Does the left win by tacking to the centre or by being principled?

Written By: - Date published: 11:40 am, September 13th, 2015 - 162 comments
Categories: david shearer, democratic participation, labour, socialism, uk politics - Tags:

Jeremy Corbyn

Well done Jeremy Corbyn.  It is great to see a plain speaking principled politician succeed.  Clearly Jeremy and Bernie Saunders in the States are indicative of a growing restlessness amongst activists with political business as usual where careerists using triangulation as their only weapon have been dominant for some time.

As the right wing dominated media throughout the world is prone to do, in Aotearoa they have pontificated about how having a conviction leader who speaks simply and says what he thinks would be a very bad idea.  Better to have careerists who know how to play the game and whose words are filtered through many layers of PR advice rather than have someone who actually wants to have a proper discussion about our future.

Mike Hosking had a go.  Strangely enough he does not like Corbyn and thinks Corbyn will be the death knell for the UK Labour Party.  Also strangely enough he thinks that John Key is able to walk on water and is incapable of doing anything wrong.  Despite clear evidence of Hosking’s bias he thinks that his views are worthy of being broadcast.

Here are some of the words that Hosking came up with:

Jeremy is about to become the new Labour leader in what really has been the most astonishing political race I can remember.

He is not just going to win but win in a landslide.

And in Jeremy’s victory will be one of politics’ great debating points – do you sell what you believe or do you sell what the people want?

I ask this because Jeremy will never be Prime Minister; he will never win an election.

Jeremy – if you haven’t followed proceedings – is about as far-left of the political spectrum as you can get.

Jeremy wants to print money, he wants trades people to retire early, he wants to increase taxes, he can’t think of a reason to deploy the military – not that he’ll have one because the cutbacks will be historic in their size – and he wants to re-nationalise industry.

He is a stark raving loony.

Don’t hold back Mike.  His criticisms are something of a gross misrepresentation but the things that Hosking is complaining about are actually good things.  Quantitative easing has been used throughout the world for some time to hold off economic malaise and it has worked.

Increasing taxes?  Well the gross inequality that exists has been shown to be bad for everyone.  Sure Mike’s English mates would have to pay more if Corbyn wins but at least poverty could be addressed.

Wanting trades people to retire early is merely recognition that many tradespeople’s bodies are flogged out before the age of retirement.  Such a policy is humane not loony.

I can think of millions of reasons for not deploying the military, many of them who are flooding into Europe now.  And without committing himself to do so Corbyn has talked about nationalising major power providers and rail.  New Zealand has renationalised rail without problem and not so long ago we owned most of the power generators in the country.

Hosking is also one who believes that political battles are not won by superior PR campaigns or money or activist effort but by which party is able to sail closest to the centre.

Everyone knows politics in western democracies is won in the centre. You can be a little centre-right or a little centre-left, but the key is the centre.

I don’t believe he is right.  Helen Clark was brave enough to propose that New Zealand should aspire to being carbon neutral.  People do actually like leaders who lead.

Hosking has an unusual supporter who is saying the same things, Labour’s David Shearer.  He said this on Facebook:

Corbyn’s supporters could be right … for the first time in modern political history we may see a leader shun the centre, steer a party to the left and win an election.

But more likely it will guarantee Labour stays in ‘glorious’ opposition as it did during the 1980s and 1990s – until finally it reached out to voters in the centre and won three elections in a row. But until then Thatcher and the Conservatives ran rampant for 18 years.

Too often we forget that being in government is the objective. Anything else is just academic discussion.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives are gleeful. Many joined the Labour Party under Labour’s new voting rules just so they could vote for Corbyn.

Sadly, the stakes are heavily tilted against a positive outcome for Labour – and with it the majority of hardworking, decent Brits.

The problem with tacking to the centre and a goldilocks approach to policy formation is that the result is almost inevitably insipid.  Take for instance climate change.  National has been adept at working out a position that its supporters and big business approve of and has weakened the emissions trading scheme to the stage where it is an pallid imitation of what is required.  And National’s commitment for the Paris Convention is both hopelessly weak and completely unobtainable given current policy settings.

A politician’s role should be to lead and persuade not follow public opinion.  In the immortal words of Mhairi Black they should be sign posts and not weather cocks.

162 comments on “Does the left win by tacking to the centre or by being principled?”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Who are our politicians that match Corbyn’s left wing consistency, authenticity or principles in NZ, in the face of fire from the media and even their own party grandees? There are none.

    Anyone who can seriously consider turning their back on their left wing political principles during the pursuit of power in order to head to the right wing “centre” is by definition – not principled.

    • sabine 1.1

      true that.

      sad, innit?

    • arkie 1.2

      I think the Green Party has been authentically and consistently the most left wing party in mainstream nz politics, despite being marginalised by the media and other opposition parties.

      • weka 1.2.1

        yep, and for the most part managed to keep their principles at the centre of everything else. They don’t look like traditional left though.

        • arkie

          That’s a good thing in my opinion. The younger generations born post 1984 have never known what traditional left politics looks like.

          • Colonial Viper

            it took Russel Norman and the Greens a full 48 hours to back down on issuing new money after the right wing media rounded on him.

            • arkie

              And that is worse than never actually advocating for any real left ideas?

            • weka

              got another example? Or are you suggesting that good politicians have to be perfect all the time?

              • The Chairman

                Kiwisaver for every child.

                Imagine it, another revenue stream for the financial sector to clip the ticket.

                • weka

                  that’s not an example of the GP not standing by their principles.

                  • The Chairman

                    It’s an example of them batting for the financial sector while throwing kids under the bus.

                    Are you arguing that’s actually a principle of theirs?

            • Naturesong

              The reason being is that it was not Green Policy. And iirc, it was withdrawn a couple of months after being presented.

              The Greens internal processes and governance around policy making mean that is takes several months to create policy.
              So when there are exceptional circumstances, as there were in this case, Dr Norman prepared for parliament’s consideration a white paper.

              This is not to say that the Greens did not support Dr Norman, they/we did. He just didn’t have a mandate to crusade on it (it wasn’t official policy).

              Dr Norman went out on a limb to present to parliament and the public a well-reasoned fiscal device which would have helped address the rebuild, kick start some demand (demand had cratered after GST was raised, inflation was at about 0.1% iirc), and slow the rise of the NZD (actually the fall of other currencies against ours due to their QE policies).
              All of which would have helped to slow the wave of extinction of manufacturing businesses occurring at the time and the resultant unemployment.

              The response from National, some parts of Labour and opinion makers around the country was not to discuss the actual document or its content, but to reveal just how ignorant and controlled the public discourse is.

              It was just another episode in NZ politics where the opportunity to discuss things like adults was derailed by privileged ignorants throwing rocks.

              • Draco T Bastard


                How private banks create money and thus profit from doing essentially nothing while being backed up by the government (meaning that they take no risk either) is something that needs to be broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

                • aerobubble

                  How do you make a billionaire poorer?

                  The 10% own 50%.

                  How do you make them poorer.

                  Well print money makes them poorer.

                  Unless they capture that printed money better than the 90%

                  So GFC got it half right, but the whole wrong.

                  Until we have mechanisms that tax pollution and reward everyone, not the few, we are incentivizing our natural demise as a species, as a equal society.

                  Take the war on bacteria, the insects have been around longer and arguable are the canary. We don’t measure ant, termite colony collapses but we do bees. There were no incentives to stop the abuse of medicine, no bright line tests for most pollution as we are not effected by seas of plastic, or bacteria adaptions that even insects are being wiped out by. Its not on the radar ad capitalism isn’t valuing all life just the few richest in the world. As the theory goes they are irreplaceable, commanding extreme salaries, and you better not go against them less you are called leftwing.

                • Reddelusion

                  Draco stop parroting the same old ideological rubbish, no great defenders of banks but to say they do nothing is rubbish, here’s a few

                  With deposits Underpin the payment system
                  cheques Debit cards credit cards, charge cards ATMs internet banking, etc all pretty good innovation and services
                  Bring savers and lenders together, imagine trying to do that yourself
                  allow international commerce
                  facilitate capital markets allowing growth and innovation
                  insurance , wealth management

                  I think life would be pretty different without banks and I suggest a lot more difficult. Now stop your silly crusade, fiat monetary system, mingling of investment banking and traditional banking some policy debate there, but banks per see providing no value is rubbish

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    With deposits Underpin the payment system

                    Nope. They just charge us for using our money.

                    cheques Debit cards credit cards, charge cards ATMs internet banking, etc all pretty good innovation and services

                    All of which should have been done as a government service. The private sector should not make a profit from the use of money.

                    Bring savers and lenders together, imagine trying to do that yourself

                    No they don’t as they create money, not lend out existing money.

                    As for doing it ourselves? Peer to peer lending

                    allow international commerce

                    They allow international commerce? How good of them.

                    facilitate capital markets allowing growth and innovation insurance , wealth management

                    But not needed. In fact, having the government do it as a government service would boost all of those things. In fact, the private banks are probably now so big that they’re preventing those things.

                    As for insurance? I figure that’s a bigger scam than banking.

                    I think life would be pretty different without banks and I suggest a lot more difficult.

                    The point is that we’d be better off if it was all a government service. It’d cost less, be less of a drag on the monetary system, reduce inflation, and reduce the dead-weight loss from profit simply because it would massively reduce profit.

                • johnm

                  Hi DTB

                  Another excellent item has appeared on Orlov’s site, this time dealing with the rise of the fraudulent banking system and how it facilitated ruination of the Earth. ‘Until you change the way money works, nothing else will change’ (other than be made worse). Of course those who benefit from the fraudulent system have no intention of changing anything. So the only question that matters is, when will the present money system collapse?

                  Tuesday, September 08, 2015

                  The Financial-Industrial Revolution’s Origin and Destiny

                  The industrial revolution made the modern world. Before it took off in the late eighteenth century, most people in Europe and elsewhere lived sustainably on renewable resources in traditional societies. Such limited energy as was available came from wind (sailboats, windmills), hydropower (waterwheels), wood (heating and cooking fireplaces and stoves), and muscle power (human and animal labor). There was no electricity, little or no heavy machinery, no modern medicine, virtually no appliances or other labor saving devices, and no telecommunication. Travel was laborious and slow. Almost everything had to be made by hand with simple technology. Death and birth rates were high, mostly because of infant mortality.

