Open Mike 15/01/2017

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 15th, 2017 - 294 comments
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294 comments on “Open Mike 15/01/2017”

  1. Adrian Thornton 1

    Just in case any of you might have forgotten what a real Labour Party Leader and a real Labour Party with a vision looks and sounds like…

    And this in turn allows you to attack your opposition like this…

    So in answer to Labour Activist Enzo Giordani’s fourth suggestion in his piece ‘Ten steps towards victory for Labour’
    “Get a vision that resonates with voters. I honestly can’t tell you what Labour’s vision is at the moment, and that’s been a problem for a very long time. People don’t know what we stand for.”
    ….perhaps the current New Zealand centrist labour party should grow some sort of a back bone, Turn Left Now, and become again a New Zealand Labour Party that we can all understand exactly what it stands for, a party we can believe in and fight for, a party that unequivocally and proudly stands for an equal and fair Socialist democratic New Zealand for all it’s citizens.

    • Ad 1.1

      Here’s the graph comparing medium-term support for parties in the UK.

      You can see clearly when Labour’s fast downward acceleration started:

      http://www.ukpolitical.info/General_election_polls.htm

      • wek a 1.1.1

        Why do you think that is?

        • Ad 1.1.1.1

          Whatever the full reasons – I am sure Swordfish and others can speculate – Corbyn is a polling disaster for Labour.

          • weka 1.1.1.1.1

            You don’t think it was the shit fight between the two factions in the party that did it? I haven’t looked close at the timeline, but there may be multiple reasons that mean blaming Corbyn’s presence might not be that useful.

            • Ad 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Would be great to infer that it was the splitters and the internal processes that started its precipitous fall. You can argue all day about the causes.

              But here’s the fact.

              Corbyn wanted the job, and has now had it for a while.

              Corbyn is the leader of the Labour Party.
              He is responsible for the polling results of the party.
              That’s the job, that’s a major measurable result.
              Corbyn is doing a terrible job as leader of the Labour Party.

              • weka

                In NZ I tend to take the view that Labour can’t get enough votes to govern because they appear not fit to govern. If that’s true then it doesn’t matter who is leader except to the extent they make Labour more competent and present them as more competent.

                If that’s also true in the UK, then changing leader, esp back to the other faction, may just confuse things more (see Labour still can’t make up their mind). But like I say, I haven’t looked at the timeline. I don’t know if Corbyn (or Little) has had enough time to change things so that their low polling can in fact be blamed on their leadership, or if there are more complex dynamics at play.

                It seems to me that your argument that it’s all on Corbyn as leader is based on the assumption that his leadership alone (or majorly) is the problem, but it might not be.

                • red-blooded

                  And does the UK Labour Party, under Corbyn, seem fit to govern? The fact is that while he has solid support amongst the rank and file members (especially those who joined up to participate in the original leadership vote) he certainly does not lead a united party and most of the most talented and experienced MPs don’t back him.

                  Of course, UK Labour has had problems for quite a while and people turned to Corbyn out of a mix of frustration and hope. So, it’s not all down to him. He’s been leader for long enough to start making a difference, though, and at this stage he’s not cutting through.

                  Comments about media bias are irrelevant. On the whole, the media thrives on conflict and so they report the conflict in the Labour Party. That’s not a surprise. It’s Corbyn’s job to minimise that conflict and stop it distracting from the message he wants to get out. At this stage, he’s certainly not managing to do that.

                  Helen Clark faced this sort of issue early on. Her polling was as low as 15% (although of course in an MMP environment that’s not as bad as it would be in FPP Britain). She held on and became a very successful leader, and that was in no small part due to her success in coopting her challengers and giving them significant roles within her team (Michael Cullen being the obvious example). Corbyn hasn’t done this, and because the arguments are more idealogical than they were here, he’s not likely to. That means he’s lost a lot of talented, experienced people from his front bench, and the disaffection within the parliamentary party grows.

                  Personally, I don’t think Corbyn is going to turn this around. Good luck to him, but he needs more than luck and i don’t think he’s got it.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    @ Red “Comments about media bias are irrelevant”
                    Did you just say that? are you actually saying that having pretty much all MSM biased against you in a political battle is irrelevant..
                    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jeremy-corbyn-media-bias-labour-mainstream-press-lse-study-misrepresentation-we-cant-ignore-bias-a7144381.html

                    What strange planet to you come from? …where this most unusual political and social dichotomy exists? I think I would like to go there, it sounds wonderful.

                    • red-blooded

                      Adrian, any politician is going to face negative media if they are seen as vulnerable. Besides, Corbyn has to deal with the situation he’s actually in. If that includes an antagonistic media, then he has to deal with it. It might not be fair, but it’s reality. At the moment, he’s not cutting through. Supporters can complain all they like, but it doesn’t mean that ordinary voters are going to be convinced.

                      BTW, do you what the word “dichotomy” means? Because you seem to be using it in a rather odd way.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    @ Red Can you tell me when a politician or political party in a western democracy over the last 20 years has had to operated with over 75% negative media, but who at the same time is campaigning on a positive platform?
                    However I think he dealt with it extraordinarily well, I mean even after having the so called Liberal media, such as the Guardian and the third way blairites within the party try and knee cap him at every turn through out the leadership challenge, he still totally Destroyed Owen Smith, and all the while built the membership of the Labour party to be the biggest political party in western Europe, a fantastic achievement by any measure…you would think that would be cause for any real Labour supporter to celebrate, I know I am.
                    And I think you may well be surprised at the next UK election, polls aren’t what they used to be, as we all witnessed last year time and again.

                    I was using ‘dichotomy’ to illustrate my rebuttal of your proposition, when you implied that media bias and it’s effect on society/voters are mutually exclusive, thought it worked there?

                    • red-blooded

                      Let’s start with the word “dichotomy”. This means a division into two mutually exclusive parts; opposites which contradict each other. When you say, “I was using ‘dichotomy’ to illustrate my rebuttal of your proposition, when you implied that media bias and it’s (sic) effect on society/voters are mutually exclusive,” you are misusing the word (as you are the phrase “mutually exclusive”). Presumably what you mean is that you think I’m saying that the media and any bias it shows has no effect – that’s not a dichotomy and it’s not “mutually exclusive” (what’s the other force which is excluding the media?). You might think my (supposed) opinion is nonsensical, but that doesn’t make it a dichotomy.

                      Now, let’s get on to the actual issue: please look at what I actually said, rather than arguing against your assumptions about the opinion of anyone who disagrees with you. I didn’t say the media has no effect on public opinion – kindly show me that statement that you think implies this, if you can find one. What I said was:
                      1) The media will always look for conflict, and there is conflict in the UK Labour Party under Corbyn (as there was before),
                      2) Corbyn hasn’t managed to settle that conflict (which is a leadership function),
                      3) He isn’t presenting well to the wider public, partly because his party is looking divided and unfit to govern, and
                      4) This is reflected in the consistently poor polling.

                      I also said “good luck to him”. That’s hardly an attack, Adrian – it’s just not blind adoration.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    @Red blooded.
                    OK
                    1. when you stated “Comments about media bias are irrelevant”
                    with your following explanations as to why you think that it is normal in a democratic country to have over 75% of media coverage negative on one candidate, and that it is Corbyns fault for not bringing the media on to his side, I assumed that you meant just that.
                    In light of the evidence on this suject, which I have already given link too, it is a position that I would think most critical thinkers would reject outright.
                    2. How on earth can Corbyn change the narrative to a positive one, when the media have made it clear they are actively out to portray him negatively…
                    Guardian headline on receiving the report that there is over 75% negative reportage on Corbyn…
                    “Yes, Jeremy Corbyn has suffered a bad press, but where’s the harm?”
                    https://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2016/jul/19/yes-jeremy-corbyn-has-suffered-a-bad-press-but-wheres-the-harm
                    3.The only thing I can agree with you on is that this is most definitely ideological battle, for the very heart of the UK Labour party, but what you don’t seem to acknowledge is the media’s very real and active part in this battle, these guys are in the trenches on this one, I mean seriously do you really believe that they are on the out side, looking in and commenting dispassionately about this?

                    Probably Corbyns biggest mistake was trying to negotiate with the third way terrorists with in the Labour party, they, like their liberal media would rather see the Tories back in than have a real socialist in power, that they have made very clear.

                    • red-blooded

                      Adrian, when you use phrases like “third way terrorists” you step over a line beyond rationality. You may not agree with the “third way” approach (and neither do I, as it happens), but that doesn’t make people who do terrorists.

                      Note, too, that I didn’t say t was “normal to have over 75% of media coverage negative on one candidate” – I said that the media look for conflict and will always report it. And I don’t say it’s not having an effect – I have simply said that it’s one of the roles of a political leader to manage the media.

                      The British media is more obviously politicised than it is in NZ, but even there do you honestly believe there is some kind of shadowy cabal of “the media” (and there’s a heck of a lot of competing institutions and individuals that come under that description) that get together and plot about how to take down politicians they don’t like?

                      And please take note of the discussion occurring further down this thread about the misuse of the term “liberal” as some kind of insult.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    @ Red Blooded, OK fair point on the Third Way Terrorist bit I guess.

                    However you still don’t address my point that how can Corbyn manage the media when they are so obviously opposed to his ideology? and further, have shown no inclination what so ever to even try and pretend they are interested in fairness in reporting on Corbyn and the new UK socialist movement….unless I missed something.

                    As I have already posted, at 1.2.2.1.1 I believe that this obvious and undisputed media bias is a text book look at Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky’s ‘Manufacturing Consent’ functioning out in the open in the UK media for all to see.
                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_Consent

                    So no conspiracy..,,just media owned by millionaires and billionaires doing what they are brought to do, look after the interests of power and money…which Corbyn and his Socialist project will not, so not to much more to it than that.

          • millsy 1.1.1.1.2

            Do you support privatisation and austerity Ad?

      • Adrian Thornton 1.1.2

        Firstly show me one MSM news source, paper or television, that is positive about, or even just fair in it’s coverage on Corbyn? I think a good part of the numbers in your poll driven graph will reflect the answer.

        Secondly what are you saying, you don’t agree with Corbyn’s policies? or if you do, that you would rather your party get elected on a platform of policies that you don’t agree with, to get to power?

