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Macron and Trudeau mean yes for Ardern

Written By: - Date published: 7:21 am, May 8th, 2017 - 96 comments
Categories: election 2017, Europe, International, jacinda ardern, labour, Media, Politics - Tags: ,

You just have to check out the hair. Full, lyrical. Check those steady, penetrating eyes. OMG the skincare regime. Compile media grabs of Macron and Trudeau – and Ardern – and you have images of successful people who are fun and interesting and want to do good. All Trudeau has to do is go surfing, strip down a little and show us what he’s made of. People say politics is superficial, like that’s a bad thing.

And then they open their mouths: words flow: policy-informed, passionate as well as polite.

There is a successful way of fighting populism: with a lighter populism that has even better media penetration than rage. There’s a whole taxonomy to populism that diverges from policy content, and whorls deep into the vortex of the image economy. It’s about how you see them, when you see them, in which media you see them, how often, in what context, at what speeds; faster and faster until the blur becomes a stable form, like paged animation.

I give a fair share of common intelligence to the French that – unlike the United States electorate – they took the threat of negative populism seriously. They went for the guy who married his high school French teacher. His success raises the question of whether centre-left regimes are foundering under the weight of unpopular reform, or simply unpopular leaders.

The guy who had it all to play for and got the Socialists in power for the first time in a very long time – Hollande – started to be undone by a haircut and a minor affair. Normally largesse and affairs are basic qualifying conditions for high political life in France. But Hollande cocked it up and made it all look ugly. They laughed at him. It would be great if he lost it over poor policy, but actually he lost the media and simply never recovered.

Jacinda Ardern’s beau is Clark Gayford. You can look him up anywhere but he’s a Man About Town, MC and entertainer, media darling, hard core fisherman, ruggedly handsome. The trick for Ardern is to get into the media being both bright and to look good, and be surrounded by people who attract positive media coverage.

If you can’t really fake it, substitute it and you achieve the same ends in the media. Trump deployed his spectacularly photogenic daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared. Andrew Little has appointed Jacinda Deputy Leader. It won’t be long.

The other standard point beyond charisma is language. Macron’s party En Marche! Is usually translated as “forward”, but it’s really closer to “turned on” or “on the march”. It’s not that Macron has fooled voters into thinking he’s a bomb-throwing revolutionary. Macron might not sound totally believable when he calls for smashing the system, but change-hungry voters still appreciate the feeling of being targeted. Authenticity isn’t the only thing that’s rewarded in politics; linguistic effort is rewarded too.

Macron’s gambit won’t be really clear until parliamentary elections in June, so En Marche! better have its full slate of electable candidates and the full party machine ready by then. But he looks like he has defeated any chance that a new form of Thatcherism, or ethnic fascism, or a communard has of getting into the Elysee Palace.

Whether you are Hilary Clinton or David Jeremy Corbyn, major swathes of voters will evaluate you not on whether they’ve read the policy manifestos, but on whether they get a stable and appealing glimpse of you on the tv news or smartphone screen. What if voting consisted of “swipe left” or “swipe right”: before you laugh, it may come to that. Not only do most people not read past the headline, they don’t read past the photo.

After Trump’s first year floodlights the wreckage that occurs when you vote anger into office, we will also look across the wreckage that used to be the left; across Europe, the United States, Canada, and beyond. The temptation will be to continue to re-jig policies into more extreme forms. That will remain largely ineffective.

There are many reasons why Democrats had a poor showing in 2016, but an important reason is that they were angling for young voters with septuagenarian leaders who had been wounded over decades by billions of dollars of negative advertising. They won’t revive until they have a leader who looks and sounds fresh.

There’s a few notes that are instructive for our Labour and Green Parties here. In the U.S., leaders of the Democratic Party control nothing and are even more unpopular than the woefully unpopular Republicans. And yet the Democratic Party platforms on health care, education, and immigration are progressive and popular. Labour is bang-on policy wide, but their vote is flat despite the tide going out on the current lot.

Macron’s success, and Trudeau’s success, suggests an obvious response. When leaders are unpopular, get fresh ones who say things in a fresh way. For older politicians, unpopularity can accumulate over time like barnacles on a ship.

In this sense it’s important that Ardern has been unscathed by any major Parliamentary battles. It’s important that she looks great. She sounds great. She has appeal, and charisma. Her charisma is necessary. Not sufficient, but necessary.

