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LocalBodies: King Luddite and the Green Wave

Written By: - Date published: 11:41 am, April 28th, 2014 - 31 comments
Categories: greens, john key, Satire - Tags:

Once upon a time there lived an amiable king who was generally well regarded for his relaxed demeanor and his friendly smile. While he had been called the smiling executioner in a past, most of his subjects thought of him as a good bloke and a dab hand with a barbecue and he left most of the dirty work to his ministers. King Luddite loved tradition and the technology of the past and was very generous to his friendsamongst the lords and nobles.

King Luddite lived in a huge palace and he never went anywhere without his bodyguards. He was very careful to not cause unrest and envy amongst his subjects by revealing his true wealth. He would put aside his expensive garments and make sure his bodyguards kept their distance when he regularly walked amongst the poor, dressed as one of them. Although many lived in extreme poverty, he reassured them them that he was doing his best to improve their lot. None of his subjects saw his crossed fingers behind his back as he talked about how things were going to improve. King Luddite was actually not very good at sharing and his first job before becoming King was as a money collector, and he had been very good at it.

King Luddite was the king of a small, relatively isolated kingdom and he spent much timeingratiating himself with the royalty of the largest nations. He enjoyed visiting the grand palaces of those countries and he didn’t want to upset the most powerful kings and Queens if it meant that he could no longer receive invitations to their parties and balls. The king was quite prepared to sacrifice the rights of his own subjects to win favours from the great and mighty of the world.

King Luddite’s belief in the old ways was such that he refused to accept the advice from his wise men. Powerful forces were at work in the world and his advisers regularly warned him of the impending dangers caused by his obsession with the black gold. King Luddite refused to listen as he did not want to give up his lifestyle and that of his affluent noble friends. It was the black gold that powered their luxurious carriages and allowed them to indulge in the benefits provided by the Black Barons. King Luddite was resolute in his belief in the black gold and he had invited the Black Barons into his kingdom to lay waste as they pleased in the search for more of the dangerous substance.

King Luddite’s wise men also warned him about a Green Revolution that was spreading around the world that was rapidly devaluing the black gold and making it redundant. The Black Barons were fighting hard to maintain their supremacy and the value of their black gold by using massive bribes and gifting the world’s rulers. They also spread nasty rumours about those leading the Green Revolution in an attempt to discredit them in the eyes of ordinary people. They likened the revolutionaries to terrorists and communists and questioned their mental health. King Luddite himself never let an opportunity pass where he could ridicule the revolutionaries and warn his subjects of the terrible things that would befall them if the green ideas took hold.

King Luddite was resolute in his belief in the power of black gold and he decided to make a public stand against the green tidal wave that was rapidly approaching his small kingdom. On September the 20th he decided would place his throne on the nearest beach and, with his ministers standing behind him, command that the wave come no further. He had once heard a story of another king who had done something similar and thought it sounded like a good idea. Of course he had never been a good history scholar and he had never bothered to consult his wise men.


Reposted from the original at Local Bodies. bsprout got this about right (there is a survey on the post at his site) – especially when pointing out the willful ignorance of King Luddite.


31 comments on “LocalBodies: King Luddite and the Green Wave”

  1. Disraeli Gladstone 1

    “He had once heard a story of another king who had done something similar and thought it sounded like a good idea. Of course he had never been a good history scholar and he had never bothered to consult his wise men.”

    Of course, Cnut’s whole point was that his wise men were wrong…

    So, you know, a little irony on the being a good history scholar bit.

    • Puckish Rogue 1.1
      Aw hey cut them some slack, it can’t be easy coming in and geeing the troops up when the MSM run stories like this:



      [lprent: And that has to do with the greens or oil or this post or the comment you replied to – how?

      As far as I can see the link to John Armstrong’s opinion is all about Labour. It you want to raise a topic of your own, then that is what OpenMike is for. Use that.

      Four week ban for diversion trolling. Next time I see you do that particular tactic again you’ll get a permanent ban. Consider that the next time you want to jerk off in public. ]

    • blue leopard 1.2

      Disraeli, this was my initial reaction, however King Luddite, clearly didn’t know this aspect of Cnut’s intentions (nor the outcome) – hence the reference to not knowing much about history.

    • Disraeli, I had read about King Cnut before putting up the post and admit I took writers’ license with my version and went with the view that most people would think of the stupidity of trying to hold back a natural force.