        Thirdly Labour UK has 550,000 members, the biggest party in Western Europe, you would think that most Labour progressives and activists would be extremely happy with these numbers…

        • Ad 1.1.2.1

          I’m not interested in media conspiracy theories from any side. If a politician can’t figure out how to communicate within any kind of media environment, they should not be a politician, let alone a leader. FFS, all Donald Trump needs is a twitter account and Breitbart.

          I wouldn’t presume to write UK Labour’s policies for it. Go for it if you want.

          Having a great membership base, and continuing to tank in the public polls, shows that the Corbyn-led Labour Party is living in a self-reinforcing echo chamber, enabling a fast splintering from most of the population that is incredibly dangerous for Labour to get back in again.

          But go ahead, tack hard left.

          • Adrian Thornton 1.1.2.1.1

            I will, and you just stay in there in the centre, going nowhere, and keep telling yourself everything is going to be alright, doing nothing…what a joke, just not that funny for the working , the poor or for all of the future children of this country.

            • Ad 1.1.2.1.1.1

              You put the proposition up this morning that the NZ Labour Party should follow the example of Jeremy Corbyn’a leadership of the UK Labour Party.

              The results under Corbyn are catastrophic, so you are wrong.

              • Adrian Thornton

                No, I put up the proposal that Labour stand for a fair and equal society for all New Zealanders, as their central platform, and their economic policies should reflect that position…you don’t like that?
                What is catastrophic is people like you, who don’t seem to understand that the centre left project is over…strange that you can’t seem see this obvious truth?

                • mickysavage

                  Can you advise on one election where a radical left platform has worked?

                  • Paul

                    Easy.
                    1945 UK election.

                  • Wainwright

                    Why do you assume a fair and equal society for all New Zealanders requires a radical left platform? We might as well give up then.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    Are you actually saying that a platform of working for a fair and equal society is a radical platform? I would think that a platform where this is not the central issue is radical…don’t you think?
                    Using your definition of ‘radical’, the 1935 NZ Labour victory fits that criteria quite nicely.

                    • weka

                      take the word radical out and see if you can answer the question (because it’s a useful question that shouldn’t get lost in semantic side arguments).

                    • mickysavage

                      Agreed with Weka. You can strip out a lot of the language and talk about fairness and sustainability and still get the same results. Adding in “radical left” gets you nowhere in terms of winning the argument.

                    • weka

                      ok I’m confused now. Micky, do you mean we can talk about fairness without moving substantially left, or do you mean we can move left but not call it radical? I took Adrian’s original comment to mean move much more left than Labour is currently intending (irrespective of what we call those two positions), and that your question was about had that ever worked? (a big, obvious shift).

                  • weka

                    “Can you advise on one election where a radical left platform has worked?”

                    in 1993 the Alliance got 18% of the vote as a new party. Formed in 1991 in response the Labour takeover in the 1980s and the voters very large rejection of neoliberal Labour in 1990. It didn’t work of course, in terms of gaining power, because it was FPP, but I assume it helped the MMP campaign. What happened to the Alliance in subsequent years is probably a lesson we could still be learning from.

                    • weka

                      The SNP results in Scotland too.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      Yes it is incredible that proposing a fair society is considered radical, even by many progressives, it shows how many good people have been conditioned to accept the unacceptable.

                    • weka

                      Pretty sure that’s not what micky meant, and I think you have avoided the question.

                  • Penny Bright

                    Hopefully this Mt Albert by-election?

                    🙂

                    Penny Bright

                  • Bill

                    If the likes of the NZ Labour Party with its accommodating liberal policies gets away with touting itself as ‘left’, then obviously anything some-one considers to the left of that is going to be labeled as radical.

                    The SNP merely adopted the old social democratic programmes that ‘New Labour’ couldn’t disavow fast enough (as has been done in NZ) and won a landslide with an electoral system deliberately geared to prevent majorities.

                    Then it won again. And again.

                    Meanwhile, Scottish Labour, cleaving to deeply unpopular and distrusted liberal policies is now behind the Tories in the Scottish parliament and (last I looked) polling at around 15% with local elections coming up in May.

                    Corbyn is merely left – not radical left. If you want radical left, then you have to look at arguments for substantive democracy. And no-one seeking election anywhere runs on a platform of substantive democracy. How could they?

                    edit – I tell a lie. The Socialist Party of Great Britain has a platform of substantive democracy and stands candidates (who will never take up their seats if they win)

                    • weka

                      Substantive democracy, nice one, that deserved an explanation,

                      Substantive democracy is a form of democracy in which the outcome of elections is representative of the people. In other words, substantive democracy is a form of democracy that functions in the interest of the governed. Although a country may allow all citizens of age to vote, this characteristic does not necessarily qualify it as a substantive democracy.

                      In a substantive democracy, the general population plays a real role in carrying out its political affairs, i.e., the state is not merely set up as a democracy but it functions as one as well. This type of democracy can also be referred to as a functional democracy. There is no good example of an objectively substantive democracy.

                      The opposite of a substantive democracy is a formal democracy, which is where the relevant forms of democracy exist but are not actually managed democratically. The former Soviet Union can be characterized in as such, since its constitution was essentially democratic but in actuality the state was managed by a bureaucratic élite.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substantive_democracy

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      @Bill +1

                    • Bill

                      Except wikipedia is describing a representative democracy (votes, states, legislative/institutional permissions…)

            • BM 1.1.2.1.1.2

              What age bracket do you fit into Adrian?

              70+?

              • Paul

                Relevance?

                • BM

                  If I was in my 40’s by the time Douglas rolled around I’d probably be so set in my ways any change would be a real struggle and seeing other points of view or different ways of doing things would be very hard to process.

                  Especially how insular and monocultural NZ was 30+ years ago.

                  • mauī

                    What age bracket do you fit into BM?

                    • BM

                      Same age group as Adrian, which is why I’m so surprised about Adrian’s outlook, we were just boys back when Douglas was doing his thing.

                      Our age groups formative years didn’t really start till the 1990’s, by that time neo-liberalist NZ was well and truly alive and the UK aligned NZ had been confined to the dustbin of history.

              • Adrian Thornton

                What slightest bit of difference does it make how old I am?
                But seems as you are interested, I am 47, married have three children one 18, twins 21..there you go, does that have an effect on what you think of my political positions?

                • weka

                  BM thinks that anyone under 70 should have been well socialised into neoliberalism by now 😉

                • BM

                  Wow, I had you pegged for someone in their mid 70’s.
                  Surprising to see someone of your age group with such rigid views.

                  • weka

                    You really do see people in categories like that? I’m surprised BM, I thought you were against that sort of thing.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    @ BM, I am not sure what your youth involved, but I was politically active and marching for Labour/no nukes in ’84, full of youthful enthusiasm and fire, only to be totally disillusioned by the charismatic but pathetic Lange, letting that terrorist Douglas screw the traditions of Labour right in our faces.
                    And why wouldn’t I have ridged views around wanting a fair and equal society?
                    Surprised? I think I am probably more surprised by most commenters lack of resolve and floppiness on this issue.
                    So no I don’t feel that this fundamental foundation stone of the labour party should be open to negotiation.

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      Yeah I was there 1984

                    • BM

                      @ BM, I am not sure what your youth involved

                      Booze, weed and trying to meet girls, I didn’t really start to even consider politics until my mid 20’s.

                      I can certainly see why you hold the view that neo-liberalism is all that is evil and needs to be destroyed, though

                      .

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      @BM, Ha, I too did a lot more than my fair share of self destructive and dangerous stuff around that time, luckily the music and bands I listened too and played in where all highly charged politically, so that was my formative political education I guess.
                      I don’t think neo-liberalism is evil, but I do think that it’s core economic ideology is ultimately regressive for most humans, and it has no social or environmental morality built into it’s framework that I have seen.

          • Paul 1.1.2.1.2

            ‘Tack hard left.’

            You do realise you sound like one of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers as you repeat that slogan.

      • Paul 1.1.3

        No doubt caused by the Blairite MPs who have ensured that Labour is not a united party. The problem with Corbyn is he doesn’t deselect those MPs.

        • Ad 1.1.3.1

          So it’s Corbyn’s fault for being weak.
          Not encouraging.

          • Paul 1.1.3.1.1

            Yes he’s too nice.
            However he is socialist – are you?

            • Ad 1.1.3.1.1.1

              I’m not a politician leading a Labour Party.

              I am a member of the NZ Labour Party, and I want them to win in no small part because I want this government gone.

              • Paul

                The NZ Labour Party had over 85 000 members .
                It now has just 8000 members.
                Over 1 million NZ citizens did not vote.
                It struggles to get 25% of the vote – that’s 25% of this that do vote.
                Chasing the centre has been a disaster for it politically.

                Far more importantly, it has been a disaster for the people it was set up
                to support have been abandoned to the ravages of neoliberalism.

                The US got Trump, Scotland abandoned Labour for the SNP and working class of the UK voted for Brexit – because the left wing betrayed it.

                When are people like you going to learn?

                • Ad

                  Politics, regrettably for yourself, really is a popularity contest.

                  Just as soon as Corbyn completely turns the ship around and outperforms the Conervatives, I’ll salute him. Just you watch me.

                • Adrian Thornton

                  @Paul+1 I quite agree, it is just bizarre to me that we are still having this debate, all I can put it down to is maybe a case of Stockholm syndrome for some Labour members.

                  • Paul

                    The people we are debating with have benefited personally from neoliberalism.

                    There are only 8000 members.
                    The silent majority (79 000 ex-members) and 1 000 000 non voters gave up on Labour after Douglas and Lange’s coup d’état.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      Yeh I figured that was probably the case, once you let that greed genie out of the bottle, it is very hard to get it back in.
                      It is one of the worst side effects of neo liberalism, I have seen it undermine many good peoples core values and principles..commodify everything, turn all citizens into gamblers, with the highest goal in our society is to join the property class and rent shelter to other citizens..it is a sick game where in the end we all lose.

