-world/2007/12/21/1198175341998.html

  20. that’s a nice quote uncky dave in the SMH Uncky Dave, looking forward to using it lots:

    “His strategy is ‘don’t rock the boat’,” says David Farrar, a popular conservative blogger who has worked for four Nationals prime ministers and opposition leaders.

    “A year ago he tried to shut down traditional areas of controversy – nuclear ship visits and climate change, for example. The Nationals have been ahead in every poll this year and they are likely to win the next election” – due by next November – “but that’s because Labor is old and tired and not because of any upswelling of support for the Nationals’ agenda.”

  21. Phil 22

    Hey G,

    I think it’s a little early for either side to be acting smug about Chistmas ’08, dont you think?

    The SMH does raise a good point though… internationally, all the things ‘we’ wanted to do post-80’s – essentially producing a country more responsive and capabale of dealing with international ‘shocks’ – the right has done already.

    On the other hand, whats left for the left?
    When you’ve got an economy ticking along nicely (as we are appear to be at the moment) it must be a hard sell convincing the public that there are social ill’s that need state-assisted fixing.

  22. Dan 23

    Exactly Phil! Why change when the economy is going so well. The SMH article will no doubt be dissected by many, but the reality is Rudd got in on policies Labour has pushed here for three terms. No wonder David Farrar and co are worried.

  23. you’ll have to do a lot better than that phil. you get Whittacker’s chocolate for christmas too?

  24. ak 25

    Thanks gobbo – top find. When even the top tory muckraker is agreeing with what we’ve been saying for months, it’s worth reprinting:

    Farrar: The Nationals have been ahead in every poll this year and they are likely to win the next election” – due by next November – “but that’s because Labor is old and tired and not because of any upswelling of support for the Nationals’ agenda.”

    As usual, Fukuyama’s spot on in his global analysis. Poor wee NZ led the charge into the minor dark age of the nineties (thanks to the incredible blatant subterfuge and betrayal of Douglas, Prebble et al) and instead of the promised “Switzerland of the South Pacific”….well, suffice to say we’re still recovering.

    Labour’s done a good job of carefully rebuilding; no further evidence of their success is needed than the fact that their opponents have comprehensively embraced all their efforts – so much so, that the danger for Labour now is that the “Key factor” will outflank them on the left (nb “underclass” speech and current low-key (pun intended)overtures to Maori).

    The challenge now, as so well identified by Downer, is to ignore the past year’s stumbles and artificial reactionary baying, build on the record to date, and provide a bold visionary programme to further reduce inequalities – again leading the world by nurturing the innate optimism and common sense tradition that has built our proud nation.
    It’s a golden opportunity for us all and I pray that Helen’s up to it after a tough year. At the very least, the true tory agenda will be revealed: National’s hyenas will not endure much more “me too”.
    Read the skies, Labour, Greens and Maori: when the smiling snake embaces, lead your people towards the light.

  25. Santi 27

    Dan said “..but the reality is Rudd got in on policies Labour has pushed here for three terms.”

    Does that include tax cuts and not overtaxing the populace, even those socialist Labour claims to represent? Bollocks!

  26. Phil 28

    Dan,
    Why change when the economy is doing so well?
    Well, the PERCEPTION is that the benefits of the last few years growth have been disproportionately reaped by the government – hence the shift toward National in the provincal areas last election, and the positive response they got to tax cuts.

    Sprout,
    National isn’t going to be the only one-trick-pony in the next election. Outside of environmental issues (which pulls the rug right out from under the Greens) Labour is looking like it’s “playing it again, Sam”
    If, and I conceed its a great big IF-with-cheeries-and-whipped-cream-on-top, National makes legitimate and real concessions on the environment, Labour has nowhere to go that voters will respond to.

  27. play with your Reindeer santi, they love you

  28. Phil 30

    ak,

    I like the use of you phrase “minor dark age of the nineties” – very evocative but totally misleading.