Democrats and Labour and Socialists alike complain about dirty tricks and unfair attacks, but instead of foolishly litigating the loser-truth before the court of popular opinion, major world electorates are showing that they would do better to hand over the scalps of their tired leaders, and choose new leadership that has charisma, coherence, and largely undamaged track records. With whom they will win.

96 comments on “Macron and Trudeau mean yes for Ardern ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Generally speaking, the economically right wing liberals that dominate the media have given the voter the “no hope” electoral choice in order to sustain their rule. either vote for Hillary – a wall street lackey, a warmonger, and a member of the liberal elite – or vote for the tangerine rape Nazi. Vote for remain – for a German imposed austerity and more of the same neo-liberalism from a remote liberal elite in Brussels – or vote for Farage and UKIP. The lesser of two evils argument failed when the status quo candidates (Cameron and Clinton) is tainted by the failure of neo-liberalism over the past 20 years.

    However, status quo candidates like Trudeau. Macron and Ardern do seem to still be allowed to get away with telling those sweet, sweet lies of promises of incremental reform that the media want to hear from non-scary candidates of “the left”.

    As an aside, It is interesting to note that same reasonable liberals who demand we hold our noses and vote for Clinton or for Remain didn’t extend the same logic to the genuinely left wing Jeremy Corbyn, instead subjecting him to the most extraordinary and extended campaign of character assassination since the Thatcher era. The lie of the liberal class being also left wing is surely now completely exposed in these contrasting attitudes.

    • Wayne 1.1


      It surely is not surprising that Corbyn has been subject to merciless ridicule. For so many reasons.
      His policies come from the failed 70’s, an especially powerful metaphor in the UK. It would as if Labour or National tried a rerun of Muldoonism.
      He has been in Parliament since 1983 and never held a ministerial portfolio.
      His clothes and presentation, well the less said the better.
      Modern Britain he ain’t, not on any level.

      In contrast Trudeau, Macron, and for that matter Arden, look like they belong in the contemporary world they are in. They are not pinning for industrial socialism that disappeared virtually before they were born. The fact that they are not radical revolutionaries will be reassuring to the voters, especially in the places they live. In truth the residents of inner city Auckland, or Paris or Toronto and Montreal are not hankering for a socialist future. They are too independently minded for that.

      This was evident with Chloe Swarbrick’s mayoralty campaign. She cast herself as a modern creative, as indeed she is. Look at the new Green lineup, they are a world away from the hippiedom of a generation ago.

      This remake is also evident with National, obviously in a different way, but it is real enough. Adams, Bennet, Bishop, Bridges, Coleman, Kaye clearly bring a different and more contemporary style than their predecessors.

      The only party where this is not so evident is NZF, but that is expected, since an appeal to the past is their very essence. For them Muldoonism is something to be aspired to!

      • Wayne 1.1.1

        Should have been Ardern – an auto spell checker changed it.

      • contemporary contemptuous.


        • greywarshark

          There were two times contemporary was used in Wayne’ comment.
          I take it you were referring to the second use Robert which referred to National’s young nerks and jerks.

      • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.3

        “In truth the residents of inner city Auckland, or Paris or Toronto and Montreal are not hankering for a socialist future. They are too independently minded for that.”

        And some have to be truly independently minded….having to sleep in cars and all that.

        They have to be creative…figuring out where to park and piss without being prosecuted.

        Do you like the society you and your ilk created Wayne?

        Dog eat dog, everyone for themselves and kick those who fall when they’re down?

        Trouble is….the poor are many….

      • left_forward 1.1.4

        …the failed 70’s, an especially powerful metaphor in the UK. It would as if Labour or National tried a rerun of Muldoonism.

        BS – It is the utterly failed post 70s neo-liberal agenda that people in general are working out how to reject.

      • Actually, it’s very surprising that Corbyn has suffered so much ridicule. In any genuinely left-wing party, his policies would be popular, and his consultative leadership style that’s about connecting with ordinary people would have been leveragable with some spit and polish from comms. In wouldn’t have been ideal, but it could have worked.

        What’s poisoned him has been the bitter infighting from the neoliberals who feel they own the Labour Party and now actually have to compete with an energised Labour movement within the actual Labour Party. These neolibs were literally complaining that they can’t talk to the Sun or the Daily Mail because Corbyn supporting independent media will mock them for it. Yeah, of course they will! It’s well-deserved.

        This has lead to the (correct) perception that Labour is a house divided against itself and thus not ready to govern.