                    • red-blooded

                      Paul, I’ve asked you before for a reference for your membership figures. I’ve also linked to this before: http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2008/06/party-members-4.html

                      It’s an academic paper by Bryce Edwards on party membership in NZ. His main finding (about ALL parties) is “There has been a very dramatic fall in party membership in New Zealand: from nearly 24% of the electorate in the 1950s to only 2% in the 1990s. This spectacular collapse began in the 1960s and, despite a recovery in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has continued to decline. This has meant that the political parties in Parliament are now low-membership, cadre-type institutions”. However, he also notes, “It is important to clarify exactly what the definition of political party membership is. This allows a better idea of the validity of party figures. For the purposes of this blog post, a distinction is made between those party members who have joined the main body of the party – direct members – and those that belong to an affiliated organisation – indirect members. This has an important implication for the membership figures: for if the affiliate trade union membership of the Labour Party is included (which currently pay fees at about ten% of the cost of ordinary membership) then in 1986, for example, the Labour Party could be said to have had about 250,000 members, whereas the party claimed only 65,000 members.”

                      After noting that all parties tend to exaggerate membership numbers, he also comments that there are also often errors (eg multiple recordings of the same individual – especially pre-digital files. Plus, “A loose definition of membership may have been responsible for the incredibly high membership numbers reported by the National Party in the 1950s and 1960s and the Labour Party around the early 1980s. Especially in the case of National, there is some evidence that the simple act of making a small donation to a party canvasser was regarded as bestowing the status of membership. In this sense, there is often a blurring of the separation between the categories of supporters and members. Also in the case of National, often whole families have been enrolled as members, which might suggest a less than robust and meaningful concept of membership.”

                      So, I guess I’m challenging your idea that hordes of people (79 000) have opted out of the Labour Party because they don’t think it’s hard left enough. If so, where have those people gone? What hard left party do they comprise? The only contenders – the Greens – don’t have 79 000 members.

                      In summary – ALL political parties have lost membership. Labour’s membership numbers partly depend on affiliated unions, and union numbers have gone down. There are no reliable records for membership, for any party.

                      I’m not saying that numbers haven’t shrunk, I’m just saying you’re being rather simplistic and putting your own narrative around this.

                  • Andre

                    If you and Paul are correct, then there’s a huge constituency out there ripe for the taking by a new political party led by an outspoken charismatic progressive. Someone like Jim Anderton, or Laila Harre, or Hone Harawira…

                    Go hard, men.

                    • Paul

                      Are you one of the 8 000?

                    • Andre

                      @ Paul: Nope. Greens are much closer to my views.

                      The beauty of MMP is that you really don’t need very much support to get representation. So if your ideas really do have popular support and none of the established parties come close enough for you, you’ve got a pretty good chance with a new party. Hell, Colin Craig almost did it, even with his very visible deficiencies.

                      So if Labour dropped from 80,000 to 8,000 because their views weren’t close enough to what you’re advocating, it should be easy for you to scoop them up with a new party. Go on, give it a go.

                  • Paul

                    Look at how many Labour MPs have multiple properties.
                    Look at the Labour MPs salaries.
                    Look at how many Labour MPs could earn that money out of parliament.

                    Careerist.
                    Self-serving.
                    Not socialist.

              • Paul

                I note that you conveniently did not answer a simple question.
                Are you a socialist?

                If not I sense you are in the wrong party.
                Peter Dunne might like your membership.

                • Ad

                  Going for a purity contest like some sad squabble between the French Socialists, Trotskyists, and Communists, is pretty futile. Have a look at that kind of history before advancing down that tawdry route.

                  Always fun to watch someone who has been presented with facts that completely ruin their argument lower themselves to going for the personal allegiance of the commenter.

                  • Paul

                    I agree.

                    You appear to ignore the facts about NZ Labour since it adopted neoliberalism.

                    87 000 to 8000 members
                    1 000 000 non voters.
                    25% of vote.

                    • Leftie

                      Paul. You are like a broken record. You haven’t taken any notice of the facts Red-Blooded has posted. You have completely ignored it all.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    @Ad How about you answer my original question to you…
                    “Secondly what are you saying, you don’t agree with Corbyn’s policies? or if you do, that you would rather your party get elected on a platform of policies that you don’t agree with, to get to power?”

                    • garibaldi

                      Funny how all the Labour supporters think we can have a fair and just and equitable society under neoliberalism. That’s bullshit and they are dreaming.
                      If Labour ( and the Greens for that matter) are going to stick to free market capitalism, and be puppets of the USA, then they will never beat National. They simply haven’t got the resources, both in finance and feet on the ground. It’s no use relying on the ‘missing million’, they aren’t going to vote anyway and don’t trust any politicians because they know they’ll just get the same shit as the ‘last lot’. Their numbers will rise next election if everyone one is going for the ‘ middle ‘ ground.
                      For there to be a change of govt this year there will have to be some other factor(s) rear up, which is quite on the cards.

    • James 1.2

      As a righty – I agree, copy corbyn for all it is worth. You will be out of power for a generation.

      The guy is a complete idiot.

      • Adrian Thornton 1.2.1

        Well you are in the right party alright, the selfish party…well done
        BTW what makes you say he is an idiot, because he has a political platform that works for working and poor people, promotes a fair and equal society for all citizens..

        • Red 1.2.1.1

          Adrian at 47 you have learnt nothing and have anoverly ambitious view of the state. you seem to think that if the state could just legislate every bodies necessities to rights ( as many basket case countries have South Africa etc) all would be well, irrespective of how these necessities would be provided barring the government would create them out of thin air Most necessities are commodities, free markets are much better at providing as such than the state, yes with shortages and surplus but market react accordingly driven by the profit motive The free market also best reflect the underlying human condition re freedom and freedom of choice , when the states gets overly involved with regulation you simply get a distorted mess and perverse outcomes, hence the rise of Neo liberalism from the late 70s to respond to as such. Thankfully The modern Labour Party believe in Neo lib they simply think they can do a better job than national in running the country In contrast Corbyn and his travelling lunes believe something entirely different, hence thier poll numbers

        • James 1.2.1.2

          His platform isn’t working. He’s talking shit. Labours poll numbers have tanked and they will never get into power with him.

          So he can talk any game he wants – he will never get to implement it.

          He just didn’t seem to get this – this is why he’s an idiot.

      • Paul 1.2.2

        The consistent attacks on him by the right wing in UK suggests they see him as a threat – not an idiot.

        • red-blooded 1.2.2.1

          Rubbish. There is no media conspiracy – “they” (the media) wouldn’t lose anything under Corbyn. They simply report on conflict, and Corbyn isn’t managing the conflict in Labour well.

          Look at NZ for a parallel. The in-fighting under Shearer and Cullen was a gift to the media. Little has calmed things down and so the media has calmed down.

        • James 1.2.2.2

          No – sometimes they simply are an idiot.

      • garibaldi 1.2.3

        ” The guy is a complete idiot”.
        That’s rich coming from a right winger – big fans of free market Capitalism. That’s right ,according to the Right it’s the system that works best in the world. They can’t understand that it is totally unsustainable . They are in total denial about man made climate change. They think that unproductive investment in Real Estate is good for the Country. They hate taxation ie don’t want to have health and education and police and law etc done by the State ( yes they are stupid enough to believe private enterprise can do it better).
        They are wrong, wrong, wrong.
        On top of that they think the Opposition should only go for the ‘centre’ and not have alternative policies.

        • James 1.2.3.1

          And yet the majority of voters keep putting in right wing governments in the western world.

          So more people vote that they are heading in the right direction and others (like you ) are the ones they consider wrong.

        • Red 1.2.3.2

          Who said the right wing in nz don’t want socialised police force , welfare, education, health etc. All most cente right are arguing for is that money is spent well re outcomes, the right incentives are in place re moral hazard and there is nothing wrong with a bit of contestibility in system with private sector competing with public sector

    • richard rawshark 1.3

      ..,are we still going to stereotype what a labour leader should be? How about it’s all about policy, and not playing the man so much.

      I’ve just had 8 years of hollowmen, I don’t need it now painted red thank you.

      the day I see media driven personality politics murdered like the scum it is, that’s they day I can say we have returned to sanity. Because when you pollies (not assuming your one just speaking out loud) didn’t have all this media access getting your message out and it being scrutinized and passing by the voter I think we got better leadership and value for our tax payer dollars.

  2. saveNZ 2

    Army of staff descends on Davos to serve WEF super-rich

    Amid sessions on inequality, hastily bussed-in hotel workers will pack five to a room on bunk beds to serve the super-rich and powerful delegates

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/13/army-of-staff-descends-on-davos-to-serve-wef-super-rich

    • Wensleydale 2.1

      “I assume [the staff] get good tips,” Kleber said, but “most of them are not coming for the money – they are coming to be part of a once-in-a-year event … Of course it’s hard work, but it’s a lot of fun,” he added.

      No, Kleber, I’m pretty sure most of them are coming for the money. And I suspect your definition of “fun” is not shared by the majority of your staff.

    • Pat 2.2

      Davos 2012

      “In its seventh annual Global Risks report, the World Economic Forum noted that in the view of a survey panel of more than 400 experts and industry leaders, “severe income disparity” has emerged as one of the world’s most probable threats, surpassing financial risks and natural calamities.”

      Davos …a waste of space, resource and time.

  3. joe90 3

    I guess we’ll wait and see.

    Milosevic returned from Kosovo with a clear political strategy. First he would assemble the mob, and then he would move on his political opponents. With his rabid supporters filling the streets of Belgrade, Milosevic orchestrated the ouster of his former mentor, Ivan Stambolic. Using the same tactic, he toppled the leaders of Vojvodina, Montenegro and Kosovo, and replaced them with hand-picked loyalists. Like Trump’s Republican primary march, Milosevic unravelled the existing order in pieces.

    He called this strategy the “anti-bureaucratic revolution”. With each coup, the crowds grew and Milosevic promised them that this populist insurrection would transform Yugoslavia as a whole.

    But as Milosevic knew, his supporters were not concerned with purging Yugoslavia of stilted communist bureaucrats; they heard in his dog-whistle speeches a vision to convert the South Slavic federation into a ‘Greater Serbia’.

