- Date published:
7:09 pm, December 23rd, 2012 - 227 comments
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I was going to do a retrospective, but changed my mind – the message of Christmas is one of hope.
Some indicators of better times in 2013 came in the Herald, today and earlier in the week: long-time leftie Matt McCarten (disguised as editorial on the website) makes Shearer his politician of the year, long-time righties Bob Jones and Rodney Hide go hard at Judith Collins for her unconscionable treatment of Justice Binnie, and in the middle Kerre Woodham winds up on Key’s failure to deliver:
National was voted in because they promised voters they had the answers. They’d be a breath of fresh air. They were business people who knew a thing or two about making money, not academics who’d spent most of their lives in ivory towers.Well, they may know how to make money for themselves but they don’t seem to have any answers when it comes to making the country richer. If, after four years of government, the best strategy they can come up with to produce a surplus is to raise the fuel tax, they are devoid of initiative and bereft of imagination.
Woodham’s piece drew plenty of supportive comments. Reading them and comparing them with comments on this site, I thought back to when we started the Standard. I was in the room too; our aim was to set up a labour movement blog and offer a counter to Kiwiblog’s pro-National line; not to join Farrar in making the prospect of Labour government the principal target for attack.
I would not like to see the Standard become just another echo-chamber for political pessimists. I’m inclined to agree with some of the recent commenters here who are drawing attention to this in various ways. Perhaps in 2013 it will be time for a bit more balance.
But then I’m biased.
“I would not like to see the Standard become just another echo-chamber for political pessimists.”
I agree. One of the best things to happen this year on ts has been the rallying round the Labour Party membership issues. Very proactive and positive.
The Standard’s place in the larger political blogosphere movement has also been very good. Ad talked about the potential here –
Policy- Policy -Policy 2013
It’s going to be difficult to have a meaningful conversation Mike because you never engage in the comment thread of your posts. That’s your right, but unless you are willing to expand on and defend your position … all you are going to get is more of the ‘lack of balance’ you are unhappy with.
But if you want The Standard to become just an echo-chamber for Labour Party ‘messaging’ in order to be “a counter to Kiwiblog’s pro-National line” .. then I’m afraid we ‘have a problem Houston’.
Certainly the mjority of regular authors and commenters here are to some degree to the left of the Labour caucas and expecting this to change is unrealistic. At least not without you using your role as a trustee of the site to shut it down.
This is not meant to be confrontational Mike. But the fact is that however you want to view events; there is a considerable tension between the current Labour Parliamentary caucas and it’s activist members and base. If you want balance … both sides are going to have to do some hard work to win each other’s trust again.
spot on RedLogix!!!!!
I don’t think it matters if posts are not the start of a conversation with the author – there are enough of us to have a conversation; but all to often we attack the messenger. I suspect many of hte posts take quite a bit of time to carefully word, or in some cases research; I am grateful for them regardless of other posts or replies to comments.
You are right that activist members and caucus need to work together – and each needs to value and respect the others. One of the things that we sometimes get on The Standard that makes it particularly valuable is discussion on possible policy. There will seldom be a single “left” view of what a policy should be, but by shooting the messenger we often by-pass the opportunity for constructive discussion; or an explanation of why we should not come to definite conclusions at this time.
I saw the Kerre Woodham article earlier today, and what struck me is that it is largely emotion, what facts are there have been well known to many for months or years, but which now seem to be “accepted fact” – at least with one journalist! We do need to balance the reality of the governments failure with the emotions that at times prevent those facts being understood.
I have been critical of the ‘attack’ mentality of some posters to The Standard, which while small, does at times just make me at least get annoyed and skip the rest of a thread, or even skip the Standard for a while. With Labour / Green in opposition, there is a need to look longer term; but we need to make our points without alienating the audience.
There have been a number of things that I would like to see discussed more – and I am sure some will be covered over the next few weeks. For example the hypocrisy of the manipulation of ACC levies. Second the problems of setting MPs pay – which does just reflect an appalling increase in inequality – while reducing the inequality of pay will resolve some of the problem, is the basis correct in the first place? I’d like to see an update on how neutral the ‘fiscally neutral’ tax cuts have turned out to be for example.
I like the gossip, the stories about National’s incredible stuff-ups, and the speculation about who will get what positions in the government after National lose the next election; but I don’t want to have my enthusiasm dampened by continual internal warfare and sniping. As an occasional poster I try to show trust in both other posters and in our elected representatives – is that such a bad thing?
I do find many of the policy issues discussed here quite informative: economic policy (of which I can always learn a lot more); housing policies; environment/climate issues; social policies/WINZ/ACC; social security, unpaid work; local government, unions, etc, etc, etc.
I hope Mike (and others) are not interpreting valid criticisms as “attacks”. Many of the criticisms are positive, they are not necessarily “negative”. Sure you are biased Mike, but are not we all?
Yes, ditto Dr Terry, well said. I don’t believe they are “attacks” either and it is a wee bit sad to see them being viewed as such.
Unfortunately the US vs Them meme has leeched into the Labour party, and they are looking to control what is said about them.
How can you control the message ? when you have people like those on TS just shooting off in all sorts of random directions, saying what they like, it’s just not good enough.
Sometimes I really wonder if Labour want to be elected to power in 2014, they just seem to be enjoying the masochism too much.
Do you understand the cost it take to be a left leaning LP MP, the whole power structure of society is geared up and for the Tories, it takes years for a LP minister to get control of their ministry. Staffer come and go, usually burnt out.
No wonder the Cuacus is entrenched and feeling a tad non aligned with the more vocal of it’s members.
@ David Viperious H
“Sometimes I really wonder if Labour want to be elected to power in 2014”
Yep, I sometimes wondered that after the 2011 election too.
Don’t kid yourself. Woodham still expects tax cuts and other right-wing policies to grow the economy. She’s just upset that National hasn’t implemented more of them.
Far better to question and look up the facts from research. Don’t just believe what people say uncritically.
I saw the Kerre Woodham article earlier today, and what struck me is that it is largely emotion, what facts are there have been well known to many for months or years, but which now seem to be “accepted fact” – at least with one journalist!
Kerre Woodham is not a journalist in any accepted sense of the word.
You’re wrong, Moz. Like it or not, and like her politics or not, Woodham has been a professional journo for many years. And as far as I can tell, she knows the difference between fact and opinion, which is why she gets paid for what she writes and you don’t.
You’re wrong, Moz. Like it or not, and like her politics or not, Woodham has been a professional journo for many years.
Professional mouther of half-baked opinions, professional fronter of vacuous television programmes. That’s not a “professional journo”, that’s a talkback radio jockette.
And as far as I can tell, she knows the difference between fact and opinion, which is why she gets paid for what she writes and you don’t.
There’s the problem for you: “as far as I can tell.” You don’t know enough about her, and you have not thought about what she says.
Look for my up-coming feature: WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KERRE.
It’ll be up in the new year.
Meanwhile, a merry Xmas to you, my friend.
One problem with end-of-year retrospectives (across all media) is that they invariably focus on the more recent events. For example, “Zip it sweetie” is awarded the title of quote of the year (Stuff website), but what if it had been said in February? Probably long forgotten.
And so it is with David Shearer’s leadership. Here’s a simple question for Mike Smith or any others who praise the Labour leader for his work over the last twelve months: What did Shearer do before the criticism started?
There is a clear timeline here (and feel free to dispute it, but with evidence please, rather than empty calls to “rally round” or silly comments equating Shearer’s critics with Kiwiblog).
First six months or so of 2012: Nothing. Labour had an invisible, ineffectual leader. So – inevitably – frustration grew. Labour supporters – yes, Labour supporters – began to voice their concerns. Shearer was either very poor in the media, or not in the media at all. Contrast the Greens and Winston.
Then the speech that lit the fuse – the “bludger on the roof”. Shearer was wrong. His critics were right. We know this because he has never gone there again. He has not repeated the content or the message of that speech, his efforts to defend it were half-hearted, and it has been quietly dropped.
But the anger didn’t go away. With one exception – the education speech in August – Shearer reverted to doing and saying nothing to inspire, to lead. That was until the party conference – or more precisely, the run-up to it, when the frustration came to a head, not least on the Standard.
I repeat – if anybody believes that David Shearer, the Labour leader, was leading his party and supporters throughout 2012, please let us know when and how … in the ten months before the conference. Any examples would be welcome.
Otherwise you should really just say “Thank you for waking him up – because without the criticism, Shearer would have ended the year as he started”.
You really think he performed well at the Conference, on the whole?
Mike Smith is on Shearer’s paid staff now, is he not?
That’s true but the implicit assumption is ungenerous – Mike’s not exactly in need of the money or the hassle that comes with working in the leader’s office. I imagine it’s more about him wanting to make a difference.
I agree. I’ve met Mike Smith on a few occasions and anyone on the left should respect his experience and mana. (As a moderator I’ll not tolerate anyone attacking him personally on this thread.)
At the same time I keep getting the feeling that anyone who spends too long in the Beltway has this unfortunate tendency to be captured by it.
Perhaps the most honourable exceptions I can think of were Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanczos.
It would also help if he came and defended what he said. Or is it that indefensible?? That has been the 1 criticism that stands up, Mike post’s, but never defends. It’s nothing personal.
He’s already posted a comment below.
I think you’ve forgotten that back when we started the Standard we wanted a blog that espoused the left values that had been out-shouted by three decades of right wing TINA (perhaps because you’ve only been posting for a couple of years) As far as I’m concerned we’re here to clearly and loudly promote labour values, not labour party values (there shouldn’t be a difference but right now there is).
I think we’ve done that to a certain extent – there are solid center-left, social democratic political policies and perspectives in the mainstream now that would have been considered fringe (in NZ) just a few years ago and I think a large part of the change in the discourse has come about as a result of the Standard’s challenging of right wing “truths”.
When one of Labour’s senior economic spokespeople describes an award system (like the one Australia has) as “political suicide” or when Labour pledges hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidising middleclass housing but keeps its mouth shut about the clear need to build state-housing, then I think it’s our duty to push them harder.
There’s no reason New Zealand’s political center should continue to be so rightwing by international and historical standards other than the fact that we’ve got one major party that espouses the rights of capital over all others and another that is too scared of its own shadow to challenge that. It’s not hard to sell egalitarianism to New Zealanders, hell you might even get back some of the 800,000 enrolled non-vote, but the current Labour party leadership seems incapable of the vision required to do so. And this at a time where the chicago school consensus has broken down everywhere else.
I realise, Mike, that you’re a product of the managerial approach of the fifth Labour government and that a cornerstone of that government’s thinking was the electorate’s fear of significant change. And, after fifteen years of neoliberal revolution, that was probably true at the time. But times change and political nous is about reading those changes and running with them – what we’re seeing from Shearer et al is a leadership incapable of recognising that change and taking that opportunities that come with it. Don’t think the authoritarian right of national will make the same mistake.
And don’t try to convince me or anyone else of the left that we should sit back and let that happen.
Actually, do try to convince me. I’d be a pleasure to see you comment here more often – you’ve never been afraid to have a good political argument in all the time I’ve known you.
What I wish I could have said.
