Labour lolz

Written By: - Date published: 12:48 pm, July 3rd, 2009 - 36 comments
Categories: blogs, humour, labour - Tags: ,

I reckon Red Alert, the Labour MPs’ blog, has been a huge success. It’s great to see MPs unscripted and it’s good for them to get the instant public reaction in the comments.

It’s also a bit of a political risk. When you’re allowing instant, uncensored public reaction you can’t hide from criticism and you will be held to account for your statements. That level of risk is something I could never imagine them allowing even a year ago.

Still, it seems to be working for them. Trevor Mallard, in particular, is a born blogger. His posts reveal he’s got real smarts, which is missed when the media just wants to focus on his (too frequent) outbursts.

Anyway, the point of this post is to point you to this caption contest post where Trev takes the piss out of Chippie (Chris Hipkins). Hilarious.
– Marty G

36 comments on “Labour lolz”

  1. Maynard J 1

    In the very thread you draw attention to, Jarbury asked why Labour MPs conscience voted against Turei’s Medical Marijuana bill. And you know what? Trevor Mallard put up an new entry to answer the question directly as to why he made that vote. love or loathe, that is great to see.

    • jarbury 1.1

      Yeah I think it’s great for MPs to have to justify why they voted as they did on conscience votes. And good to have, in the form of a blog, an easy way for us to ask them about issues like that.

  2. LiberalismIsFascism 2

    “instant, uncensored public reaction” – unlike this site

  3. Trevor Mallard, in particular, is a born blogger.

    I agree – but I would have used the phrase “taken to it like a duck to water”.

  4. LiberalismIsFascism: they moderate their comments, like all sensible blogs. DPF may want to run a sewer; others don’t.

  5. gobsmacked 5

    “it’s good for them to get the instant public reaction in the comments.”

    Except the reaction largely comes from people like us: not the general public at all, but a very small minority with fixed views (for or against). Not the ordinary voters that Labour need to engage.

    Blogging is fun, and seductive. And certainly MPs blogging the original posts is useful. It is one more form of communication, and I personally enjoy reading Red Alert.. But for the MPs, getting involved in the arguments in the comments thread is a waste of their valuable time.

    Experienced politicians (like Trevor) know well that if you go out on the campaign trail, or to a public event, with hundreds of people there, you don’t spend all your time arguing with one or two die-hards from the other side. That’s what politics blogs are. If they get three hundred people commenting (and most get far less), that is 0.01% of the voters. And probably zero per cent of the undecideds.

    Blogging gives an illusion of engaging with the wider public. But in reality, it isn’t. It’s insiders talking to insiders. Exhibit A: the right-wing blogs and their sustained attacks on David Shearer. Voters in Mt Albert didn’t give a damn. Probably didn’t even give it a thought. Blog world, real world: two different planets.

    Again, I like reading Red Alert, but MPs should never, ever, lose sight of the bigger – much bigger – picture. Especially Labour.

    • George Darroch 5.1

      You make an important point, one I agree with.

      They’re not your voters, they’re your critics and supporters. Sometimes they’re important and influential, they say useful things, and other times they don’t. Judgement is required to determine which.

  6. gingercrush 6

    They’re also very fair with their moderation. I’ve only replied once which was in reply to his hissy fit with the speaker. I actually didn’t expect the comment to make it through. Yet it did and many comments are rather dissentful yet make it through. Its a pity National hasn’t done something about setting up some type of blog. It’d end up hi-jacked by the far-right if anything else. But I would have thought it’d be great for some of their back-benchers.

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      “Its a pity National hasn’t done something about setting up some type of blog.”

      Yeah, I agree. It’d pretty much have to be just for the bankbenchers. They should do it, it’d give them something to do at least.

      What should they call it?

      Blue rinse?

      • gobsmacked 6.1.1

        A National blog would have to make party posts automatically disappear from the archives after about a week, so as not to contradict the new ones saying the opposite.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Or they’d just be constantly correcting the old posts, to more properly reflect that they were talking about Australia.

        • jarbury

          I don’t know if it would work for a party in government to have a blog. Though it would certainly be interesting.

          • Anita

            I don’t know it’ll work for a government to have blogged while in opposition. When the current bloggers in Red Alert are next cabinet ministers the nat research unit will delight in digging up things they said on their blog. Some clearly have an eye to that future, but a couple don’t yet know what it’ll like to be a minister, so they’re being a little less circumspect than they might wish they had been.

        • Pascal's bookie

          nah, they have to do it or they’re chicken.

          Buckaaaark buk buk buk.

      • r0b 6.1.2

        Blue rinse?

        Ouch! – I nearly snorted lunch out my nose.

    • It’d end up hi-jacked by the far-right if anything else.

      Good – it would give National a strong incentive (in he form of constant negative publicity about the ugly views expressed on their blog) to ditch those freaks.

