Keep it up, Chippie and co

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, August 20th, 2009 - 27 comments
Categories: blogs, labour - Tags: , ,

Good on Chris Hipkins. The other day, he wrote:

“National won the last election quite comfortably. Kiwis are fair minded people and will be willing to give them a fair go at the job before they pass judgment. I expect that will be reflected in the opinion polls for most of the current parliamentary term. I would be very surprised if we make much of a dent in the poll gap before election year. But I’m not worried about that either.

New Zealanders will next get the chance to weigh the pros and cons of a Labour-led or a National-led government in 2011. They will judge National on what they have delivered and all parties what the respective parties are offering for the future.

In the meantime our role as an opposition is to keep the government honest. We need to highlight what they are doing and the impact of the spending cuts they are making.

At this point in the electoral cycle nobody expects to see new detailed policies from Labour. But they do want to see us out and about listening to their concerns and reconnecting. That’s what Phil Goff’s ‘Touching Base’ visits have been all about. It’s also why the Labour caucus has visited places like the West Coast, Wanganui and New Plymouth.

We need to keep listening. We need to talk about our values”

That’s a sober and very competent look at the current situation. It says ‘don’t worry about the polls much for now, just get on with it’. I couldn’t agree more. The polls are unlikely to turn at this point. Just keep chipping away.

Yet John Armstrong thinks it was a huge mistake for Hipkins to be honest and realistic in public because National seized on the passage about the polls and had a laugh about it in Parliament yesterday. Well, Armstrong is a Tory arse kisser who has previously written that National ought to lie to stay popular and hasn’t written on a substantive issue in living memory, so excuse me if I ignore his ‘analysis’.

Hipkins and the other Labour MPs writing on Red Alert aren’t stupid, they know that every word they write will be read by the journos and National and potentially used against them. Despite that, they haven’t shied away from being honest; they haven’t slavish toed the party line. That honesty and the unique insight Red Alert allows the public into the thinking of MPs is why it has been an absolutely fantastic development.

So here’s my message to the Red Alert writers: There will always be old trolls like Armstrong and your opponents will always twist your words. Screw ’em. Stay honest and provocative. Keep up the good work guys.

27 comments on “Keep it up, Chippie and co”

  1. Good post.

    It is a shame that the Herald analysis appears to be take a few words out of context, spin it, draw a really long bow and make a conclusion and ignore the rest of the post.

    Hipkins’ comments were perfectly appropriate and the Labour Party does need to do some navel gazing and work out what it’s current reason for being is.

    The debate could start by members talking about what “from each according to their ability to each according to their need” translates into in current terms and in this ethnically diverse technologically advances society what else needs to be addressed.

  2. Tom Semmens 2

    I think you are being a bit harsh on Armstrong. His main problem is he is just to old, and should retire. lack of depth means we hang on to “senior” journalists far to long and well past when they have passed their best – just look at Ralston.

    Armstrong should be in semi-retirement now, a sort of senior journo who comes in three days a week and imparts his wisdom to the next cohort or jests with Gordon McLaughlin and Brian Edwards on Jim Mora’s light blue afternoon.

    Instead, he is still carrying a burden he is no longer equal to.,

  3. Maynard J 3

    Armstrong at his worst – a cynical old prick promoting cynical old views. Pretend everything is perfect and he would start criticising Labour for having their head in the sand.

    Chris had a good crack during the privatisation referendum debate last night, it is pretty clear he will keep it up, no worries there 🙂

  4. ieuan 4

    ‘don’t worry about the polls much for now’,

    Just out of interest, when should Labour start worrying about the polls?

    • snoozer 4.1

      ieuan. like they say, there’s only one that counts.

      what’s the point in obsessing over every move within the boundaries of statistical error, 2 and a half years out from an election?

      • Tigger 4.1.1

        Anyway, at present the polls are high because Key is popular. Once the shine comes off him National will be wishing they hadn’t put all their eggs in the one basket.

        • LawGeek

          Actually not true, Tigger (unfortunately). The Nats are polling higher than Key is for preferred PM. For the vast majority of Labour’s term Clark held them up (i.e. polled higher than Labour’s party support), but that doesn’t seem to be the case for the Nats at the moment.

    • Trevor Mallard 4.2

      Not sure but I remember in 1996 we were 14% in June? and came close forming govt in November.

  5. snoozer 5

    Armstrong is effectively saying ‘if you’re honest to journalists, we’ll try to embarrass you in public’.

    No wonder politicians have learned to keep their real thoughts hidden,.

    Red Alert has been a revelation and a breath of fresh air.