Cheers. It’s mostly a distillation of what I hear from a lot of people from the left. Despite the belief that we’re all hating on the Labour party most of us want it to grow and gather the strength and vision and the support that is clearly available to it. It’s frustration members feel rather than anger but I don’t think that’s always clear.
Definitely frustration as far as I’m concerned. But I finally figured that Labour wasn’t going to improve unless I (and others) expressed that frustration.
I agree IB that we (collective term for lefties) are definitely not hating on the Labour Party and those in caucus who believe this really need to get their compasses reset.
What we we (collective term for lefties) is for Labour to set out to achieve its historical purpose. It has achieved a great deal of good for many people over an extended period of time and we want that to continue.
One thing that I will note about Mike’s post is his plea for “balance” that implies that commentators to the Standard are wrong because most of them have a particular view. The fact that this site resembles more a meeting of members than a Shearer fan club is something the caucus should seek to understand and work on, not condemn.
And if Labour were ten points ahead of National in the polls (like in the UK) then Shearer would have deserved McCarten’s praise. But to name him as pollie of the year when Labour is still so far behind is a bit weird.
“One thing that I will note about Mike’s post is his plea for “balance” that implies that commentators to the Standard are wrong because most of them have a particular view. ”
Maybe, but it’s not the only way to understand that comment. Bear in mind that the ts authors who support Shearer are obviously outnumbered. The numbers are better for the commenters, but still they’re outnumbered too. It’s not realistic for Shearer supporters to expect balance of numbers, but is there really a problem with them expressing how they feel about situation? Isn’t this also useful dissent? What would ts be like if Mike and r0b weren’t posting?
My guess is that McCarten is being a booster for Shearer because he imagines that will open space for a left wing party to soak up LP activists, members and supporters.
That would ensure that any future ‘Labour=led’ left wing coalition has a very weak LP at its titular head, that acts as a kind of vague-Liberal electoral battering ram for a more progressive left government. That would help explain McCarten’s warning to Labour about the strength of the Greens around the Cabinet table and also his claim that Mana will annihilate the Maori Party. Notice that McCarten is, at the same time, talking up both a decidedly right-leaning Labour leader(ship) and the future potency of decidedly left-wing parliamentary parties.
I can’t imagine that McCarten has lost all his political nous in awarding Shearer ‘politician of the year’. Let’s be honest, that award could not be based on Shearer’s political acumen, presentational skills or surety of left-wing ideological vision, so McCarten’s support for Shearer must be motivated by something along the lines I suggest.
The supposed reason McCarten gives for his assessment – that he dispensed with his main rival and so looked ‘decisive’ – is very thin grounds for rating Shearer highly as a politician, unless by ‘politician of the year’ is simply meant someone who comes out on top in the little pool he swims in. It’s surely worth remembering that politicians are mere vehicles for more important matters, and should be rated in terms of how useful they are for those matters not how useful they are for their own political careers.
In that context, it is not very wise for a loyal Labour Party supporter to enlist McCarten’s analysis in support of his Leader. McCarten’s aim, I think, is to have a strong left along with a weak LP whose main utility is to act as an electorally familiar bait.
If I’m right, and that is McCarten’s strategic analysis, I actually think it’s mistaken.
What the left needs is a staunchly left-wing Labour Party led by politicians who know how to present that kind of party effectively to the electorate as a sensible, humane option. What it does not need is a soft-Liberal, centrist party. Liberal Parties have always been recognised as obstacles to left goals, not means to achieving them.That option would be (is) very damaging for the left’s cause.
That ‘left cause’ I take to be instituting structural change that prevents the kinds of inequalities and disempowerment of ordinary people that have been increasingly happening over the last 30-40 years. It is not simply to dispense ‘aid’ to the sufferers of the neo-liberal restructuring – that is soup kitchen stuff, not political strategy; fine but not what a Labour Party should have as its fundamental aim.
After all, the main motive of ‘aid’ is to alleviate consciences while avoiding making the structural changes that would prevent the same thing happening again, to another cohort of powerless, ordinary people. The labour movement went beyond that well over a century ago. The Labour Party should not be reverting to the role of a 19th century Liberal Party – unless it votes to change its name, of course.
I could be wrong. I’m not involved directly in party politics so I just read the tea leaves.
Chris Trotter wrote something similar about Matt’s championing of a “centrist” LP and I have tried but failed to find the relevant piece on his blog. However, the thrust of it was that while Matt wants Labour to shift rightwards to make room for Mana on the left, a right-leaning Labour Party in fact robs the entire left of conceptual space. I think Chris was right. It is hard for the smaller left wing parties to gain traction if the major left wing party refuses to seriously challenge the status quo.
“It’s surely worth remembering that politicians are mere vehicles for more important matters, and should be rated in terms of how useful they are for those matters not how useful they are for their own political careers.”
Yep, and from what I’ve heard of the regular discussions between McCarten, Hooton, Tamihere and Jackson the focus is almost entirely on the “career” aspect.
Take for example – from the same segment last week – Jackson’s praise of Tariana Turia as one vof the best politicians of the year. His reason for her inclusion in his list? That she is beloved by maori wherever she goes.
Having said that, McCarten is a smart guy and I think your interpretation of his praise for Shearer is probably accurate.
ps the other factor influencing McCarten’s endorsement of Shearer is that Matt and his little beltway clique of pundit mates have all bought into the inevitability meme, the idea that sooner or later the public will get sick of National, and Shearer will become PM by default, regardless of what he says or does, as long as he can remain leader of the Labour party.
And once something is seen as inevitable it can be quite hard for political pundits – who like their predictions to be seen to be accurate – to resist getting behind it.
The main reason that Matt McCarten supports Shearer is because of the union movement’s distaste at any mention of climate change.
The biggest private sector union and the leading political opinion shaper inside the CTU is the EPMU. The EPMU derives a considerable amount of its income and support from their members in the heavily unionised fossil fuel extractive industries.
Any serious discussion of climate change will mean accepting that these industries will have to be seriously curtailed and in the case of coal the most dangerous source of emissions completely banned.
That is if we as human beings are to have any chance of being spared from completely wrecking the global bio-sphere.
Cunliffe a high profile politician who has taken the challenge presented by climate change seriously, is someone both feared and despised by the trade unions. His demotion and silencing is a cause for celebration by union leaders like McCarten.
P.S. To understand McCarten’s motives for supporting Shearer over Cunliffe, there is no need for speculation that it is all some hidden and overly complicated Machiavellian scheme to build up Shearer as the head of the Labour Party, so a more left party can replace them.
For all those speculating about Matt McCarten’s motives, never forget Occam’s Razor.
On the topic of McCarten’s list of best performing MPs. He has promised that next week he will publish his list of worst performers. I can’t wait. This will be an extremely interesting exercise.
Dare I make a prediction and guess that David Cunliffe’s name will not be mentioned by Matt McCarten at all, in any context, good or bad.
Like he never existed.
Well stated there Jenny…poor labour conundrum.
Can’t be labour without being labour.
A paradymial shift is needed for labour too.
Any retro shift rearwards will kill labour and any hope for NZ
And here we are bagging the middle and modern men and woman of labour.
Actually, what we have from Shearer et al is a complete denial of the need for change.
“Actually, what we have from Shearer et al is a complete denial of the need for change.”
And the treating the rest of us like fools, and think that we are just going to tamely step into line. We have had 4 years of failure politics, to be followed by at least 2 more. The thing that I don’t hear from Labour is ANY policy to reverse the damage that has been done. Or to grow an Economy. And from what I am hearing and seeing there is very little difference between National and Labour at this time. So, why should I vote for a system that wants to impoverish me even more than I am at the moment, whils’t taking away any rights that I have for recompense or Reimbursement. I have a government that will do anything to achieve it’s goals, and a Labour party that seems complicit in these aims. Am I going to vote YES am I going to vote Labour NO for the first time in my life NO!
Its not about growing the economic pie. It’s about distributing the pie. People have forgotten this.
Indeed Oscar. While Shearer is prattling on about growing the pie. The party of the rich, National are well aware that due to several intractable global factors the pie is shrinking and they are doing everything to make sure that as much as possible it is redivided in their interests.
Now that is the truth…real net productive growth is flatlined rst from investment capitalism. Wealthy keyites use nothing to make money from nothing but borrowed money, borrowed from the rest of us poor savers or indebted loaners.
Whole jack of cards is coming down or should but damned if we didn’t prop it up again and again.
Long live PAX America
Yes IB bu if we put out. Afresh bold policy platform and we lose even when it’s our turn in the cycle, what then?
New Zealand is in desperate need, it’s a cross point global event that is happening.
We are broke can pay the bills borrowed heaps and indebt to the bankers.
The LP needs to set up a continuum construct that captures the ecltrodate for more then three turns by energising at grassroots, branch and cross non party organisations…this is underway now.
We have to look beyond organised labour and achedemia to other societal players that are trying to influences or educate the public.
TS has a role to play in this as well, a forum for the dissemination of left and social idea’ s. we have a voice, it’s loud, and it has a ripple effect and outside influencers such as msm and indeed caucus.
We need momentum, focus and a unified broad left front to succeed and sem the Tory tide.
I would not like to see the Standard become just another echo-chamber for political pessimists. I’m inclined to agree with some of the recent commenters here who are drawing attention to this in various ways. Perhaps in 2013 it will be time for a bit more balance.
It just might be that we are optimistic about different things. I thought my post today about collective action was pretty positive about some examples of collective action over the last year.
I do currently lean more towards the Greens and Mana than the Shearer led NZLP. So I tend to be more positive about some of the initiatives by some of the Green MPs, and Mana people. However, I did include in my positive examples of collective actions the joint opposition party parliamentary inquiry into the manufacturing crisis, in which I perceive Shearer to have a significant role. I also am positive about the asset sales referendum, which all opposition parties have worked together on -plus some extra-parliamentary groups..
McCarten’s top ten MPs just seems strange to me. Shane Jones, Judith Collins and Paula Bennett? Hone Harawira has matured and performed well. Peters continues to be a very good opposition MP. And not one Labour of Green Party woman in McCarten’s list, even though both parties have some very able women. Yet he has those macho-type National Party women? And I see people like Cunliffe and Sue Moroney as some of Labour’s most able people. Grant Robertson performs very well in the House – he’s a very good speaker. However, like Shearer, he is too far to the right for me.
And, while I think the MSM like Russel Norman, I am more positive about other Green MPs. Daren Hughes has been very energetic this year. Julie Anne Genter has made a great parliamentary debut. And I’m pleased with the way Metiria Turei has stayed on the case of poverty issues. Her turn-around use of “Planet Key” started a whole new concept rolling this year.
And I continue to see the way forward for the left as being to engage with the grass roots activist base. There’s some very committed, smart and energised people out there.
I can only tell it as I see it.
Yeah, Its almost as though Mr McCarten’s top ten is an attempt at sarcasm. ?? Alot of questions. Is it really intended to be read seriously?
I agree with your comments Karol +1
+1 Very similar thoughts
Excellent comment Karol, as usual, thoughtful and thoroughly sensible.
I see it pretty much as you see it Karol. For me; Collins would be at the bottom of any list – that is she would be tied equal with Key, Parata, Groser, and Joyce for last. Just what has gotten into Matt over the past few years??
