Campbell & Gould on neoliberalism

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, November 4th, 2014 - 49 comments
Categories: capitalism, economy, Economy, monetary policy - Tags: , , ,

Bryan Gould is an interesting chap. Rhodes Scholar, British Labour MP, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waikato, author of many books, occasional writer for The Herald, and author here at The Standard. Most recently, Bryan has been in the news because he is convenor of Labour’s current review process.

In this context it is interesting to read this extended discussion between the always excellent Gordon Campbell and Gould, as published in Campbell’s Werewolf. Here are some extracts on neoliberalism and the economy.

In his introduction Campbell writes:

The need to dislodge neo-liberalism as the only model of capitalist realism is pretty obvious. Its manifest failures are doing too much damage to too many people. A few weeks ago, Bloomberg Business News – not exactly a left wing rag – ran a story about the zombie ideas of the neo-liberal orthodoxy that simply refuse to die no matter how often they have been shown to fail. Bloomberg’s short list of disproven ideas – ‘that originated from or were widely dispersed by think tanks and their benefactors’ include :

• Austerity as a virtuous policy during recessions
• The efficient-market hypothesis
• Tax cuts pay for themselves (ie supply-side economics)
• Self-regulating markets
• Homo economicus (that individuals are profit-maximizing economic actors)

The interview / discussion follows:

Campbell : Voters here don’t seem to like neo-liberalism very much and nor do they believe in it, particularly. Yet hasn’t neoliberalism’s great success been in convincing people that this is the only credible way to run a modern economy?

Gould : I think that’s absolutely right. Its a real puzzle as to why the lessons we thought we’d learned repeatedly for the last century or more, have been forgotten, or ignored. Or even why the shocking outcomes of the Global Financial Crisis and the recession, have not shaken people’s faith in neo-liberalism, or in neo-classical economics. Its partly a function of the fact that public opinion tends to lag…but it is also something more significant. The advent of the global economy has taught people that it is big business that really has the power, and that it can dictate even to elected governments, particularly so in small countries like New Zealand. So there’s a tendency for people to listen to and to simply accept the messages being purveyed by elitists, and by big business.

OK, and here’s the 64 dollar question. Under Labour, what would a post GFC, post Third Way economic policy actually look like?

Well, the last two or three decades have been characterized by the belief that inflation is the main danger…And it was agreed that the best way to [control inflation] is to manipulate interest rates. But what is not recognised in New Zealand or other Western countries is that the main inflationary impact comes from the banks. As the Bank of England has recently recognized in a major paper earlier this year some 97% of all the money in circulation in the case of Britain – and its similar here – is originally created by banks, out of nothing. And they create it in order to lend it out on mortgage. Most people think that banks take in savings from depositors and then they lend that out again, to borrowers. No, not a bit of it. The amount that the banks lend has got nothing to do with the money that people deposit with them.

OK. But the political problem here is that if and when governments do exactly the same thing in order to meet social goals, that’s derided as ‘printing money’

Exactly….

And as the US has shown that you can do that – they called it ‘quantitative easing’ – when you’re bailing out the banks. But you’re regarded as being beyond the political pale if you do this for any social purpose, right?

Absolutely. You’ve got it.

So how then, does a centre-left party engage with the politics of this situation, beyond poking holes in it from a distance? In the current circumstances, what you’re saying simply isn’t a viable political programme – it sounds like Social Credit.

Yes, and that’s the central dilemma I believe, for the left. Oddly enough though, the relatively new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reverted to the – this is getting a bit esoteric , but its relevant…there was a famous in Japan, unknown in the West, economist called Osamu Shimomura. He was a Keynesian economist, and he realized, as Keynes had said, that there is no intrinsic reason for the scarcity of capital…and as Keynes also said, you can create money to invest in productive capacity even in advance of that productive capacity being available, provided it comes on stream within a reasonable period. So in other words, if you create money for productive investment – and it works – that’s not inflationary, but you’re growing the economy.

And that was the basis of the huge Japanese success of the 1960s, 70s and 80. Until they abandoned the policy for other reasons, and began to stagnate. The Chinese are doing the same. The Chinese simply write cheques on themselves when they want to buy something…. But we won’t invest, or borrow, or do anything that suggests growth, because we’re terrified of inflation.