                  Imagine a world without fossil fuels or electricity and you begin to come close to what it was like. Life was simpler, to be sure, more natural, anchored in traditional wisdom and reliant on herbal remedies—since widely disparaged—and certainly without the stresses associated with modern life. Ritual and community were strong; most people were embedded in an intense network of social relations.

                  The gap between then and now is enormous. Our world today would be a total and unimaginable fantasy—or nightmare—to anyone living 250 years ago.

                  The question is: How did we get from there to here?

                  Most explanations of the industrial revolution, and indeed the rise of the whole modern world, miss the mark. They invoke purported causes such as the development of science, technological innovation, political stability, and the use of fossil fuels, beginning with coal.

                  None of these factors, alone or even in combination, provides a plausible explanation. All of them were present at other points in the past, and did not lead to an industrial revolution.

                  The ancient world, especially the Greeks, arguably had a scientific revolution, as well as considerable technological innovation, and, under Hellenistic monarchs and later the Romans, political stability, and yet no industrial revolution occurred. The potential for fossil fuels was there as well. China, at various times in its long history, also had the same ingredients, but, again, no industrial revolution occurred. Perhaps also India and the Arab world.

                  These conditions again obtained in Britain in the eighteenth century, but this time an industrial revolution did occur.

                  What was the difference?

                  The vital factor, I argue—present in late seventeenth and early eighteenth century England, and absent in earlier situations—was an institutionalized system of broad, debt-based finance. For the first time in world history large-scale credit became available to fund public and private enterprises.

                  This “financial revolution” is seldom noted, and even more rarely, pardon the pun, credited. The classic work on the subject—The Financial Revolution in England: A Study in the Development of Public Credit, 1688-1756, by P. G. M. Dickson (1967)—remains out of print.

                  Credit, to be clear, long preceded the financial revolution. A recent popular book by David Graeber—Debt: The First 5000 Years—traces credit all the way back to the temple economies of Sumerian city states.

                  But the traditional sort of credit Graeber describes was severely limited. Commercial loans were generally made to finance a relatively narrow, reliable range of projects, such as the planting of a cash crop, or goods expected from a trading expedition, and usually had to be paid off in hard-to-get precious metals.

                  More importantly, traditional loans of this sort depended on finding the relatively few potential creditors who had already accumulated savings they could lend. Today, it is still widely believed that money lent out by banks comes from the savings deposited in those banks, just as money borrowed from a friend or relative is presumed to come from savings or wealth they already possess. But it doesn’t.

                  The financial revolution in England over 300 years ago overcame these limitations by vastly expanding the scope and function of credit. It established a credit system independent of savings and current resources, and it did so by institutionalizing the process of creating money “out of thin air.”

                  It takes a little history to understand this financial revolution—history that is not taught in our schools.

                  It was the goldsmiths in seventeenth century London that took the first step. Clients deposited gold with them for safekeeping, receiving in turn certificates of redemption. The goldsmiths discovered that only a few clients were likely to redeem their deposits at any given time. This allowed them to issue more certificates (as loans) than they actually had gold on hand to redeem them.

                  This new expansion, or leveraging, of the money supply (more certificates circulating than the actual gold backing them) has come to be known as fractional reserve banking.

                  Note that nothing is backing this new additional money, apart from confidence in the supposed ability of the borrowers to repay it in due course. It is created merely on the say-so of the lenders. The borrower suddenly has new money to spend—money that was not there before and that was not minted, earned or saved up by anyone. It is a slip of paper, with a corresponding accounting entry in the lender’s book—no more and no less.

                  Important as this step was, the goldsmiths remained private proto-bankers, limited by the deposits they could attract. They were vulnerable to “runs on the bank”—sudden, excessive withdrawals by depositors which left them unable to pay out gold as promised, leaving them insolvent. Money created out of thin air, essentially as a confidence trick, could just as easily vanish into thin air as soon as confidence wavered.

                  This problem was exacerbated by Charles II’s insistence on ever-greater loans to conduct his military campaigns, which he could not repay. A major default by the monarchy occurred in 1671, putting many goldsmiths and other money-lenders out of business. This pattern was typical of early modern finance, where monarchs borrowed largely to fund their wars of conquest without sufficient income from taxes and royal estates to repay them.

                  An ingenious and fateful response to this financial instability came with the foundation of the Bank of England in 1694. A group of about 1500 investors agreed to assume the royal debt—since renamed the “national debt”—in return for a monopoly on the right to issue their own notes (loans, that is) to the public guaranteed by the reliable repayment of the government’s debt through taxation. These notes—which subsequently became known as British pounds—soon started circulating as the currency of the land.

                  This currency-as-debt was still ultimately denominated in precious metals, but the presence of the royal imprimatur, backed by the power of the state to meet its obligations by forceable taxation, made its indebtedness “as good as gold” for the creditors.

                  As this new arrangement sprung into being, nobody seemed to ask the very obvious and important question:

                  Why is it that a group of private investors was granted the unprecedented license to automatic public taxpayer backing and, if need be, outright bail-outs for their own privately-issued notes (loans), which were allowed to function as the currency of the land, displacing precious metals?

                  Since the power of the state to tax its citizens rests on a perpetual right, it follows that any private loans backed by tax receipts can also be issued, and reissued, in perpetuity. The result was a perpetual national debt used to back up perpetual private lending.

                  But the private bankers immediately took a further step, making full use of the fractional reserve principle of the goldsmiths: they proceeded to lend far beyond the actual amount of government debt on their books. Thus, only a fraction of the notional “money” they generated out of thin air was formally backed by the taxpayer.

                  Which leads to another very important question that also wasn’t much discussed, then or now:

                  What if confidence lapses, there are bank runs, and it turns out that the government guarantees are insufficient?

                  The modern answer to this question is… bail-outs; it turns out that the taxpayer is on the hook not just for the government debt, but for all the private debt issuance as well.

                  But that’s not all. Not only were these private loans backed by the taxing power of the state, but the bankers issuing them took full advantage of the relaxation of traditional prohibitions on usury. This allowed them to charge as much interest on these loans as the market would bear. In other words, they were able to skim off a generous profit for themselves simply by virtue of issuing money which they alone were allowed to freely create!

                  Sounds outlandish? You bet! ? Yet this is the essence of the financial revolution, which Alexander Hamilton, one of its admirers, accurately called “the English system,” and it remains the basis of our financial system today.

                  How does all this explain the industrial revolution? Think of it this way: for the first time in history a widespread source of reasonably secure credit became available, backed by the state, and free of the worst risks previously borne by individual lenders like the goldsmiths, or earlier family bankers like the Medici or the Fuggers. This made a huge difference: borrowers who could tap into this new credit found themselves with the wherewithal to invest in modernized production methods, becoming more profitable and outstripping their competitors.

                  This happened initially in agriculture, with the improvement of landed estates, and then spread to manufacturing. And even though these new loans had to be repaid with interest, which was commonly at usurious rates, the benefits of the improvements gained made the loans profitable for the borrowers as well as for the lenders.

                  For the first time in history, it became possible to systematically and reliably borrow against the future, betting that the future will always be bigger, better and richer, making it perpetually possible to issue ever more debt with which to roll over previously issued debt. This is what made steady economic growth through investment in innovative production methods—in short, industrial revolution—possible.

                  Which leads to yet another very important question that wasn’t much asked:

                  What happens when it turns out that the future is not going to be bigger, better and richer, because the essential resources have been exhausted?

                  The modern answer to this question, which we are staring at now, is this: financial, economic and political collapse.

                  But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Remember that the price to be paid for industrialization was the interest charged on the borrowed money. This means that an enterprise, if funded by borrowed money, had to grow to compensate the lender as well as to repay the principal. Gradually, previously steady-state traditional enterprises where either destroyed by their more productive industrial competitors, or they too financialized, putting themselves on an ever-accelerating treadmill of debt.

                  Albert Bartlett and Chris Martenson, among others, have elaborated in Malthusian fashion the idea that the modern economy functions on the self-defeating principle of exponential growth.

                  But yet another questions remains: Why did exponential economic growth catch on and continue for the last 250 years? It turns out that exponential growth has a very specific driver: the usurious rates of interest charged by the new financial system created by the financial revolution.

                  In short, the use of borrowed money at interest provided something that did not exist earlier: a compelling motive to grow economically. Once the reciprocal exchanges of traditional, more or less steady-state economies were replaced by the use of credit borrowed at interest, it became necessary to come out ahead: one had to gain more from any exchange than the other party in order to make a profit and to pay interest to the lender.

                  For the first time in history a fateful imperative to growth—and exploitation—was built right into the economy. Usurious credit is what kicked economies into overdrive, forcing borrowers to exploit both people and natural resources far beyond what was allowed in traditional economies that were based on reciprocity among participants.

                  So yet another question–never adequately addressed–arises:

                  Why is it that personal vices and mortal sins have been assigned the role of foundational economic principles?

                  Ambition and avarice, previously private vices, were institutionalized in the financial system by usurious credit, allowing them to be legally and culturally objectified and thereby enormously magnified. No longer merely personal qualities, they assumed the power of social imperatives.

                  For a long time, as long as new resources and pools of labor could be exploited, all went well for the exploiters (and badly for the exploited). New frontiers were opened up and “developed,” in the New World and elsewhere, usually at the point of a gun, and slaves and indentured servants were bought in to do the labor.

                  Simultaneously, peasants in the old world, forcibly displaced by enclosures and the modernization of agriculture, were herded into factories as workers. Deprived of their traditional, largely independent and sustainable ways of life, they became wage-laborer consumers who had to buy goods and services at market prices.

                  It turned out—for a considerable time–that the globe had enough land, minerals, arable soil, fisheries, and forests to support an unprecedented explosion of production. It also turned out—for a considerable time—that the globe had enormous untapped sources of energy—particularly fossil fuels—which magnified productive potential many-fold.

                  The exploitation of these resources is what we call the industrial revolution.

                  And now it has run its course. The resource limits of a finite planet have finally been reached. There are no new frontiers left. Population has exploded, arable land has been used up, forests have been cut down, fisheries have been depleted, minerals have become scarce, the environment has been degraded and polluted. Investments in the production of fossil fuel energy, which has underpinned economic growth, have finally reached the point of diminishing returns, even as they continue to drive costly and destructive climate change.