  7. Except the reaction largely comes from people like us: not the general public at all, but a very small minority with fixed views (for or against). Not the ordinary voters that Labour need to engage.

    Sure – but talking to your activists and keeping them mobilised (so they’ll go out and work for you in persuading those ordinary voters) is important for a party. And Red Alert is fantastic at that.

    Captcha: “national phoned”.

  8. Generally blog viewership is much wider than those who comment. And furthermore, you can have media representatives also reading through the blogs and they will relay the messages onto a wider audience.

    • Ianmac 8.1

      It is probable that 90% read a blog but do not comment.
      9% read and occasionally comment.
      1 % do most of the comments.
      I wonder if the research which suggest this ratio, is reflected on this site?

  9. Zaphod Beeblebrox 9

    I’m amazed how often ideas that get discussed by bloggers and contributers turn up in the general debate a few days later. If you have a good idea, stick it on a blog.

    • jarbury 9.1

      Exactly Zapohd, my good ideas:

      1) How come National keep on voting as a block on conscience issues? Are they not allowed to think for themselves?

      2) I only get 5 minutes to make a submission on Auckland’s Super-City legislation next week. FIVE MINUTES! What a slap in the face for consultation.

      3) What is the updated cost-benefit analysis for the Waterview Connection, and does it take into account the adverse effects on Allan Wood Reserve?

      4) Why the heck does Treasury predict oil prices to be $US68 a barrel by the end of 2013 when they’re higher than that NOW?

      I think that’ll do for now.

      • Anita 9.1.1


        How come National keep on voting as a block on conscience issues? Are they not allowed to think for themselves?

        The third question worth considering is what will the issue that splits that block vote look like? At some point there will be a conscience issue with enough internal dissension that their whips won’t be able to hold it together. Labour must be hanging out for that issue, what is it? and what does Key do when he can’t “lead” a united front?

  10. toad 10

    jarbury said: Generally blog viewership is much wider than those who comment.

    I believe so – and certainly hope so, otherwise we’re wasting an awful lot of time commenting at Kiwiblog. But I’m confident the wingnuts who post there are not typical of the readership.

    • r0b 10.1

      I am far from away from the centres of political and media action in NZ, but I do have the odd media buddy. FWIW they tell me that journos read these blogs, but only the front page, they hardly ever waste time in the comments sections.

      So (based on a small sample) if you want to speak to journos / “opinion shapers”, you want to be contributing posts, not comments.

      • Rex Widerstrom 10.1.1

        Modesty would usually forbid me from mentioning this* but I was honestly surprised at the number of journos who’ve complimented me on (or at least mentioned) comments I make here and at Kiwiblog.

        So I wouldn’t want any of the very good commenters we get here being deterred by r0b’s “media buddies” because mine say just the opposite.

        Unless of course it’s just that r0b’s comments get ignored, while my bon mots are universally acknowledged as the height of erudition and wit 😛

        * No, really.

        • r0b

          Well that’s good to hear. Hate to think we drones were toiling away down here in the trenches for nothing. And I guess media buddies are as diverse in their behaviour as the rest of us.

          Unless of course it’s just that r0b’s comments get ignored

          That’s probably it!

  11. ak 11

    On the other hand toad, maybe the bog readership would drop without your contributions……a diet of pure tripe quickly becomes nauseating without the odd green…

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      Yeah, that’s what I reckon. Just let them eat each other.

      • Rex Widerstrom 11.1.1

        I think you’re confusing them with pop, Pb.

        I find it helps to think of it like walking home early on a Sunday morning. If you’re careful about stepping over the puddles of vomit and the occasional prone body and dodging the hectoring weird guy with the Tourettes and the conspiracy theory, you can meet some interesting people along the way and might even get to see the odd astounding sunrise.

        Whereas here it’s more like hurrying through the airport, head down, hoping some earnest young true believer doesn’t manage to corner you with some tedious tract, trying to convince you that the Leader of the Labour Party really did find their policy writ on gold tablets buried in the forest.

        If you make it to your seat you’re often lucky enough to find you’re sitting next to someone entertaining, and occasionally you’ll even get a window seat.


        • Pascal's bookie

          Ha! I resemble that remark. 🙂 Good metaphorising.

          The social scientist in me is just interested in what would happen if the leftie commenters just left them to it for a while.

  12. George Darroch 12

    It saddens me that I don’t know whether Phil “Lock’em up” Goff will support or oppose this legislation.

    I suspect they’ll support it, but if they do oppose, you’d hardly know it because they’re not going to be vocal about it.

    You know why this country is sliding into shit? Because the people who could stand up against things like this stay quiet, for fear of scaring the sheep.

    • Anita 12.1

      It’s possible Labour will support it because they believe it’s the right thing to the do rather than out of cowardice.

      I have pretty much given up on believing Labour are on the side of light when it comes to balancing individual rights against law’n’order.

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