I keep trying to write up a comment here, but … nah.
Dogma – Dogma -Dogma
hee hee (well, to be inclusive, pee pee pee)
excellent movie Dogma.
-Michael (there is some “arch” for ya 🙂 )
Thanks to all who have commented. When I wrote the above post, I certainly had it in mind to break my usual pattern and join the discussion. I’ll now follow another of my usual patterns, sleep on what I would like to say, and respond to all in full in the morning.
Fair enough Mike. Have a good sleep. Thanks for this statement.
Piffle, pap and pointlessness pontifications.
Oh you’re so jejune. I bet you were the cool kid at school. No, scratch that. I bet you wanted to be the cool kid at school but convinced yourself you were too cool to be the cool kid at school.
NewZealand deserves a party that has a modern outlook that tackles modern issues . Labour is the one that needs to give us a party that we can vote for ,new ideas for our new problems.But paradoxically with a figurehead with cut-through ,not another grey face. Get this right and you will be looking after our nation next election … Just a comment from a person with a vote in his back pocket,
Why when we have other left wing parties that are actually being visionary?
Left wind right wing this is old …. Policy is what people want, the voter will choose on this. Its a new world out there. Good honest policy.
The right wing don’t think that shifting the wealth of the entire nation to the elite few is old. They’re still doing it. Same old Tories.
Exactly…. all those voters who stayed at home or made a bad choice need a reason to vote for equity, Good honest policy. Sounds naive but?
Sure, once you understand that policy is 75% irrelevant to winning elections.
Media that is self serving is a dent in my idea. But a leader /spokesperson could get around that maybe
visited Dr. Feelbetter this morning; kicking ethanol for His birthday. Maybe i may help.(no milk, no alcohol; just cheese; circumcised i am; have to slice it off 🙂 )
recovering Humility Moderation and Compassion. (that is where the power lays)
-Mellor (ing out) get the rhythm? 😉
The problems are not ‘new’ and the answers to the current problems can be found in the way that New Zealand dragged itself from the ruins of the Great Depression in the 1930’s,
Although what was great about it i can never figure…
“I would not like to see the Standard become just another echo-chamber for political pessimists. I’m inclined to agree with some of the recent commenters here who are drawing attention to this in various ways. Perhaps in 2013 it will be time for a bit more balance.”
Totally agree Mike. Under the guise of betterment some just sound like complainers and pessimists. Support the strengths and the fiddle with the means to improvements. Cannot do much from the Opposition benches!
This complaint about TS becoming pessimistic, is mainly being expressed by supporters of Team Shearer. To me there are a lot of positives here. The most depressing thing are the attempts, one way or another, to stifle dissent. It has me looking for an exit and pondering moving to a different forum.
And it (the pessimistic complaint of TS pessimism) just reads to me as another attempt to suppress any criticism of Team Shearer or open democratic debate about the NZLP.
This just seems like a rather soft and manipulative way to censor comments on the blog.
However, I have strongly held concerns about the current Labour Caucus leadership, and fear the kind of government it would lead. A change to a NAct-lite government, and one that tries to suppress democracy, would not be the kind of government I could support.
Sometimes democratic process and the route to negotiating differing views is difficult. I’m not here for some fairy-tale, cheer-leading for the NZLP no matter what it does.
Agreed Karol. The premise seems to be that if we just stop complaining and celebrate the magnificence that is the current caucus then everything will be fine.
Well damn it. We (activists) do not work on campaigns to preserve MPs their privilege. We get then elected so they can improve the plight of ordinary New Zealanders and so something about the serious problems that this world faces.
The sooner they understand this the better.
And they ought to realise that November’s constitutional changes were all about increasing the say of members and reducing the power of caucus.
well put ms.
i personally think it’s not only a duty to not support the current labour caucus leadership, given their anti-democratic disdain for the membership, but also a duty to actively oppose them.
suggesting that it’s somehow disloyal or at best counter-productive to left interests, to do anything other than cheerlead the current caucus of self-interested unreconstructed rogernomes is really quite offensive.
From where I sit, that’s really quite depressing Karol.
I know there certainly has been some “fairy-tale, cheer-leading for the NZLP” on ts. Actually, to be more precise, I think I’m correct in saying that some really quite ludicrous and noble vocal defences have been mounted more on behalf of specific actors who strut their stuff in the parliamentary pantomime than on the behalf of the NZLP.
Anyway. When I was asked to write here a couple of years back, it was well known that I was no fan of representative parliamentary systems of governance – never mind the NZLP. The left is broad. And the more ts can reflect the breadth of the left (including more conservative elements) the better imo.
Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I sincerely hope you don’t exit and that you have done with the pondering. That would be a good xmas pressie. 🙂
Thanks Bill and micky. I will keep posting here as long as they are welcome by the other posters and commenters.
I am just copying some of some my drafts of posts-in-the-making to a blog of my own. If they start to be seen as too “negative” here, I will then publish them on my own blog.
I’m uncertain where Mike is heading with this post of his. I think a few of us don’t have a lot of trust in the current Labour Caucus leadership.
Karol I value your posts here alot. You are a big part of making ts what it is, and it would be a loss for ts and the left if you stopped writing here.
I’m not really following your concern. Apart from Mike’s post, and a few comments about there being too much anti-Shearer, where is the negativity? Have you had some directed at you?
weka. Yes I have some such comments under a fairly recent post of mine. And it seems to be indicated at the end of Mike’s post above:
I would not like to see the Standard become just another echo-chamber for political pessimists. I’m inclined to agree with some of the recent commenters here who are drawing attention to this in various ways. Perhaps in 2013 it will be time for a bit more balance.
See the comments here under my post from a week or so ago:
Also, given the history of attempts to silence LP members from making critical comments on TS, and the fact that Mike Smith is a founder of this blog. Mike’s post, especially the quoted comment above, seemed to be more than just providing his view on the current Labour Caucus.
However, I agree, there hasn’t been a lot of negativity expressed on TS.
Average surface temps are likely going to increase by 3 to 4 degrees centigrade in the next 40 years, right when we will be in an energy depletion crisis.
And our politicians are still talking TINA and neoliberalism.
So this isn’t about Karol or any other poster being negative or pessimistic, or even being sunny and optimistic. The key is to be REALISTIC, which frankly our representatives in Parliament are awful at.
John Michael Greer has recently written on this dumbing down of political rhetoric. How political players have turned political debate into word association games with either “warm fuzzy” feelings or “cold prickly feelings”, instead of debating the issues and options in detail.
Thanks for the link Karol. I tend to agree with other commenters there that it was a case of sock-puppetry. And IMO the attempt of various parts of the Labour Party to silence ts is not something we should be put off by. They don’t have much of a leg to stand on, and we should remember that.
Thanks, weka. I was also respecting the fact that Mike Smith is one of the founders/trustees for this site.
“I think a few of us don’t have a lot of trust in the current Labour Caucus leadership.”
I agree with you 100% on your post Karol, but particularily on the comment above. The changes that were made at the Conference would have provided a clever and perceptive leader with a cue to make changes in exactly the opposite direction than what the Labour Caucus Leaders did on the Tuesday after the Conference. As members we could finally make decisions that gave us a real stake in the Labour Party. This change could have been very powerful for the Labour Party, it could have rejuvenated the membership and led to huge increase in funding in the organisation. I for one was left buzzing after the Conference, I thought the Labour Party had finally got things back on track.
But then on the Monday we had Labour Caucus members Cosgrove and OConnor on RNZ critisizing one of their colleagues, in my experience this is not good practice and a sign of weak leadership (Since when have we heard colleagues attack another colleague in such a way, unprecedented!). Then we got Chris Hipkins outburst, and after that I just felt that the Labour Party Caucus was just an undisciplined free for all, with no real leadership, and quite frankly a mess.
David Shearer’s decision to demote Cunliffe on the Tuesday after the Conference actually killed the momentum that the Conference had so succesfully created. For the Media, it provided them with a justification for their story and so they embraced it. But for me, it was exactly the wrong thing to do, Shearer created a disenfranchised group within Labour, he pissed us off.
For the sake of Labour and to carry on the momentum generated by the Conference he needed to take a very different action than to create an alienated group with in Labour. I am sure that had he taken a different action, Labour would be in a very different place than what it is in now. And that is why “I think a few of us don’t have a lot of trust in the current Labour Caucus leadership”…well when I discuss this with people I get the impression that it is more than a “few”.
I think it is up to Shearer and the Labour Caucus leadership to win our support back. By nature, Labour people dont look kindly on people who use authoritarian power…so until the Labour Caucus leaders can win us back we can do two things. 1)Continue to voice our concerns on ts and 2) Cut off/reduce/minimise our donations to the Labour party.
Well I am all for freedom of speech as i stated to CC but…
We, as members, have the mechanism to ensure caucus is aligned with the party but if our collective voices on TS and lack of support for the party organisation causes even one potential vote to be lost then the cost is too great.
We need to win the battle in 2014, then we enlarge the field soas to win the war.
Encircled ground we must fight but we need unity, focus and organisation to win.
we are the vanguard for the people.
There is a 3rd ‘thing’ that you can do, while acutely interested in the constitutional change made at the Conference, it’s relevance has now by the later actions of the leader and some of the Caucus come down to a lesson to the Party members on how that Caucus view you all,
Rather than withdraw support from the Party i am of the view that Labour members unhappy with what ensued after the constitutional review,(the BS leadership challenge and later demotion) should in fact openly agitate for a strengthening of that constitutional change which on reflection i think failed to go far enough,
My view is that the floor of the annual conference should hold by vote the trigger to the question of leadership, further to that it is my belief that democracy would also be better served if the conference floor by vote elected on a yearly basis the Cabinet,(shadow cabinet), and perhaps should even go as far by vote from the floor of the conference to allocate portfolios to the membership elected Cabinet,
Under such a constitution the Labour Caucus would never dare usurp the wishes of the Party membership while in Government simply because the membership would control who was ‘in’ Cabinet and for how long they remained such…
your posts are definitely welcome here karol
And here, +1, Karol don’t be deterred by any criticism expressed or implied, your posts are spot on as far as the concerns of a broad church ‘left’ goes,
It is not for ‘us’ to change the values we have held over many generations, it is for the Executive to act upon those concerns,
99% of what i read here on the Standard i can go to the Labour Party website and read as Labour Party policy, the disconnect (as criticism) does not therefor come from those who post and comment here, it appears to be a deliberate disconnect by the Executive from the membership and the Party policy,
The glaring example of this ‘disconnect’ would be the recently announced Kiwibuild housing policy, where to avail oneself of such proposed largesse one need be able to service a 300+ grand mortgage,
Labour housing policy has always been for the State to build such housing and rent it to those most in need for 25% of household income,
This to me is simply a glaring example of the Executive usurping it’s role and imposing upon the Party policy inspired by the Executive whether the membership agree to such policy or not…
Well said (again) Karol,
If one ran a business and responded to complaints in the way that NZLP caucus appear to have, and some members of NZLP on this site have, the business would be frequented less and less. Let that be a warning to you all. Get with the programme, pull your finger out, and stop whinging about peoples’ response to your ineffectual approaches. Complaints need to be seen as opportunities for improvement.
