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Calling it a day

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, May 12th, 2009 - 48 comments
Categories: blogs - Tags:

When I first started writing for The Standard way back in August 2007 I never envisaged it would become what it is today, nor that it would take up anywhere near as much of my time as it does. A year and half later, I’ve decided I want my life back.

Contrary to the conspiracy theories of the right, I’ve always done this on a voluntary basis, in my own time, in order to advance my own personal political views. This has meant that as the blog’s got busier and I’ve taken on other projects I’ve found my free time slowly disappearing to the point where I’m on the go pretty much 24/7. And that’s no way to carry on.

It’s fair to say there’s also a certain disillusionment with New Zealand politics. Aside from all the usual nonsense, it’s disheartening to be writing left-wing politics when neither party of the Left is in any fit state to support.

As a Green voter and supporter who has handed out their flyers, stuffed their envelopes and put up their hoardings over the last few elections I’ve found their recent turn quite hard to swallow. I simply can’t support them so long as they’re propping up a right-wing government and their leader thinks running sectarian smears and National Party lines is a good strategy to promote progressive values. I’m sure the Greens will find their way in time, but it’s going to be a bumpy ride and it’ll probably be without Russel Norman.

Labour, on the other hand, just seems utterly bereft of vision. In the midst of the greatest economic crisis of our age, when they should be putting forward a bold alternative vision, Labour doesn’t seem have a clue where it’s going. Their miserable poll ratings don’t so much represent a rejection of their platform as a complete lack of relevance. As the world wakes up to the fact the policies of Reagan and Thatcher were a gigantic swindle by the rich, Labour still seems haunted by the ghost of 1984.

If we’re going to have an effective, fighting Left (and lord knows we need it) it’ll come through ordinary activists discussing, organising and campaigning for progressive values, both through the parties of the Left and our own independent activist organisations. I’m convinced sites like The Standard have a crucial role to play in this.

But for me it’s time to take a different tack. For now I’m going to get my life back and do a bit more grassroots organising and campaigning in the real world. I might start blogging again at some stage in the future, either here or elsewhere, but that’s a decision for another time.

It’s been great working with the team here, and I’ll miss all the lively conversations in the comments section. The Standard has already made an impact and I’m sure it’ll go from strength to strength, but as I’m keenly aware it’s in constant need of new content. If you think you can make a contribution as an author then send the team a post or two and see where it goes from there. I might not leave a very large gap, but it’ll need to be filled somewhere. And like any collective endeavour, The Standard will only work if we all pitch in together.

48 comments on “Calling it a day ”

  1. Don’t do it Tane

    The Blogosphere needs independent perceptive leftie comments that you always seem to be capable of producing …

  2. higherstandard 2

    Enjoy the break Tane even though I don’t always agree with your position you’re a decent chap and will be missed here.

    And you’re quite right about the need for a strong left voice in NZ, democracy doesn’t work well without a strong opposition and tends to lead to lazy arrogant government.

  3. r0b 3

    Nooooo! Bugger.

    Though I do understand the need for a life in the real world.

    Don’t write Labour off, we know that we need to wait out the honeymoon, wait until people are ready to listen to us again. Then I hope and expect that you will see Labour coming back strong.

    Anyway, thanks Tane, thanks all Standard authors…

  4. Jem 4

    Hey Tane, the gang’s going fast. Loved your contributions. Enjoy your new happy life. xxxx

  5. I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end for The Standard…. with Red Alert having been established just this week…

    • Eddie 5.1

      far from it. in fact, we have some exciting plans just around the corner and there are always new writers.

      I was looking back at our first posts the other day at the beginning it was mostly all your base, then mostly tane, then mostly steve, for now it’s me trying to do one or two a day. It’s an evolving, changing thing.

      I don’t see why Red Alert would have anything to do with The Standard.

      • Nomorefundig? 5.1.1

        Eddie, just to confirm you are denying the rumours that are going around that with the start up of Red Alert that the funding for the Standard has dried up?