                  In the meantime, the banking system has continued to lend out far more money than there are real assets in the world to back it. Hundreds of trillions of dollars of debt now dwarf the potential of the global economy to ever produce enough to repay it. We are facing another cyclical boom-bust financial crisis, to be sure, but this time it really is different: the potential for recovery and further growth can no longer be presumed to exist. The system has plateaued, for the moment, but having been designed for endless exponential growth, not for a steady state, it is destined to unravel.

                  It is important to understand, in sum, that “the English system,” now established worldwide, is a privatized, usurious financial system established as a monopoly by the state to benefit private investors, and is involuntarily backed by its taxpayers (as evidenced in the recent bailouts of banks deemed “too big to fail”).

                  This system is the root cause of the industrial economy.

                  What are the lessons in all this?

                  1. Exponential growth, powered by the financial system, is unsustainable, and doomed to collapse. This is the nature of any exponential process.

                  2. The true villain of the piece, and the cause of exponential economic growth, is our current, outrageous financial system, defined by the lending of money at usurious and therefore exponential interest rates by a private monopoly backed by the state.

                  3. The vast power unleashed by this financial-industrial revolution has completely corrupted those who have been able to manipulate and benefit from it, resulting in an inhumane, narcissistic culture of arrogance, contemptuous of traditional, sustainable ways of being.

                  4. Our financial system is a relatively recent invention, devised by clever, selfish men for their personal gain. It is not the product of any natural or inevitable process, nor of democratic deliberation. It is a scam. We need not be stuck with it, and the sooner we rid ourselves of it the better.

                  5. A sustainable, post-collapse economy on a finite planet will require a return to reciprocal, cooperative arrangements for the exchange of goods and services. Loans will have to be based on current collateral, not on leverage or on speculative exploitation of (increasingly non-existent) resources.

                  6. Usury will have to be prohibited in future lending. The monetary system, by which money is created through lending, cannot be a for-profit monopoly, whether it be private or public.

                  7. Any future financial system will have to be designed to avoid concentrations of financial power, making it possible for it to be held accountable by the public. If money creation is to serve the public, it must be done locally by institutions that are locally controlled.

                  Adrian Kuzminski is the author of The Ecology of Money: Debt, Growth, and Sustainability (2013), Fixing the System: A History of Populism, Ancient & Modern (2008), and Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism (2008), among other works.

    • weston 1.3

      and wheres nzs mhairi black newly elected into snp with a ton of guts and integrity and aged just 20

    • Ron 1.4

      Sadly they have all been driven out of political parties but I can think of several Green Party pollies eg The two Sue’s both of whom would fit that category, and maybe Rod Donald as well.

      Who are our politicians that match Corbyn’s left wing consistency, authenticity or principles in NZ, in the face of fire from the media and even their own party grandees? There are none.

    • Morrissey 1.5

      Laila Harré, Hone Harawira, Keith Locke, Russell Norman, Sue Bradford. Further back, there was Norman Kirk.

      That’s about it.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Laila Harre, Hone Harawira, Sue Bradford and Keith Locke were among the few parliamentarians that walked the talk in recent times

    “centrism” results in societies with large numbers of both compliant consumers–the holy grail for marketeers–and alienated/excluded aka “losers”

    political parties even in NZ used to have mass memberships, so once enough people shake off “me, me, did I mention me…” and readopt “us” anything is possible

    • aerobubble 2.1

      The center is just where most people are, and all politicians take their principles to the center. So the title is doubly wrong, creating a false dichotomy as well as reinforcing the right as the center. Talk about playing the enemies game.

      Politicians are servants, who feed ground, who both feed the narrative to assist them while looking like they acquired to the center. So I’m bowled over that anyone could have thought up such a rotten title.

      Its not a error to want to win the center, that’s just the majority. Its not a error to have principles, its a neccesity otherwise your candidate looks hollow. So its complete and outer turdblosson to take two contradictions and tie them together and make that the left.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        You seem to have missed the fact that the politicians have been taking us to the right over the last few decades against the will of the majority.

    • b waghorn 2.2

      Laila and Hone gave up the principles pretty quick when a big cash jackpot got waved under there noses. Sue Bradford walked much to her credit.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        Laila and Hone gave up the principles pretty quick when a big cash jackpot got waved under there noses.

        That’s an outright lie. They didn’t give up any principles at all.

        • b waghorn

          A lie or one persons point of view?
          Given that dotcom’s early moves where to buy favour from the likes of banks and that I’m sure that insiders like Hone and Laila would of known that , it was all about the money . Hone would of one no sweat if he had stayed the course , hell he was likely to of got my vote until dotcom came along.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Given that dotcom’s early moves where to buy favour from the likes of banks and that I’m sure that insiders like Hone and Laila would of known that , it was all about the money .


            We don’t actually know that KDC tried to buy influence. He just said that Banks had told him that he would get help if the donations were anonymous.

            Hone would of one no sweat if he had stayed the course , hell he was likely to of got my vote until dotcom came along.

            That’s just it – he did stay the course. He didn’t shift at all. Everyone just assumed that because KDC had donated to him and that the Internet Party was in alliance with him he was now owned by KDC.

            • b waghorn

              “”We don’t actually know that KDC tried to buy influence. He just said that Banks had told him that he would get help if the donations were anonymous.”
              You might be right but to plebs like me where there’s smoke there’s fire.

              Thinks for the non-sequiter link btw

  3. Bill 3


    Major NZ new outlets will endlessly repeat any anti-Corbyn nonsense coming from UK news outlets to keep NZ Labour cowed. That won’t be too hard a job. I haven’t read anything on NZ Labour’s response to Corbyn winning yet, but I’m willing to pick it will be insipid and neutral. They’ll batten down the hatches and continue to wait (hope) for the front benches to fall into their laps.

    Am I right in thinking there’s possibly two NZ elections before the next UK one? So, another five years of a NZ Labour Party that comes across as that lawyer you hired to defend you, but who keeps kind of agreeing with the prosecution lawyer. And they wonder why people heap it on them!?

    Maybe the Greens can throw something out there that will open up the space to allow people to flood in, engage and change the landscape of NZ politics? I don’t know how fast they can move on policy, but hell – they’re already written off as lunatic or whatever by a good proportion of NZ media. Nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    I’d suggest they ‘call time’ on all the political bullshit around climate change and tell it as it is. But people will say that’s too risky and that the Greens can’t be up-front and honest because it’s bad for getting the votes. Principled then, but not too principled.

    • arkie 3.1

      I agree, the Greens have represented much of the same policies and goals as Sanders and Corbyn for their entire existence.

    • Detrie 3.3

      Labours response this morning was indeed insipid and neutral, as expected. They’re playing safe, as always, which will be their downfall come next election.

    • weka 3.4

      “Nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

      That’s not true though, is it. They could lose the influence they currently have in shifting public, political and business opinion about climate change and what should be done.

      “I’d suggest they ‘call time’ on all the political bullshit around climate change and tell it as it is. But people will say that’s too risky and that the Greens can’t be up-front and honest because it’s bad for getting the votes. Principled then, but not too principled.”

      Depends on what you see as principled. They’re a mainstream political party, working in a very hostile environment. The hard core, fuck the system activists are either gone (Tanczos, Bradford), or have morphed into middle NZ acceptable (Turei), so what looks like principled to you is probably different than how people in the GP see it.

      Having said that, much of my support for the GP balanced approach was predicated on Labour getting their shit together and there being the possibility of a centre left govt. But if I accept that this impossible now, then I might be persuaded to the idea the Greens should just go hard and bugger the polls. I’d still like to see what Shaw does over the next year on CC. I still think that left wing activists haven’t supported the GP so the GP can hardly be held accountable for not being brave enough or not leading the way.

      btw, one of Shaw’s intentions is to increase GP membership dramatically. It will be very interesting to see how that affects the party strategy and policy. I’m guessing the new members won’t be traditional left wingers. They’ll be people, mostly younger, who previously haven’t considered themselves politically aligned.

      • Bill 3.4.1

        Depends on what you see as principled.

        Just telling the truth. On climate change that would begin by pointing out that limiting warming to 2 degrees is no longer on the cards. It then entails laying out the likely or possible consequences for society in a warmed world, and either begin the discussion on what to do, or offer some practical courses of action such as –

        1. Retrofit all housing and buildings expected to be standing in 30 years so that they can, or may, cope with a worst case +4 degrees C.

        2. Engineer all infrastructure (transport, water, power etc) so that it can possibly withstand the same.

        3. Call time on ‘the market’ unless economists can demonstrate in a convincing fashion how carbon reductions in excess of 10% per annum can be compatible with economic growth.

        Big scary challenge has arrived. Society needs all hands on deck and there’s no more time for niceties or soothing away of fears. Gotta jump.

        • maui

          I think if the Greens told people even more bad news, more would just switch off and the Greens would be called even more batty than usual. People want to believe they’re not effecting the environment and that the economy is fine.

          I don’t think we will ever end up retrofitting on the scale you’re talking about either. Individuals/families will and it will gain popularity, but I can’t seeing it coming from a Government level.

          • Bill

            Facts is facts is facts. They can be unpleasant or whatever, but the truth is that we got ourselves into this bind. Anything wrong with those facts being presented alongside a rallying cry? Nope.

            If it’s permitted for people to continue to have delusions that their actions have no impact on climate and that the market economy is okay, and if that means they carry on as ‘normal’, then we’re fucked. Now (and this is maybe just me) I don’t have time for bullshit that would allow some people a degree of psychological comfort when the repercussions of doing that will be so utterly disastrous, for me as well as them.

            Society made smoking unacceptable. Society can make ‘fucking the planet’ unacceptable. It’s not that everyone has to like it any more than smokers had to like being ostracised.

            As for the retro-fitting, it has to happen. Peoples’ QE would make it possible if it’s to happen within a market economy.

            Maybe some people just need it gently pointed out to them that society needs to do something because, as things stand, if/when given segments of the electricity grid fall over, they won’t be getting any water coming from their taps.

            • marty mars

              that’s the rub though – people can’t handle the truth, they’d prefer to believe the liars – the evidence is incontestable and hopefully soon only delusional suckpuppets of the current societal regime will be immune from that light – once people see they won’t be able to unsee.

              • Bill

                So society, even this this thing we refer to as global civilisation, gets to collapse, and future generations get to live and die by horrendous circumstances – because some people couldn’t handle the truth (whatever that actually means) and those of us who could see what was coming felt compelled to cater to those who couldn’t handle the truth?