Fair enough to consider complaints off-putting when they get too vitriolic, however I don’t think that has happened on The Standard yet. Mostly there is a clear message of what the criticism is aimed at. I thought that the strength of democracy is the pooling of knowledge, from many walks of life and this involves criticism as well as positive reinforcement.
If political parties want positive feedback, there is a very easy way to get it. Start representing more views. Its really not rocket science.
Wouldn’t want to see you go either, Karol. Keep up the good work! 🙂
I think there is too much vitriol myself. And too much petty arguing. Those things are negatives for ts more than the criticisms of the Labour party IMO.
It would be good if you would substantiate your claim, anyone can say “I think there is too much vitriol” however stating reasons why would be helpful
Put it this way.
We have had a year where there have been serious privacy breaches in numerous ministries, an anti-democratic move in a Canterbury area, dishonesty from at least one portfolio holder and serious international shenanigans re the spy/Kimdotcom to which our PM has responded by “doing a number” numerous times of “forgetting”, “as far as I can remember”, “I didn’t read it” signs of severe incompetence and the main opposition party’s main move of the year is to attack one of their own.
Mr W Peters, the Greens and Mana have managed to get their points across numerous times regardless of the state of MSM and what have we heard of our main opposition party?
I’m not an “inside” person in politics, nor are the people I know and commenting how useless the Labour Party is coming across (usually perceiving the weakness as Mr Shearer, however I do understand that it must be an issue with advisors as well as one personality) and what now? We have this message coming across on the Standard that the criticism being aimed at the Labour Party is “too vitriolic” (wee wee wee Mummy tell them to go away)
If the Labour Party wish to become effective, they have to start listening to the feedback, not solely from their well paid (and clearly disengaged advisors), rather than crying about it and trying to shut it down in a very anti-democratic manner.
So, yeah, please tell me, under these circumstances, how you feel that the criticisms are too caustic.
Crossed wires, blue leopard. I was meaning too much vitriol on ts in general (rather than just aimed at the Labour party).
But since you asked 😉 how about this from Rhinocrates.
A fine rant for sure, but IMO it crosses a line. It’s intent is to put the people down, seriously damage their mana. I’m not intending to pick on Rhinocrates here, and to be honest, the quality of the rant does make up somewhat for the tenor of the comment. It’s more that there is a level of abusiveness here that IMO precludes collaborative politics. I notice in myself that it is very easy to just be ruder and ruder (I often have to edit my posts to Jenny at the moment because it would be so easy to put her down instead of just focussing on the weaknesses in her arguments).
I like a good argument, and if things were otherwise fine I’d be happy enough to just hang out here and argue, but things aren’t fine, they’re very bloody serious, and I sometimes feel that the combative nature of the debate here uses up alot of time and energy that might be put to better use in another way.
weka, I am not keen on things getting too combative as the discussions tend to be very unproductive. In that case, I usually just don’t engage and move on to something else.
Except that some persistent right wing thread-jackers and diverters can bring combative responses on themselves.
[RL: Thanks for the comment. Two problems; both lprent and I work full-time jobs 50 or more hours a week. One thing we do have in common is that we’re both speed-readers which helps a lot, but we’re not here as class-room monitors 24hrs. Besides that would kill the spirit of the place.
Secondly I think we’ve traditionally allowed a fairly high level of noisy, robust debate. I realise that not everyone likes that. What we try to do is intervene on the extremes of behaviour and expect that most people will moderate themselves. Some people take more ‘learning’ than others. A few never do.
Whether this approach will work indefinitely into the future is a good question. If The Standard were to double or triple to over 1000 comments a day, something would have to change.]
My comment wasn’t a criticism of TS moderation. It works for TS to enable a broad range of styles of commenting. Some like the more “combative” style of discussion, I tend to use a different style.
I was just saying to weka, that I find it best to just move on and not engage with the kind of comments that I find I can’t respond to in a productive way.
@ Colonial Weka,
You didn’t answer my question; you provided an example which you considered vitriolic, however my question was don’t you think that the vitriol directed at the Labour Party is in keeping with their failure this year? ….i forgive you on this occasion seeing as its Christmas and all 🙂 …..maybe you’ve already been imbibing some Christhmath spirits
I also know that there isn’t really a good answer you can give that would be in keeping with your argument.
I find Rhinocrates comments very heartening to read, witty and often on the pulse. A bit of swearing forgiven in Rhinocrates case because of the message conveyed. I think the subjects of Rhinocrates comments have damaged their own mana, and Rhinocrates is simply pointing that out.
As for “general” vitriol (which this post wasn’t about), yes, at times I find a certain type of vitriol off-putting; namely ad hominem attacks, usually this diverts a good argument; where debating the points is more interesting to me. However when conversations go that way I simply don’t bother reading them
If you think the problem I had with Rhinoctrates’ comment was the swearing then you really have missed my point (and don’t know me at all).
Do I think that the Labour Party deserves to be severely criticised? Yes. Do I think it’s useful to do that by heaping personal abuse on individuals? No.
“We have this message coming across on the Standard that the criticism being aimed at the Labour Party is “too vitriolic” (wee wee wee Mummy tell them to go away)”
This comment exemplifies what I am talking about. If you think it’s appropriate or useful to ridicule people by using a loaded taunt against men’s masculinity (and a tired old trope about the value of mothers to boot), then you deserve to have people like Mallard in charge. Personally, I think it’s fine for people to have feelings, and to not completely operate from the school of political hard knocks. I want some sensitive people in Parliament. And I want people who understand the value of respect in Parliament.
In my limited understanding of mana, it is something to be given to other people, and that the giving or not is also about the mana of the person doing the giving. It is possible to criticise the ABCs without resorting to destroying them as people. If you want to destroy them as people, then why should they not do the same to you or me or ts? In which case it’s just an unwinnable war. I don’t think we can afford that. I’m not advocating pacifism, I think it’s good to go hard against the ABCs. I just think there are some tactics that make the situation worse, on lots of levels.
My comment only “exemplifies what you are talking about” because you appear to have severely misconstrued it. There is absolutely no “loaded taunt against men’s masculinity” I seriously don’t know where you get that from. (?) The comment was figuratively illustrating how puerile I find the complaining over well-founded complaints of the Labour party caucus’s behaviour.
There was no apology, no addressing of “two senior members” approaching reporters to encourage publicizing the personal attacks of this member of the party. From an outside perspective this act was a poor show and displays seriously underhand tactics amongst colleagures. The silence from the leader on addressing this public “outburst” indicates a condoning of, if not involvement in the move. The backdrop being absolute oodles of fodder to attack the Government on, but hey, why do the much needed job of opposition party when you can simply publicize the disunity in your own party?
Hoping that it is not too disrespectful by providing a link to a very short description of a much involved concept:
In my view these people have lowered their Mana, and that of their party and to criticise that is not “taking away” their Mana; it is giving them an opportunity to rectify it.
Please go and read my posts again. I am not saying don’t criticise. I’m saying that personal abuse is not a useful strategy.
“My comment only “exemplifies what you are talking about” because you appear to have severely misconstrued it. There is absolutely no “loaded taunt against men’s masculinity” I seriously don’t know where you get that from. (?) The comment was figuratively illustrating how puerile I find the complaining over well-founded complaints of the Labour party caucus’s behaviour.”
Really? Because I thought you were comparing someone’s behaviour to a little boy going crying to his mother. Sounds like a put down to me.
I’d have thought that referring to some-one running off to appeal to an external authority was a reference to that persons negation of their own responsibility.
Couching it in terms of a wee boy running to their mum suggests immaturity alongside a failure to accept responsibilty. And, I just don’t see it as an attack on masculinity per se. The message or critisism strikes me as an appeal to “grow up” rather than “man up”. Besides, I don’t know that an appeal to “man up” in a patriarchical context would be altogether helpful or desirable.
And why ‘masculanise’ the comment anyway? There was no overt reference to a boy running to mummy. Since the reference is to the Labour Party and its immediate environment – and an interpretation of the nature of some perceptions/complaints about dynamics within that environment – why not an equally strong image of that perception as a little girl running off to mummy?
A girl running to her mummy doesn’t have the same put down potential as a boy 😉 I suppose I thought bl was referring to Mike Smith as one of the people saying don’t criticise the Labour party so much.
The wee wee mummy comment is, IMO, a personal put down, and again I don’t see how it’s helpful. Does anyone think that Shearer and Mallard or whoever are going to have some epiphany if they just get abused enough? In the macho culture that is parliament, I’m guessing that such behaviour just reinforces the things that we would like to see changed. Rhinocrates’ comment was classic. It implies that the only people that should be in parliament are the hardarses who can take such personal abuse, but the irony is that such people are unlikely to be swayed by such abuse anyway. I think that approach is wrong.
Likewise, if Mike Smith wants to post on ts that he thinks Labour should be supported not denigrated, then that’s fine. It sparks healthy debate. Calling him a child running to his mummy is petty and useless. By all means engage with the substance of what Mike has written and call him on that, but why bother putting him down? He’s part of this community too.
I got caught up in a flurry of guests and extra work. Thanks Bill for understanding my comment and clarifying it so lucidly
Karol, please keep contributing.
Ifs. Why must you interpret these comments as so largely pessimistic? More often than not they are full of hope for “positive” renewal.
Well, it would be the end of the familiar, certain status quo. Some people are not going to like that. No matter how positive it is for many others.
The thing is Mike. That if you found a newspaper or blogsite you have to have something to say.
Before agreeing to let The Standard be founded you should have looked to your own Party’s history.
In the days before the internet, all attempts to maintain a newspaper by the Labour Party failed.
#1. Because the leadership had nothing to say. (That was different to National.) So failed to attract any interest or readership.
#2. Because it gave a forum for flaxroots members to have their say, which offended the pragmatists. So had to be closed down.
But a blogsite is different..
The biggest difference is that it is interactive and often takes the discussion down paths that the LP top table don’t want it to go.
Unfortunately, other than the difficulty to control it. The other big difference, is the difficulty to shut it down once it has run out of the control of the leadership.
This is for two reasons.
(a) The ease with which all the posters and commenters can set up or transfer the discussion to another blogsite with hardly any fragmentation.
(b) The inability to threaten and control the authors and moderators themselves, who find it more than easy to defy edicts from the top table. And so can often drift from the party line.
Long live The Standard as it draws the debate further to the left.
Good on you Mike for still being involved.
PS. I couldn’t make out the little picture at the head of your post, Mike. I have just worked it out. Is this how you see yourself and the Labour Party leadership, encircled and beset by all sides?
If so, The way to break out of that encirclement, is by taking a strong stand one with one side, or the other.
Just try to make sure that it is not the wrong side. That’s the trick!
I always understood that this was not a Labour Party blog, but one of the broader labour movement – one that was a forum for those on the left, whatever party they support, or don’t support.
Yes, precisely Karol. Should the Standard find only Labour Party comment acceptable, then, of course, some of us will be obliged to withdraw.
The criticism of the, largely self selected, self serving incompetents we have in Parliament, on both sides of the house, is justified.
The left should never be in the position of singing from the same propaganda songbook.
leave that to the right.
Dissent, democracy and argument are essential to finding the best policies. And the best leaders.