      “Cnut’s name is popularly invoked in the context of the legendary story of King Canute and the waves, associated with the futility of “turning back the tide” of an inexorable event.” Wikipedia

      As for the advisor bit, it is a grey area because one could also say it is about listening and responding to the correct advice. I’m sure Key mainly listens to advice within in his own circle of neoliberal, fossil fueled thinkers (The Hollow Men).

      Great to see all the historians bubbling up, however, as I will probably learn more 😉

      [lprent: added the pseudonym to the handle as you did further down the comments. ]

  2. greywarbler 2

    Reading the report of King Cnut on wikipedia, the inference of the action of his sitting by the sea and commanding the waves not to rise and wet him, is that he wanted it to be known that he wasn’t prepared to try and do everything demanded or expected of him, because all power is limited. And no doubt that the wisdom of his advisors was limited in the same way.
    And also that nature was the ultimate power.

    This has not changed in the modern age. But people get broken in the insane desire to control nature by men wanting baubles as well as power and allegiance. (See NZ c2014)

    To be bothered to go through such an elaborate tableau, Cnut must have been trying to make a strong point to all. And he was a powerful king but apparently one under pressure.

    Cnut the Great[2] (Old Norse: Knútr inn ríki;[3] c. 985 or 995 – 12 November 1035), more commonly known as Canute, was a king of Denmark, England, Norway, and parts of Sweden, together often referred to as the Anglo-Scandinavian or North Sea Empire.
    After his death, the deaths of his heirs within a decade, and the Norman conquest of England in 1066, his legacy was largely lost to history. Historian Norman Cantor has made the statement that he was “the most effective king in Anglo-Saxon history”, despite his not being Anglo-Saxon.[4]

    • Disraeli Gladstone 2.1

      Aye, in the original story, Cnut was showing that his power was limited. Later, it was also made that his advisers had been flattering the new king and his powers so Cnut went out to prove them wrong by showing he wasn’t all powerful.

      It’s been lost now in a sea of historical ignorance to the point people will regularly quote someone out of their depth as being “like Canute trying to hold back the waves” as if Cnut really thought he could stop the tides.

      • Jim Nald 2.1.1

        Ah. Was not aware of the King Cnut bit.
        I thought some kind of oblique reference was being made to the parting of the RED sea.

  3. vto 3

    Now this is entirely more like it….

    The right like to call the greens luddites, but the evidence is clearly that it is the right that are the luddites.

    Call them on it.

  4. blue leopard 4

    Bravo Bsprout, top marks to you!

  5. Bill 5

    Thanks for the enjoyable read.

    Nitpicking coming up.

    The Luddites were a genuine, intelligent expression of opposition to low wage, industrial or mechanised manufacturing practices that were robbing them (or that were about to rob them) of their livelihoods. Nothing stupid or backwards about them. True that they lost their battle against the (arguably) hugely regressive wave of industrial manufacturing that replaced higher skilled cottage industry type labour.

    • Naturesong 5.1

      It is a little sad that Luddites place in our lexicon is that they are synomymous with ignorance and fear of change.

      I brief look at the luddites show that they weren’t ignorant or unthinking, but a highly organised militant worker movement.

      While I would not condone their methods in this day and age (historical events must be viewed in context), their aims were heroic, if misguided – but what do you do when your entire craft is on the verge of being wiped out, you have no power and are looking at a life of starvation, disease and begging?

      • greywarbler 5.1.1

        but what do you do when your entire craft is on the verge of being wiped out, you have no power and are looking at a life of starvation, disease and begging?

        Sounds like NZ after abandoning all possibilities of business enterprise at reasonable levels of profitability in favour of Queen Daisy Dairy. While the unemployed are treated like criminals on home detention reporting daily.

    • Sadly true, Bill. Like many words they distort over time and the origins are lost, like ‘gay’ and ‘awful’.

  6. aerobubble 6

    On holding back the Green wave. S.Jones said something about Green policies and why he was nolonger staying with Labour. Exactly how does he expect to do any good in Pacific fisheries without using the words, sustainable and resilience? Pacific Island nations are seeing their fish stock being depleted, their very life blood of their food chain, and Key is going to send Shane who can’t talk the game needed.

    • Jenny 6.1

      “Key is going to send Shane who can’t talk the game needed.

      Oh but he is.

      Shane was plucked from the front bench of the Labour Party because he was talking exactly the game needed. The game needed by the big factory fishing companies and the fossil fuel companies, both who strongly resent any talk of sustainability.

      In September the Small Island Developing States are holding a United Nations conference in Apia, the leading topics are, partnerships in sustainability, renewable energy, climate change, all the things that this government don’t want discussed.

      “Samoa has selected as the overarching theme of the conference the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States Through Genuine and Durable Partnerships.