        IrishBill: Go fuck yourself.
        [lprent: Exactly. The site is now pre-paid until March 2010 and since that is the only funding required, it is a ridiculous statement. But what else you you expect from a creep. Ummm did the usual troll investigation and that comment came from Fiji ?? Wierd ]

        • Maynard J 5.1.1.1

          I thought this comment would be about sand castles. No more fun dig.

          No more fun dig (stop picking your nose), are you trying to tell us that there are such incredibly thick people out there that they believe a blog is expensive enough to require a significant level of financial support?

          • Required 5.1.1.1.1

            To be fair, this blog does seem to get quite a bit of traffic, and it isn’t ad-supported (though I wouldn’t notice if it was, AdBlock).

            However, moving it Off Shore and to a place with significantly cheaper bandwidth if I remember correctly, sends Nomorefundig?’s thought-process to hell.

            That is, if IrishBill and lprent didn’t hear a wooshing sound go over their head.

          • lprent 5.1.1.1.2

            The bandwidth wasn’t a problem. The NZ site had no limits on local bandwidth. The US site just has no limits.

            It was the cost of the virtual server that was a issue. It was costing $180/mo here, and about $200/year in the US. Double the cost wouldn’t have been a problem. 10x is too big to ignore.

            It also made it difficult for someone to do something stupid legally. Now they pretty much have to use internet procedures rather than legal letters.

  6. IrishBill 6

    Damn your eyes Tane. This better not mean more work for me. We’ll miss you and remember you’re welcome back anytime bro.

  7. roger nome 7

    Yes – there is more to life than blogging, so i can’t blame you for this decision.

    Frankly i don’t know how DPF and whaleoil manage to blog 24/7. I wonder what would happen if you took the internet away from them for a month? With whaleoil’s gun fetish we could see some horrific consequences.

  8. Eddie 8

    Enjoy retirement, Tane. Hope to see you back here some day.

  9. TightyRighty 9

    Goodbye Tane, I hope that you get more time to enjoy the little things in life after this. I also hope that your vision for the left, as much as i disdain it, comes true, because once again you are right, it is the only future for the left. Good Luck.

  10. lprent 10

    You’re right Tane, this is going to leave a hole. You’ve been a really great part of the coop. I know the feeling about the time this takes though – especially the moderation and troll squelching.

    My personal commitment of time has been steadily rising over the years, and I’ve even started writing posts since the election and getting better at writing them. Much of that has come from your kind commentary on the early ones that I wrote.

    Hopefully you’d still be interested in popping in to do occasional posts either under your own pseudonym or as guest posts.

    However, as always, as Tane says we’re interested in taking on new writers to do their bit. Step up if you think you have something to say.

  11. burt 11

    Tane

    Reading what you have said here I think that you leaving the standard is a great loss.

    As much as the partisan supporters and apologists hate hearing stuff like “Labour, on the other hand, just seems utterly bereft of vision’ it needs to be said and discussed.

    All the best Tane, do you want a logon to write guest posts at ‘editing the standard’ so you can speak your mind about left wing ideology outside of the “must support Labour, cannot be critical’ framework ?

  12. Tim Ellis 12

    I’ll be sorry to see you go Tane. I have often disagreed with you, but you have always debated the issues honourably and effectively, and I’ve always saluted your willingness to see beyond partisan Labour Party stuff and take a dig at them where you’ve seen fit.

    • lprent 12.1

      …your willingness to see beyond partisan Labour Party stuff…

      Thats what happens when you support the left, but not the Labour party. It has always amused me the way that some on the right tend to the broad brush when it comes to this site. Basically the myths appear to be more important then reality – it seems to hurt their ego’s to deal with facts rather than prejudices.

      Tane doesn’t support the Labour Party (and never has as far as I can see). He does support the labour movement, the left, progressive politics, and unions. In the past he has supported the Green Party, but maybe not as a member.

      Probably the majority of writers on this site have a similar position. I think that I’m probably the only party card-carrier on the site, and I’m a bit of a maverick tending to the right of the party. But we really don’t bother to ask.