    I content that the miserable state we were in pre-reforms would have led to a much worse nineties than the one we got. We were in such a hopeless position that it got to the point where the credit cards of our foreign diplomats were nearly called upon to help bail out our currency.

    Remember also that these painful reforms were voted for by the public! When the traditional left element wrestled back power from the economic bloc of Labour between 87 and 90, they were convincingly trounced by the Nat’s at the next election, and failed to return to power for a decade.
    That, by my reconing, is hardly a howl of public disapproval for those policy platfroms.

  29. Gobsmacked, the only comparison between the Howard and Clark govts is longevity. Clark’s govt is as old and worn out as Howard’s and the only policies they can come up with are highly unpopular (anti-smacking and EFB).

    The EFB marks the end of the Labour govt. Key doesn’t have to do anything.

    A govt is seldom voted in, they are usually voted out. Also, there is more to govt than ideology or policy. The govt is responsible for day to day running of the country and things which pop up unannounced. Sometimes it is better not to have too many pre-conceived ideas. As a person Key has a large potential popularity base. Coming from a state house, a large proportion of the electorate can identify with him.

    The only decision we as the electorate have to make is whether or not to give Key a working majority, or require him to negotiate through the Maori Party or Act. My bet is that it will be the Maori Party.

  30. outofbed 32

    I am glad that the left is so remarkably upbeat
    When all said and done the Nats are still the same team as they were under Brash, Same people same ideas same agenda.

    Its one thing to register your disapproval with the Gov when some pollster rings you up at tea time
    but quite another to actually tick National.
    When push come to shove I think we can be quietly confident of centre/left Gov for the foreseeable future

  31. ak 33

    Phil: “…these painful reforms were voted for by the public!”

    Nah Phil, 90 and 93 were payback for the Douglas gang betrayal and Bolger “Keyed” the sentiment nicely. In 96 Winnie pulled another Doug/Preb betrayal. The last three elections are payback for the ACT/BRT agenda that National carried on with.
    But hey, if you’re right, and privatisation and “trickle down” are so well supported by the public, why won’t National put ’em up right up there? Seems even tory strategists know that the only way to import this recycled trash is by stealth.

    Kent: “My bet is that it will be the Maori Party.” Heh heh. The One Law for All/Abolish Maori Seats Smiling Snake party supported by their victims. Talk about wishful thinking – would love to have a wee flutter on that one Kent!

  32. Phil 34

    If you listen closely to Pita Sharples, you can hear some “blue” in him.
    The risk in that combination all falls on the Maori party side. National wouldn’t have anything to lose, assuming they had backing from ACT and UFNZ if push came to shove.

    For the Maori party, they would be a shoe-in for Maori and PI portfolios plus maybe another and some associate roles, which they are never in a million years going to get under Labour. They would have the opportunity to work as a moderating influence on policy, rather than as an extreemist (or at least viewed as extreemist) position.

    MMP around the planet is filled with examples of this kind of working coalition. I think it would be an interesting experiment, at the very least.

  33. Dan 35

    Pita Sharples blue!! Get a life!
    Along with the tax cuts proposed by all parties, the biggest move will be a capital gains tax on speculative investment. It will make houses more affordable and reduce inflation. It will be the point of difference that Labour needs to defuse the rantings of the right.

  34. ak 36

    Phil: “For the Maori party, they would be a shoe-in for Maori and PI portfolios”

    Too right Phil – kapai-deadly as we used to say in the works.

    And Pita for Deputy PM.

    In a Labour-led government: the most progressive government the western world has yet seen – building on a proud history of fearless social advancement and principle, and once more putting godzone at the vanguard of the historic trend towards inclusion, emancipation and univeral fraternity.

    Too fanciful? Nah Phil, it’s just that my grandkids deserve the best – and your depressing fantasy is just too pessimistic to envisage at this time of the year.