        As for being ready for a socialist future… I’d hold on to that thought just a bit longer. Remember, the US tried Trump, and now Sanders is the most popular politician in the country. It might be that all people really need to start voting for socialism is someone honest, straightforward, and with a bit of charisma to start explaining it to them. 😉

        • D'Esterre

          Matthew Whitehead: I agree with everything you say.

          “Remember, the US tried Trump, and now Sanders is the most popular politician in the country.”

          Bear in mind that the DNC connived at white-anting Sanders’ chances of getting the Dem nomination. Had that not happened, it’d have been Sanders vs Trump at the election, with a better chance of a Dem victory.

      • PMC 1.1.6

        You have an extremely disingenuous writing style, Wayne. Do you intend to create the illusion of saying something without actually saying it? Is it deliberate so that when challenged you can deny saying it? You’re really something.

    • Adrian Thornton 1.2

      @Sanctuary +1 Well said, the media bias against Corbyn really looks and feels like it is straight out of Orwell’s 1984, the establishment under threat sure is an ugly beast to behold.
      Just like the Democratic Party establishment ( and their so called liberal media arm in the US), the ‘New Labour’ in the UK (and the Guardian)would rather a Right wing conservative winning than a real Left wing progressive, that much is clear.

  2. A significant number of New Zealanders will vote for a Little-led Labour Party because Jacinda is Deputy.

    The waves of anxiety emanating from the Right are palpable.

    • tuppence shrewsbury 2.1

      A significant number of New Zealanders will vote for a labour party led by Jacinda Adern. Too long we’ve seen New Zealand’s most capable women held back from their rightful place by less accomplished men for no other reason than that they are men.

      The right are thrilled that Andrew Little is in charge going against Bill English. Two potato faced white men? better then one we know. But English Vs Adern? it’ll be Key Vs Clarke all over again. And what happened then?

      • Hey, Tuppence – filling in for the recently-removed Gosman, eh!


        • Tuppence Shrewsbury

          Happy to point out the misogynistic inconsistenty of your argument all on my own thanks Robert.

          • Robert Guyton

            Go on then, I’m all ears, Tuppence. Let’s see if you’re on the money.

          • Robert Guyton

            Tuppence? Your waves are palpable.

            • tuppence shrewsbury

              I thought mods hated people being called out for sitting on station all day waiting to reply to posters?

              Anyway, i’m a busy person Robert. I can’t wait for the fungus and wild spinach to grow to provide for me and mine or my employees will be out of work.

              here we go. You assert that they’ll vote for that party, pointing out specifically that it is lead by a middle aged, middle class, white man, because there is a youthful female in the deputy position. Now if all those New Zealanders are going to vote for a youthful female, who has displayed a more comprehensive set of talents in parliament than Andrew Little over a longer time frame, because she is in a position of subservient power, should she not be in the dominant position of power in the hierarchy?

              what’s holding her back from being leader? An inept male. Misogyny live and well in the senior offices of the Labour party supported by their grunting apparatchiks.

              [lprent: Is that something that is in the policy? Or is this just some new rule that you are trying to invent?

              You should read the policy about a) trying to define our rules and b) wasting moderators time. I believe that both of them are listed in the self-martyrdom offences.

              BTW: Robert has obviously read our policies. He hasn’t got to the boring the moderators phase yet. ]

              • Pure fantasy and invention there, Tuppence! Projection too, amongst other dismal logic failings. You read all that on the back of your eyelids.
                Still, your James-like distaste of Andrew Little makes sobering reading; so shrill, Tuppence!

                • tuppence shrewsbury

                  What fantasy?

                  Did you assert that New Zealanders would vote for Jacinda Adern because she is the deputy of the Labour party? Why wouldn’t they just vote for the party or the leader?

      • Barfly 2.1.2

        Soo much effort employed in defence and promotion of a morally bankrupt governing party. May you get your just reward for your efforts.

        • tuppence shrewsbury

          Pointing out that superior to both Little and English is not supporting the National Party.

          In fact, I think Adern would walk all over English on election day.

    • Phil 2.2

      A significant number of New Zealanders will vote for a Little-led Labour Party because Jacinda is Deputy.

      The hard evidence from the United States is that the choice of VP candidate has sweet-fuck-all influence on the voting intentions or actions of voters in a presidential election. I’m willing to put good money on that being the case in NZ with the candidate for deputy PM in an MMP election, too.

      • Antoine 2.2.1

        Especially as Jacinda may well not be deputy PM, that job could go to Turei, Shaw or Peters.