      The defining characteristic of people who write posts on this site is that they generally do not support the ‘right’ and the parties of that side of the political spectrum. They tend to support the broader labour position.

      But Tane’s body of work speaks for itself. There are 14 LONG pages of his posts to look at
      http://www.thestandard.org.nz/author/tane/

      • Tim Ellis 12.1.1

        LP, I don’t think it would be very gracious to have this discussion in a thread that salutes Tane for his contribution, but I do believe one of the reasons his departure will be felt so greatly is that he is one of the few regular contributors who is prepared to sock it to the Labour Party and take a strongly, non-partisan Left approach. I haven’t seen a lot of that from the other contributors recently. IrishBill certainly is prepared to sock it to Labour when it’s important to him, but his posts have become much less frequent.

        I don’t know what Eddie’s membership status is, but he has always presented posts that are supportive of Labour. John A likewise. If you are looking to recruit other writers, in the interests of balance on the left, it wouldn’t hurt to try and get some objectively Green writers who won’t just push the Labour Party line. It’s your blog so you can do what you like, though, and I hope you take this with the constructive intent.

        • lprent 12.1.1.1

          Personally I think that you have problem recognizing a chicken and egg problem. There is a high proportion of the time that the posts here are written by various authors well in advance of the topic even being considered by any party. The same goes for other sites particularly No Right Turn, g-blog, kiwipolitico, and even Kiwiblog (although that seems to be falling more into the spokes-blog for the party line).

          We haven’t had an overt Green Party member wanting to write for us, but there is nothing to stop them from wanting to do so. However they’d probably actually not talk that much about Green party matters, just as I seldom talk about Labour party matters (well apart from my favourite electorate). What we talk about are issues that are important to us.

          There are a number of green issue writers – currently mainly demeter and myself doing the most. But other writers have done considerable posts on green issues. Just as we have writers who tend to concentrate on labour movement issues or economics on occasions.

          For that matter I seldom write on Labour Party lines or issues. I’ve sometimes written posts specifically to boot Labour into action. For instance the whole of the super-city debate that I started here because the more I thought about it, the more cracked Rodney’s proposal was. I wanted Labour and the Greens and anyone else to get off their arse and start opposing this stupidity. Sometimes I write posts on topics that Labour has NO policy on – for instance the series on police and activists late last year.

          Like the other writers, I try to get issues of interest to me into debate.

          The ‘Labour’ line you keep whining about (in conspiracy mode) are not that at all. They are the reverse it is an anti-NACT line, usually generated by writers here, and sometimes picked up from politicians. Frankly to us, it is hard to look at NACT and not find something to disapprove of. So we do. Sometimes those lines from here and other blogs are picked up by the parties, and sometimes not.

          Why exactly the right has such a hard time understanding grass-roots activism not associated with political parties is beyond me. But then they are conservative and appear to still be coming to terms with the 20th century rather than current times.

          BTW: I don’t think anyone who knows me would even attempt to call me gracious. I’m real handy when you need something fixed or need help. But I’m never gracious

  13. Thanks Tane, I have enjoyed your contributions over the last year or so. Enjoy your time off. And don’t you worry, for every tired old blogger hanging up their keyboard for more Shortland Street or Parliament TV time, there are plenty more even wittier, better looking and just as motivated young bucks champing at the bit to make their mark on the interweb… aidos amigo

  14. Daniel 14

    This is a real shame. I don’t agree with a lot of your conclusions, but you’ve always been reasoned and happy to accept that people have differing opinions on things, a quality far too lacking in the blogging world. It’s because of this openmindedness that I have a lot of respect for your opinions regardless of whether I agree or not. Sorry to see you go, and all the best.

    (Edited to rephrase)

  15. Tane: love your work, you’ve helped keep the standard to the fore of the blogheap.

    I totally agree with your assessment of the Greens under Normans sway.

    I hope you post when the wheels need some oiling, or whales need boiling.