I thought the standard was a blog for the broad left. Not an apologist for a Labour caucus’s ineptitude.
And, I fully expect any competent subordinate to be after my job. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be any good.
A competent leader should find that routine, and an incentive to meet a high standard, not threatening.
It is. However the NZLP is also a big organised part of that broad left, so you find quite a few members of the NZLP both commenting and authoring here (including me).
Labour is hardly, Left!
Actually, I am left, KJT. I am Labour. So is the secretary of my branch, all the members and the LEC as far as I can tell. Labour is not 3 dozen people working in Molesworth St, Wellington. Labour is left.
I will believe that when Labour apologises for the destruction of our society they started in 1984.
Whooooosh, point goes flying over KJT’s head.
I think we have already established that those with the power in the Labour caucus, are anything but.
And they do not accept dissent from anyone who wants them to stick to Labour’s declared principles.
As we have seen with the vapours that started the viper attack
I accept that the majority of members may be “left”>
over my head too Te Reo Putake
Not according to the people at Molesworth St, Wellington.
And then Dr Terry it will just become another Red Alert. Unused and shunned, because the ‘party’ uses it for underhanded purposes.
Mike … all credit for keeping the lines of communication open.
The very best outcome would be this. Imagine if the Labour leadership actually engaged with people at The Standard … not on their controlled terms … but openly and honestly. Sure it would feel risky, and for certain there would things said people would prefer not said.
But it would once and for all break the neo-liberal MSM stranglehold on the message. For once you would have a media on your side, not theirs.
Did anyone also notice this little treasure which demonstrates the ideological nopnsense that underpins the KeY policies of this NACTional government.
A further piece of news that should give Labour more ammunition to destroy Parrota and, at the same time, further undermine the merry dance of the smile, wave, scuttle and run PM.
The easy and instant way to end the public stoush is remarkably simple.
David Shearer could commit to holding a party wide vote in Feb regardless of any caucus vote of confidence. At the moment, whether you or he like it or not, there’s a widespread perception that pretenders are clawing onto vestiges of power. That fuels anger. But like I say, it’s easily mollified. Not holding my breath right enough and suspect the idea is to avoid a party wide vote in Feb.
In which case the anger and the critisism will continue through March, April, May…and some incumbents will be running a real risk of losing their permission to stand as electoral candidates further down the track. (Or are those changes around selection not in place yet and able to be blocked or deferred?)
I agree, and just a slight correction
“In which case the anger and the critisism will continue through March, April, May…”
Some criticism probably will continue, yet more likely people will start focussing on political parties that give them a vestige of hope that they will act to improve conditions for more people.
I agree with that 100%, media commentators remarked at the time of Shearers demotion of Cunliffe that doing so was Shearer somehow making the ‘tough’ decision and showing ‘leadership’,
I viewed that,(Cunliffes demotion), as exactly the opposite, had Shearer at the time left Cunliffe to His position and publicly stated that it would be He,(Shearer), who would trigger the Party wide leadership vote in February my opinion of Shearer would have risen markedly…
But there’s all these Dinosaurs in the LP Caucus that will resist change with every vestige of their old bones. So as good an Idea as it is Bill i’m afraqid that thats aqll it will ever be, until said dino’s are gone.
So what exactly were the changes to the selection process that empowered members? And when are they meant to come into effect (if they aren’t already)?
I agree 100% Bill.
“I would not like to see the Standard become just another echo-chamber for political pessimists. I’m inclined to agree with some of the recent commenters here who are drawing attention to this in various ways. Perhaps in 2013 it will be time for a bit more balance.”
Don’t do it, Mike. You would kill the very thing which brings us here. Life would be boring without ‘The Standard’ .. as it is.
Perhaps as both a post author and a person working in the office of the Leader of the Opposition the message you convey to us who comment on and read the Standard should be reversed and conveyed to that Leader???
Is not the heart of Politics the engagement with as wide a cross section of those the Party supposedly represents??? and is not the Standard, it’s authors, readers and commenters a readily available ongoing audience and discussion of those politics,and should not the Leader and other Members of the Caucus be only too happy to engage with the Standard in an open and frank discussion…
Back in the 80’s quite a few of us concluded that National politicians infiltrated the Labour Party so they could be in power regardless of who was elected. That’s how it felt as working conditions, unions, wage levels and benefits were all attacked and dismantled, alcohol access was opened up to supermarkets, shops were opened up to all days of the week and so on.
The disillusionment with Labour started back then. At times I had hoped for improvement and Clarks Labour government did much good work but never had the courage to roll back much at all and totally lost my support when they didn’t increase benefit rates significantly in 9 years.
The difference in rates now between benefits and NZS is ridiculous and even more so when you take living alone payment into account.
I’ve expressed my concerns to several local Labour and National MP’s over the years with little interest from either.
I came across this site while doing research around the original standard.
This gave me an option to reflect that from my perspective a view that seemed to have no other outlet – that we have moved so far to the right that things that were normal for a long long time in this country are now seen as extreme.
It really does irritate me that Labour has the claiming of the 8 hour working day but no Labour politician let alone the party is willing to say that it’s time it was put back.
Without delving into any other area of irritation let’s take that simple question Mike.
What is the Labour Party’s position on re-instating an 8 hour working day 40 hour working week?
You have it as a tenet of the Labour Party on your website – is it a historical tenet only or is it something alive and living today?
And let’s not forget many workers still have that in their contracts currently – it’s about supporting those who do not.
The message from team Shearer is consistent: “shut up.”
Genuine criticisms probably cut a little deeper than the dreck Farrar et al serve up.
I found the picture at the top of this post by googling “ray of sunshine.” I much prefer optimism; I remember a dear friend, a long-term beneficiary with a wonderful sense of humour, once giving me a favourite quote: “No-one ever went blind from looking on the bright side of life.” How true.
Looking on the bright side politically, at the end of 2012 Labour and Greens are trending up in the polls, National is trending down. Combined Labour-Greens are at least level-pegging with National. What I want for Christmas is a win for Labour-Greens in 2014, two years away.
I think the Standard should be more in the main game. For a long time we were; more recently it’s felt more like infighting. The right-wing trolls have disappeared; it’s as though they don’t need to bother with us any more.
To me, that means seeing where the real enemy is. And not letting perceptions get in the way. Just to calm things down, I don’t want to shut the Standard down, quite the opposite. I think it could have a valuable role to play.
And I’m not worried by debate on the left, ’twas ever thus; I’d just prefer it was less personal and less prone to sweeping judgments. I’ve lived long enough to have spent a great deal of time out of the “beltway” – although I was in Washington D.C. for three years in the sixties and seventies, and saw the effects of the 1968 race riots, well inside the beltway.
I understand perceptions do matter. There may well be a difference between many on this site and where they perceive the Labour caucus to be. The best answer to that is to talk to each other, not consign others to fixed positions that may well not be true. People can and do change.
David Shearer is a good example. Gobsmacked asks a simple question “What did Shearer do before the criticism started.” I’d say quite a lot actually, if you look at his track record before entering Parliament. I supported him from the beginning, for reasons I stated here. http://thestandard.org.nz/selections-i-have-known/
I was also critical of his rooftop example here. http://thestandard.org.nz/dog-whistling/ When the crescendo grew against him before the Labour conference, I pointed out that two other Labour leaders had turned things around with one speech. http://thestandard.org.nz/dont-panic-2/ So did Shearer.
To me after is much more important than before; maybe it’s time to let the anger go.
So back to the future. I think there is a real opportunity for a change of government in 2014. And I think that Labour-led government is always better than National-led; they’ve never been perfect but they’ve always been better. Unions and beneficiaries learned that the hard way after the demise of the fourth Labour government – we got the Employment Contracts Act, the Mother of all Budgets, and a recession.
And I think the next Labour-Green government will be much better. There’s been a seismic shift at the base away from the 1980’s consensus on monetary and economic policy, so much so that the old “no difference” critique is now well out of date. Social policy is work in progress, but again signs are it will be very different from National. It’s opportunity time.
The left’s main problem has always been disunity; it’s why solidarity is such an important labour movement value. Again, I think it is important to focus on the real enemy. This National government is bringing back many of the same laws as underpinned the Employment Contracts Act, and mounting another attack on beneficiaries – they’ve just learned not to make it so obvious.
People are waking up however, which is why Kerre Woodham’s article is an important straw in the wind. I think the Standard should help.
Mike, we would all prefer a Labour-led Government over a National one. We are on the same team, and we want the same thing.
We just totally disagree about how we’re going to get there.
That’s why the refrain from the pro-Shearer camp that the Standard is ‘negative’ and ‘helping National’ is so maddening.
You, and the majority of the Labour Party caucus, for some unfathomable reason, think David Shearer is going to lead Labour to victory in 2014.
Most of the rest of us think there is no way in hell that Labour will win in 2014 with Shearer as leader, and we believe that urgent action is needed or our country will end up suffering under a third term of a National Government.
For that very reason, because we know how much there is at stake, we will not shut up.
Thanks for responding, Mike, and for your reassurances of continued open discussion on TS.
Blue, even if the current LP leadership did lead a new government, it has moved so far to the right it will not stop the decline and rightwards shift of NZ. This current Labour Leadership has so far looked like the most right wing, male-dominated and undemocratic caucus leadership that I have seen for an NZLP in a long time. In power, it is unlikely to do little to move the country in the direction it needs to go for the future.
It will be less destructive than the current government, with one or two positive but incremental changes. However, once the NActs return to power, there dismantling of the NZ welfare state will continue as if they’d never been away.
Getting the MSM on side by sweet-talking and indications of no dramatic changes, is a dangerous game. Once in power the current Labour caucus leaders couldn’t do anything to left wing without being destroyed by their MSM “friends”.
I’m not aware of any infighting at ts. But I am aware that the Labour Party has mps using interviews with major news outlets to slice and dice fellow mps. And it’s the Labour Party that needs to be ‘more in the main game’. It’s they who are out of touch with what people are thinking, not ts. And the right-wing trolls aren’t trolling because they don’t need to bother with the Labour Party any more. (Just read Mathew Hooten’s mischeviously supportive comments on various threads).
Gawd my head’s hurting! The advice being to close my mind to what I know and think (perceptions) for why? The ambitions of others? You do know it would be far more appropriate to give that advice to caucus and convince them to act on it, yes? ‘Cause you know, they are the ones who are meant to represent and act upon the views of others. Not me.
I’m off to find some aspirin.
“And the right-wing trolls aren’t trolling because they don’t need to bother with the Labour Party any more. (Just read Mathew Hooten’s mischeviously supportive comments on various threads). ”
Yep, when Matthew Hooten is posting here about how impressed he is with Shearer, you know it’s because he wants him to stay leader because he doesn’t think he can win.
And even if he does, the policy settings will be only slightly to the left of National.
David Cunliff gets it. We do not want our legs cut off, again! even if Labour offers anesthetic.
Gees, Bill 21.1, thanks for writing so succinctly exactly the type of thing that was running through my mind!! (I think a lot of us might have the same headache)
p.s unsure about these comments that the trolls have disappeared; they haven’t apart from some who have recently been banned!