    […]

    The journalist Milos Vasic attempted to explain Milosevic’s rise to Americans in 1993 like this: “You must imagine a United States with every little TV station everywhere taking exactly the same editorial line – a line dictated by David Duke. You too would have war in five years.”

    Today, David Duke is back and so is Milosevic.

    http://www.eurasiareview.com/15112016-before-trump-and-brexit-milosevic-oped/

  4. joe90 4

    21 November 2016 – women are going to be denied reproductive autonomy

    BREAKING: Near-total abortion ban just intro'd in Congress. The #GOP's agenda is very, very clear. https://t.co/hh8UtT2eMx #StopTheBans— NARAL (@NARAL) January 14, 2017

    • Just the first in a barrage of oppressive legislation to come, now that the “anti-establishment” candidate has overthrown the “warmongering liberals.” Once they’ve put an additional conservative onto the Supreme Court, watch this one breeze through.

      This is what the demise of liberalism really looks like, all you Standard commenters who’ve been looking forward to it. Fuck all y’all.

      • Paul 4.1.1

        I do not support Trump. He is a fraud and symptomatic of a lot that is wrong inoursociety.

        I do support the demise of neoliberalism, which has destroyed the working class in the US, NZ and the UK, promoted the 1%, destroyed left wing socialist parties, massively increased inequality, child poverty, destroyed the Unions.

        In the US, I would have supported Sanders.
        However. I do understand why desperate working class folk voted for anyone who said they were against the neoliberal estsblishment.

        • joe90 4.1.1.1

          I do understand why desperate working class folk voted for anyone who said they were against the neoliberal estsblishment.

          Yes, economic anxiety forced people to vote for an establishment shit stain who plays footsies with all manner of theocratic misogynists, fascist, racists and white supremacists.
          /

          • Psycho Milt 4.1.1.1.1

            Exactly. “Desperate working class folk” needn’t tell us they decided to stick one to the establishment by voting for a billionaire property developer who lives in a Manhattan skyscraper, flies round the world in a private jet with his trophy wife and is famous for stiffing his workers and creditors. Not unless they want us to think they’re complete idiots.

            • weka 4.1.1.1.1.1

              +2

              And, it’s not like all desperate working folk voted Trump or even voted at all. Best we apply some nuances to the analysis.

              • miravox

                Like this analysis that suggests that while economic factors were important in the election, the vote for Trump is better explained by racism and sexism
                http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/1/4/14160956/trump-racism-sexism-economy-study

                • weka

                  that makes sense.

                  • Bill

                    It makes sense to write off a huge proportion of the voting public as racists and misogynists?

                    I mean, it’s convenient and all of that. And guaranteed to ensure that the Democratic Party (if they bought the line) would never get into power again.

                    Or (much more likely) just as UK Labour under Miliband bought all the racist bullshit and tried to neuter Farage by getting all anti-immigration (even selling anti-immigration mugs as fund-raisers)…racism will become excused and normalised…pandered to in a quest for votes..

                    People didn’t vote for the Democrats because they were shite. And people knew exactly the type of shite they would get. And they didn’t want it. And in the absence of alternatives, they voted for Trump.

                    • weka

                      which bit is the writing off? I didn’t see that. Miravox said that people voting for Trump (presumably beyond Republicans who would always vote Republican no matter what) was explainably by economics, racism and sexism, with the latter two being more significant. How is that writing people off?

                    • BM

                      As ridiculous as this may sound, many people looked at Hillary then looked at their grandmother/mother and thought, “My Grandmother/Mother running the country? are you crazy!!.

                    • miravox

                      I’m not writing off the rust belt economic argument Bill. Nor are the study researchers. But however they cut it, the economic argument doesn’t explain the high income and college degree vote, not does it fully explain the rust belt vote.

                      This research shows peoples motivations for voting Trump were not necessarily economic. Surely that is not a controversial finding – even if the Dems were shite. They also found two non-economic motivations that outweighed the economic reasons for voting Trump for a significant number of people. This is not a new phenomenon in elections either.

                      What is different in this study is that it argues that pandering you mention wasn’t an additional motivation to vote Trump, but the primary reason. This is not writing off a huge chunk of the population as racist and sexist, but it does suggest that at the time they voted the stuff they were listening to had a greater impact on their votes than the economic conditions they were living in.

                      This again, is something that has been seen before and will be seen again if it is dismissed in favour of the cleaner, but more simplistic economic argument that is not shown to fit people’s motivations.

                    • miravox

                      As ridiculous as this may sound, many people looked at Hillary then looked at their grandmother/mother and thought

                      Strangely, I think you’re right BM, that some people think like that. Yet they’re happy enough to vote for a rude and abusive grandpa.

                      I think that’s pretty sexist.

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.2

            53% of white women voted for Trump. A full ten points more than for Hillary. Solid choice, good judgement.

          • Bill 4.1.1.1.3

            You suggesting that people who voted were both highly informed and rational ?

            ffs Joe. Their motivations (for amny and misplaced for sure) are really fucking simple to understand. It’s essentially as Paul states. And sure. Had they been highly informed and rational they would have understood that a vote for Trump was not reflective of their motivation.

            Would they then have voted for Clinton? I doubt it. I’d pick they’d either stay home or vote for Trump anyway just because it wouldn’t be another four years of the same unbearable shit. (Similar to the reasons underpinning much of the BREXIT vote)

            • joe90 4.1.1.1.3.1

              You suggesting that people who voted were both highly informed and rational ?

              Nope, I’m suggesting that Trump affirmed that their existing prejudices against immigrants, Muslims, blacks and women were valid and he spent months egging them on – reminding them that like his own ignorance, their ignorance was good and his locker room talk was their locker room talk.

              And then he dressed it up as a carrot, security/law and order, and nationalism/patriotism – only I can bring back the jobs, only I can keep you safe, and MAGA.

              It worked, they gobbled up every morsel of hate, fear and division they were fed, and he won.

        • weka 4.1.1.2

          “In the US, I would have supported Sanders.”

          Sanders wasn’t a choice when it came to voting for President.

          And the attack now isn’t on neoliberalism, it’s on liberal values i.e. progressive values. And it’s coming from the left and the right, including here on TS.

      • joe90 4.1.2

        Burning down the house, with everybody inside.

        Late last night, the Senate took the first step toward dismantling the Affordable Care Act. As part of the proceeding, Democratic senators introduced a series of amendments, most of which were designed to spotlight highly popular provisions of the ACA that will be lost if the law is repealed. Republicans voted them all down. The action was mostly political theater, but it was a discouraging glimpse at the state of GOP thinking on health care.

        Voting on the amendments lasted almost seven hours. One of the many amendments Republicans struck down was one in support of requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of contraceptives. If that measure is reflected in the bill that eventually repeals Obamacare (we are still some distance from that), it would leave 55 million women without no-co-pay birth control.

        According to Politico’s Dan Diamond, the Senate also voted against an amendment that would support maintaining a preexisting-conditions protection for health insurance, a provision of Obamacare that affects tens of millions of Americans. And remember that before the Affordable Care Act passed, many insurance companies considered pregnancy to be a preexisting condition.

        http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/01/the-senate-just-voted-to-roll-back-womens-healthcare.html

      • weka 4.1.3

        “This is what the demise of liberalism really looks like, all you Standard commenters who’ve been looking forward to it. Fuck all y’all.”

        Yep.

        • Bill 4.1.3.1

          The death of liberalism can be that ugly shite. But it needn’t be.

          If you’re kind of convinced that it can only be bad, then you’ll tend to get in behind diminishing the Corbyn’s and the Sanders’ and the SNP’s because, well, if they bump everything to the left, then liberalism comes under threat, and bad stuff will happen.

          And by doing that, you ensure bad stuff will happen (a left tack gets sunk and weird populist stuff gains the ascendancy. Liberalism is not going to survive.

          T’would be nice if liberals would wake up, smell the coffee, get with a programme (preferably a progressive one) and help us get ready.

          • Andre 4.1.3.1.1

            Bill, I’ve developed the impression you lean heavily towards favouring authoritarian structures.

            How about you lay out what your alternative vision to liberalism looks like?

            • Bill 4.1.3.1.1.1

              Then you’re impression is a misguided crock of shit. I’m probably among a very small handful of people around this blog who are vociferously anti-authoritarian; radically (by liberal standards) democratic.

              Which means, obviously, that there is no ‘blue-print’ or whatever coming from me.

              • Andre

                Well, I’m relieved that I’d got the wrong end of the stick on your feelings towards authoritarianism. But I’m now even more confused on what your preferred organising principles for society might look like. I’ve got no idea what “radically democratic” actually means. Referenda for absolutely everything?

                • Bill

                  No. Not referenda . Empowering democratic decision making processes developed and refined by those utilising them.

                  • weka

                    Lots of people reading this won’t know what that means in practice. Just saying.

                    • Bill

                      Indeed they won’t. And the only way they ever will know what it means in practice is to do it. And if they did that, they’d get it wrong a lot of the time but learn more and more about what makes for good democratic decisions and what makes for undemocratic decisions.

                    • Red []

                      A pinch of anarchism with a touch of horizontal decision making and 1960s commune rules liberally sprinkled with fairy dust, that’s what I have gathered

                    • weka

                      @Bill, ah, that old stalemate. I think it’s highly unrealistic to expect people to take on a way of organising when they don’t understand what it is. Telling people they can be more democratic if they just be more democratic, hmmm.

                      When Andre asked his questions I was thinking of things like adapting the select committee process whereby people who had an interest in that area could sign up and be part of the process. That would by necessity mean also talking with people who don’t sign up. That process would then itself need to be democratised around how information is gathered and decisions made, and that in turn would necessitate looking at power.

                      I’m guessing that’s not what you mean at all, but I was interested in seeing what might be possible to shift to from what we have now.

                    • Bill

                      Open the possibility to be more democratic through involvement (rather than the ‘chicken and egg’ brick wall proposition of ‘by being more democratic’)

                      Select committees and what not are not what I was on about. But here’s a throw-away.

                      Dunedin is building a bus hub. There was ‘consultation’ (about 7 days) and people were invited to comment on the colour scheme. I kid you not.

                      So thousands of dollars were presumably given to some company who came up with absolute rubbish that was presented back as a done deal.