It’s a long and fascinating discussion, an in-depth examination of the assumptions underlying our economy and the realistic alternatives that you won’t find anywhere else in the media. Make some time this week to go read it all. If I had my way it would be required reading for Labour’s leadership contenders – perhaps Gould can insist on it as part of his review!

49 comments on “Campbell & Gould on neoliberalism”

  1. Marksman33 1

    Sounds like what CVs been on about, good on ya CV.

  2. adam 2

    Well worth the read. Leaves me uncomfortable, as it still tethered to a capitalist approach.

    Still just tinkering with a failing economic system – but you social democrats may as well fiddle whilst the world burns. It avoids having to do or act in any manner which might be hard.

    Oh, and you get some power for your corporate elects, rather than their corporate elects.

  3. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 3

    Only have time to read the headline. Can someone tell me what these titans concluded?

    • r0b 3.1

      Banks print money every day in the form of mortgages. Governments print money to bail out failed banks. But governments may NOT print money to develop productive assets that pay for themselves (except those governments that did and it works).

      • dv 3.1.1

        And then the banks take billions out of the economy by the way of interest.

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 3.1.1.1

          So (and I am trying to contain my surprise) they are against what they call neo-liberalism?

          • felix 3.1.1.1.1

            You could have read it by now, dickhead.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.1.2

            Not quite: they discuss tried and tested alternatives that produce better outcomes for everybody.

            I can see why you’d hate and fear that. Perhaps you’d better not read it.

            • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 3.1.1.1.2.1

              tried and tested alternatives

              God, I loved the 70s. Everything was peachy and in no way totally fucked.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Is that what they’re discussing? The 1970s? Which country are they talking about?

  4. Daveinireland 4

    We look forward to the Labour party adopting the UK Labour parties’ 1983 election manifesto.

  5. karol 5

    Hmmm… I was with Gould until he said that he saw Parker as the person most likely to follow the new direction Gould is advocating. Parker seems to me to be more of the dame soft-neoliberalism, don’t scare those who talk up the market as sorting things out for the better.

    Then Gould kind of implies that the Greens should butt out of social justice, as it’s Labour territory – well Gould hints at that, then backs off in favour of working something out post leadership election.

    In that Gould seems to be holding on to some FPtP notions. Here’s what he actually says:

    Gould: Ideally, what you say is right and its what we should be aiming at. One of the difficulties I think is that the Greens – who are the other obvious major party – have remedied one of their traditional weaknesses. So instead of just saving we want to save the planet but we have no analysis of how do that apart from not doing certain things – it is now well understood by them that if you want to save the planet, you have to intervene in the market. They’ve developed an economic policy hard edge that they used not to have. And inevitably, that has brought them into the space traditionally occupied by Labour…and that means [the Greens] are more and more seen as a left party, instead of potentially taking votes from the National Party. And, as I say, it brings them more and more into conflict with Labour. How do you resolve that? I don’t know. I think you could try to bring about a longer term identity of interest – and therefore of policy – that didn’t just come together after the election in order to form a coalition government. Perhaps there could involve campaigning on different aspects of a more or less common policy.

    Campbell: Which raises the obvious question about the wisdom of campaigning as a bloc – rather than competing head on with each other ?

    GouldWell, I wouldn’t want to get into that, at the moment. Because of the review.

    CampbellYes, but its interesting that you raised it in the way you did. Because it suggests you think the Greens should butt out of the social justice area.

    GouldYes. And the problem then of course, is there may well be elements in the Greens who see themselves as replacing Labour. So its not easy sell for them either, to say….to tell them to butt out.

    • felix 5.1

      “the Greens should butt out of social justice, as it’s Labour territory “

      If people in the Labour party really believe that – and I think many do – then the way to get the Greens to “butt out” is to make it true.

      • weka 5.1.1

        Yep. There’s a reason that the GP were able to take over this teritory so easily.