  35. DS 37

    “Remember also that these painful reforms were voted for by the public! When the traditional left element wrestled back power from the economic bloc of Labour between 87 and 90, they were convincingly trounced by the Nat’s at the next election, and failed to return to power for a decade.
    That, by my reconing, is hardly a howl of public disapproval for those policy platfroms.”

    Someone please shoot me before my brain melts at having to read another word of this garbage. The *only* remote example of the public approving the reforms was in 1987, and that was iffy at best (Lange was riding the anti-nuclear wave, while the stockmarket crash was still a few months away). 1990 was an emphatic rejection of Rogernomics; the public were desperate for the pain to stop, and were prepared to go with an apparently moderate National Party promising a return to normality and a Decent Society (my, my, doesn’t that sound familiar?). Of course, they got a sadistic maniac as Finance Minister instead. In 1993 National (thanks to an economic upswing) managed to squeak home with 35% of the vote; Labour got 34%, the Alliance got 18%, and NZ First got 8%. Hardly a ringing endorsement, is it?

  36. ak 38

    Gaaaad yes DS, and God bless you! I’d forgotten the disgusting details of National’s gerrymandering past – to all believers in the inherent goodness of humanity, go and watch “The Castle” again, renew your faith in your fellow man and woman and return to fight the good fight that has carried us so far!

    And Tories: may you discover deep in the roots of your Christmas trees, more money than you can spend in a million years.

  37. ak,

    It was Brash who promised removal of the Maori seats and ended up in the ‘removal’ business himself. Key has come forward hard against many of the things that Brash represented and has not endorsed the get-rid-of-the-seats idea.

    The Maori Party is basically a right of centre party. They are essentially conservative. Theirs has always been a party that National has been most likely to ally with. It was a National minister, Sir Douglas Graham, who in the 90’s was instrumental in implementing Treaty payouts. No Labour party minister is more closely aligned to such activity as he is.

    Tell you what, it’s worth a flutter.

  38. Pascal's bookie 40

    Conservative is a funny old word.

    It gets used a lot these days as a label for a bunch of policies that might be more accuratly labelled as reactionary. Though I’m not suggesting that’s what anyone here is doing.

    For example if you think about what your basic ‘conservative’ platform is in the states, going by the administration, the Repub candidates, and what is said in places like the National Review, then the following things are “conservative’ in the States:

    – A strong Executive branch that doesn’t need to answer to the congress, can abrogate treaties signed by previous presidents and ratified into law by congress, and can withold any and documents from oversight as it pleases. (see torture, geneva, sunny gauntanamo, numerous ‘signing statements’)

    – Tax cuts as a matter of principle, even in war time.

    – A foreign policy predicated on the idea that the US can and must establish itself with, and thereafter maintain itself with, ‘full spectrum dominance’. Everything, everywhere is an American interest and no other power or collection of powers can be allowed to challenge the US. (see PNAC, Iraq, Iran, Missile shields)

    – Pandering to religious bigots who think that any and all social problems stem back to the fact that most Americans, if their actions are any guide, do not believe in a particular style of Christian belief. (see various thinktanks, social engineering policies about who is allowed to get married, revisionist and false ideas about the influence of Christianity on the Republic and so on)

    None of this is ‘conservative’ in any real sense of the word. Particularly in the States, which is a nation founded on Enlightement principles, with a constitution set up to be genuinely conservative in the sense of being slow to change and deliberative in it’s politics. What they’ve got from the repub’s is a radical reaction against the Liberals, that lacks the defining conservative characteristic of hesitating to change longstanding traditions. By any measure the Liberal reforms of the early and mid 20 century should be being held in some regard by real conservatives. Creative destruction, roll back, unitary executive and the like are not conservative ideas.

    So the idea that the Maori party is ‘conservative’ is true, for some meanings of the word, and not for others. The same can be said for the Labour Party, the Green Party and the National Party.