        • Robert Guyton

          Maybe, Antoine, but she might well be and that possibility will bring about the effect I describe, imo.

          • Antoine

            Right, right. But if people vote for Labour because they want Ardern to be deputy PM (as you set out), and then she doesn’t end up being deputy PM, how will they feel?


            • Robert Guyton

              They’ll be fine. Jacinda will be enjoying whatever significant role she wins and her fans will love to see her in action in the new Government.

              • tuppence shrewsbury

                Telling Jacinda how to feel about the crumbs she is given to nibble on from the big boys table now Lord Guyon of the swamp?

                Jacinda can and should lead the Labour. In one fell swoop she’ll give it a youthful face, a positive outlook that New Zealanders can relate to and some proper brand recognition. 4 Months is long enough to get out and outshine ol potato head on the other side.

        • It could, potentially. There’s also a good argument that appointing the deputy leader as Deputy PM avoids the question of which coalition partner gets it if Winston is fussy about not playing second fiddle and the Greens are also interested, so I wouldn’t rule Jacinda out of consideration, either.

      • Maybe so, Phil, but this is New Zealand, we’re not American and our LP Deputy is Jacinda, who is most unlike the VP you describe.

      • VP and deputy leader are actually two very different positions though.

        The VP literally only has two jobs, and both of them are as backup: Take over if the President is temporarily unable to serve, or break tie votes in the Senate.

        A deputy leader in our Parliamentary system actually has stuff to do and is potentially just as important a role in terms of how the largest governing party functions as who they appoint as Finance Minister.

  3. Ross 3

    And Trump means yes for Peters. 🙂

  4. RedLogix 4

    and whorls deep into the vortex of the image economy

    Can’t quite pick what shade of purple that is … but I’m jealous. 🙂

    • Ad 4.1

      I throw these bon mots out like Mikimoto pearls … sigh

      And barnacles, I thought, yes, barnacles!

  5. Sable 5

    Yes a centrist ex banker won in France…..As to Trudeau…is that the same same guy who likes the Keystone XL pipeline project…..?

    • mauī 5.1

      A centrist, do nothing, smile and wave, ex banker. Where have we seen this before? Not exactly ideal when there’s storm clouds around.

      • garibaldi 5.1.1

        To Sable and maui……fear not that the French will be suckered into neoliberalism like we were. Macron vs the French workforce? Watch this space!

        • SpaceMonkey

          Aye, the French have form when it comes to effecting change outside the normal political cycle… not like us sleepy Kiwi villagers.

  6. TIger Mountain 6

    there is a superficial appeal to ADVANTAGE’s view that young and fresh is the way to go, but, along with 70 year old Clinton, there was 70 year old Trump, and the guy who could have beaten Trump-even older mid 70s Bernie Sanders!

    it was Bernie’s policy that got good support from younger people

    the scenario there of course is the millions needed just to stand in the primaries, pretty much counts out a young, ‘hot’ Prezzie for now

    as for NZ, it may take one more election, and a few more funerals as the saying goes, before the majority starts voting for their kids and grandkids futures rather than property prices

  7. EE 7

    “Ethics and Aesthetics are one.” – Wittgenstein

    • Ad 7.1

      Note the “necessary but insufficient” line.

      Wittgenstein wasn’t much on the philosophy of causality.
      Other than his ‘rope theory’.

  8. Hanswurst 8

    I don’t really think it’s rocket science to suggest that, all other things being equal, someone who looks and sounds attractive, dynamic and personable will have a better chance of succeeding than somebody who doesn’t. It applied to Key and Cameron as well. I also think it’s fairly reactive to say, “These things that have already happened might mean that this other thing that is already happening could work.”

  9. Wainwright 9

    Ardern was elected, unlike Ivanka, and I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate the comparison.

  10. Antoine 10

    You know who the Le Pen of NZ politics is? Andrew Little most fits the bill – campaigning on a populist anti-immigration platform.

    Then who’s the fresh-faced young contender opposing him? Paula Bennett?


    • Antoine 10.1

      I’m joking, of course. Bennett is nothing like Macron. She, like Ardern, has been in politics for years but has no professional experience outside politics. Macron, in contrast, is relatively new to politics but has a background in investment banking. He’s more like a French version of John Key – and may be equally popular.


      • garibaldi 10.1.1

        A French version of John Key? Yeah that would go down like a lead balloon with the French.