        However the GP aren’t now going to give it up. Social justice was always a big part of their kaupapa (inherited from the Values Party), and now that they’ve given it equal billing it’s fixed in the party in ways that can’t simply be put aside. This is the dilemma for Labour. Is it going to start trying to out compete the Greens on ground that the Greens are obviously doing better on, and thus perpetuate the idea that Labour can’t work with other parties? Or is it going to get over itself and realise that 50% is no longer real, and figure out how to build a strong left wing govt from several parties?

        I’d guess it will hedge its bets and look to NZF as along as Peters is around, and thus we will have another term or two of Labour faffing about giving NZ the appearance that it doesn’t really know what it is doing. Thanks Labour.

        • karol 5.1.1.1

          Yes. Agreed, weka.

          But, also, I don’t see a problem. I don’t know how a party could be left-wing, without embracing social justice. And, alternatively, as Gould acknowledges, developing and maintaining an environmentally sustainable policy, also means jettisoning “neoliberalism”.

          Furthermore Labour and The Greens come to social justice from totally different angles:

          for Labour, the workplace is central in terms of power relations – it needs collective organisation on behalf of the working class (via unions and political entities), to counter the power of the capitalist class. The need for social security, state housing, etc, arise from that, because the capitalist class treat workers as expendable, and fodder to the capitalist system, to be used and spat out as it suits them.

          For the Greens, social justice is part of looking at society as a whole, and seeing the need for human societies and communities to work together, in harmony with the environment and each other, for the whole system to work well, and in the interests of all.

          However, it may be hard to communicate the difference to many in the wider electorate.

          Probably it would help if both parties worked out slightly different priorities that they would promote. And it could be seen as a very good thing that they are in agreement on underlying values.

          • weka 5.1.1.1.1

            Yes, I don’t see a problem either, or at least there shouldn’t be one. Which begs the question of why Labour continue to see it as such.

            With all due respect to Gould, he comes across as old fashioned and still not up with MMP as it’s playing out in NZ. In other words, the GP aren’t going to go away, so what’s next?

            “Probably it would help if both parties worked out slightly different priorities that they would promote. And it could be seen as a very good thing that they are in agreement on underlying values.”

            Yes, these are the things that should be happening (and I think the communicating to the public stuff would be resolved once the basic paradigm had shifted). Hard to see much progress on that so long as Labour sees the GP as stealing its votes.

            • Tracey 5.1.1.1.1.1

              he is fpp. and part of the old guard who having wrongly pigeon holed greens as only being about the planet colour themselves surprised that they stand for other things so have told themselves that the greens have softened or broadened… same mentality the msm has

              • Draco T Bastard

                +1

                And the same that National has with it’s demand that the Greens return to being a party just about the environment.

      • Tracey 5.1.2

        yup, but that would take work, and actually standing for something

  6. RedLogix 6

    Sounds exactly what Steven Keen has been saying for yonks:

    As the Bank of England has recently recognized in a major paper earlier this year some 97% of all the money in circulation in the case of Britain – and its similar here – is originally created by banks, out of nothing. And they create it in order to lend it out on mortgage. Most people think that banks take in savings from depositors and then they lend that out again, to borrowers. No, not a bit of it. The amount that the banks lend has got nothing to do with the money that people deposit with them.

    Maybe 18 months ago Keen gave some seminars in NZ – I attended the Wellington one. Interestingly the back row in the room was about a dozen heavyweight Treasury and RB people. It was hard to tell exactly what they were thinking – but certainly there was a high level of engagement and agreement with what Keen was saying.

    [video src="https://d2pq0u4uni88oo.cloudfront.net/projects/1383150/video-456089-h264_high.mp4" /]

  7. What Gould and other Keynesians don’t understand is that providing public money for investment still relies on private investors being motivated to invest.

    They will only do that if they can get a profit.

    That depends on the ability to compete in the productivity stakes by extracting more surplus value from workers.

    China has been able to do the Keynesian thing only because its state created money is directed into productive capacity and in a world wide expansionary policy to fuel its rapid growth.

    The big established monopolies of the Western powers however rely less on new technology than on cornering the market on existing technology with water-tight intellectual property rules.

    This means that newly printed money doesn’t go into production but into speculation in existing assets.

    This is why trillions of QE has ended up creating bubbles in housing, sharemarkets etc while actual productive growth is stagnating.