                • pretty well, because what is the alternative – force them to?

                  the truth is if people understood the truth they would be tearing it all down now

                  • Colonial Viper

                    problem is that as a society we’ve been infantalised into thinking that we can have everything all the time and not have to eventually sit down to the proverbial “feast of consequences.”

                    The ruling class has led that charge, but ironically, also suffer the worst from their own affliction.

                    • Corokia

                      I agree completely with your 1st sentence, but am sceptical that the ‘ruling class’ will suffer the consequences of their actions, their wealth will give them more options and thus more protection, from the disruption coming.For example (while not climate change related,) the rich Christchurch residents moved to their holiday homes after the earthquake, while the rest of society had to stay and face the reality of the disaster)

                    • Colonial Viper

                      A brief look at the last 500 years of western history suggests otherwise, whether it is by guillotine, firing squad or by swinging from lamp posts.

                  • Corokia

                    People NEED to understand the truth, they don’t get told it.
                    Compared to previous generations who had to face up to fascism and actually did something, this generation will go down in history (if anyone is left to write it) as the selfish, fuckwits who did nothing to try and stop the climate disaster that is unfolding.

                  • Bill

                    ‘Force’ is maybe a loaded term. How about we just make it impossible for them?

                • weka

                  “because some people couldn’t handle the truth (whatever that actually means) and those of us who could see what was coming felt compelled to cater to those who couldn’t handle the truth?”

                  I don’t think it’s that at all. In my experience of working with people doing resiliency and sustainability work, it’s not about catering (or do you mean pandering?) to people. It’s about what actually works. Giving people hard cold facts and nothing else tends to make people switch off. There’s pretty good theory and lots of epxerience to suggest that while for some people that’s a choice, for many people it’s just what happens psychologically in the face of overwhelming catastrophe. You can take those people and force the truth on them and they’ll call you crazy. Or you can take those people and give them the hard facts slightly warmed and give them solutions to focus on, and many of those people will then focus on teh solutions.

                  I think that’s true for most people, but doubly so for people with kids. They’ve got some pretty big incentives to not burn bridges on the basis of what ifs. None of this intellectual btw, and much of it is at levels that we are adpated to in terms of evolution (fight/flight and how we adapte to chronic stress esp things we feel we have no control over). No, that’s not an excuse, it’s a way into understanding how to get people to change. People don’t want to know, because it’s way to hard and most feel powerless (christ, we can’t even get rid of Key, how are we going to deal with CC?).

                  I agree some targeted hard facts wouldn’t go amiss right now, but it needs to be along side giving people things they can do. And yep, once the grid falls over or the petrol pumps are dry, it’s going to be a different story, but (a) most people reading that now are going to not believe it’s really true, and (b) it’ll be too late by then in terms of mitigating the worst effects of CC.

                  “the truth is if people understood the truth they would be tearing it all down now”

                  Really? So how come you and me and Bill aren’t? Or Robert Atack?

                  • weka

                    that’s a serious question btw marty. For you I’m guessing much of it is to do with your children. For me it’s the edge between my own wellbeing and that of the world’s. I don’t have sufficient courage yet to give up my own wellbeing, but I suspect part of it is that I don’t want to do it alone either. We are communal creatures at heart.

                    • maybe the truth is that to tear it down means tearing ourselves down, what we have believed, what we have lived – letting go of the society we try to be part of, even if on the edges. We still feel pride, ownership, connection. maybe we can’t tear it down because we can’t tear ourselves down because we cannot give up hope, in ourselves and in the society we have been born into.

                      maybe tearing it down is just an illusion and not based on what can actually happen

                      maybe instead of looking out we have to look in

                      and maybe our illusion of personal power and the ability to MAKE CHANGES is just that, illusory – it does seem to be a recurring mantra for our western societies – maybe we have internalised it so much we cannot even see the illusion of it.

                  • Bill

                    This thing about people changing…is that something extrapolated from the liberal myth of progress? People don’t need to change. They just need to stop, y’know – like the guy swaggering down the road swinging the axe at people just needs to stop.

            • weka

              “Facts is facts is facts. They can be unpleasant or whatever, but the truth is that we got ourselves into this bind. Anything wrong with those facts being presented alongside a rallying cry? Nope.”

              Except facts aren’t facts in this particular case. We don’t know what’s going to happen, that’s what makes it so difficult to respond to. Yes we know CC is real, and we know that something is locked in and irreversible in the context of human time frames. But we don’t know how bad. Why should the GP believe your facts, or Robert Atacks, or their own advisors? Myself, I tend to think that your facts are closer to the truth, and because the stakes are so high we should be using the precautionary principle, but I have no way to prove I am right. They’re not facts, they’re extrapolations from facts that can’t predict the future in certain ways.

              Which leaves us with much more fuzzy human understandings, including how people manage really bad news of this enormity. When I push people to look past their day to day the biggest thing I come across is powerlessness. Until people gain the skills to deal with that, they’ll just be waiting until teh shtf.

              “1. Retrofit all housing and buildings expected to be standing in 30 years so that they can, or may, cope with a worst case +4 degrees C.

              2. Engineer all infrastructure (transport, water, power etc) so that it can possibly withstand the same.”

              So to me that looks like, let’s focus on the humans in one overdeveloped country and make them more comfortable. I’m never going to be up for that if it’s at the expense of mitigating CC in terms of ecosystems and I suspect it wouldn’t be something the GP would do either if they were going to ‘tell the truth’. If retro-fitting means utilising fossil fueled industrial tech then it’s just another aspect of adaptation that abandons the planet to its fate (including us).

              If however retrofitting is part of a plan to utilise existing housing stock (yes, we have plenty of houses in NZ) and slowing down the building industry with it’s large carbon footprint as part of the general powerdown from consumption, then that makes sense.

              • Bill

                The Greens are welcome to find a single reputable climate scientist who will say, (sans the magic wand of carbon capture technology) that 2 degrees C is possible. They’ll be a long time looking. Then they’ll come up empty handed. Even the last IPCC projections overshoot 2 degrees before their fantasy carbon capture sucks CO2 back out of the air.

                As for peoples’ sense of powerlessness, well…tough. The shit has hit the fan. The ship’s sinking. Meanwhile, all I’m hearing from those who don’t want to jump is that the sea might be too cold…or they might hurt themselves…or the life-raft might be too far away for them to reach….or maybe the ship will stop sinking…or the sky will crack open and a big hand…. etc.

                Things aren’t going to get any easier or the story any brighter. If there be buggers who won’t jump, then they need to be pushed.

                Globally retro-fitting houses and infrastructure so that’s it’s resilient is a basic necessity and a ‘no-brainer’. I’ve no problem with fossil fuels being used for that (if they are) in the context of yearly reductions of fossil use in Annex 1 countries being in excess of 10%.

                Developing countries (Annex 2) need to leap frog our inadequate Victorian or Edwardian infrastructure and we (the west) should at the very least be paying the difference in cost to them.

                • weka

                  Further warming will continue if emissions of greenhouse gases continue.

                  The global surface temperature increase by the end of the 21st century is likely to exceed 1.5 °C relative to the 1850 to 1900 period for most scenarios, and is likely to exceed 2.0 °C for many scenarios


                  I take that to mean that if we don’t reduce emissions it’s likely we will go above 2C.

                  I had a look around the internets. Most references to 2C were talking about targets (and the fact that 2C is too high). Are you saying all those reports and organisations are ignoring all the scientists?

                  This bit from Nature seems to me to be saying that 2C is not possible if we don’t do anything about emissions. Not that it’s locked on.


                  And this one appears to be saying that to limit to 2C we either need to reduce emissions or use CCS.


                  Given the world’s historic emissions combined with a continued reliance on fossil fuels to power humanity for the foreseeable future, limiting the increase to 2 degrees Celsius is all but impossible, according to David Victor, a professor of international relations and an expert on climate change policy at the University of California, San Diego.


                  Again, not retaing 2C is about not reducing emissions.

                  My guess is that the GP are working off a policy that was constructed to last some years and to change their policy would require a round of processes including going back to the membership and an AGM.

                  All that aside, you’ve neatly sidestepped my point. Which is that while there is consensus on climate change theory, there isn’t on what WILL happen. That’s not fact, it’s interpretation, and again I ask why the GP should believe your interpretation over their own advisors?

                • On to it Bill

                  We have done in the past 30 years what took 10,000 years and 800 methane life times to do, namely bring CO2 up to above 400 PPM and CH4 to nearly 2 ppm, The shock horror truth is we are locked into +5C above what we are now, and this is only for the CO2, with its, some are now saying, 10 year time lag (?) If this El Nino does its thing god knows how much things will speed up?
                  The IPCC don’t even know how to spell methane.
                  We are at the point I thought we would be @ by 2040, back in 1999, things have moved fast.
                  Also back then I was sort of laughed at when I asked at a Royal Society meeting about all the methane etc in the Tundra, “No such thing go away armature”.

                  I’m not sure what story you could spin to soften the facts?
                  I know, sell then a maturing insurance investment savings scam, let them watch/aid in the conversion of the planet into ‘wealth’

                  Vote Green we believe in free gold plated rocking horse shit for all.

  4. swordfish 4

    Unfortunately, I’m just out the door for the rest of the day – but I will say this ……

    Hoskers (as I believe his good friend, John, calls him):
    Corbyn “wants to renationalise Industry. He is a stark raving loony.”

    That’s no way to speak of the vast majority of the British Public, Michael ! …/hard-left-corbyn-receives-public-backing-from-41-economists/#comment-1062265

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      “Hoskers” left of the bit where the taxpayers are paying for the private owners anyway.
      Railways- much higher subsidies than when British Rail existed
      Shorts aircraft plant in Belfast- taxpayers forked out 600 mill to new owners to build additional factory and high gear.
      Housing- days of new builds are over but massive amounts still given to private providers

      • sabine 4.1.1

        the biased one would not care what the taxpayer pays for as he is rich enough to afford an accountant that will help him to not pay any taxes at all.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2

        “Hoskers” left of the bit where the taxpayers are paying for the private owners anyway.

        That’s the bit that most people don’t get – it’s still the people paying for the services. It’s just a question of who it’s going to and how much it’s costing. The government doing it gives better services for less cost.

        Shorts aircraft plant in Belfast- taxpayers forked out 600 mill to new owners to build additional factory and high gear.

        In NZ we have Telecom. Billions of dollars in profit since privatisation and the taxpayers still had to cough up the dough to get FttH.