  6. Good post Eddie. Yes I’m a huge fan of Red Alert, a great way to converse with Labour Party MPs.

    I’ll turn them all into huge public transport advocates eventually 😉

  7. Tim Ellis 7

    I don’t agree with your comments on Mr Armstrong, Eddie, but I agree Red Alert is a great way for MPs to communicate and interact with the public, and give an insight into their thinking. It would be nice to see politicians from other parties following Labour’s refreshing lead on this.

    There will always be some things they say online that will cause a stir, but that’s a balancing act between the down side of that and providing a useful forum of communciation.

    As for being quoted out of context, I will note your hostility to this practice next time somebody at the Standard quotes John Key’s “love to see wages drop” quote.

    • snoozer 7.1

      how was that quoted out of context, Tim?

      • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1

        It wasn’t.

        The context explains that Key thinks real wages should drop in times of inflation. There is no other way of reading it, even if you try and claim that he was mental and talking about Australia.

  8. felix 8

    It was outside of the context that Tim would have preferred that Mr Key had used at the time.

  9. Trevor Mallard 9

    While I agree with the substance of the post and think that this was not one of John Armstrong’s better stories I don’t think The Standard should take the penguin or blowhole approach to personal attacks. Frankly the comments about John are not fair – he has over the years made all sides uncomfortable.

    • ak 9.1

      Agreed – he’s one of the better ‘uns of an increasingly motley crew – which means he must be about due to be replaced with some mediocre blue hack like the others of his ilk have been…..get ready to grab him for the Standard.

    • Lew 9.2

      Careful, Trev, that sort of talk could get you labelled a Tory arse-kisser by some folks around these parts…


  10. lprent 10

    Trevor: Different authors write about different things. There really isn’t a editorial policy, and we’re been known to disagree with each other in countervailing posts. You probably need to look through the posts to find who likes needling John Armstrong (or Colin Espiner, (or …)).

    I freely admit that I like putting the needl… ummm pickaxe into Ian Wishart. But I’ve never done anything on Armstrong.

    • Trevor Mallard 10.1

      Iprent – I think there is a difference between strongly disageeing on the merits of a journalist’s article and the approach used in this post. Frankly it didn’t add anything to the post. Armstrong is neither a politician nor a blogger so I think it is appropriate to play the ball not the man.

      And on the substance – who really believes that an article like that is going to stop Chippie expressing his views?

      • Eddie 10.1.1

        Armstrong’s a shill for National who never covers anything substantial and ties himself into knots to up Key while finding any small angle to diss the Left. Fuck him.

        That said, I understand why that’s not Labour’s approach. The git’s got power.

        • Tim Ellis

          So much rage, Eddie. Can’t you vent it by using another internal labour party poll to promote Mr Brown’s chances of winning Labour’s selection for the supermayoralty?

          • r0b

            So many lies Tim. You’re getting worse and worse — the mask slips from the face of the National Party propagandist.

            The poll putting Mr Brown ahead was not an “internal Labour party poll”, it was a UMR poll — an independent polling company sometimes used by Labour, but it hasn’t been shown (as far as I know) that this poll was even commissioned by Labour.

            If I was to tell a similar lie about National I would call this an internal National Party poll on dropping our Nuclear Free legislation.

          • Eddie

            pwned tim

            • Tim Ellis

              Oh I wouldn’t say pwned Eddie.

              Perhaps r0b might want to read this:

              Meanwhile, Labour’s Auckland issues spokesman, Phil Twyford, has admitted the party proposed the questions in a UMR poll that shows Aucklanders are firmly opposed to the privatisation of council assets.

              The polling company, used by Labour, issued the results a day out from the first reading in Parliament of Mr Twyford’s member’s bill protecting Auckland assets from privatisation.

              This, followed by:

              Mr Twyford did not know if Labour proposed the questions on two previous UMR Super City polls, including a poll which had Manukau Mayor and Labour Party member Len Brown on 35 per cent support and Auckland City Mayor and National Party member John Banks on 34 per cent.

              r0b is quite happy to connect the dots to any assertion he wishes to make. It obviously isn’t in his political interests to connect the dots here.

              Perhaps Eddie somebody should ask Mr Brown’s office if he knows of any connection between the earlier super city questions and the Labour Party requesting them. Seems strange to me that only one part of a polling series on the super city would include questions proposed by Labour, but not the other parts of the same polling series.

              I would think Mr Lee would be very unhappy to find out that questions were being asked by a so-called independent polling company that were being used to advance the political cause of an other candidate.

  11. Swampy 11

    Labour Party is led by yesterday people. Who lost the election, Helen and Michale have fallen on their swords, should not have stopped there.

    Goff has been in Parliament too long, he hasn’t got any new ideas, he is in an election campaign already, in fact Labour has carried on like the election result never happened. I guess when he loses in 2011 he will get the idea.

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