    This is the inherent limit of capitalist production, it depends upon applying new technology to create surplus-value from labour.

    While the free market is the fatal flaw for Keynesianism, so far the state capitalism of China (much more extensive than Keynesian policy) has not yet run up against that inherent limit.

    It is directing its sovereign fund and its SOEs billions into a value added strategy based on new technology such as shifting from carbon to renewable energy.

    China will prove to be the final test case of capitalisms incapacity to plan for the good of the majority and avoid destroying nature and humanity.

    A lot hinges on what happens in China only because it can do what Western powers have failed to do while mired in the market.

    However, state capitalism cannot overcome the inherent limits to capitalism because rule by a state cabal of capitalists still driven by profits cannot rule in the interests of the people.

    The trillions pocketed by the new capitalist class in China are at the expense of the billions of workers and peasants.

    When the masses in China and around the world tied to its powerhouse find that system reaching its limits, the social explosion will be epoch changing.

    What the new society that replaces capitalism will do is take over the productive capacity of capitalism but direct it to social ends.

    Essential to this will be matching the money supply to the total value being produced by workers, under the management and control of workers.

    A good source on the limits of capitalism and the failure of Keynesianism is Michael Roberts Blog
    http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/

  8. Bill 8

    I’m surprised that such an extensive piece has not included the fact that in Scotland, the very same Labour Party they are referring to, is (by the latest poll) about to be obliterated due to the appeal of the left leaning (read ‘old Labour’?) SNP.

    Seems to me, the future direction of Labour is a no-brainer.

    Denounce neo-liberalism, apologise unreservedly for 1984 and what followed, and then get get the fuck on with it.

    • adam 8.1

      I’ve said for some time, labour is the dead weight around the lefts neck.

      Bill a cold day in hell, will it be, if you think the labour party will apologize.

      And why would the labour party start to do anything sensible now, when they have had the last thirty to realise, they took the backstabbing of working people to a whole new level.

      • Alex 8.1.1

        I am always intrigued by this needing to apologise for the reforms of the Fourth Labour Government. Admittingly, the sequence of the reforms was wrong, (Roger Douglas admits this himself), but something had to be done to fix the NZ economy. The inteventionist approach of 1935-1984 was failing, NZ was heading into bankruptcy. So I ask the question, what would those seeking Labour to apologise change? How would they undertake fixing the NZ economy in the 1980s?

        I often think there is a generational aspect to this debate that is missing. I grew up in during the reforms. Obviously judging from a number of the points listed through these threads a number of commentators remember the pre 1984 world.

        The reality is that more and more NZers are identify solely with the post 1984 world. Why would we now reopen rail lines that are uneconomic, build our tvs and appliances here (that would cost alot more than importing them), have the Government own hotels, insurance and forestries, like we did pre 1984? Instead of looking backwards, Labour needs to identify with the future and acknowledge that the reforms had to happen.

        • Nic the NZer 8.1.1.1

          In light of the fact that the country is not able to go bankrupt, how was the country heading for bankruptcy?

          • Alex 8.1.1.1.1

            Sorry, in order to condense I used the term bankruptcy.

            I meant the currency crisis, the lack of financial reserves, the need for Muldoon to have frozen wages, the failure of protectionist economic policies, high inflation, debt from the “Think Big” projects. Issues like these all had a significantly detrimental effect on the New Zealand economy, which meant that the economy needed to be radically overhauled.

            • Nic the NZer 8.1.1.1.1.1

              So the only reform which needed to happen was to end the fixed exchange rate?

            • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1.1.1.2

              Nonsense.

              A debt restructuring and a gradual economic reform process would have sorted it out and allowed NZ to trade its way through the process.

              Of course, that would have meant that strategic NZ assets wouldn’t have been sold off to the corporate and oligarchic class.

              • Alex

                Nonsense is it? Always good to be look at thinks through 20/20 hindsight. So please elaborate what your “gradual economic reform process is”. So by your term “strategic assets” I am assuming that you would be happy with the sale of hotels, Government Print, Health Computing Service and other “non-strategic assets”.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Yep, utter nonsense. None of those assets you listed needed to be sold. None of those assets raised any appreciable amount of USD. The NZD that those sales raised could easily have been issued directly by the government. The economic hitman scheme was to take NZ assets away from NZers and put them into the hands of the 1%, and especially the 0.1%. That was done. It is still being done.