  16. Macro 16

    Sorry to see you go Tane your post are always high on my reading list – both here and your comments on frogblog. But we all need a life and you are more than worthy of having yours back.
    E iti noa ana, na te aroha

  17. Julie 17

    It’s a job that’s never done really, being a leftie in modern day Aotearoa New Zealand. Best wishes for your off blog activities Tane, you’ll be missed here and I hope you can still fit in guest posts from time to time when you want to write (rather than when you feel obligated!) I’m sure our paths will cross again 🙂

  18. felix 18

    Best of luck IRL Tane, you’ll be missed here. I’ll try to keep an eye on the spelling.

  19. Ari 19

    I can totally understand Tane. Go get your life back, and don’t dip back into the fight until you’re ready to and you’ve got something or someone you’re confident in doing it for. Can’t say I agree with your take on the Greens, but I’m not gonna do the disrespect of arguing that when you’re going. Take care, and thanks for so much activism on behalf of the progressive side of politics.

  20. Maynard J 20

    Keep fighting the good fight Tane! I hope your exploits out there are as appreciated and valuable as they’ve been here.

  21. What exactly have the greens done to raise your ire?
    They are engaging with the current government to try and push their agenda and they are running their leader in a byelection to try and raise their profile. Neither of these actions are bad for the greens but could be construed as unhelpful to labour.

    Lyn, your comment; “I think that I’m probably the only party card-carrier on the site”
    Hmmmm. Should I go there and risk deletion and banning?

    [lprent: depends what you say doesn’t it. You could check the policy ]

  22. Philonz 22

    A great note to go out on Tane. Enjoy your time away from the blogosphere.

  23. The Voice of Reason 23

    What they said, Tane.

    Always entertaining, witty and well thought out. And that was just the troll banning messages. The posts themselves seemed to me to have a great quality of setting a scene, without cutting off potential avenues of discussion. Inclusive and open rather than limiting or bombastic.

    I look forward to hearing more from you as you get your work/life balance back on the level.

    Kia Kaha, comrade.

  24. Anita 24

    Best of luck, I will miss your writing.

  25. Rex Widerstrom 25

    Bugger.

    There’s not much more I can say, really.

    Whether I agree with a writer or not (and with you, Tane, I often did) I can step back and admire their skill. And even when I didn’t agree with what I was reading I never failed to be impressed by its cogent, intelligent, clear and clearly heartfelt expression.

    captcha: “Great Dickens”. See, even captcha is disappointed.

  26. Bill 26

    For popping informative and/or interesting stuff onto my computer screen over the past while?

    Thanks. I’ve appreciated it.

  27. Lew 27

    Cheers Tane, you’re one of the reasons I bothered reading NZ blogs again. And writing ’em, now. Don’t be a stranger.

    L

  28. Daveski 28

    Bit late to add my 2c plus GST but from the other side of the fence Tane has always represented an independent left view and has been prepared to criticise the left when he’s felt the need to do so. That someone is able to see the strengths – and weaknesses – of a position is a rare strength.

    All the best and enjoy your life after blogging.

  29. mike 29

    See ya Tane – you were the best of a bad lot 🙂

  30. outofbed 30

    catch u later Tane
    enjoyed your posts

  31. Cheers for all the good posts Tane, sad to see you go!

  32. Thanks for the enjoyable posts Tane and for tolerating people like me 😉 .

  33. Ianmac 33

    Sorry to see you go Tane. However I would expect to see your comments pop up from time to time. Cheers.

  34. gingercrush 34

    As with others cheers for the posts you made. Disagree with many but thought they were usually well thought out.

  35. ak 35

    Many thanks for all your wonderful posts and hard work, all the best at the flax roots and hope to see you pop back now and again.

  36. QoT 36

    Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Come back soon!

  37. jbc 37

    Many thanks for all your contributions Tane; plentiful and well-thought they were (even when I disagreed with your conclusions). Best of luck for your new tack.

  38. Tane 38

    Wow, thanks all for your kind words, from ideological friends and enemies alike. It’s been fun.

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