                      No-one asked bus drivers their thoughts. (They could have told them a bus would not get around the corner of St Andrew St if a bus was occupying the first bus bay) Instead they spent a whole heap of money and then drew out a full scale plan somewhere and had buses drive around it. (That led to major redesigns that were…I mean, a 10 year old could have pointed out the flaws in the original!)

                      They didn’t ask passengers a thing. So the bus stops, yet again, have no thought to Dunedin weather. But in a fit of (I dunno what) some bright spark in the design company decided that coffee stalls and food carts would be great – although no food or drink can be taken on buses and retail outlets are already in the vicinity.

                      Now, I’m pretty sure that if drivers and passengers had come together on the need for a hub, then (for one) a different location would have been chosen and some fairly speedy decisions from those with direct knowledge would have produced something that actually served the needs of passengers and drivers. The current one, by all accounts, won’t.

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      How do you frame bills reply? I need to frame it

                      😀

                  • Andre

                    I’m not feeling any closer. What is the actual process for making those decisions?

                    Coz at the moment we’ve got a fairly broad societal consensus that we democratically elect a few representatives for a more or less fixed term, then cede power to those representatives for that term. If enough of us feel strongly that those representatives are making decisions we didn’t want, we retain the power of protest to try to steer decisions in our preferred direction. Seems to me that fits “Empowering democratic decision making processes developed and refined by those utilising them.” Especially since it was only twenty years ago we made a major change in how those representatives are elected.

                    • Bill

                      How long is piece of string?

                      Democracy can’t be delivered via representative parliamentary modes of governance. As you say, it involves power being ceded. That right there (ceding power) is democracy being denied.

                    • Andre

                      Bill, I’m still no closer to understanding how, in your preferred system, I would interact with the decision-making process. You’ve told me a lot of things it isn’t. But that’s really no help to understanding what it is.

                    • Bill

                      You interact directly with decisions around those things that would affect you and to a degree roughly in line with likely or possible impacts on you.

                      Or you don’t if you don’t want to,

                      And you or who-ever else, who are being just normal socially interactive people, naturally generate the matters that require decisions.

                      The minutiae of the processes develop and change according to both peoples’ wishes and whatever it is that’s being decided. Some stuff would deserve quite involved and even long drawn out processes and some stuff could be more or less simply notified so that people know what’s going on. And it would be up to the people involved in whatever setting to find the balance or balances that suit them.

                    • Andre

                      Ok, I’m seeing something that might work in a small isolated village.

                      But in a complex society like ours, how does, say water supply to my house get managed? Does Penny Bright debate Mikhail Khimich (the dude that bought Waiwera Water) in Vector Arena while we all watch and cheer? There’s dozens of issues that deeply affect our lives like water that need to be managed. Representative democratic systems do a mostly OK job of managing all of those, so I’d really need to be convinced something else really is going to be better.

                    • Bill

                      There can be no market in a democracy. That’s just logic. (Please note, I’m not talking about trade here, but about the particular rules we have around production and distribution that we give the term ‘market economy’) So no-one ‘owns’ water.

                      Maybe try to see it as 1001 interconnected villages rather than one isolated village. That allows you to envisage scale. So whereas I may live in ‘this’ location (ie ‘this’ village) much of the stuff I do and the potential impacts around me involve any one of a number of those other imagined social entities. So maybe in some respects I live in many different villages.

                      Water.

                      Why a centralised network? Is that the only option and the most preferable option? Do we have a desire to maintain large centralised pieces of infrastructure? If we do have that desire, then how do we break down its management and maintenance in ways and to levels that are conducive to democratic decisions being made? Is it possible to do that? We could just say ‘no’ or we could discover possibilities through experimenting with whatever number of novel approaches. Maybe in the end, it wouldn’t prove to be possible. At which point, those affected would have a number of different decisions to make.

                      But having (say) 10 000 people involved in a meeting in a stadium for the purpose of arriving at decisions – no. 10 000 people gathering in a stadium to throw ideas around? Maybe.

                      Throwing this in as a by the by (although it is kind of crucial). Dynamic order (in terms of complexity and scale, always arises from below and is ‘determined’ by quite simple initial conditions – it’s never imposed.

                    • weka

                      If we took a specific place as an example,

                      Dunedin. Each area could make its own decisions about water, but in the absence of enough rainfall (and taking into account CC), I’d say having a partially centralised system probably makes most sense. After Chch 2 quake I argued that Chch was in the ideal position to separate out into the multiple villages you describe, esp as the centralised water and sewerage systems failed in part because it was centralised. However, short of a big natural disaster, I’m not sure that each suburb in Dunedin building its own water infrastructure makes sense in terms of resource us (new houses should build their own catchment though, even if its just for outside use). So, there’s some centralised decision making that’s needed.

                      At the suburb level, I can see it working along the lines you talk about. THere’s 4,600 people living in the North East Valley. Probably a bit big but maybe doable for having meetings (not everyone will attend).

                      The other thing I would add is it’s not enough to have processes that people have to engage in actively, because there will always be people who can’t (e.g. women with young kids, or people who are ill). We’d also need to have ways of those people being able to take part from where they are and within their limitations.

                    • Andre

                      Ok, the closest real world example of something like that I’ve had anything to do with is schooling in the US.

                      The school systems in many states in the US are very decentralised down to the local council level, and are funded from local property taxes (at least they were in the 90s). Governance is generally drawn from the local community. This leads to a massive variation in standards and funding from one district to another, yet ends up being quite expensive because of duplication of resources. As memories of what I learned about that come back, the idea of repeating that model on essential services appeals less and less. I’m grateful I never had to deal with my own kids going through that.

                    • Carolyn_nth

                      Bill @ 5.11pm sounds a lot like anarcho syndicalism.

                      oh.Look what it says down the page:

                      , [Noam] Chomsky is a self-described Anarcho-Syndicalist, a position which he sees as the appropriate application of classical liberal political theory to contemporary industrial society:

                      ‘Now a federated, decentralised system of free associations, incorporating economic as well as other social institutions, would be what I refer to as anarcho-syndicalism; and it seems to me that this is the appropriate form of social organisation for an advanced technological society in which human beings do not have to be forced into the position of tools, of cogs in the machine. There is no longer any social necessity for human beings to be treated as mechanical elements in the productive process; that can be overcome and we must overcome it to be a society of freedom and free association, in which the creative urge that I consider intrinsic to human nature will in fact be able to realize itself in whatever way it will.'[70]

                    • weka

                      @Andre, that’s not what is being suggested, because that system presumably isn’t using substantive democracy and exists within a larger undemocratic system.

                      However I have in the past argued along similar lines about how in NZ for instance such a system with zero centralisation would lead to a big variation in standards and a loss in some places of certain human rights.

                    • Andre

                      But the local councillors were much more in contact with their locals in the three small towns (suburbs of large cities) I lived in compared to Auckland (and Palmerston North), had elections every two years. As far as I could tell, there was much more community involvement in the school administration compared to here in Auckland. The local councils and local school boards seemed to have much more autonomy than their equivalents here.

                      If all of that isn’t several big steps towards substantive democracy and/or what Bill is advocating, then I’m back to square zero in understanding what you are advocating.

                    • weka

                      Oh, I see what you mean. Yes, steps towards, and I’m in favour of that. I just meant as an end result, in the whole political system kind of way.

          • weka 4.1.3.1.2

            Bill, I don’t have a problem with the death of liberalism, I do have a problem with how it’s being promoted at the moment in various places (left, right, alt-right).

            I disagree that in the NZ context at least, if we had a Corbyn/Sanders-esque bump to the left then liberalism comes under thread, because I don’t think Corbyn and Sanders are that radical. In other words liberalism (such a bizarre word to use in NZ politics, but hey) and the left could probably find a way to hang out together. As they have done.

            “T’would be nice if liberals would wake up, smell the coffee, get with a programme (preferably a progressive one) and help us get ready.”

            T’would also be nice if the anti-liberals stopped portraying liberals as not being with the programme or not being progressive per se. I am. PM not so much. But pushing the death to liberalism in the way it’s being done is not going to help those us make the cultural shifts necessary and is also likely to take us down the ‘bad stuff will happen’ route.

            • Bill 4.1.3.1.2.1

              Just as you don’t like the way some things are being portrayed, neither do I. Mainstream outlets are pumping a poisonous meme equating Corbyn with Trump…or suggesting that voting for Corbyn is just the same as voting for Trump (In a NZ context, I’ve read media equating Morgan with Trump).

              And that’s the fissure I see opening up. Powerful interests backing the liberal status quo coming out hard and dishonestly against anything that might offer an alternative.

              Bringing it down to the individual level and it gets to be a minefield because there’s no settled definition for words such as ‘liberal’ and words are all we have to express ourselves or our ideas. As I understand your use of the word ‘liberal’ as it relates at the individual level, I could easily, and I think fairly, interpret that as ‘Catholic’ in it’s original definition – ie – broad minded/ open.

              But that individual meaning doesn’t translate to the institutional or ideological level. Like many words, it has multiple and often mutually exclusive meanings depending on context or subject matter.

              But I’m digressing…

              • weka

                Not digressing IMO, but getting to the nub of it.

                What I’m observing (on TS and in the US in different ways) is the attack on liberalism affecting liberals (including left wing folk who’ve done relatively ok by the Democrats but who want change) in ways that aren’t IMO conducive to change in a good direction. I’d prefer to see alliances being built. The attacks on liberalism aren’t just aiming at the Clintons or whoever, they’re attacking those individuals who you say we can’t take into account because it gets too difficult. I’m saying we should be starting with those people.

                Liberal (small L) as I grew up with it in NZ meant progressive. There’s not reason why we can’t be more careful with our language to be inclusive. There’s also a difference between Liberalism and liberal. I have no problem with the attempt to take down Liberalism, but as I said, it’s causing problems in how it is being done, in part because of ignoring the semantics and the individuals.

                And example would be that I see a big overlap between what you are arguing and people on TS who are actively wanting to undermine identity politics. Until we get to grips with that, the nuances involved, and where we can work together, there is going to be an ongoing political clusterfuck that hands power to the forces of evil (just to shorthand it).