Mike, I agree with much of what you say and I also say thank-you for having the nous to keep the line of communication open…
I haven’t time to detail my comment further except to say:
I am an admirer of David Shearer. I think he has a great deal to offer NZ. But I also admire David Cunliffe. I think he, too, has a great deal to offer NZ. Do you not agree he was the victim of a set of circumstances created by the MSM (and used by a small group within Caucus) and that he has been unjustly treated? Does not the Labour Party believe in justice and fairness for all people and not just a selected few?
“To me after is much more important than before; maybe it’s time to let the anger go. ”
After is more important, why? Because the pain of being lied to, and ignored, will all miraculously go away, because it’s all for the common good of the party?
So then we should just shut up be good little boys, and let the labour party turn Blue?
And after reading your reply Mike, leaves me to believe that you, and the rest in the ‘party’ have NOT listened, and have NOT taken to heart what the membership wants. SO therefore what does it take?? A complete disaster at the next election?? NO workers at the Next Election? So the message I would like to personally send is this.
If you want my vote back you have to start to listen.
You are NOT too big to be voted out.
If Shearer is still the Leader of the Labour party, and they again ignore the wishes of the membership in Feburary, then the 800,000 that didn’t vote last time, will seem like a drop in the ocean compared to the votes that will desert them in 2014.
I have already said that Labour will be a sad and sorry 3rd if he is still the leader, because it means the Dinosaurs are still in charge, and it will be a lost vote, to vote for them.
Gobsmacked asks a simple question “What did Shearer do before the criticism started.” I’d say quite a lot actually, if you look at his track record before entering Parliament. I supported him from the beginning
As did I. See the various Standard threads on the Mt Albert by-election. I was excited by his candidacy. I was told I was a “cheerleader” for Shearer. Many of us were, back then.
But then he did nothing to impress, after winning the by-election, and nothing again after winning the leadership. So I changed my mind. Based on evidence, not wishes.
Mike, the fact that you need to invoke “his track record before entering Parliament” speaks volumes. I asked what he had done as Labour leader, and you – a loyalist and Labour man through and through – could not give a single example. Again, if anybody would like to, please do.
Yet again, the timeline says it all (even though you choose to ignore it). First – Shearer failed. Then – people criticised. No amount of blurring and distracting will change the laws of time. Events A happened before Events B. This is historical fact.
David Shearer will not become Prime Minister based on his life before politics. He has taken on a new job, and he has been found wanting. So essentially the debate comes down to … Has he changed? Will he change? Can he change? And … Does his caucus faction even care?
My view is that he is not up to the job, and he could lose Labour the unlosable election. It is up to Labour and their leader to change that view. They cannot do this by demanding that we ignore the evidence of our eyes and ears. They can only provide better evidence. That’s their job for 2013, and it’s not going to change, even if the Standard disappeared tomorrow.
After gaining first hand knowledge of senior Labour MPs spending tax payer paid for time, energy and effort trying to attack and undermine me, an ordinary non-office holding Labour Party member who has poured time, money and energy into the party, I must say that your call for “solidarity” and for The Standard to play it’s useful “role” seem like so much sea salt rubbed into wounds.
Let me ask you, did you ever question those Labour MPs if they could see “where the real enemy is”, just like you are questioning us on The Standard?
I would like to use more colourful language to describe the individual perpetrators involved of course, but I can do that with them over a beer some time.
As for disunity, how about getting the well paid professional caucus to lead by example before you complain about disunity in the all-volunteer membership (and non-Labour voting Left in general). Do you really think that the media comments/leaks made by the caucus ABCs during and after conference are insignificant or have been forgotten so quickly?
Australia has long allowed its reserve bank to do much more than target inflation. Singapore heavily controls its forex movements through a non-transparent mechanism. Japan, USA, the EU and the UK have collectively printed over US$5T in new money since 2007. Argentina told foreign bond holders to wait in line and Iceland told the banks to go screw themselves. All over the world governments are putting in place steps to increase resource nationalism, particularly around fossil fuel reserves. The EU is debating a Europe-wide financial transactions tax.
Compared to all of this activity, what leading edge positions or even discussion (not detailed policy) is Labour signalling in public? Any? Any at all? Come on Mike, give us just two or three actual examples of this recent “seismic shift” in Labour economic thinking that you are asserting has occurred. Shifts which mean that Labour is now truly political-economically distanced from National, and not just different on some points of fine print or theory.
I hope you don’t think that a policy of $300,000 houses built by private corporations for shareholder profit, designed only for those with solid wages and salaries, but significantly subsidised by taxpayers is an example of Labour’s “seismic shift”.
Now, about solidarity.
To my dearest wingmen and women (and that includes those of you on the Right Wing too, you dudes were awesome!!!). I believe that you showed the NZ political blogosphere and MSM the real meaning of the word “solidarity”. I dare say that nothing quite like the spontaneous formation of The Standard Viper Squadron, with over 60 individual magnificent Vipers, has occurred before anywhere else in the political blogosphere anywhere in the world.
Be very proud of yourselves Standardistas, I certainly am. Please enjoy your holiday break safely with the people you love, and know that in return you too are loved, both by people that you realise and also by some that you don’t.
“So say we all”.
CV, ever at your service.
So say we all! Well said!
And you have a very good break too, CV. You have been missed.
All this has happened before, and will happen again.
PS: we have so many vipers now, many may not have noticed you slip in the door.
And, in honour…. so say we all!
Happy holidays, CV.
(note – I am a Viper name change in spirit, just too lazy/selfish to do it and then forget who I’m supposed to be …)
Brother. 🙂 at your service (you remain behind Him obviously)
-servant (only Christ keeps me out of jail in this god-forsaken country)
(Wholly Other, Life, Agape, Freedom.) it is not the tenth commandment by a roll of the dice 😉
Well put my friend.
When the trade unionist I have talked to state they want a green red coalition as next govt so the greens will keep labour honest and on direction then I know change is coming but I for one think our MP need our support.
Welcome back CV, you have been missed.
Kia ora CV
Good to see that you (or they) can’t keep a good person down!
Yes, very good to hear from you CV. Utterly dreadful to think that taxpayers money is being wasted on trying to shut you up. One requirement that our MPs have is to adhere to democratic principles, so what’s this all about?
My guess is, that it probably isn’t taxpayer money being invested in this anti-democratic b/s, it feels to me that NZ has got a lot of big money influences infesting the country at present; all planning what to do when Mr Key loses his shine. It appears that the Labour party are acting like a bunch of exited whores, when the sailors arrive. Got that frothing at the mouth vibe, ignoring reason that only money-whore-brown-nosing can bring out to this extent. And no, I’m usually not partial to conspiracy-style views, however this is getting to obvious to ignore.
Why else would the main opposition party ignore their constituency to the level they have?
Because the members are hicks and they the academia know best..
Your comment gives me some insight, thanks.
…yet I am still left questioning why a caucus would ignore their support base-even if they are hicks; “hicks” votes still gets them into office.
Either the caucus have (1) completely lost the plot, (2) are “professionally” suicidal or the (3) they know they have other sectors of the community whom will get them a win at election-time. I am presuming option 1 & 2 unlikely and so the 3rd option “other sectors” might be the go.
This “unknown” sector wouldn’t appear to be the 800, 000 or so people who didn’t vote; there appears to be no targeting of these people nor types like those writing into the Standard (for example) concerned about a lack of and advocating policies that would assist improvement for the least well off, workers or even small business owners. Considering a majority of people would benefit from such policies, then what sector is left that would have the clout to discourage such policies and nous on how to “get around” delivering them, yet still achieve election success?
Hi blue leopard
To connect to and get the nonaligned non voter, the young etc on board take a huge amount of operational effort and or political capital. Much better to go for the switch swing middle voter.
I wonder if the LP organisational review and outcome will include better election airing techniques, more modern methods…. Same old same old doesn’t work.
“To my dearest wingmen and women (and that includes those of you on the Right Wing too, you dudes were awesome!!!). I believe that you showed the NZ political blogosphere and MSM the real meaning of the word “solidarity”. I dare say that nothing quite like the spontaneous formation of The Standard Viper Squadron, with over 60 individual magnificent Vipers, has occurred before anywhere else in the political blogosphere anywhere in the world.”
I feel priviledged to have been part of that. What would be cool would be if we did something with that next year. Not sure what, but there is magic and potential momentum in the formation of the squadron and how it came about.
You are a real Christmas present cv.
This is family gathering round.
felixviper reporting in.
Good to hear from you CV, hope you’ll be joining us regularly soon.
hear hear cv
And what would have been different if the 4th Labour government had continued?
Labour knew in 1987 that the country didn’t want to continue with the reforms that they had started but they got voted back in. Is it any surprise that they got voted out in 1990 after they continued their attack on the poor and the workers? National did, after all, promise not to continue the reforms which, of course, they did and then we spent another two elections trying to get rid of them.
At the base maybe but we’re not seeing that at the caucus level.
That I can agree with but there’s a difference between solidarity and being told to tow the line which Shearer et al don’t seem to understand.
I wish I could express my position as well as you Mike Smith. + 100%.
Unity is strength. Undermining the leadership is fatal.
The most recent undermining of Labour Party unity was when the leadership moved response to the membership vote for more say in the party. It was against the main direction of signaled by the majority of members. The disunity has been activated by the leadership.
They punished Cunliffe on the basis of false claims of an attempted coup at the conference, at the same time as Tamihere was doing some actual bad-mouthing of the party. At the samer time Tamihere negatively baited sections of the party and its supporters (women and gays). Then Tamihere was welcomed back into the fold.
The disunity comes from the top. Enforced “solidarity” by the leadership is evidence of a weak leadership, and not the kind of unity that motivates and energises a group.
Thanks Mike for trying to explain your choice of photo to me.
Amidst th’encircling gloom…
However the above heading you gave to accompany the photo gives lie to your claim that you chose this sombre image out of a ‘preference’ for ‘optimism’. Mike, whether consciously or not you have chosen an image that conveys your sense of dread. Depicting as it does yourself (and your supporters) as a small island of light surrounded by a sea of darkness. As well as depicting your feelings about the situation, your gloomy photo and headline infer The Standard is part of “th’ encircling gloom….”
I personally think a better image to convey the reality of the situation you and your colleagues find yourself in, would be of a reversed photo negative of the same picture.
An all embracing sky, bathed in light, filled with debate, surrounding a dark central core, conservative, sullen, frightened and resentful, isolated and outnumbered, in the surrounding sea of light.
Well said, Mike. “Lead thou, kindly Light” indeed.
“The best answer to that is to talk to each other, not consign others to fixed positions that may well not be true. ”
In the absence of Labour taking a position on most things talked about here you can only assume their position is egregious.
Talking to each other is a two-way street.
So back to my earlier question:
What is the Labour Party’s position on re-instating an 8 hour working day 40 hour working week?
I could add others such as increasing benefit rates but lets try and take one step at a time.
Mike clearly you are a messenger, so pop over to parliament and give them this one.
A few things Labour’s caucus could do for us here to improve our relationship.
1. Don’t presume you own us. Or can enforce your will on us. Or can control us. State clearly and publicly that they represent us, in fact that they work for us, not the other way round.