        • Antoine

          Is it so odd to compare two young, wealthy, centrist, free-marketeer politicians with a background in investment banking, who support immigration?

          • SpaceMonkey

            It’s not odd to compare Key and Macron. Garibaldi has just put it into context for you… the French penchant for radical action when necessary versus New Zealand’s conservatism and deference to authority, for want of a better description.

        • mary_a

          @ garibaldi (10.1.1) … Absolutely right there.

          Can’t see the French workers putting up with the old buck we Kiwis were dished up by Key, from their version of Mr ex investment banker, smiley wavey man. No way, well not without a fight anyway.

          Madame Guillotine will be in the process of being oiled, lubricated and sharpened as we type, readied to be rolled out should it be necessary 🙂

      • greywarshark 10.1.2

        Don’t joke about our politics you light-hearted fool. Andrew Little is not even slightly like Le Pen. Just because immigration is a big problem throughout the world and We have been suffering from an overdose, and Little refers to this problem doesn’t mean that he can then be wantonly compared to a National Front leader like Le Pen or indeed like wotsername in Australia, Hanson who has ridden the same vehicle into politics there.

      • Johan 10.1.3

        This show how morally bankrupt the right wingers have become when they supported a massive liar and serial ponytail pulling pervert. Antoine, I deal with factual information, while you tend to exclusively spout your OPINION.

    • saveNZ 10.2

      Another alternative fact from Antoine about Andrew Little and immigration.

      Saying that, that discourse might work in his favour. I think we all know who is the political party campaigning on reducing immigration, and that’s not Labour.

      Labour seem to have a policy to reduce non sensical immigration away from the Natz record immigration for years with no jobs, houses and transport for everyone, if that’s what you mean.

      • Antoine 10.2.1

        > I think we all know who is the political party campaigning on reducing immigration, and that’s not Labour.


        Did you read this. It is literally 1 hour old. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11851472

        I quote Little: “New Zealand cannot cope with a net 72,000 immigrants a year. We need to reduce that by tens of thousands.”


        [lprent: You appear to be a ignorant and rather illiterate dickhead about NZ immigration. And probably about everything else as far as I can tell.

        The highest annual nett migration to NZ in the last 100 years was about 40 thousand in 2003, and was rapidly corrected by the government changing policy. If you look back in time, the nearest we ever got to that was a year in the 1870s when the nett migration was about 30k. The average annual nett migration over the last few decades has been about 10k. This government has for several years sustained it at about 5-7x that level.

        Little and many others are arguing that the historically massive level of migration is unsustainable. At the very least you should be arguing why it isn’t. Instead you resort to simple denigration – something that to me indicates that you don’t have any reasons.

        See 1966-2016 nett migration from the stats department.

        I would suggest that you learn enough to debate government migration policies intelligently rather than just denigrating others without any understanding of what reality is. Or I can simply remove your ability to be a dumb fuckwit on these pages. ]

        • Antoine

          Hmm? I’m not denigrating Little, in fact I may well agree with his stance on immigration.

          I am simply pointing out the fact that Little is campaigning on a reduction in immigration. You agree with me here – saying above “Little and many others are arguing that the historically massive level of migration is unsustainable.”

          saveNZ however seems not to believe this, as evidenced by his comment “I think we all know who is the political party campaigning on reducing immigration, and that’s not Labour”. Surely you don’t object to me correcting saveNZ’s error?

          I also said that Le Pen is campaigning on a populist anti-immigration platform. That too seems like a simple statement of fact.


          [lprent: Banned for 4 weeks for wasting my time and another 4 weeks trying to lie about what I actually wrote.

          Here is a hint about what. Migration isn’t immigration. I never mentioned immigration; so: a) I didn’t agree with you. b) i really don’t like fuckwits trying to put words into my mouth. c) wasting moderator time is a risky business – something that it is wise to remember. ]

  11. Siobhan 11

    Populism lite….yeah, that’s really going to be a game changer as we fight neo liberalism and endgame Capitalism.

  12. saveNZ 12

    I think voters are after integrity. Not identity politics. It’s pretty hard to find integrity in politics and easy with dirty politics to drudge some slander up. Hence low voter turnouts.

    Labour around the world are failing because they think voters are cattle that can be harvested for votes with identity politics and Labour are still being punished for supporting neoliberalism and the Iraq war.

    Same old with more taxes is not popular.