      The Theme highlights the high regard Samoa has for the critical role, the contribution and strength of its partnerships with other governments, institutions and major groups in progressing its sustainable economic development agenda.

      The success of these partnerships are demonstrated with Samoa’s graduation from the list of LDCs, as well as support for efforts in areas such as climate change adaptation and mitigation, renewable energy, resilience to natural disasters, disaster risk reduction, sustainable management of our oceans and forests and many others.”

      The SIDS conference is a clash with New Zealand’s general election, and National will not be willingly to release any senior MPs to go to the Apia conference.

      Why not Shane Jones?

      His game talk has all been about opposing sustainability.

  7. The Real Matthew 7

    The Green wave is akin to New Zealand being issued with a Tsunami warnings from an Earthquake in South America. Often talked about but never eventuates.

    Green technology will in time come into effect as it becomes cost effective to do so. Sadly for the Green Party (and perhaps the world depending on your point of view) we aren’t yet at that time.

    Technology like solar power is not yet at a commercially viable stage.

    One of the reasons socialist Europe is still caught in economic headwinds is due to the insistence of green energy policies.

    And with the Tasmanian experience of green government being a total disaster we can only hope voters see sense on September 20 and vote for a party other than the Greens.

    • greywarbler 7.2

      I have noticed before you are airily, eerily into fairy tales and cargo cult mentality. Just wait and the gods will deliver to you. Do nothing but wait hopefully. Luckily Shackleton didn’t have you on his team when exploring in the southern waters and running into trouble.

      Waiting for other people to do something and it to become commercially viable is like waiting on the beach to see if there is a tsunami. Best to move now and take some action while the beach is clear and movement is relatively easy.

    • Macro 7.3

      And what about the New Zealand experience of a National Government being a total disaster? How do you think NZ’s will vote then?

    • Colonial Viper 7.4

      Technology like solar power is not yet at a commercially viable stage.

      This is the stupidest comment ever. For instance, farmers make commercial use of solar power every day to grow their crops, dickhead.

      The New York Times reports that the Koch Brothers is now making a concerted push against solar power, which they see as a threat to their fossil fuel business.

      The truth of course is that the oil industry is the energy industry which is not viable. It relies on massive state subsidies to operate – tax payer paid for highways and roads, massive tax breaks for new exploration and drilling, cheap low royalties to governments, environmental costs and risks unaccounted for and passed on to the general public.

    • Colonial Viper 7.5

      The truth of the matter is The Real Matthew, is that you are a member of a Cult of Death.

      Our entire way of life, the technology and civilisation able to sustain 7B human souls worldwide is based on a fossil fuel energy whose affordability is going away year by year.

      For you to keep opposing sensible energy alternatives is to actively push for the death of many of these 7B people. You really are a dickhead.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.6

      Commercial viability isn’t why we do things such as solar power.

    • lprent 7.7

      Technology like solar power is not yet at a commercially viable stage.

      Bullshit. Just shows that you’re too lazy to bother going to examine the current technology and instead probably relying on technically illiterate dorks like yourself.

      My parents in Rotorua put a rather smallish solar panel array on top of their garage feeding DC via a rectifier into the AC system of their house and the grid. Last time I looked it was providing something like 95% of the total power consumption on the house.

      Even with the differential prices and offered by their power company and reduced winter usage, it looks like about a payback on capital and alternate uses of their capital in well less than 10 years. But being superannuitants looking at the massive price rises in power over the last two decades, they’re mostly interested in that it reduces their risk on a fixed income from the crazy profit taking in the power generation industry.

      They also have solar panels on their mobile home and launch to keep the batteries topped up. If you look around these days you’re be surprised in the numbers of places that solar is being used.

      It is quite viable on stand-alone and in grid-connected personal installations. The only technology that isn’t up to commercial scratch at present is the battery technology and the loss going to AC. I’m thinking about how hard it’d be to shift my apartment’s needs to short run DC at present

      • RedLogix 7.7.1

        Here in Victoria you see solar panels all over the place. They’ve become very mainstream and quite unremarkable.

        • miravox

          +1 for rural Austria and Southern Germany. Completely normal to see houses covered in solar panels and solar ‘farms’ near big factories like the BMW complex near Munich.

        • lprent

          It is pretty remarkable what has been going on there with solar. Even a mild incentive with access to the grid was enough to get it started. Even after the incentive was removed it actually seem to speed it up.

          Power companies according to reports are now trying to drop the price paid at the grid.

  8. fambo 8

    Not many people know that England was part of a Danish empire before the Normans.

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