2. Publicly denounce Claire Curran for seeking to hunt us dow. And apologise.
3. Write policy pieces under their own name here. And when they do, expect debate. Because its fun.
4. Poll better than 2008. In fact apologise here for the 2008 result. We don’t get paid for campaigning.
5. Give us our leadership vote.
6. Unite and be an effective opposition. Any time……….
7. Release policy that alters the polls, every quarter to 2014.
8. Demonstrate they can be a future government by publicly cooperating with coalition partners.
9. Actively encourage and support this site, knowing its fast-growing power and MSM competitiveness.
10. Win an election. Any time………….
So far none of this has occurred.
And if they’d like our help with that election, see above.
This may help. We will let you know Mike.
Time to reflect.
The people in the street need a left block vistory in 2014, its a must do or die event.
How we get it or with whom as leader or which clique doesnt matter really AS long as we get a green labour holding the treasury benches.
Firstly as a red left we cant scare the voters centre and non aligned with any extreme policy or provide the MSM with a focal message that would cist the election. i.e red under the bed syndrone.
Our Caucus have elected an leader who has witnessed and actively relied against extreme poverty and is more a mangerial type of leader.
Just what labour needs – a leader capable of bringing together various factions and grouping within the centre. left and even centre right….its called faciliation.
Sweeping structural and organisational change is and will happen before the 2014 election, be Patient.
TS must play its part in getting the message and debate out to the wider community and as such we need robust debate on issues and policy BUT the axe grinding and abuse is counter producive.
Lets Win the elections at all costs then slowly change society.
Ita not a left victory but a victory for the people who are suffering and will suffer more under theis failed tory idiology wich even treasury are failing to support on some of the suggested poliy coming from english and co.
Time to unite and organise, time to stand up and fight now together or it will be too late.
One last chance as over next ten years society is going to face too many system shocks
So i suggest that we reflect on exactly what we need as commentators and left blcok supporter need to do to ensure a LP GP victory.
Lets Win the elections at all costs then slowly change society.
Ah, there’s the rub. To endure a Lab-Green government that will deliver real change, we need caucus leadership we can trust – one answerable to the members. Not seeing that.
Karol – way i read it, there are sveral ‘triggars’ now available to the party to ensure that caucus is aligned with the party and its wider members.
Just remember for a just, equal and fair social policy broad platform we need a fully functioning economic system. No available cash = no social policy room.
Without a gradual and accepted economci system change, a transition if you like, we cannot bring about the desired social direction and poicy changes that is so needed.
what your solution to no cash in the system….NZ is broke now and for the foreseeable future.
Tory last ditch solution is asset sales, beg, borrow and even now impose tax hikes.
I for one am or will do everything to organise my local electrorate this coming year with one objective.
A LP GP victory in 2014. lets face the coming triple crunch with sussessive ten year plans
I don’t consider 8 hour working days, increasing benefit rates by $20 + per week, me as an income earner in the top 20% paying more tax, increased rights to strike, increased state housing and the removal of income tested rents, the reinstatement of Non income tested support for children, etc as extreme policies. They weren’t extreme when we had em and they ain’t extreme now.
It’s just sad people younger than me don’t have em.
DES extreme is any policy that the MSM etc can twist and panic the wide wide middle voter
How about no sunday trading to your list
How about a target of 100% employment.
im not worries about top ten% tax payer more like tope .1% the multi millionaires who rorte the system.
All good valid ideals but at what cost?
last friday i worked from 8am till 11pm no breaks 5.5 day weeks i am tired and have had enough so how about victory first, binding policy from the members next over ten year period and get real meaningful change from the signalled new direction.
I want not something old. not something borrowed and broke, definetly nothing blue, i want something NEW..but a ransition period first where we prepare the electrorate for change..
Trouble is, Geoff, I’ve seen such promises before. It’s in the same box as trickle-down as far as I’m concerned. The promise of good things down the road never comes. Now is the time for real change.
Yes the MSM is a problem. But it will continue to be so when the LP tries to implement real change. What you’re advocating is the Blairite, 1990s solution. And after Blair, comes Cameron and ruthless austerity.
actually noooo im not.
We have had third way direction, its been around since gideon (re ) formalised it in the mid 90’s.
Neo lib direction is dying. we are facing a coming crunch either we transit thru this period by unfettered post investment capitalism or something else i.e a red green brown NEXT WAY.
Third way to a transitional way to the NEXT WAY and it better not be the tory way as people by then will be very very desperate.
But so far Team Shearer have given no indication of following a New Way, only the old Blairite, appeasing the MSM, third way, and autocratic and untrustworthy with it.
No use having a bold direction if the electorate voter doesn’t get it.
First we need to reconnect, reorganise and restructure the party and focus on operations within the electorate. Grass root activists .
Then win the damn election then slowly modify society to weather the storm and also to allow successful adoption of the new economic system that is so needed by the people.
Neo lib neo capitalim is failing, social democracy third way is meaningless and socialism well it’s time came and went…
Pax Roma is falling, the gloomy darkness is encircling from the west and east…time for a new construct.
“last friday i worked from 8am till 11pm no breaks 5.5 day weeks” So was it last friday you worked these hours? or is it everyday?? No matter, you should screaming for a union, because it is ILLEGAL to make anyone work 15 hrs with out a break, and I really don’t see how this can come about in anything other than a family business. As staff would be gone in a heart beat. So maybe you should come clean re the ‘8am to 11pm no breaks 5.5 day and fill us in on some of the details.
Retail sale hours no set or given breaks…eat on the run.
Most people I know don’t stop for breaks these days, over worked under payed..it’s called life in new Zealand.im lucky to have a job in these tough tough times.
Illegal to not have breaks.
Your employer is required to give you
– 10 minute break every 3 hours
– 30 minute (unpaid) “lunch” break every 5 hours
If you worked 15 hours, you should be entitled to 1.5 hour lunch break and five 10 minute breaks. If your employer pays you for 13.5 hours for friday, you’re getting gipped.
Time to enforce your rights under the law.
You are trying your bullshit on an Ex Fast Food store manager and believe me NO ONE, not even me the manager, did anywhere near those hours. So lets try that again.
I am not in the habit of lying my friend.
I regular work thru lunch etc due to how busy stressed we are…fact of life.
One I worked 3 month ten hour days no days off as manager due to staff issues.
It called life well work…heaps of people work too hard for too long and for little pay or salary.
Just what labour needs – a leader capable of bringing together various factions and grouping within the centre. left and even centre right
You mean the fellar that demoted the guy with the most talent in caucus for staging a coup that he did not actually stage?
You mean the guy who survives only through the support of the ABC faction and refuses to promote talented MPs like Dalziel, Chauvel and Moroney because they are not in his faction?
You mean the guy who bullied MPs into publicly revealing who they were going to vote for even though they have a constitutional right to refuse to do so?
You mean that fellar?
I do not think that Cunliffe was challenging the leadership at that stage, but even if he was, so what! A genuinely popular and authoritative leader is able to meet such challenges.
The problem, Mike, as I see it, is that the relation between the membership and the controlling clique in caucus has the stench of bad faith bargaining. The membership may can have a say, but on condition that they say exactly what the caucus clique would have them say.
To begin with, they involved the members in the leadership change, only to reject their choice. Then, when they were outvoted on the leadership trigger, they immediately set out to thwart an obvious candidate who did not suit their plans. Whatever agreements this clique has made with right wing commentators trump the concerns of the members, whom they appear to think must be “brought around” rather than heard. Honest dialogue and real concessions from the caucus to the members are the only possible way through this. But I am not holding my breath.
I do not think that Cunliffe was challenging the leadership at that stage
I was at the conference Fri.afternoon, all day Sat. and Sun., and I am certain Cunliffe was not attempting to challenge the leadership. That is why the actions taken immediately following that conference stunned me speechless for days on end. It still does to some extent.
Perhaps I’m in denial, but I believe Shearer was effectively obeying instructions from his ABC backers. He fell for the line they had obviously been spinning him for the past 12 months, and thought he was taking decisive and appropriate action.
I’m looking forward to him reversing his decision to demote Cunliffe sometime early 2013. If he doesn’t do so, then he will have betrayed me and many other Labour Party members. He – and the party – will eventually find they have paid a big price!
The LP needs unity, unity for a reason.
Ever wondered what that reason is?
Sometime unity come at a cost..
Geoff that makes as much sense as having to destroy the village to save the village.
Without unity, focus and direction the LP with face segmentation again or at the least a Rerun of 2011.
Cunliffe doesn’t and will never have the numbers but he can be an important player.
So in a way the small village must give way to enable all the people to be saved.
Clearly it’s not cunliffes time…yet.
Cunliffe … can be an important player
I agree but Shearer does not appear to believe so.
Don’t you see the contradiction? You say Shearer is a uniter but it seems pretty clear from the evidence that he is not.
Until he starts showing that ability Labour is going to continue to struggle.
CC tried to silence a commentator and the viper army was created, it made the msm and caused ripples, CC got a smack…
Words have power.
“CC tried to silence a commentator and the viper army was created, it made the msm and caused ripples, CC got a smack…”
And what she should have got (in all fairness) was a trip to the backbench to learn here p’s and q’s. Also someone needs to buy her a book, along the lines of Electronic Communication for Dummies.
Oh there are wheels within wheel at moment…just same old turning monkey grinder.
Or the fellar(s) advising him?
One more aspirational fail bites the dust.
Seems to be a lot of toy throwing and no policy debate . 51% agreement, fine with me.
nz first has a whole hour on radio live to talk policy on now .1.38pm
Coming down to earth on Christmas Eve and being being realistic there is every possibility and probability that in 2014 a Shearer led Labour/Green coalition Government will happen.
Under MMP however amended the Nacts cannot get enough seats to form a Government.
Only a small 2% swing will not give them the seats required.
Therefore it would it not be positive go go to 2013 without some sort of combined policy for both Labour and the Greens to agree upon to get the Government roling immediately after the election.
Winston will not make it this time, or be electorially impotent.
The most important decisions to be reviewed is what the Greens will “demand” of Labour to activate the coalition.
Most of their policies are too far out left to be really serious, and that is in itself dangerous.
Some sort of agreement must be thrashed out – even behind closed doors.
I think the Greens should be free to be critical of Labour and not be subservient to them. The McCarten articles indicate a possible Team Shearer-Norman-MSM stitch-up that would not be very good for the left – and would/does possibly include Peters. The other MPs in the GP caucus have been relegated to the background, along with all their important policy and other work.
I would rather have a democratic, transparent, more public debate of issues at this stage, with the GP free to critique Labour.
You make the accusation,now please add the words to back up your view that most of the Green policy’s are too far out left to be really serious,
Give us the list of exactly what you see these policy’s to be…
@ Fortran, ‘Green’s policies are too far left’ just like their policy for warming up homes
for people who have community services cards and others, too left, for pointing out the
waste of $14billion of taxpayers money on roads of ‘Nact’s importance’.
On planet Key,he now claims the credit for warming up the homes project, the greens policy
is an example of their foward and inclusive thinking.
Anybody ..What is the LP consensus on climate change mitigation ? Is there one?
Ask Helen Clark
Off to Greens then… bye.