    Key read the mood away from austerity (and believe me for the last 25 years everybody has become sick of user pays and being told to tighten up your belt and how bankrupt the country is). So his strategy of just selling off the country to cronies, mortgaging up the country with debt and making everyone feel rich with property prices, were more of a hit than another 25 years of austerity.

    Key’s the guy that gets a credit card and spends up big on rubbish, with nothing to show for it, but someone else has to clean up the mess. That is now in the hands of austerity English and his merry gang of yokels, plus the wheels are falling off with water poisoning, P epidemic, biosecurity threats, housing, transport and environmental crisis, EU tax investigations into his zero tax havens . Key realised that even his alternative facts had passed their shelf life and bailed out, to wing and fall man, English.

    The right are winning because they also do anything to get and keep power. There is no long term thinking. Lazy immigration, dirty politics, giving away resources to cronies, making stuff up, (now known as alternative facts), all ok in a days work to keep power.

    • Antoine 12.1

      Hey saveNZ, who would you have voted for if you were French? Le Pen or Macron?


      • saveNZ 12.1.1

        It would have been a hard choice. Maybe a spoiled ballot?

        If I though that France might exit the EU under Le Pen, I might have VERY reluctantly voted for Macron.

        • mikesh

          I would have voted for LePen because there would then have been a possibility of frexit. Better that than belonging to Frau Merkel’s financial fourth Reich.

          • garibaldi

            Ooh, careful mikesh ….. Wayne won’t like you knocking his boy Macron.
            But yeah, as Le Pen said “France will get a female leader, either me or Merkel”.

          • Hanswurst

            That’s just ridiculous. Fourth Reich? You’re talking about a government that has taken on thousands upon thousands of refugees in the face of staunch opposition, invests far more in green technology, education and the arts than any NZ government in recent memory, and favours large cultural and artistic ventures aimed at fostering cultural diversity and harmony. Most of that’s not down to “Frau Merkel”, but because of how the political landscape in the Federal Republic of Germany has developed since the late 60s, but that’s still the ship she runs.

            France is a big player in Europe, too, so you can’t sheet its status right back to Germany. If you were to say something similar about one of the Eastern European states, you might have more of a point, but calling it a “Fourth Reich” and blaming it on “Frau Merkel” is Trump-level dishonest populism (replete with misogyny and lazy stereotyping).

            • mikesh

              I did quality it by calling it a “financial” fourth Reich. Consider her inflexible attitude to the Greek debt and her desire to inflict austerity on the Greek people when that debt cannot be repaid. Predatory lending is the new face of fascism.

              • Ad

                President Macron’s German counterpart would be Chancellor Umlaut.

                • D'Esterre

                  Ad: “President Macron’s German counterpart would be Chancellor Umlaut.” Haha, very good! I’ve passed it on to where it’ll be appreciated…

                  • In Vino

                    But to be fair, the French have no macron in their spelling system, whereas the Germans do use the umlaut, so the humour is more wishful than apposite.

                    • In Vino

                      Just to explain, the macron is a accent over a letter to indicate that stress must be put upon that syllable. Neither French nor German have any such accent. Accents like the German umlaut, the French acute accent or the circumflex indicate either a change of sound for that vowel, or (sometimes in French) cause no change at all. Neither language has a macron… Ho hum.
                      And as usual, English speakers butcher the pronunciation of names from all other languages. Including Macron.

    • Carolyn_nth 12.2

      I agree for the need to more commitment or integrity politics. I think Ad’s post is about personality politics – not what I’d call identity politics. But that shows some of the problem with the IP term – it seems to mean different things to different people.

      Personality politics is just more of the same with a different superficial gloss.

      • saveNZ 12.2.1

        Part of the ‘personality’ politics is because the MSM and the establishment have become part of the problem with fake news and supporting alternative facts and slandering people for political purposes.

        Look at Phil Goff and the SIS and the National party smear.

        That effected the election, but they just get away with it.

        Increasingly power (business, media and political) is held away from geographical location and so little interest in the long term survival of that location, more like the exploitation of that location. They just need a few local yokels running things along in their interests.

        Public not happy. But hard to work out how to stop it if you are a liberal person who does not believe in centralised power bases for exploitation, but happy for globalism in other areas and want change because the world has changed and politics and economics has not changed with it, they are still locked into the 20th century.

    • greywarshark 12.3

      You said it and well.