                  You are not apologising, but acting as a Rogernomics apologist.

                • Nic the NZer

                  Alex, you are the only person here who believes ‘there is no alternative’. Anybody with some sense realizes however that by completing economic forms slowly and incrementally its possible to work out what works along the way, and in a reasonably democratic way.

                  The benefit of hindsight is that you get to learn from your mistakes and hopefully do things better. Never the less we have today a Labour party which believes that government surpluses are good for the economy and that raising the retirement age is a sensible working class policy. Its clear that the neo-liberals don’t even contemplate that there is something to change about their massive economic failure, even with hindsight.

            • RedLogixFormes 8.1.1.1.1.3

              There were two big challenges facing the NZ economy in the Muldoon period; the first was the increasing impact of the Eurozone shutting NZ out of the UK agricultural market and for this reason we got SMP’s and other subsidies to farmers to artificially prop up their production and incomes.

              This was essential for National to prop up their support in the rural electorates.

              The second challenge was OPEC oil price shock in 1973 which badly impacted our overseas currency position and was one of the key drivers in the Think Big projects – the need to reduce our energy dependence.

              As Nic points out – the fiscal backlash from these could probably have been best dealt with just by floating our currency – and the RB indulging in a spot of quantitative easing. Indeed Social Credit proposed pretty much just that – but Muldoon again sneered at them with his now notorious ‘funny money’ meme.

              I’m just old enough to know that the Rogernomic neo-liberal path we took was NOT the only option we could have taken.

              • Draco T Bastard

                +1

              • Murray Rawshark

                I turned 28 in 1984. I can remember that Labour lied to the electorate before the election, and Rogernomics was not at all expected. When Douglas made his speech about the exploding kitchen almost immediately after winning, and the whole program was introduced at full speed, it became obvious that they had lied. They had it all ready and waiting.

                2014 Labour has learned exactly the wrong lesson. Before the recent election, they advertised all the unpleasant things they wanted to do, and kept the good things secret. Do they think neoliberalism is wrong because of how they introduced it?

            • greywarshark 8.1.1.1.1.4

              Alex
              You are conning us, and dense all right. You con-dense the facts and draw conclusions from them. You spout the dogma that you got when you went up the mountain to commune with the higher being. He gave you an early tablet with the guiding neo-liberal rules on it and you believe! Think again sunshine.

        • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1.2

          I am always intrigued by this needing to apologise for the reforms of the Fourth Labour Government.

          The apology isn’t to you and the rogernomes, by the way.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.3

          Why would we now reopen rail lines that are uneconomic

          The rail lines aren’t uneconomic – the roads are.

          build our tvs and appliances here (that would cost alot more than importing them),

          No they wouldn’t be. In fact, importing them must cost more as it uses up more resources. The problem we have is that we have a financial system that makes it appear cheaper to import them. Basically, our economic system is delusional.

          have the Government own hotels, insurance and forestries, like we did pre 1984?

          Except for the hotels that would be because it’s actually better for the government to own and run those things. Here’s my take on insurance as an example. There’s more and more research coming out now that shows that government is actually better and more efficient at most things than the private sector.

          Reforms did need to happen in the 1980s just not the ones that we got. In fact, we needed the exact opposite from what we got. Essentially, we needed less capitalism and we got more with the result that we got more poverty, more inequality and less capability. The entire country got screwed just so that a few people could be richer.

    • shorts 8.2

      I don’t expect an apology – thats bad politics and pr…. denouncing neo-liberalism (and cutting the neo-lib hacks in the party) whilst pushing new policies with a new vision for our nation and its people – thats the sort of thing we’ve been waiting a long time for. Cunliffe started down that track

    • swordfish 8.3

      If this slump in Scottish Labour support continues then the chances of the Party winning next year’s UK General Election are in jeopardy. Labour’s UK-wide poll lead over the Tories is now averaging only about one percentage point (down from about a 3-4 point average over recent years) .