  5. Detrie 5

    It is true there is none like Jeremy here. I wish there were. Labour here does need to look closely at what has occurred in the UK. I know many ex labour supporters who happily voted John Key last time simply because they saw the left in disarray with no strong message and John Key came across as a ‘nice guy’ who would do them no harm.

    As for Jeremy not being electable as prime minister, I believe his election as leader will actually improve labours chances come election day.

    Certainly the funds needed [from business] to help win election campaigns will fall away and they may need to do what Bernie Sanders is doing – More grass roots fundraising, which ironically may help improve voter turnout, especially from the young and disaffected, who seldom bother to vote as they see that whoever they vote for, won’t change anything. Corbyn and Sanders at least stand for something and have integrity – Something that is missing from today’s money and/or ego-driven representatives that make up most of our politicians.

    • weston 5.1

      BSanders apparently takes pride in the fact that his average campain donation is thirty dollars and 20cents as apposed to hillaries 700hundred k from city bank alone !!

  6. BM 6

    Middle is where the votes are.

    Only the seriously deluded would think targeting the fringes is a winning strategy.

    • weka 6.1

      “Middle is where the votes are.”

      You really didn’t pay attention in the last 24 hours did you.

      • BM 6.1.1

        What’s happened in the past 24 hours to change that?

        • weka


          • Once was Tim

            …… seriously Dumb – and no doubt one of the loudest to squeal like a stiffed and stuffed little piggie wiggie when shit hits fan.
            Steady as she goes Herr Capitan – full Steam ahead

            Awe well … cudda shudda wudda

            • BM

              If you think Corbyn getting elected by a group of lefty extremists changes anything, you’re more deluded than I though.

              He’s a dead man walking.

              • Tmricledrown

                Sounds like your worried their blinkered moneterist.
                Maybe that’s why John Key is boosting beneficiaries pay packets.
                Covering the left leaning supporter in your eyes that makes him a dead man walking.

        • Naturesong

          You are conflating a statistical middle with political middle.

          However, with Corbyns win, the new statistical middle is centre left politically (social democracy).

          And because I identify as centre left, I have to agree with you.
          Chasing the statistical middle is definitely the way to go.

  7. barry 7

    Corbyn has sold his vision to the Labour party. His success will now be defined by how well he sells it to the public.

    He will have Murdoch against him and many of his own front bench. He will have to spend the next 3-4 years traveling the country and doing it through good old fashioned town hall meetings. He will have to go directly to the public.

    People don’t vote for policy (at least not solely), they vote for what they can believe in. the problem for the NZ Labour party is that they don’t believe in themselves so how can they make other people believe in them?

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      His success will now be defined by how well he sells it to the public.

      I’d say that he’s already sold it to the public and his success now depends on getting the rest of caucus to go along with him or just go.

  8. Olwyn 8

    It does not matter any more what neoliberalism set out to be, it is what is has become that matters, and what “centrism” now means in the light of this. Once upon a time it was straightforward – it simply meant “modify your position enough to get a good chunk of the centre on your side.” But not anymore. It now simply means “stay onside with our neoliberal masters and potential donors by trying to appeal to groups that they have not seen fit to throw overboard.”

    Under the current circumstances the latter position is disgraceful. Jeremy Corbyn is right in this: poverty is not inevitable. Moreover, there are forms of centrism that one might still legitimately consider – it might be possible, for example, to get SME’s and unions both involved in the project of renewing manufacturing. However, the “you guys are too much of a risk for me to represent you, but I still need my cushy job in public life” position is now untenable. In reality, this has been the case since 2008, but many Labour politicians have not wanted to face the fact.

  9. Ad 9

    Mickey, I was kinda hoping you were going to go there and draw the analogy to us.

    So let me give an example of what happens, even when there’s a great collective socialist orgy that would let someone like Corbyn win an election.

    I present to you Francois Hollande. Could not get better political credentials; apprenticed under Mitterand – the last leftie in recent history to try to renationalize anything. Ex-Mayor. Hard core leftie activist.

    Hollande stood as candidate for the French Socialist Party and Radical Left Party and creamed it in the first round. His campaign themes (remember this is post GFC) were equality, and financial regulation. In fact he outlined a 60-proposition manifesto (remember manifestoes? We see screeds of them from moisties commenting here). Among them:
    – Full separation of all retail banking from investment banking
    – Huge tax increases for the rich, for corporations, and for banks
    – Lowering the retirement age to 60
    – Subsidising regional jobs
    – Same-sex marriage and adoption rights
    etc. You get the picture.

    Any of this sound familiar yet?

    Not much of that survived. Prior to the Charlie Hebdo shooting, and despite a magnificently public affair, he polled 12-18%. He’s still struggling around 30% now. The Socialists were crushed in the 2015 local elections, and it ain’t looking great for them nationally next year.

    Despite promising to battle austerity, he delivered E40b in company tax breaks. Also, E50b in spending cuts. Swathes of deregulation. What people actually cared about was their jobs, not manifestoes. The economy has not recovered, even in Paris. The best growth he’s predicting is 1.5%, up from zero last year. France has over 10% unemployment. So he’s promising more flexible employment contracts, further unspecified investment stimulation, trying to pull the country up.

    Consequences of the above for the left? Torn. An ideological gap between the left and green supporters that got him in there, and the rest of the party, which is unbridgeable.
    Ring any bells?

    And after one term out, Sarkozy is back, hungry for power.

    Mickey, it’s not about whether you get in promising anything you like, as extreme as you like. Politicians do that. The trick is to get power, stay in power, and change stuff.

    I’ve seen even less evidence Corbyn could do than as I saw from the last three NZ Labour leaders. Corbyn feels more like Mr Smith Goes to Washington; the standard moistie that lasts enough to make a bright brief firework in the firmament, but simply doesn’t have the leadership capacity or experience to actually alter power.

    Hollande went all out hard left, and the results have damaged his party into the medium term. Hollande will be pushed out not because he was more or less left, but because he has failed to make a difference to France.

    • Bill 9.1

      There was plenty of commentary on Hollande at the time of his election that he wasn’t all he made himself out to be and predicted he would cave to the diktats of international finance. He caved….tax cuts, deregulation, spending cuts…fcking austerity is what all that is, no? Not very ‘left’ at all.

      • Ad 9.1.1

        So at minimum, take everything any populist leader proposes before an election and deflate it 90%.

        This ain’t the West Wing. Brainy niceness with leftie policies won’t win. As the above shows, on the miracle that they do, they don’t last and they don’t make a difference.

        • Bill

          No. Just vote for authentic left wing principles. Hollande is one example of (say) hypocrisy and there are others. But those examples don’t apply across the board.

          In Corbyn’s case, what if there is now the beginnings of a political awakening that means people inform themselves in England/Wales? What if that becomes Labour + half the population against the financial sector? That’s very different to a Hollande who was kind of out on a limb – ie, he had no engaged citizenry behind him and so could be picked off.

          • Ad

            That’s the standard “Ontic Defeat Argument”: they lost, therefore they weren’t really left enough. It works a treat every time.

            Hollande not only won the leadership in a landslide, he won the actual election in a landslide. He had plenty of backers.

            The left need to stop with the Messiah Complex and look at winning much more coldly.

            And hey, I could be proven wrong and Jeremy Corbyn could win the election in five years. As shown above, the point is not to win, the point is to change things. I don’t see that capacity in Corbyn.

    • mickysavage 9.2

      Thanks Ad.

      I agree with Bill that hypocrisy is not the same and Hollande would have been better off doing what he said he would.

      But modern politics is fraught for the left and it does take special skills to take on the corporates and win.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Wanting trades people to retire early is merely recognition that many tradespeople’s bodies are flogged out before the age of retirement.

    Depending upon the trade of course but I suspect many tradies bodies are flogged out before they reach 50 never mind retirement age.

    And without committing himself to do so Corbyn has talked about nationalising major power providers and rail.

    Power is a demand monopoly thus the most efficient form of supply is as a government service. Rail is just another form of transport infrastructure that networks with road, sea and air (not that air is going to last much longer) and as such should be part of the national network and thus also run as a government service.

    The problem with tacking to the centre and a goldilocks approach to policy formation is that the result is almost inevitably insipid.

    Actually, the result is almost inevitably a shift to the right. That’s why today’s ‘centre’ is further into the extreme right-wing than the hard right-wing of the 1970s.

    • Mad Plumber 10.1

      Please Please refer to us as TRADESMEN not that bloody Aussie term Tradies. I worked hard for 5yrs as an apprentice to become a tradesman.
      Yes my knees are sore, My back aches and I am a deaf (my wife would disagree with the little) and am a little bit grumpy. Some of us would like to retire early others not as we would seize up and also who is going to replace us.


      • weka 10.1.1

        in a sane culture, the tradespeople that reach 50 would then move into doing more teaching and supervising work and the young ones coming on would be doing the harder graft.

        • BM

          I used to work for a lot of chippies who were still working building houses in their 60’s.

          On guy had his Dad working for him, think the old boy was in his 70’s.

          Mechanization has certainly allowed a lot of trades people to keep working a lot longer than previously.

          To say trades people are clapped out at 50 is a bit of a stretch, no one spends all day on a shovel or hammering in nails any more.

          Eating too many pies and sausage rolls is probably the biggest danger facing trades people these days.

          • McFlock

            Eating too many pies and sausage rolls is probably the biggest danger facing trades people these days.

            Please tell me that you’re not responsible for maintaining the hazard register in your workplace.

            • BM

              I do remember being one one job site and the rule was that you had to wear safety glasses and hard hats and at all times.

              It’s was funny looking around the staff room and seeing all these guys in hard hats and safety glasses eating their lunches.

              Most thought it was uttly ridiculous but having said that the amount of tomato sauce in the eye injuries were non- existent so most agreed this strict safety regime was probably justified.

          • Draco T Bastard

            To say trades people are clapped out at 50 is a bit of a stretch,

            Not really. I have several in my family and many of them are feeling their age now. Creaking bones, aches and pains where there never used to be any etc, etc.

            The simple fact is that people doing hard labour should be off the tools in their 30s to 40s but we have a system that keeps them on them instead. We should be having them retrain to become a teacher/researcher so that we can use those decades of knowledge and experience to make innovations.

          • Tmricledrown

            Blinkered monetarist.
            How long did you work with builders can’t have been very long.
            All the builders I have worked with except to odd few who have exceptional genes have worn out back knees hips shoulders necks hands elbows.
            Bullshitting Megalomaniac.