    • Brendon Harre 12.4

      That’s gold SaveNZ

  13. Bill 13

    Aside from what Sanctuary says at the top of the comments and Swordfish’s complete demolition of your oft repeated assertion that “the left” is dying…

    US consumerism – it’s in the packaging as they say. And you’re right Ad, that’s how some politics is now being peddled. But whereas I’ve absolutely no objection to politicians being ‘pleasing to the eye’, when it’s all just so much ‘ferrero rocher’ …y’know, when the only way to sell the shit is to wrap it up to suggest something other than cheap and nasty, yeah…nah.

    Hollande was not a socialist. He was yet another parasite within the host body of a left party. Macron was his finance minister and implemented bog standard liberal anti-worker policies.

    Trudeau’s Liberal Party cynically (in rhetoric) out flanked the New Democrats to secure office.

    NZ Labour … I’ll say nothing because I’m not in the mood to be tolerating the upset of fanbois today.

    What you term as ‘centre left’ regimes have not a skerrick of leftism to them. You’re right enough to call them for being regimes though – but liberal regimes is what they are and I’ve got a sick bucket needs emptying.

    • Antoine 13.1

      Which liberal regimes are you referring to? The Democrats under Obama, and the French Socialist party?

  14. Phil 14

    They went for the guy who married his high school French teacher

    Somewhat ironically, it would be ‘more French’ if he’d married his German or English teacher.

  15. Cynical jester 15

    Um forgive me if I’m wrong but the message of this blog appears to be saying that voters want style over substance? Macron didn’t win because he was well liked it was to reject a fascist. 37% of registered voters didn’t vote for either 12% spoiled rheir votes.

    Canada’s pm is most definitely style over substance and supports keystone.
    His next election will be interesting.

    Jacinda seems much more progressive and intelligent than Justin but mind you nzlp is more progressive than the canadian liberals.

    Helen Clark, was definitely substance over style and she was elected three times.

    Who is David Corbyn?

  16. mikesh 16

    It wasn’t just Trudeau’s youthful good looks; he also had the good fortune to be son of the popular Pierre Trudeau. Similarly, Le Pen had the misfortune of being the daughter of the infamous Jean-Marie Le Pen.

  17. timeforacupoftea 17

    Heading say’s !
    “Macron and Trudeau mean yes for Ardern !

    Oh Yeah !!!!
    Goodbye Little !
    Hello Ardern !

    Ummmmm says National !
    Goodbye English !
    Hello Collin’s !

    What a fight that would be, the two Jays !
    “Judith Versus Jacinda” what fun what glee !

    It should be good for book’n’magazine writers and such !

    And Free Cigarette’s and no exercise tax on alcohol to over 65’s.

    I hope I am teasing !

    maybe not

  18. Gosman 18

    I presume then the author of this piece believes Labour should look to get Ardern in to the leadership of Labour ASAP.

    [lprent: Doesn’t does it say that.

    This also looks like a desperate and idiotic attempt to capture the debate. So I’m putting it at the end of comments.

    BTW: 4 week ban for trying to put words in the mouth of the author. Read the policy again.]

    • gsays 18.1


      • s y d 18.1.1

        at risk of joining Gosman, I think the gist of his comment is certainly referenced in Ad’s post…perhaps not the ASAP bit, but certainly positioning for laters….

        “Labour is bang-on policy wide, but their vote is flat despite the tide going out on the current lot.
        Macron’s success, and Trudeau’s success, suggests an obvious response. When leaders are unpopular, get fresh ones who say things in a fresh way. ”

        In summary, you can keep selling the old crap, as long as you can repackage it as all new.


        from the Guardian

        “About 43% of Macron’s voters cast their ballot for him to keep out Le Pen;…
        taking into account abstentions and spoiled ballots, roughly 44% of people on the electoral roll voted for Macron “.
        I make that just under 19% actually wanted this Macron. These candidates only make it, not because of the beautiful skin and lovely words, but because the only other option we are allowed is Le Pen, Trump, Farage…

        Let’s leave it up to Bourak Patrouche to speak truth.

        “I wasn’t even going to vote today,” said Bourak Patrouche, 66, a local bartender. “But I had to. Just to avoid the political catastrophe that would have been the Front National.”

        An Algerian immigrant who came to France in the 60s, Patrouche was incensed by Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigrant discourse. “France is a land of welcome,” he said. “Her project was just based on fear and racism – it was completely unrealisable.”

        Still, Patrouche, who had voted for the hard left Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round, wasn’t particularly enthused by Macron. “When you come from the world of work, you can’t accept a man like that,” he said. “Mélenchon wanted to fight the bourgeoisie – Macron is the bourgeoisie.”