      Some senior SNP people – as well as pro-Independence figures from other Parties – want to mount a mass tactical-voting campaign for next May’s Election, a “yes-alliance” rallying disgruntled Labour, Green and Socialist voters in those key Labour areas that voted Yes in the Referendum (Glasgow, Dundee, North Lanarkshire). It’s been estimated that up to 20 Labour Westminster seats could be at risk.

      One suggestion is that a Yes-alliance could ask all pro-independence voters to back only those candidates who oppose the spending cuts being backed by all of Westminster’s major parties.

      • Bill 8.3.1

        The latest poll (and yes, it is just one poll, and taken after Labour’s leader resigned) would see Labour return 4 (four) mps to Westminster. the SNP would return 50+ (fifty plus), up from their current 6 (six).

        Regardless of that snapshot of sentiment, the ‘lefter than Labour’ SNP won an absolute majority in an MMP environmentbefore any referendum was on the table and on a low voter turnout of around 50%.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    So in other words, if you create money for productive investment – and it works – that’s not inflationary, but you’re growing the economy.
    …And that was the basis of the huge Japanese success of the 1960s, 70s and 80.

    So that would be Real Monetary Reform.

    Because the one thing employers know that they don’t want, is for their labour costs to go up. So, if there’s a pool of unemployed, and policies directed at driving down wages – then they feel happy. And a lot of government policy at present is geared exactly that way.

    Yep, which is why I’ve started saying that the unemployed should be treated as being in the job that the government has chosen for them and that they should get the minimum wage for a 40 hour week.

    So there’s a huge mechanism for raising top salaries, while [the global consensus] is that you must drive wages down, to keep your wage costs low.

    Keeping the majority of peoples wages down allows for more of the income to be diverted to those at the top – directors and shareholders.

    What you should be doing is putting forward policies that you think will work, and that will address the major issues, and be more successful than the current lot.

    Point out that the policies that Labour/Greens/The left have actually physically work and that the policies of National are pipe dreams that only benefit the 1% at everyone else’s expense.

  10. Aerobubble 10

    Key, in QT, said that minimum wages were as a proportion of average wages are very high compared to other nations. Now I accept labour has no ability to hold key to account as they all love him. But seriously. Keeping wages low, exporting raw materials, losing the added value game, and so naturally our average wage will be close to the min wage.

  11. Alex 11

    No, I believe that there were many other alternatives available. At no time do I say that I’m a supporter of Roger Douglas. What I say is that the economy needed radical overhaul. That reform had to happen. Incremental reforms could have led to a radical overhaul when completed. We had to get rid of the protectionist policies, open the economy to imported goods, remove tariffs so people could afford cheaper consumer goods, float the exchange rate, sell non-strategic assets to pay debt. Do I think Labour went to far and to fast, completely.

    And I agree Nic, good to see Labour learning from the mistakes of that period.

    • Nic the NZer 11.1

      Labour doesn’t appear to have learned anything, we were offered a choice between a party that promised harmful reforms, and a party which would not explain what (probably harmful) economic reforms it promised. Both are committed to harmful economic policies such as balanced budgets and inflation fighting.

      Did I mention that raising the retirement age is a terrible economic policy which no voter should think is a solution to anything? The NZ economy will do better if the retirement age stays right where it is than if its raised, and as an added benefit we don’t have to worry about pensioners struggling in poverty.

      The only thing you have shown needed to be done was to float the exchange rate, other reforms completely un-needed and imposed on top of Roger Douglas leaking to exacerbate the currency crisis (in the typical neo-liberal disaster capitalism fashion).

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      We had to get rid of the protectionist policies, open the economy to imported goods, remove tariffs so people could afford cheaper consumer goods, float the exchange rate, sell non-strategic assets to pay debt.

      We had to do none of those except floating the exchange rate.

      And I agree Nic, good to see Labour learning from the mistakes of that period.

      That’s just it – they’re not learning from the past. They’re still following the same delusional economic policies that the 4th Labour government introduced.

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    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    1 day ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    1 day ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    2 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    2 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    3 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    6 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    7 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    7 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago

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