    • Tautoko Mangō Mata 10.2

      It’s time for us to redefine what the centre is instead of letting the tories continually push to the right. It’s time to re-educate people about the benefits of working together collectively to provide good public services in health, education, social housing, corrections and public transport. The opposite of socialism is antisocialism. Neocapitalism is antisocialism in that it is designed to strip-mine the public assets and services while enriching only a few, increasing inequality until, in desperation, the underlings revolt.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.2.1


        This is really important as it shows how the RWNJs panacea, competition, is destroying us. The paradigm that we’ve lived under for so long is collapsing our society for the enrichment of the few.

      • Anne 10.2.2

        Good stuff Tautoko.

        Here was the centre 40 years ago.

        Davids Frost interviews Norman Kirk

        Back in the 1970s Jeremy Corbyn (as he is now) would have been close to the centre of the political spectrum. That is how far to the right the HARD-RIGHT and their media toadies have dragged the middle of that spectrum.

        Every once in a while a great politician emerges. The most famous in recent times is Nelson Mandela. All of them were reviled, ridiculed and often badly treated by their so-called superiors. All of them triumphed and there names will be remembered with reverence long after their deaths. We had our own great politician. It was Norman Kirk. His tragic death at an early age deprived NZ and the rest of the world of a truly inspiring politician. But his words will be remembered in the years to come. Listen to the link and compare his utterances to what we have to endure today.

        Jeremy Corbyn stands in line to be the next great western politician of our times. But he will have to overcome horrendous destructive forces before it can happen.

        • Anne

          Apart from his health which rapidly deteriorated the following year, note how prescient Kirk was about the future particularly re- the growing importance to NZ of the Asian markets. Quite remarkable.

  11. Mad Plumber 11

    You all talk about the centre.
    Who is pepared to define the centre for a thick old tradesman or is that not possible.

    • Olwyn 11.1

      I mentioned a couple of conceptions of the centre in comment 8. The problem seems to be that while people do understand that you need support from a range of voters to win elections, saying “we need to move more to the centre” seems to signal that a party is about to sell out their core constituents, particularly if it is a party of the left. A talented politician of good faith will try to win those who are not interested in political ideals over to their way of thinking, making a some strategic compromises in order to achieve this. A more mediocre politician will simply adapt their principles to whatever they think the non-idealistic “middle” seems to want – they are the ones that attract most of the derisive comments.

  12. mediadog 12


  13. Clemgeopin 13

    Rather than thinking in terms of what someone else may define as ‘left’ or ‘right’ or centre’ the Labour party here (and everywhere) needs to have policies and programmes to do things that are good for the country and good for all the people, the poor, the marginalised, the sick, the elderly, the children, the families, the students, the businesses, workers, the job creators, the entrepreneurs, the farmers etc,

    In other words, to use the ‘usual’ terms, it should be a party with a mix of left, left-of-centre and centre policies, as long as the policies have the well being of the people and the country as its main purpose, unlike the right and far right policies that primarily cater to the well being of the wealthy and the big powerful corporates.

    By the way, it is a lie to describe our Labour party as national-lite. Take a look at the policies that Labour went with for the last election. They were a good mix of great policies. It is the National party (which while brazenly doing immense damage to NZ and its values with their evil RW policies) that has copied many of the last Labour government’s ‘s social policies for political purposes, not the other way about.

    Labour has been reviewing its policies and will emerge on a strong and correct path. Watch the space by about the middle of next year getting ready for the next election in 2017.

    • The Chairman 13.1

      I agree in some ways. However, ponder this.

      What is largely considered far left today are the types of Keynesian policies that benefited the overall nation as a whole. Not only in NZ, but similar could be seen around the western world.

      We where fiscally prosperous, far more equal, higher living standards along with a marveled health system. We where not communist, but the state partook in far more.

      This highlights how what is largely considered far left today can benefit us all.

      And this is what I expect a Labour party to be pushing.

      Unfortunately, this lot are scared of the mere mention of being left.

      If Labour MPs don’t want to be left (and clearly some don’t) then they need to stop trying to take the left right and stand down.

  14. Paul 14

    Simple answer in the form of another question.
    Did the SNP gain the amount of seats it did in Scotland because it moved to the centre or because it stuck to its principles?

  15. Descendant Of Sssmith 15

    “Labour has been reviewing its policies ”

    They’re always reviewing their policies. More “year of the manifesto” bullshit.

    After all the reviews they still don’t have anything that looks like even their website historical “remind me again how fucking right wing we are right now” policies.

    Might as well repeat my self again – from 2015.

    “I’ve slavishly repeated for a number of years now that Labour doesn’t believe in:

    1. the 8 hour working day, 40 hour working week
    2. State housing for the poor, let alone for life
    3. Workers right to strike
    4. Rail as a public good and not needing to make a profit
    5. Increasing benefit rates
    6. Increasing taxes on those who earn more
    7. Job creation in government departments for youth and those who are unwell and have disabilities
    8. Anything remotely left that was seen as normal when I was growing up
    9. Anything that is the basis of their historical proclamations on their website
    10. Apologising for being fucked up pale blue National Party infiltrators for the last 30 years”

    or maybe from 2013:

    “Screw the branding Labour has a brand that had stood the test of time.

    It’s the policies and what the current crop of politicians believe in and stand for that is the problem.

    It’s the disconnect between prostituting the 8 hour working day, 40 hour working week, state housing for life, etc on their website and the current neo-Labour beliefs that is the problem.

    Still calling themselves neo-Labour solves the problem and would distinguish themselves from anyone who actually has left Labour values.”

    • The Chairman 15.1


      • Colonial Viper 15.1.1

        A Labour Party which has lost its historical direction is a Labour Party which will slowly disappear beneath the waves.

    • b waghorn 15.2

      I like all those points but if these things where to come to pass the rampant thieving that went on in the rail and other parts and the heavy taxing of piece rate workers like shearers needs to be guarded against.
      ( I have a ex shearer mate who was taxed 60% in the dollar nearing the end of the season)

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 15.2.1

        I come from a railway family and I can tell you that any thieving, as you put it was extremely frowned upon, people were fired and never worked in the public service again.

        It was the exception rather than the rule and the notion of public servants being a bunch of thieving bastards just demonises people who had a strong sense of community and a strong social conscience. Thieves they were not.

        When I worked for Westpac a couple of people got fired most years for stealing just in the branches I worked in. I hardly go round accusing all the bank staff for being thieves.


        And if your shearing mate was paying 60% tax it’s only because everyone else was as well earning the same level of income and he was earning good money.

        Don’t know why you think shearers had their own special tax rate.

        • b waghorn

          I doubt he had a special tax rate but a shearer who is willing to drive himself hard can earn good money which in his time kicked him up into the 60 cents a dollar tax rate as lefties are supposed to be the workers friend I’m surprised you wouldn’t see it as wrong to tax them that hard for there sweat.
          As for the rail I d be wrapped if all the times I was told the rail was full off thieves was wrong.

          • BM

            I heard it was rampant, so you’re not the only one.
            Lots of stuff going cheap.

            • The Chairman

              Fay, Richwhite?

            • b waghorn

              My uncle was warfie he moved down to Galatea with us till the heat on him cooled off and a father in law who was in rail that talks about things falling off the back of trucks so pointing out that its something that needs to be guarded against if we take back our core services seems a no brainer.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I’ve worked in private enterprise where things falling off the back of trucks was more rampant than anything I ever saw while working for the Post Office C&M branch.

          • The Chairman

            I often hear people complaining about paying tax, often forgetting it’s a two way street. Higher taxes allows the Government to utilize economy of scale (buying in bulk) to better serve its people.

            Therefore, one shouldn’t just look at the tax take alone, what one receives in return should also be considered.

            User pays coupled with private profit tends to end up costing us far more.

            • b waghorn

              At no point was I begrudgeing tax but for people like my shearer mate are the epitome of thelabouring man ,so nailing them with high taxs for choosing to get up day after day and graft there guts out in an industry that most would shy away from is miserable .
              Its piece rate work so it would be easy to tax at a flat rate.

              • The Chairman

                I wasn’t insinuating you were, it’s just something I often here.

                Paying 60 cents on the dollar would have merely reflected his total income. Unfortunately, tax rates have no bearing on how hard one works to attain that income. He should have utilized that income to help offset it.

              • Draco T Bastard

                It’s piece rates as you say which means he probably got a huge refund at the end of the year – if he filled in his tax return. If he didn’t get a tax refund after filling in a tax return then it’s because he actually earned a huge amount of income and got taxed accordingly.

                Hell, one of the reasons for taxing hugely is to stop huge bloody incomes because we cannot afford them.

                Now stop bloody whinging.

          • Descendant Of Sssmith

            Ahhh so some of his high earning was taxed at 60%.

            Here’s the taxation rates for 1970 for instance.

            Step Taxable Balance Rate
            1st Up to 650 7.85
            2nd 651- 1,700 21.00
            3rd 1,701- 2,000 24.50
            4th 2,001- 2,500 27.50
            5th 2,501- 3,000 33.00
            6th 3,001- 3,500 34.00
            7th 3,501- 4,000 37.00
            8th 4,001- 4,500 46.00
            9th 4,501- 5,000 43.00
            10th 5,001- 5,500 45.00
            11th 5,501- 6,000 49.00
            12th 6,001- 6,500 50.00
            13th 6,501- 7,000 54.00
            14th 7,001- 7,500 60.00
            15th 7,501- 8,000 65.00
            16th 8,001-10,000 66.00
            17th 10,001-12,000 67.00
            final Over 12,000 67.50

            But bear in mind too that you could also claim things back like life insurance premiums and for a non-working spouse and you could get family benefit if you had kids, and you got free healthcare and education, and so on.

            “I heard it was rampant, so you’re not the only one.
            Lots of stuff going cheap.”

            Fuck you too. I lived it and it didn’t happen except occasionally and those people were held accountable.

            It’s easy to say though isn’t it.

            • Descendant Of Sssmith

              Might as list the exemptions cause there’s one there the righties will love.

              Special Exemptions from 1 April 1969-In determining the taxable income of individuals certain special exemptions are deductible from the taxpayer’s final assessable income. These exemptions are as follows: Personal exemption-A special exemption of $275 is allowable as a deduction from the assessable income of every taxpayer, except for non-resident taxpayers.