        [lprent: That was Gosman’s second comment on this post. The first appeared to have no absolutely relevance to this post (it appeared to refer to a nonexistent person) and was shunted to OpenMike.

        The one above was relevant, but appeared to be an clear attempt to divert from the author’s actual words and to put words into their mouth – a clear breach of the site policy.

        You can say what you think the implications of a post are. You can’t say that the author thought that at any level – even implicitly. READ the policy.

        If Ad had wanted to say whatever you are trying to say that he was saying is just dancing on the head of a pin. He could have said it. The words that you are writing come directly from YOU. If you want to ascribe the thoughts to someone else, then be my guest. The site is from expressing your own opinions, it isn’t for people who are too cowardly to state their own opinions and try to hide behind the figleaf of someone else. Such people get bans because I hate cleaning up the resulting idiotic flamewars from the idiotic use of that tactic. ]

        • garibaldi

          Spot on s y d. Macron is in for one hell of a ride, and deservedly so.

        • Siobhan

          +1 s y d on the French Election.

          ..and in regards to this article, it is clearly about the face and style (though not really to any great degree policies) of political Party Leaders NOT one single foreign deputy leader is mentioned.. And yet its also about Adern. Who is a deputy leader.
          The inference has to be that Adern should be the future leader of the Labour Party.

          [lprent: Nope. That is your opinion – there is no evidence that it is Ad’s theme. Apart from anything else read the sentence in the post starting with “Trump deployed”. Why would you mention a deputy PM in the USA if you have other advisers.

          But what you are doing to implying a causation out of a correlation. I always view it as being the defining feature of conspiracy freaks.

          But that is just my opinion as well. ]

    • Wayne 18.2


      Another ridiculous attempt of censorship. Your right of course, but that does not make it sensible.

      • lprent 18.2.1

        Don’t be ridiculous. Plastered all the way through the About and the Policy is the clear and unabiguous statements like

        “We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise…”

        “The authors write for themselves…”


        “This includes making assertions that you are unable to substantiate with some proof (and that doesn’t mean endless links to unsubstantial authorities) or even argue when requested to do so. ”

        “Publishing facts that are manifestly false is relevant to our decision, but clearly stated opinion is not.”

        Making assertions about what an author meant to say is to state a fact. Clearly something that the commenter had absolutely no way of proving. Putting “I presume then” at the front isn’t enough to shift it from an asserted fact to opinion. To me it just looks like a troll trying to cover their arse.

        I have pointed out before that we look at the behavior on the site. Gosman is someone being defamatory by trying to put words into someone else’s mouth. Not something that we try to tolerate in commenters, and definitely not something we tolerate at all when expressed towards authors.

        The reason for the policy is pretty plain. The site is there for people to express their own opinions. It isn’t there to assert false facts about what other people didn’t say.

        • Ad

          Although I did manage to write an almost fact-free post.
          Just to make it easier. 🙂

        • Andre

          To be totally fair to Gosman, his other comment that got moved to Open Mike did reference “David Corbyn?”. In the tenth paragraph of Ad’s post, Ad refers (presumably mistakenly) to a David Corbyn. So in that case it appears to me Gosman was clumsily trying to direct the author’s attention to a typo, rather than indulging in the usual behaviour.

          Now, does anybody have any suggestions for how to cleanse away the unbelievably weird sensation of having defended Gosman?

          • weka

            True, but if Gosman didn’t have a history of trolling and getting banned for it, he probably get more leeway and consideration. Much of moderation comes down to moderators getting sick of having to deal with shit.

            • Johan

              It would be easier on moderators, if the visiting RWNJ, gave factual information instead of strutting their opinions here on this site.

              • lprent

                Moderators usually don’t mind opinions provided that they are clearly expressed as being opinions. Other commenters will deal with those.

                It is the false facts that take all of the freaking time.

          • lprent

            Ah. That explains it, I missed it. I will fix the post. See what an explanation as short as “typo” would have accomplished. That one just shunted to OpenMike.

            The second one was the one that really irritated me as it was such a clear diversion. I delayed heading to work just to reread the post looking for where Ad had advocated for Arden leadership. I didn’t find it.

            If someone wants to really want to irritate a moderator, then just waste their valuable time by being a smartarse by asserting something that wasn’t there. Of course they have a tendency to remove the time waster from their purview for some time as part of a efficiency improvement procedures.

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