This post started out about optimism and pessimism, and I think that has been useful to clarify different views. It seems those like Blue and Gobsmacked are pessimistic about whether Labour can win in 2014 with David Shearer as leader, and those like Karol are pessimistic about whether even if David Shearer-led Labour won, that the ensuing government would be very different from National.
As I said I’m an optimist. I believe Labour can win in 2014 with David Shearer as leader, and I also believe a Labour-Greens government will be very different from National.
And I’m an optimist with history. I’ve been involved in all of Labour’s five general election wins in the past nearly thirty years, and the fight to get from the fourth Labour government to the very different fifth. For different reasons, they were all difficult wins. But I’d rather be an activist than a pessimist. One thing I do know, is that the first place you lose elections is in your head.
I’m also not starry-eyed. I sat in Labour’s caucus as a non-voting member for eight years, and from time to time I had my say. As for policy, this year was the year of the manifesto – its here. http://www.labour.org.nz/about-us Next year will be where the detail gets done. Plenty of work for all.
I did also say that I think we are optimistic about different things. I am more optimistic and positive about grass roots activism as leading the way forward for the future. I am also more positive about the Greens and Mana at the moment than about the Labour Caucus leadership..
And unlike you, Mike I have worked every election since 1970, and I have never been paid. Not even offered a beer after we won. And I have seen them come and seen them go and I’ll tell you this for nothing. Shearer will NOT win the 2014 election, no matter how positive you are. He also needs the respect of his colleagues. Shane Jones’s antics and the Media leaks in Caucus, shows how much his colleagues rate him. On top of all that I don’t trust him. He may as well have a ring through his nose for Mallard, King and co to lead him around.
Good thread Mr Mike,
You appear to have hit the nail on the head with regard to where there is conflict amongst us posters and it is good to have it discussed.
Well done and Merry Christmas
Mike, you’re right that my first concern is that Labour/Shearer will lose. But the nature of the “win” they want is also worrying.
You say … I also believe a Labour-Greens government will be very different from National.
I agree. It might not be Left enough for some on the Standard, but it probably would be OK for me. BUT do Shearer and his faction actually want a Labour-Greens government? We’re talking about a leader who deliberately avoids those words, who doesn’t even want to say “left” or “right”.
If Shearer and co really want us to believe they represent change, then changing their attitude to their allies would be a good start. If Shane Jones speaks for Labour, then Labour don’t speak for me.
(and … logging off for Xmas. Hope it’s a good one for all)
@ Mike Smith
I gather from your lack of a response to my question: what do you think about the dishonest and unjustified demotion of David Cunliffe?, that you don’t want to answer.
This is the problem Mike. That disgraceful episode is indicative of the reason for the current impasse which exists between certain Caucus members and a significant portion of the membership. What’s more it is an impasse created by those Caucus members… not the Party members including those of us who comment here. If the Labour Party hierarchy don’t face up to this problem, they are never going to have unity and a strong, viable Labour-led alternative government.
Perhaps you would like to pass on this message for us. Thanks.
I also don’t find it helpful to dismiss as “pessimistic”, those who have provided good reasons for disagreeing with you. Unfounded optimism can be more destructive than reasoned criticisms. And I have yet to see any evidence that a Shearer led government will take us in a positive and necessary new direction.
But it is now time to take a breath and chill with those closest to us.
Have a good holiday season, Mike, and everyone else.
So I go to the “About Us” link Mike has kindly provided. What do I find about the 14th para down?
No mention of Roger Douglas, no mention of Richard Prebble, no mention of the neo-liberal madness and how it tore the LP apart. And no repudiation.
Fundamentally this is the gap that remains un-bridged.
The Fourth Labour Government (1984-1990), lost it’s way. We’re sorry about that and we promise it won’t happen again.
Thanks quartz and good job.
It’s a pity you linked to the history and not the manifesto you refer to.
The history simply re-in forces what has been lost.
Following the link on the principles (which is another discussion) to the manifesto you do get information about where Labour management are coming from. I’d be interested from members how well this reflects members thinking.
A few short comments before battery goes flat:
ACC – I see a case this morning re the police who are one of several departments who I understand are no longer part of the ACC system as they look after their own claims through private providers. It’s a bit on the nose to say to the private sector privatisation will end and to still allow govt departments to not contribute into the scheme. Why won’t govt agencies be put back into the ACC scheme. Accredited employers scheme still remains and will apparently be improved?
Elder care – someone like Ryman has massively increased profits in recent years to the point they are using NZ taxpayers money to build homes in Australia. If the principle is that the private sector is more efficient and can do it cheaper when they do it cheaper (as evidenced by increased profit) surely the state should then benefit by paying less to them the following year for the service. The principle of private sector efficiency then resulting in lower costs to government.
What’s missing is anything ensuring staff are well paid and manning levels are sufficient. As the population ages you might like to consider things such as older people providing voluntary support in homes in return for discounted fees perhaps. I’m in no doubt in soe areas like Tauranga we will need older people to care for the elderly.
Elder abuse policy skips over financial abuse of older people (relevant also to those with intellectual and other disabilities). Most agencies do not have policies in this area or their policy is not our business. A clear mandatory reporting to an independent government agency who can examine bank accounts etc to see if financial abuse is occurring is needed.
Renaming of Invlads Benefit and increasing services to those who want to work with disabilities.
The problem that was evident in the 80’s was that services you were offered depended on what benefit you were on not your needs e.g. Sole parents got stuff all support into work and NZES at time wouldn’t register them. I get the impression little has changed. I thought back then that removing benefit types would also remove that barrier and allow a focus on the individual and their needs. More staff with different skills would also be needed as well.
Tax – I’ve noted elsewhere you’re giving me more tax cuts I don’t need.
Manifesto link here:
one thing i frequently forget is to awhi the “posters”; you are all very generous people.
No sense in the labour caucus crying in their beer or chardonay,the shearer faction of the
caucus set the scene.
Condemnation and some flicks around the ears may be aimed at commenters and bloggers
on the standard,but in reality that would not be happening if they didn’t set the play and the
If the shearer faction dont want my vote, that’s fine, there are the green’s and mana,both
left and both respectable in policy and in their approach towards their members.
The caucus may try and pull some back into the fold,but it will take three things,
1/ An announcement in the new year that there will be an honest leadership vote in Feb
2/ An apology to Cunliffe for the disgraceful treatment he got at and after the conference.
3/ Shearer standing down as leader.
Happy Christmas to you too Karol, and to all others on the Standard. Anne, I certainly hope David Cunliffe plays a prominent role in the next Labour government. Red Logix, Prebble and Douglas repudiated themselves by forming ACT. Lange to his credit chucked them both out of Cabinet.
True Mike. Unfortunately I can’t recall the LP simply saying what quartz said: We lost our way, we won’t do it again.
I do however recall a conversation I had with Michael Cullen in about 2007. (I’ll have to confess to being a huge admirer of the man and how faithfully he served Labour and the nation.)
He took the pains to explain to me in my naivety that governments can only operate within what is considered the acceptable ‘paradigm’ of the day. That some things were possible and others were a step too far at the time. (Like for instance a Capital Gains Tax).
If we do get a Labour/Green government in 2014 it will be subject to the same constraints … unless it is able to begin the process of setting the acceptable framework now. That means coming out NOW and saying things that will get laughed or sneered at today, but will become ‘conventional wisdom’ in five years time.
This is what Russel Norman has done by coming out and naming ‘quantitative easing’ for what it is … printing money. He’s setting his agenda not for today, but for tomorrow. Labour need to be clear about not just their policy details… but what their values are and to set the scene for them to be implemented as policy.
“Polly speak” and “political platitudes” won’t cut mustard. That’s a huge part of John Key’s success; for while he’s become a bit of a David Brent parody … at the same time lots of Kiwi’s think he a ‘top bloke’ because he’s mastered the art of faking sincerity, he doesn’t sound like a politician.
The quote I took from Labours own website sounds exactly like a politician speaking … weasel words that avoid saying what everyone knows should be said.
And the best of the Season to you Mike. And to all of you here.
It’s been five years now, and of the 500,000 comments or so I think I must have read 450,000 of them. Along the way I’ve learnt a great deal from you all.
But above all there is one reason why this is my home on the ‘net; Lynn Prentice.
Best wishes to you all, and I really hope Mike that what you are trying to do takes us all somewhere worthwhile in the New Year.
The idea that Government can only follow the current paradigm is Bullshit.
It didn’t stop Labour in the 80’s from adopting the neo-liberal paradigm, way ahead of any public support or knowledge.
It was more like Brash’s ideas of. “Hit them hard before they figure out what is going on”.
Research shows the majority of New Zealanders are strongly socialist. Even many who consider themselves right wing, and would object to being called socialist, do not oppose fairness in our society. Something even Key had to acknowledge.
It is the politicians who are lagging behind, as usual.
And. It is the Greens who are showing the leadership in reversing the neo-liberal memes.
Labour is still so enmeshed in the memes, they adopted one as flagship policy last election, instead of explaining why it is part of the neo-liberal failed paradigm..
I think what you have in mind KJT is ‘disaster capitalism’. Douglas only got away with what he did because in the last days of Muldoon’s government this country went bankrupt. (It was pretty much kept a secret, but quite a few people know.)
In the aftermath of that, and a dramatic election Douglas was handed a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to break with the conventional wisdom.
But for the most part governments are constrained within bounds of what is achievable at the time. It’s why for instance National was so coy about asset sales in 2008, but by 2011 they had set the agenda and could openly commit to them.
Of course, the country wasn’t actually bankrupt. It may have virtually run out of foreign reserves (which is a related but quite different matter), but net government assets on the balance sheet were clearly positive.
Insolvency is not equivalent to bankruptcy, in other words.
Excellent explanation, RL. And I agree the left parties need to be changing the paradigms now, not appeasing the mainstream as represented in the MSM.
One would hope then that the level of debt the current National Government is getting us into doesn’t result in a Labour Government saving us with new harsh reforms.
Certainly there seems to be an unwillingness by Labour to increase taxation except for the very very few at the top.
I see from their manifesto though they are offering me a further tax cut by making my first $5,000 tax free.
Spose I can pay my mortgage off a bit quicker.
My concern too.
Can’t sweeze the bottom or wide middle as its tight tight very tight in the burbs.
So what can labour do to get billions of cash?
Print it instead of borrowing it maybe?
Alter the tax thresholds
Tobin investment taxes. Too long the smart rich have rorted the system.
Let the SOE loose to invest and expand.
What else – hopefully Parker and poor cunliffe have the answers and the party is willing to implement them.
Perhaps time for the party and it’s new to be created policy hub to set the direction and let’s get going now.
Can’t wait for the pollies as they are blind.
You have obviously forgotten, Mike S, that the then Labour caucus promptly voted Douglas back in again. That led directly to Lange’s resignation. The majority of caucus of that time (which included Goff Mallard, King, and others) were pro-Rogernomics. As an activist for as much of the same time as you, Mike S, I have to say I can’t see very much difference at the moment between the 4th Labour govermment and the current caucus. I’m hoping to see some changes come Feb 2013, but like others posting on The Standard that’s just a “hope” – I’ll be very surprised indeed if positive changes come about. On which non-cheerful note, I hope you all have a happy Christmas Day with your whanau tomorrow.