              Wife Exemption-A special exemption of $240 is allowable as a deduction from the total assessable income of a married taxpayer. This exemption applies only where the taxpayer supports his wife during the income year. It is reduced $ for $ for each $ of the wife’s income in excess of $375 so that the taxpayer receives no exemption when the wife’s income exceeds $615.

              Child Exemption-A special exemption of $135 is allowable in respect of each of the first four dependent children of the taxpayer under the age of 18 years; for each child after the first four the exemption is $140.

              Dependent Relative Exemption-A special exemption of the amount contributed towards the support of a dependent relative of the taxpayer or $135, whichever is the less, is also allowable. Where more than one taxpayer contributes towards the support of the same dependent relative, the exemption is apportioned between them. The exemption is also allowable in the case of amounts paid towards the support of a separated or divorced wife.

              Housekeeper Exemption-A special exemption equal to the wife exemption or the amount of wages paid, whichever is the less, is allowable in respect of payments made to a person having the care of a widowed, divorced, separated or unmarried taxpayer’s children under the age of 18 years, or any child who by reason of mental or physical infirmity is unable to earn a living. It may also be allowed when a housekeeper is employed to look after the taxpayer’s home because of the mental or physical infirmity of the taxpayer or his spouse.

              Donations and School Fees-A special exemption is allowable in respect of donations to religious and charitable organisations. Donations must be $2 or more and are allowable up to an aggregate amount of $100. An exemption of up to $100 is allowable in respect of tuition fees incurred in sending a child of the taxpayer to a registered private school which is not run for private pecuniary gain. The aggregate exemption may not exceed $100.

              Insurance-A special exemption of the premiums paid in respect of policies of life assurance, sick and accident insurance on the life of the taxpayer and his wife and children is allowable; the maximum amount which may be claimed is limited to $500. The exemption also applies to payments to an approved superannuation fund. Where the taxpayer is not a member of a subsidised superannuation scheme the allowable maximum is $650.

              Union Fees-A deduction of up to $20 is allowable in respect of union fees and subscriptions paid to professional associations connected with the taxpayer’s occupation.

              Retrospective Pay Increases-A special rebate equal to 6 cents in the dollar is allowable, on application, to offset any additional tax resulting from the assessment of arrears of pay. A taxpayer has the option of reopening assessment for the two years prior to the year of assessment or accepting the rebate, whichever is to his advantage.

              Deductible Expenditure-Certain classes of expenditure by wage and salary earners may qualify as a deduction from assessable income. Types of expenditure which qualify are: the maintenance of tools of trade, instruments, and equipment; reference books and technical manuals relating directly to the taxpayer’s trade or occupation; subscriptions to trade and professional journals; the maintenance of any licence or certificate essential to the occupation of the taxpayer; and short refresher courses or seminars connected with the taxpayer’s trade or profession.

            • b waghorn

              Most of us workers just want a fair pay for our work , we don’t want to have to chase around filling out forms to claim shit back . its like the working for families , while its been handy I would rather just get payed a wage that covers the bills and let’s me stick a bit away.

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                I agree which is why I support universal entitlements such a family benefit. All WFF does is pit one group of workers against the other while many of the self-employed and trust owning people get WFF, student allowances and community services cards.

                The reality too is though that employers said give us tax cuts and we’ll pay our workers more.

                Show me the employers who actually increased their workers wages once they got the tax cuts.

                They didn’t pay their workers more, they just took more in salaries for the executives and more profit for themselves and the shareholders.

                In the meantime workers got suckered into thinking tax cuts were wage increases while those increases went on things they used to get for free in many cases.

            • McFlock

              60% started at 7 grand.
              That’s about 90k adjusted for inflation from 1970, 35k from 1979.

    • In Vino 15.3

      Spot on. (Intended as reply to 15, but now misplaced..) (Mind you, happy to have it placed here too.)

    • miravox 15.4

      If a Labour Party gets into power without these objectives it is not a win for the left.

  16. Tory 16

    UK Labour are living in a time warp. Back in 1983 their manifesto promised nuclear disarmament, withdrawal from the EEC and re-nationalisation of industry. It was called “The Longest Suicide Note in History” and forced UK Labour to take a more centralist position. The only recent leader who actually promoted the socialist policies that Corbyn is pushing was Hugo Chavez of the United Socialist Party in Venezuela. Voted in with a populist mandate similar to Corbyn (I.e nationalisation of oil, banking etc) Venezuela is on the brink of default due to corruption, economic mismanagement, price controls, excessive gonerent spending and falling revenues. With inflation at 100% it’s clear that the socialist line that Corbyn and other lefties advocate is a recipe for economic disaster. Good luck selling that to the voters.

    • The Chairman 16.1

      It wouldn’t be too difficult a challenge to sell the good old days of NZ to Kiwis of today.

      Apart from technological developments and the influx of cheap imported trinkets, a good number have gone backwards, including our economy.

    • Colonial Viper 16.2

      Tory’s history of the UK Labour party is bullshit.

      It has been previously written up before (by Swordfish I believe) who noted that UK Labour moving to the right through the late 70’s and early 80’s (under the guise of “modernising”) is what utterly fucked them by driving away their core support.

  17. Vaughan Little 17

    the definition of the centre changes over time, but one thing that doesn’t change is how nice the word “centre” sounds. every polity is made up of interest groups. it would be better to discard the “centre” abstraction and instead have the debate about who we think the nz centre of 2015 actually is, and how to appeal to certain subsections.
    I’d say the nz centre is largely the homeowners who swung from Labour to National around the 2008 mark. I’d also say that they have voted historically based on which party was likely to make them as homeowners feel richer. and I’d also also say that a large number of them would be adult enough to listen their way through an argument about why their increasing wealth is a very bad thing for nz as a whole, and how they could vote for a Labour party that could ensure their and their kids’ moderate prosperity as long as they were prepared to take a hit to their private wealth.
    also, the nz polity is broken as an embarrassing number – a delegitimizing number – of people don’t vote. I know that centres are defined by who actually votes, but while we’re talking about principle I’d say it would be unprincipled to ignore nonvoters.
    I know there are standardistas with greater knowledge than me on the issues I’ve mentioned and I’d appreciate feedback.

    • The Chairman 17.1

      They don’t have to be convinced to take a hit in their private wealth. Merely encouraged to slow the excessiveness of it going forward.

      For example, we are not out to lower house prices, we want to slow the rate of increase going forward.

      As NZ’s wealth is largely tied to housing, it wouldn’t be in our fiscal interest (as a nation) to drive prices down.

      A similar argument could be put forward for excessive incomes.

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.1

        Problem is that $250,000 houses are required if owning a homeis to be affordable to ordinary working people.

        Houses should not be viewed as an investment or financial asset.

        • The Chairman

          Increasing incomes of those lower down will help more working class people attain home ownership.

          $250,000 homes can be found in a number of other cities nationwide.

          Improving transport infrastructure will also help with commuting in from cheaper outer suburbs .

          Moreover, some will simply have to lower their expectations and perhaps do a little DIY.

          Driving down the price of Auckland homes to $250,000 would be fiscally irresponsible and will have national ramifications.

          Unfortunately, house prices in Auckland have been allowed to bubble for far too long, thus correcting that (without major ramifications) will take sometime.

          • Colonial Viper

            since climate change and fossil fuel depletion will fuck the conventional economy is 30-40 years, i guess thats how many generations of Aucklanders we want to be perma-renters.

            Now, is that really more “responsible” a way to treat Kiwis?

            • The Chairman

              Climate change has been happening since day dot. People are rather resilient and innovated, thus one way or another will adapt.

              Again, the problem in Auckland has been allowed to fester for far too long. There is no quick fix, but there are alternatives (highlighted above) people can decide to take.

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                The council has however pointed out many times that’s there is plenty of land consented for developers to build housing but the developers aren’t building it.

                Some has been consented for a large number of years.

                Simple solution is to have the state own the land and home owners own the housing. Developers will not need to meet the cost of purchasing the land and can just get on with building the houses.

                • The Chairman

                  There could be numerous reasons for building delays. Land banking has also been cited.

                  The Government or Councils for that matter could opt to develop and on-sell themselves. In fact, isn’t that what Labour are proposing – kiwi-build?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Actually, the simple solution is to have the government own the land and the buildings. People then just get a lifetime lease and they don’t have to front up with the purchase price at all. The government creates the money to build the housing and the leases remove the money from circulation over time – just as a mortgage does today.

      • vaughan little 17.1.2

        there’s no getting away from the need for a sizable transfer of wealth/power from one section of society to another.

        i agree that sudden losses of wealth would be a bad thing. but wouldn’t house prices plummet once you stopped banks from lending money into existence?

        • The Chairman

          Indeed, the availability of credit plays a large role in local housing demand.

          A form of Direct Democracy (off hand, NZ First is one party offering this) will help shift power back into the hands of the people.

          Ceasing the ability of private banks to create credit is largely above NZ’s capability. That largely requires an international effort and consensus to do so.

          However, the Reserve Bank can do more to limit the availability of credit, and frankly, have been far too slow to act. As shown in the escalating price of Auckland housing.

  18. Michael 18

    I think that’s a false choice.

    It is important that the left has key values and principles that it follows.

    But it would be wrong to say that the left should forego all pragmatism. You have to compromise and be pragmatic – but that doesn’t necessarily mean move right or abandon your principles – in order to win power. You have to speak broadly and be in line with what the electorate wants. You can’t offer something that the electorate doesn’t want to vote for – but you can attempt to change their minds.

    It’s important to be pragmatic but also have principles.

    • arkie 18.1

      This is a really good point. I think getting your party in the public’s view more often would be a good place to start showing off both your principles and your pragmatism.

      …now if the MSM would just behave…

  19. Tautoko Mangō Mata 19

    This thoughtful article by Owen Jones was written prior to the election but is still very relevant as he considers issues that would have to be dealt with after a successful Corbyn election as Labour leader. (A 17 min read but well worth the time.)

    View at

  20. weston 20

    well the trend here seems to be generally in favour of polititans going for the centre cant agree thats just same old same old surely ?and the nats are already doing that job arnt they ?in anycase what ever the left tried to do the right wqith its highly efficient disinformation machinery would sabotage so bugger it why go for something mediocre go for gold and figure out smarter sratigies as you go

    • McFlock 20.1

      not sure you could call it a trend – once you remove the concerned tories offering advice out of the kindness of their hearts lol, there seems to be a pretty reasonable debate.