                Your point about what the media are doing and the danger in that is well taken. I’d like to see that sit alongside my point about what is happening on TS and the danger in that. Then see where our politics align.

                • Bill

                  If you reckon there’s a need for society to be rid of liberalism, then we’ll have common cause to build on.

                  If you reckon liberalism should be ‘protected’ or maintained, then we’ll be on opposite sides of a quite fundamental divide.

                  • wek a

                    Which one do you think I am?

                  • Liberalism is to a large extent individualism: you should be left to get on with what you want to do unless there’s some genuinely good reason for governments or whoever to poke their noses in. For the ACT supporter, this largely consists of the government not trying to prevent you from using your money and influence to better yourself at other people’s expense, but for those of us who aren’t shitheads that’s not what it consists of at all. Anyone wanting rid of liberalism is either authoritarian or just naive.

                    • weka

                      Isn’t that Libertarianism?

                      From what I can tell Bill (and adam) are talking about the economic side of Classical Liberalism, and not liberty per se (nor Social Liberalism which focusses on equality).

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism#Liberal_economic_theory

                      Thing is though, once you get to having to read complex wiki entries to understand what the other person is saying, we’re in the realm of elitism and, worse, the realm of talking past each other. Which is the bread and butter of TS in the last 6 months. We’re in a political cul de sac.

                    • I don’t think I’m talking about libertarianism. The wiki entry offers Locke’s version: “Locke argued that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property,[12] while adding that governments must not violate these rights based on the social contract. Liberals opposed traditional conservatism and sought to replace absolutism in government with representative democracy and the rule of law.” I don’t think I’m describing something very different from that.

                      A person can take that to mean laissez-faire economics if they’re a right-winger, but I don’t think it’s an essential feature at all.

                  • Andre

                    From weka’s wiki entry on Liberalism, it describes liberalism as:

                    “Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programmes such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality, and international cooperation.”

                    Bill, which bits of all that do you want to get rid of? Freedom of speech, religion and press? Free markets? Civil rights? Democratic societies? Secular governments? Gender equality? International cooperation? Personally I’m pretty keen on all of those, with just a few limits.

                    • weka

                      You missed this,

                      The development into maturity of classical liberalism took place before and after the French Revolution in Britain, and was based on the following core concepts: classical economics, free trade, laissez-faire government with minimal intervention and taxation and a balanced budget.

                      See anything there that Bill might object to?

                    • Andre

                      @weka: That’s a closer fit to what’s now pejoratively called neo-liberalism.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

                      If liberalism no longer means those principles listed at the start of the wiki on Liberalism, then what’s the new word for that group of beliefs and values?

                    • weka

                      Yes, and in NZ I would say that outside of specific political spaces, not many people use the term Liberalism anyway (I did a quick google of TS and prior to the last year most people were using neoliberalism instead).

                      From the wiki piece,

                      Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Whereas classical liberalism emphasises the role of liberty, social liberalism stresses the importance of equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programmes such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality, and international cooperation.

                      Those things aren’t only within Liberalism right? So I’m all for using a different term but I think more important is to have shared understandings of the concepts. Doesn’t Socialism try and balance freedom with collective responsibility? Whereas Libertarianism focusses on the liberty without that as much as possible. Carolyn talks more about the political systems around that below. I’m more interested in what lay people would understand.

                      Liberty isn’t really a word that’s been used in NZ. I guess because we were already liberal and our politics evolved from the UK.

                      I’d suggest using ‘liberal’ to refer to the progressive values around freedom, and ‘Liberal’ to refer to those that are aligned with Liberalism.

                      Personally, I’d prefer we stopped looking at structures that arose out of the patriarchy (and I’ll probably include anarchism in that, although I think there are good things within that philosophy to learn from), and instead looked at the systems that were in use in NZ pre-European arrival. I think much of NZ culture was influenced by Māori culture and that is rarely acknowledged. For instance the relative equality that women have here is based in both the settler culture (British women had critical roles to play there) and in Māoridom (women as a class had more mana than in British cultures).

                    • Bill

                      Well Andre.

                      I’m not in favour of establishing institutional hierarchies and am against power being exercised by anyone if it comes at the price of dis-empowering any other. You can scale that sentiment up to scenarios or situations containing as many people as you like, or scale it down to two.

                      So all of freedoms you list are besides the much more important point of who or what decides the limits or arbitrates those those freedoms at present, and what institutional barriers exist to the full expression of those freedoms…and (importantly) are those exercises of power legitimate? (I’d say they aren’t because stuff I said in the first paragraph.)

                      And see Weka below (?) where she adds economic facets of liberalism. Those freedoms (ie – the freedom of markets) are no kinds of freedom at all. I’m a market abolitionist.

                • Carolyn_nth

                  weka: Liberal (small L) as I grew up with it in NZ meant progressive. There’s not reason why we can’t be more careful with our language to be inclusive. There’s also a difference between Liberalism and liberal.

                  There is certainly some confusion or blurring of these terms. It looks to me sometimes on TS, people may be talking passed each other, with different understandings of the terms.

                  I think you (weka) are talking about your experiences of common usages of the term, “liberal”. And dictionaries tend to reflect common usages, and follow changes in common usage.

                  Dictionaries don’t make such a clear cut difference between Liberalism and liberal. Some give one meaning of “liberal”:

                  Willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas:

                  In everyday relationships with people, I do use the term liberal positively in this sense.

                  But then there is this

                  Favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms:

                  I have difficulty agreeing with a “liberal” approach to gender, race, etc, because it isn’t just about individuals. It’s about how people in some gender or ethnic groups are systematically discriminated against. It’s a group thing, and requires collective action to bring pressure for change – just as for workers.

                  But then, our system of government is generally referred to as one of “liberal democracy”.

                  Wikipedia says:

                  Liberal democracy is a liberal political ideology and a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of classical liberalism. It is also called western democracy. It is characterised by fair, free, and competitive elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, and the equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties, and political freedoms for all people.

                  australiapolitics.com says this:

                  Liberal Democracy is a phrase often used to describe Western democratic political systems, such as Australia, the United States, Britain, New Zealand, Canada and other nations.

                  It is generally agreed that liberal democracies are based on four main principles:

                  1.A belief in the individual, based on the idea that the individual is both moral and rational
                  ….
                  4. A suspicion of concentrated forms of power, whether by individuals, groups or governments

                  So definitions of liberal democracies do tend to put a form of “individualism” and individual rights at their centre.

                  So, if Bill wants that changed, what sort of political system does he want?

                  I also looked up a definition of “social democracy” to see if that differed from “liberal democracy”

                  Wikipedia on social democracy:

                  Social democracy is a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a capitalist economy, and a policy regime involving a commitment to representative democracy, measures for income redistribution, and regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions.[1][2

                  It also goes on about how some people started using the term “social democracy” as a way of moving gradually towards socialism. But that never seemed to happen in practice. Some see social democracy as a compromise between capitalism and socialism.

                  Down the page it says this:

                  The economists John Roemer and Pranab Bardhan point out that social democracy requires a strong labour movement to sustain its heavy redistribution through taxes, and that it is idealistic to think such redistribution can be accomplished in other countries with weaker labour movements. They note that even in Scandinavian countries social democracy has been in decline as the labour movement weakened.[153]

                  And this need for strong collective organisation seems to me to be necessary. Point #4 above about Liberal Democracy being suspicious of concentrated forms of power, doesn’t seemed to have worked out well in today’s liberal democracies.

                  I do think this is part of our problems with the left these days, with the decline of the labour movement/s how can collective action be mobilised to counteract concentrated forms of power?

                  • weka

                    Thanks Carolyn, and thanks for all the research. Please also see my comment above. I agree we are talking past each other too much, and some of that is down to language.

                    What I’m interested in is better communication. So Bill and adam and whoever can use the terms liberal and Liberalism however they want so long as they make explicit in their comments what they mean. Which they’re generally not doing. At the moment it comes across as a kind of imposing of ideology and I’ve got limited patience for that at the moment given what is happening in the world.

                    I think both of them are trying to communicate very important things, but if the way they choose to do that is itself dogmatic and lessens people understanding each other and creates divisions, I really don’t see the point. To be fair to both of them, much of that is probably due to the combative style of commenting on TS which even for TS has been bad in the past 6 months (and which I also contribute to). But I do see both of them attempting a radical stance that is dogmatic and at least to me appears to value that over making allies in the cause.

                    At this stage of the game we should have had the semantics sorted. IMO the most important move at this time is to build alliances. Bill and adam appear to want to draw lines in the sand and make people choose sides. I appreciate the radical positioning of both of them, but strategically I think it fails (as I often say, I’m not waiting for the revolution).

                    • Carolyn_nth

                      Thanks, weka. Sorry I mucked up the italics (was meant to be just for tour words that I quoted)- submitted the comment then went and had dinner.

                      After doing the research I have questions about how truly we do have a Liberal Democracy form of government. The government does seem to recognise group issues in making some legislation.

                      OTOH, I do think one of our biggest problems is the accumulation of power among the wealthy, corporations, and some born to privilege (including wealth, masculine and race privilege to some degree).

                      And the question is how to combat that? And how to engage more of the public in political and democratic processes.

              • Robertina

                Morgan likened himself to Trump.

                Fashionable as it is to write Morgan off I wonder if the big political story of 2017 will be that the pundits were wrong and his party was good for 7 or 8%.
                As annoying as he is I’m probably going to vote for him, and I suspect there is something attractive about an establishment figure advocating (comparatively) radical policies that address structural issues.

                • Bill

                  No. He actually pointed out that politically and as a person he was nothing like Trump. On the most facile level – both wealthy businessmen, yes, that’s their backgrounds.

          • richard rawshark 4.1.3.1.3

            are u munted in the head Bill?, do you really know what your saying?

            OMFG you just have no idea what your saying, are you trying to tell me the demise of liberalism(do YOU know what it means) will be good for us all.

            You would have fucking loved pre WW2 Germany why don’t you find a nice dictatorship and bugger off there.