    In fact I would argue that it is the Labour Prty in NZ that is most truely ‘conservative’ in the old, preservationist and pragmatic sense of the word. In this sense reforms like Civil Unions are progressions of the law based on principles of equity and pragmatism. If these structures work for many why should not the benefits be spread to all, sort of thing.

    Conservatives don’t hate change, they just hate change based on passion, (which includes religious passion, nationalist passion, and fear), and change that doesn’t take into account the reasons for the thing you changing being they way it is, (nb Welfare reform, Maori seats, privatisation etc).

    No-one can argue that the Clark govts have been radical in any economic sense, in fact the criticisms they get from both the Left and the Right have been that they are too conservative and reform resistant.

    God that was long, rambling and moved off topic in a major way. But I’m not going to delete it and say what i intended to say when I started typing, instead I’ll just post it, and promiss not to comment again untill the New Year or so.

    Have a good one all, in whatever way you traditionally spend the season, be it conservative or radical, liberal or otherwise.

    bookie

  39. absolutely pb, there is precisely nothing that’s actually ‘conservative’ about neo-conservativism, it’s actually quite a radical departure from traditional conservative principles.

  40. Kent 42

    Oh, dear, who’s deconstructing the meaning of conservative then? I just thought that it meant people more inclined to preserve the status quo rather than change it, compared to progressives who wish to enact change.

    Oh, well, happy new year anyway, bookie.

  41. DS 43

    “The Maori Party is basically a right of centre party. They are essentially conservative. Theirs has always been a party that National has been most likely to ally with. It was a National minister, Sir Douglas Graham, who in the 90’s was instrumental in implementing Treaty payouts. No Labour party minister is more closely aligned to such activity as he is.

    Tell you what, it’s worth a flutter.”

    The fly in your ointment is that grass-roots Tory and Maori supporters hate each other (hint: who do Maori Party supporters tend to give their party vote to?). An enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend deal between National and the Maori Party would be suicidal for both parties.

  42. r0b 44

    I’m going bush. Back in February.

    Merry Christmas to friend and foe alike!

  43. Amateur Scrabbler 45

    Interesting thread…

    Surprisingly nobody has explicitly mentioned that the political spectrum is multi-dimensional. Social and economic are the two convenient perpendicular axes.

    That aside, liberalism and conservatism have lost pretty much any real meaning.

    When you reform a market towards freeness is is ‘liberal’. Same as when you reform a market towards statism. Both these things are ‘liberal’. Likewise, resisting a change towards a free market is technically ‘conservative’, and resisting a change towards statism is ‘conservative’ also.

    The terms are by-and-large nonsense when taken out of their traditional context of benefiting the landed (conservative – keeps things good (the same) for the aristocrats) versus benefiting the proles (reform for the worker’s benefit).

    And I am talking about the big picture of democracy here. Kings and subjects, moving very slowly over hundreds of years towards direct democracy, with input from the majority (the serfs/proles/scum).

    Changes to the social-economic matrix from the dark ages until around the mid to late 1900s were by-and-large designed to benefit the proletariat. These were all due to popular unrest – not aristocratic charity, as some may wish to believe.

    Now this all becomes confused when the free-market/globalisation gains currency as the way-of-living de jour…

    The conservatives then wanted to liberalise the markets, now that a globalised economy seems like a good thing for them… (?!?)

    So…

    People just need to be honest and say whether they want their economic policy change to benefit capital or labour.

    Now Labour (big L) is by-and large honest about it’s intentions. National not so much. There is often an Orwellian doublespeak, that as workers you can benefit from Policy X as the part-owner (shareholder) of some capital. In fact, the West is an ‘ownership society’ right?… with all that this idea implies.

    ‘Freedom’ is also another doublespeak favourite. You’re ‘free’ to spend your extra $5 to $10 dollars a week tax cut on uncapped doctor’s bills, or unsubsidised tertiary education. Joy!

    The obfuscation unfortunately works on a lot of people.

    Just a little history and sociology lesson for big-picture challenged… 🙂

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