  21. Tory 21

    The left “going for gold” and implementing socialist doctrine and policies (as described by Corbyn) is dependant on a strong private sector who will be expected to pay for such things as rail buy-back. Corbin and his ilk will see the demise of a strong private sector so I guess you will crank up the money press and watch inflation destroy people’s wealth. Of course redistribution is a cornerstone of socialist ideology, how will you convince the public of that?

    • Colonial Viper 21.1

      You’re a damn fool.

      The public does not need to be “convinced” of free healthcare and free education.

      Multinational corporations take all the money off the table, send it off to foreign shareholders and leave all the costs for society to deal with.

      • BM 21.1.1

        The public does need serious convincing that the ministry of free unicorns is affordable and won’t bankrupt the country.

        People aren’t quite as stupid and gullible as they used to be.

        Trust is a big issue for the left.

        • Colonial Viper

          Dude stop being a fuckwit; just think for a second. How is it our country can afford foreign corporations taking $15B out of the country per year, but not be able to afford free dental care for Kiwis.

          Get some perspective, man. A free education is not a “unicorn.” How much did you pay for your education???

        • Draco T Bastard

          You may not have noticed but this government, in it’s drive of lowering taxes on the rich and putting them up on the poor, is bankrupting the country.

  22. Heather Grimwood 22

    Surely the mere proportional increase of those preferring leftwing principles shifts the CENTRE to the left !!!

  23. Tory 23

    CV, I can smell your bullshit from here in Asia. All examples of “Socialist Utophias” have either imploded or are in serious trouble. France tried to screw the wealthy on taxes and that was a roaring success….The “average kiwi” with a job, mortgage and couple of kids is “centralist” by voting nature and conservative (e.g. National voter). Your (and Corbyns) pining for the past is over and the constituency you represent is small (I.e. Mana voter). Corbin was voted in not by the electorate but vested interests such as unions and various branches of the various Socialist organisations (along with a shit load of “Tory” members. As I said previously, Chavez went down the path of screwing over multinationals and renationalising assets, end result is a fucked economy and 100% inflation.

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      yeah all you are talking about is how the bankster cartel use economic hitmen to get rid of countries and governments that dont give big corporates free reign.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 23.2

      Most of the reason a compassionate socialist system fails is due to the attacks on it’s very being by capitalism.

      That thirst for capitalist power and the exertion of it by any means is much of the problem.

      It seems quite clear that where socialism has often failed it has been in part where it has been attacked politically and economically by capitalists. Where it hasn’t been attacked in quite the same way eg Scandanavian countries it doesn’t fail in quite the same way either.

      You of course make that point without meaning to when you say “screwing over multinationals”.

      You see it at smaller levels as well such as when the CEO of that US company reduced his wage and paid his workers much more. The capitalist clients promptly withdrew their clientele to destroy the company – not cause the product was changed, or the service worse but because they were waging war on anything that might set a precedent. They deliberately set out to destroy.

      You try pretend that socialist type policies fail on their own merits – when in fact they’re fighting against deliberate external destruction.

  24. phil 24

    “Saunders” should be “Sanders”….

  25. Murray 25

    Re Johnm 14 September
    I congratulate Johnm for tackling the real economic issue facing mankind today rather than ranting on about excess business profits and more power for trade unions etc. I do however have problems with any economic analysis based on a study of the evolution of the banking system. I suspect it tends to reinforce economic delusions that were generated by the evolution of the banking system such as the inclusion of gold and precious metals in the control of credit. The involvement of gold in the control of credit was at the time understandable but being understandable will never stop it from being a mistake.
    Debit and credit balances are the result of trade between trading entities. The money system in partnership with banks records those debit and credit balances and those debit and credit balances are in reality record of each trading entities trade balance with the macro community. For this reason I believe our banking system is inherently just. That does not mean that there will be no injustice, it only means that injustices that do occur will not be the fault of our banking system.
    Note that in this analysis money advanced by our banking system requires no backing, requires no gold or precious metal, and involves no deception. Note also that in our banking system goods and services pay for goods and services just as they do in barter trade. Money records the payment; it does not do the paying. The common perception that money pays for goods and services is allusion and that allusion is the underlying cause of many of our economic problems. pto

  26. Murray 26

    It may be protested that many incomes like age pensions etc. are not the result of trade between trading entities. Quite true but income from social security etc. is based on the judgement of government which may or may not be just. If it is not just the mistake is the fault of government, not the money system.
    To return to Johnm’s conclusions, I agree entirely with his conclusion that the industrial revolution was made possible by the evolution of modern banking. I also agree that many greedy and ruthless men would have been involved in the establishment of modern banking but I do not agree that the evolution of modern banking was either sinister or fraudulent. It is certainly misunderstood.
    Before closing this part of my argument I present my wish to in future examine the following three issues.
    1 The pros and cons of government ownership of banks. There are both pros and cons.
    2 The accumulation of excess debt in the economy. Its cause and remedy.
    3 The case for interest free bank loans to the government, a viable method of reducing government debt or economic lunacy?
    If I don’t get banned for my comment re business profits and trade unions I will examine the pros and cons of government ownership of banks in my next instalment.

  27. Murray 27

    Thank you for your comment. That Jerusalem bank system is interesting. I have heard about it but never seen it fully explained. However I don’t have a problem with interest. I believe interest is part of honest reporting. I do have a massive problem when economic miss management makes interest a problem.
    It is certainly a problem when multi-millionaire rentiers make thousands of dollars an hour for sitting on their back sides while the sum total of all they contribute to production is recession and unemployment. However this problem is not caused by interest; it is caused by bad government.

    • Chooky 27.1

      imo interest should be kept to a minimum in an egalitarian society

      …but I agree the big problems with banks are the lack of ethical governance, as you say by government

      …hence bankers making fortunes out of gambling with people’s money and creaming it

      ( as I am not an economist but do take an interest in the Keiser Report this is how I see it in layperson’s terms)

  28. Murray 28

    Are interest free bank loans to government a viable method of reducing government debt or just plain economic lunacy? I know this is the third of the three issues that I previously proposed but I have brought it forward. The amount of money that a bank may advance to its customers is totally without limit unless that limit is imposed by government. That statement is quite true. Therefore banks could and should reduce government debt by making interest free loans available to government. This statement is badly wrong.
    To find out why let’s take a path through one single bank trade transaction. Tom buys Charlies farm for one million dollars. Tom does not have one million dollars but he has a good credit rating and plenty of security so Westpac lends him the money. It is quite true that Westpac does not need to have one million dollars. They could just create new money out of thin air but don’t draw conclusions just yet as this trade transaction is not quite finished. PTO

  29. Murray 29

    In due course Charlie arrives at the bank to make enquiries about his new one million dollar credit balance. Everybody is smiling. Westpac assures Charlie that Tom’s cheque has been honoured and there is indeed one million dollars in his cheque account. Then Charlie ends the harmony by inquiring about interest on his new one million dollar credit balance. Westpac stops smiling and says “I am sorry sir but we don’t give interest on cheque accounts”. Now Charlie stops smiling and say’s “Well you had better put it in an account that does pay interest or I will take my money out of your bank”
    The bank has no escape. Creating one million dollars out of thin air has resulted in the bank having to pay interest on one million dollars and it always will. This is usually referred to by the monetarist lobby as “creating a liability”. That observation is quite correct but it is a statement, not an explanation. Why don’t the monetarist lobby provide an explanation? I see two reasons. The first and most common will be that most of them don’t know. They have just learnt to say “It creates a liability” in answer to the question.
    There is another reason that is more sinister. The top echelon of the monetarist lobby know very well why banks can’t give interest free loans to government but decided that it best serves their interest to leave the other side chasing red hearings.

    • Chooky 29.1

      Creating millions/billions of dollars out of thin air …is the problem….. and then gambling on people’s loans …”funny money”…banksters….crooksters…white collar crime…then the little people pay with their property, savings and retirement …no wonder people don’t trust banks

      gold is the way to go..if you can afford it ….or bitcoins…if you are smart enough…or money under the bed…if you are paranoid enough…if you are unemployed then trading is the way to go…

  30. Murray 30

    Hi Chooky
    I have had a brief look at Islamic banking on my computer. I have not had time to study it properly but it seems to me that its main claim to honesty is tied to its compliance with Islamic law. I am passing no judgement on Islamic law.
    I agree that both speculation by banks and the financing of speculators by banks should be controlled or outlawed but that is the prerogative of government, it is not the responsibility of either banks or the banking system. Bank loans are already regulated so it is only necessary to add to existing regulations. I also agree that there are thieves out there who entice the gullible to take loans they can’t repay and then impose extortionist repayment conditions. We see their advertisements. I agree the authorities are too slow to bring these thieves to book but that is not the fault of banks or the banking system.
    There seems to me to be a link between your comments and that of many other comments on the Fabian web to Major Douglas social Credit. The Major Douglas social Credit argument has had a very significant influence on my life as in my teens my mother belonged to the Major Douglas Social Credit political party and that kindled in me a lifelong interest in macro-economic theory.
    I wrestled with that Douglas social credit argument for about 30 years and when I finally came to a conclusion that it was wrong my deliberations had also led me to a conclusion that there was something incredibly unsound about the national party’s sound economic management. I have great empathy with the Douglas Social Credit argument because of the role it played in my life but with the best will in the world I can’t agree with its conclusions.

    • Tracey 30.1

      “there was something incredibly unsound about the national party’s sound economic management.” Well said Sir.

  31. Murray 31

    Thank you for your comment Tracy. First I make a brief addition to my comment re Islamic banking. A statement “Put not your money to usury” appears in the new testament of the Christion bible where I believe the word usury was translated from the latten word toga. The meaning of the word toga is interest with no connotation excessive. After that translation common usage changed meaning of the word usury to excessive interest. The fact that interest is condemned by both the bible and Islamic law is interesting and could justify a very long and interesting debate but I think that debate is outside the scope of macro-economic theory.
    I suspect I see in both Chooky’s argument and many other arguments on the Fabian web a suggestion that there is too much money. If my suspicion is correct I could not agree more but I have a problem when it is suggested that this could be corrected by restricting loans from banks. Restricting loans from banks would just impede commerce. The answer to this problem was introduced to the Fabian web by DR Geoff Bertram with his introduction of Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the Twenty First Century”

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