            Me I like liberalism it gives me freedom , the demise of liberalism removes that, so when the government under your ideal situation tells you your getting paid minimum wage, and you will work in a coal mine even though your an engineer you’ll be happy to do it right? Because it seems to me your wanting a great old do as we tell you dictatorship…

            There’s a nice one in North Korea, bye.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.4

        You’ll note that the conservative party in Australia is called the Liberal Party. Even National has been known to call themselves liberal.

        These are lies as they are all authoritarian but do you really think that they’d go round telling everyone that?

        Perhaps the real problem is that it’s all misnamed:

        In New Zealand, the term “liberalism” has been used by a large variety of groups and organisations, but usually refers to a support for individual liberties and limited government. The term is generally used only with a reference to a particular policy area, e.g. “market liberalism” or “social liberalism”.

      • Siobhan 4.1.5

        Meanwhile the Democrats, those champions of Liberalism..

        https://theintercept.com/2017/01/12/cory-booker-joins-senate-republicans-to-kill-measure-to-import-cheaper-medicine-from-canada/

        and for those who won’t read the Intercept
        http://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/01/13/casey-toomey-against-drug-importation/

        Yes its the Intercept…but funnily enough I can’t find any coverage in the mainstream media…I wonder why???

        • Andre 4.1.5.1

          Well, there’s this on USA Today. You don’t get more mainstream than that.

          http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/12/sanders-slams-democrats-who-voted-pharmaceutical-industry/96506340/

          It’s all over places like HuffPo, Vox, Slate, and a quick google shows it’s in places like the Boston Globe.

        • joe90 4.1.5.2

          those champions of Liberalism..

          yawn..

          What does it mean that Cory Booker voted against this meaningless prescription drug amendment? What does it mean that Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico voted against it? What does it mean that Senator Ted Cruz voted for it?

          It means approximately nothing.

          But if you’re playing along, you ought to know that the intention of the amendments was never to do anything but to slap around Republicans. If you’ve decided that you need to wage a preventive war against Cory Booker’s 2020 presidential aspirations by killing him over this vote, then you’re waging your own ideological war and way off message.

          It’s easy to see why you might have been taken in by this when you look at headlines that say “For Some Reason, Cory Booker and 12 Other Dems Helped Kill a Bill That Would Lower Drug Prices.”

          But that headline should be considered Fake News.

          http://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/01/13/the-stupid-war-on-cory-booker/

        • richard rawshark 4.1.5.3

          I siobahn, having to inject a thought here, this bandying about of the word liberalism in the political sense is taking many of us in the wrong for thinking that way about it.

          In that liberalism as defined as a political strategy of rule is what? there is no such thing, neither are many of the labels we put on political sides..ie National right wing/authoritarian Labour left wing/Liberalism/democratic.. it’s all bollocks..it really is, you cannot stick a label on a parties way of government unless they are extremely one way or the other to the point it is that. IE North Korea as an example of dictatorships. i’d call one man ruling a country a dictatorship, that isn’t proper communism either.

          we have to stop the labelling IMHO it’s getting no one no where except a tongue poking out nah nah nah ur left we’re right load of crap.

          People IMHO need to stop taking sides like that, forget it altogether and just do what is the right thing to do on a particular subject. IE welfare should be run on a care tack, and business should be looked in a light of what’s best for that.., and political sides are forgotten. horses for courses.

          this argument about the fall of liberalism..what? what is that crap you lot are saying.. there can be no such thing. Even under bloody trump you have liberties.. WTF.

          • In Vino 4.1.5.3.1

            ‘Liberal’ has taken on many meanings over the years, and as Weka said, it results in many of us talking past one another. The original Liberal Party in England did believe in laissez-faire economics, etc. But during the 70s, most ignorant Kiwis (especially Rob’s mob + rednecks) were too ignorant to know this, and the word became linked with trendy lefty things like women’s Liberation, etc – progressive, and breaking redundant, old restrictions. So we now have people using ‘liberalism’ with different ideas of what it means. To my mind, neo-liberalism is a revival of the original meaning of the word, but I still instinctively think of liberalism as being more broad and progressive. Libertarianism I would have associated with ACT’s silly ‘minimal government’ dogma.
            I now wish I had just concentrated on being libertine…

  5. Jenny Kirk 6

    Winston Peters says NZF won’t go into coalition with any Party which denies access to the Pike River mine. How real is this? By the time the election comes along, Pike River mine will be all sealed up . Just vote-catching – as per usual for Winnie.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/322387/peters-meets-with-pike-river-families

    • stunned mullet 6.1

      “Just vote-catching – as per usual for Winnie.”

      He is the master at it, NZ is perfectly set up for him to be very successful in this election.

      • garibaldi 6.1.1

        That’s right sm. The more a population gets dumbed down the more successful populism and identity politics become. Our media have become masters of ‘dumbing down’.

    • The Chairman 6.2

      Just vote-catching you say.

      That would imply there are votes to be caught taking such a position. And isn’t that what our representatives are supposed to be doing?

      Peters says: “if you don’t think 29 people dying in circumstances that are still unexplained is worthy of some time then I think we’ve deteriorated into a rather sad country.”

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/88421122/winston-peters-visits-pike-river-protest

    • weka 6.3

      Presumably he’s decided that it’s something that National would be willing to compromise on in order to stay in power. Classic move, because it will be seen as an achievement by Peters and will cloud how little else he gains in the deal.

      • The Chairman 6.3.1

        “Presumably he’s decided that it’s something that National would be willing to compromise on in order to stay in power”

        Are you implying Labour and the Greens won’t back Winston on this or be willing to compromise? Thus, allowing the possibility for him to also work with them?

        While a number of voters will find it a win (if successful) a number of them will be expecting far more and won’t be clouded by just one win.

        Do you have anything that suggests National will compromise on this? Which one would expect you have to come to such a conclusion.

        • weka 6.3.1.1

          Nothing to do with L/G. Peters wants to keep his options open, so my guess is that he has played this so that National can say yes to it. Or Labour. Or the Greens. any of them, which was my point, it’s about Peters and what he wants politically.

          As for National, I think them wanting a 4th term is entirely sufficient reason for them to compromise on this and take Peters’ support. It doesn’t seem like a big compromise on National’s part (unless there really are good political reasons for National to not want the mine open, which is possible).

          • The Chairman 6.3.1.1.1

            If National are willing to compromise in order to ensure they remain in power as you suggested, can you explain why they haven’t compromised thus far?

            It’s not like they haven’t already faced any public or political pressure on the matter.

            Could it possibly point to your suggestion there could be good political reasons for National to not want the mine open?

            If so, wouldn’t that indicate it would be more likely National will be unwilling to compromise? Kind of throwing a spanner into the works in regard to your initial assertion.

            • weka 6.3.1.1.1.1

              “If National are willing to compromise in order to ensure they remain in power as you suggested, can you explain why they haven’t compromised thus far?”

              Did they not do any deals with their current partners? The compromise is related to how much support they need. There is a theory that they will need NZF after this year’s election. Sorry, I’m not sure what you are getting at, this is coalition 101 stuff.

              If National are refusing access to the mine because there is a scandal waiting to be found, then obviously that will affect their willingness to compromise. I’ve already said that.

              My original point wasn’t about National. It was about Peters weighing up the options and how they might best play out for him.

              • The Chairman

                “Sorry, I’m not sure what you are getting at, this is coalition 101 stuff.”

                Yes, I’m aware of all of that. You misunderstood the question. I’ll rephrase it for you.

                Rather than risk voters turning against them while leaving it to the last minute (when forming a coalition) to compromise, can you explain why (if they want to win and ensure voters don’t turn on them) they aren’t conceding and keeping their promise to the Pike River family members now?

                Considering the political and public pressure they’ve already come under, could the reason for their unwillingness to compromise now be as you suggested (a scandal waiting to be found)? And if so wouldn’t that indicate it would be more likely National will be unwilling to compromise when and if they require to go into coalition? Kind of throwing a spanner into the works in regard to your initial assertion.

                The more votes they can muster before the final count, the bigger the chance of remaining in power and the less chance they will need to go into coalition.

                While your initial comment was about Peters, you presumed he decided that it’s something that National would be willing to compromise on in order to stay in power, hence my questioning on this presumption.

                • weka

                  “Rather than risk voters turning against them while leaving it to the last minute (when forming a coalition) to compromise, can you explain why (if they want to win and ensure voters don’t turn on them) they aren’t conceding and keeping their promise to the Pike River family members now?”

                  Why make concessions before you need to? It might not be a scandal, it might just be pressure from the commercial interests and/or wanting to save face. Or they’re weighing up the balance between the damage going into the mine now will cause vs the damage of going in later.

                  The kind of votes Peters might get from this move aren’t necessarily the kind that National would get from about facing.

                  “While your initial comment was about Peters, you presumed he decided that it’s something that National would be willing to compromise on in order to stay in power, hence my questioning on this presumption.”

                  Better to ask Peters then.

                  • The Chairman

                    “Why make concessions before you need to?”

                    To maintain voter support, thus possibly avert having to make concessions (be require to enter into coalition) later on.

                    Support for the Pike River family members and re-entering will come from across the political spectrum.

                    It would save face and be more of a vote winner to concede now, rather than further risk angering voters and come off looking like total assholes for making the families further suffer, forcing them to fight and wait all this time to then concede.

                    Thus, when weighing up the balance, it’s clear conceding and entering now is the less politically damaging. Unless of course, there is actually something far worse to hide.

                    Why do you believe commercial interests would be pressuring National on this ?

                    “Better to ask Peters then “

                    But it was you who made the presumption.

                  • The Chairman

                    Unfortunately, you brought it to the fore when you made it a key part of your presumption, thus assertion on Peters position.

    • mauī 6.4

      Bernie Monk said that Winston is the first politician to really stand with them. What left party leaders have been to the mine site and stood with the protestors? Winnies going to do well this year, he can make principled stands and back them up.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.5

      Pike River mine will be all sealed up

      Unless they fill the whole thing with concrete I’m pretty sure it will be possible to unseal it.

      • The Chairman 6.5.1

        “Unless they fill the whole thing with concrete I’m pretty sure it will be possible to unseal it.”

        Concrete, 20-metres thick, apparently.

      • Jenny Kirk 6.5.2

        I’m pretty sure I read somewhere Draco TB @ 6.5 that once the entrance is sealed, it’ll be very difficult to unseal it. And that will be done before the election.

        That’s why I think Winston made his “pledge” – it won’t happen. so he’ll be safe enough if he goes with the Nats to form a 4th govt, and he won’t care a damn about his unworkable pledge.

        • Leftie 6.5.2.1

          With no disrespect intended Jenny, but I can’t see Winston Peters going with the Nats to form a 4th govt.

          “Dean quickly fires a question back: “And that includes if you join up with the National Party at the election next year?”

          Mr Peters is visibly taken aback, and retorts with political talk. “I’m here to fix your problem, not negotiate the next election with a failed government. Make no bones about it,” says Mr Peters.”

          <a href="http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2016/12/inside-winston-peters-private-meeting-with-pike-river-families.html

          • Jenny Kirk 6.5.2.1.1

            Sorry Leftie – Peters is playing a political game. There is absolutely no guarantee he’ll go with Labour and the Greens, and it is quite possible he’ll go with the major Party which will give him the best opportunity to be one of the top players. National will do anything to stay in power – even sacrificing one of their people to give up a major spot in the limelight, to let Peters in.

            That’s Peters’ nature, and he hasn’t changed. There’s also speculation that Shane Jones will be standing for NZF in Whangarei – and he is rightwing, and would be willing to go with the Nats too. I just don’t trust Peters – he is too glib and too willing to jump onto the latest bandwagon.

            And the media are also playing him up as so-called kingmaker again – which, naturally, pushes him into the limelight and higher in the polls. The media, as we all know, is pro-Nats so its an interesting trend that they’re also being pro-Peters at the moment.

            What’s more, Peters comments about Andrew Little at that Pike River meeting were uncomplimentary and were also untrue. Why did Peters find it necessary to say what he did about Little ? If not, because he sees him as a rival.

            • Leftie 6.5.2.1.1.1

              Do you think with John key gone, (after he ran away), many in National will see it as a way clear for Peter’s to support National?

              • Jenny Kirk

                Yes, Leftie.

                And I also see in today’s Herald that Shane Jones is not seeking another term as Ambassador to the Pacific nor looking for a job in the current Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so that makes it even more likely he’ll be running in Whangarei for NZF against the Nats Shane Reti (who local gossip says has disappointed the Nats but they’re just leaving him be for this election, and It’ll be a different story/ Nat candidate next election) .

                This speculation locally – if correct eventually – also indicates NZF will look favourably at the Nats.

  6. joe90 7

    Chinese state media….oh boy….

    Nominee for US secretary of state Rex Tillerson uttered astonishing statements during his confirmation hearing with the Senate on Wednesday. He likened China’s island-building in the South China Sea to “Russia’s taking of Crimea,” and said the new US government would send China a clear signal that “first the island building stops, and second your access to those islands is also not going to be allowed.”

    […]

    China has enough determination and strength to make sure that his rabble rousing will not succeed. Unless Washington plans to wage a large-scale war in the South China Sea, any other approaches to prevent Chinese access to the islands will be foolish.

    The US has no absolute power to dominate the South China Sea. Tillerson had better bone up on nuclear power strategies if he wants to force a big nuclear power to withdraw from its own territories. Probably he just has oil prices and currency rates in his mind as former ExxonMobil CEO.

    http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1028568.shtml

  7. Penny Bright 8

    Which of the other declared 2017 Mt Albert by-election candidates are going to stand up and be counted, to
    STOP NIKI’S EVICTION?

    _____________________________

    2017 Independent candidate for Mt Albert Penny Bright calls on all decent, concerned citizens to help defend Niki Rauti – this really gutsy (former) State tenant, who is refusing to budge, and making a brave stand against the privatisation of State housing and ‘democracy for developers’!

    WHEN: Tuesday 17 January 2017
    TIME: 6pm
    WHERE: Assemble outside Glen Innes Public Library – to march to 14 Taniwha St, Glen Innes.

  8. Andre 9

    North Dakota Republicans’ new idea for managing the Dakota Access Pipeline protestors: just let anybody mow ’em down with their cars and trucks.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bill-would-legalize-accidentally-driving-into-and-killing-protesters_us_587a3dabe4b0e58057ff1ebc?j1shw9gh95vkl9dx6r

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      I wonder if the US and others are going to put the same emphasis on this as Duterte shooting of drug dealers.

  9. Cinny 10

    Dodgy David Miscavige appears to be coming to Auckland to open his Cults latest brainwashing establishment

    • Paul 10.1

      The opening of this sick cult’s new headquarters is just another reminder of the consequences of living in a country without decent rules and regulations.
      It won’t kill people like Pike River, forestry and farming.
      it won’t bankrupt you like leaky homes and South Canterbury Finance.
      But it will destroy your life.

      Neoliberalism allows all these poisons in our lives.

      • Psycho Milt 10.1.1

        Just liberalism, not neo-liberalism. As a liberal democracy, we have freedom of religion, which means you can’t ban people from spreading delusional bullshit for profit. For my money, if we did decide to trash freedom of religion in NZ, Muslim preachers would be the top priority – they’re much more of a threat than Scientologists.

        • Paul 10.1.1.1

          Scientology is a racket.
          I would follow the German policy and treat it as a subversive organisation.

          From Wikipedia.

          ‘German officials sharply rejected the accusations. They said that Germany guarantees the freedom of religion, but characterized Scientology as a profit-making enterprise, rather than a religion, and emphasized that precisely because of Germany’s Nazi past, Germany took a determined stance against all “radical cults and sects, including right-wing Nazi groups”, and not just against Scientology. According to a 1997 Time magazine article, most Germans consider Scientology a subversive organization, with pollsters reporting 70% popular support for banning Scientology in Germany.’
          .

          • weka 10.1.1.1.1

            what actions did they take then?

          • Psycho Milt 10.1.1.1.2

            Is it less of a profit-making enterprise than Destiny Church or the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints? Germany has much weaker protections for civil liberties than we do (notably relating to freedom of expression, but also in general). It’s great that those weaker protections mean they can ban Scientology, but overall I’d rather have our stronger protection.

            • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.2.1

              I’m pretty sure that, even under our present protections, we can should be able to ban something that causes serious psychological harm and even death to people which Scientology arguably does.

        • grumpystilskin 10.1.1.2

          I belive in freedom of religion, just not man’s selective interpretation of their “good book”. For me it’s all or nothing, don’t pick and choose what messages suit your lifestyle.

        • Sanctuary 10.1.1.3

          “…which means you can’t ban people from spreading delusional bullshit for profit..”

          We could tax them though.

    • Cinny 10.2

      Scientology is sinister form of control. They want to dedicate an entire floor to ‘auditing’, by crikey would love to be a fly on that wall.

      Auditing is telling someone everything, everything. It’s the scientology form of a ‘confessional’, only with auditing, they tape record everything, everything. Imagine the leverage this gives the auditors, the control, the power.

      The best information I’ve found yet on this CULT is the documentary series, Leah Remini Scientology and the Aftermath which hit screens in the USA late last year.

      Highly recommended listen/viewing. Leah is an American Actress that faithfully followed Scientology for 35 years, she left the Cult a couple of years back.

  10. Paul 11

    Interesting timing don’t you think? But is it ominous?
    Are we about to witness a Dallas?
    Or a coup d’état by other means?

    “”It doesn’t make sense to can the general in the middle of an active deployment,” rages D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) after Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, who heads the D.C. National Guard and is an integral part of overseeing the inauguration, has been ordered removed from command effective Jan. 20, 12:01 p.m., just as Donald Trump is sworn in as president.

    ‘As The Washington Post reports, Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz’s departure will come in the midst of the presidential ceremony, classified as a national special security event — and while thousands of his troops are deployed to help protect the nation’s capital during an inauguration he has spent months helping to plan.’

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-13/dc-national-guard-chief-fired-days-trump-inauguration-timing-extremely-unusual

    • joe90 11.1

      It’s what any newly elevated leader of a banana republic worth his salt does, purge the military.

    • Sabine 11.2

      or maybe you are just here to witness a beating of demonstrators that will come the day following the inauguration?

      this guy was appointed by Bush in 2004, he is not a democratic appointee, but someone who has risen through the ranks to his current position.

      or might that interfere with current conspiracies?

    • Sabine 11.3

      actually as per this guy this is standard operational procedure.
      As the guy is appointed, he has submitted his resignation which a. can be accepted – which is what the Trump Transition team has done, or b. not be accepted and will be reconfirmed by Congress – what Obama has done over his two terms as again just for the record – this General was appointed by Bush the younger.

      But in saying that, while it should not affect security – if the General has done a good job all his underlings will continue to do their job even without him present, come 12.01 the turd is responsible for what ever happens.

      Quote: “He wasn’t fired.
      He submitted a letter of resignation per normal procedure.
      The new administration accepted his resignation as is its right.
      It is unlikely in the extreme that resignation will affect security of the nation’s capital in any way.
      Errol Schwartz is retiring with honor after 40 years of service. He’s a Major General, his retirement pay is in the six figure range with full benefits. He’s a talented man of many, many skills who will have his choice of any number of high paying jobs should he chose to return to civilian employment. It’s not like he’s going to be out on the street, living in a box and eating out of dumpsters behind the Pentagon.
      If — IF — that decision does affect security during the inauguration, well, then that’s entirely on Donald Trump, because at 12:01 he’s in charge.”

  11. joe90 12

    Anonymous throws Assange under the bus –

    http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/1/13/1620270/–Anonymous-squeals-on-Wikileaks-Julian-Assange

    – paranoia?.

    NOTE: No present WikiLeaks staff, including our editor, have medical, psychological or drug conditions which could lead to sudden death.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 13, 2017

  12. Whispering Kate 13

    I see the Herald is trying to make something positive about Blinglish”s UK visit but he got diddly squat out of the UK PM for more working rights for Kiwis in the UK. Also noticed in yesterday’s Herald that John Key was absent from the “royal wedding” in NZ yesterday because he was boarding a plane from London to chair the International Democrat Union meeting for this year in Munich. It would seem that the ex PM is as hard right as we always thought and intends to stay that way with all the filthy rich “influential” so called heads of companies getting their heads to together to plan world domination.

    I did think it was a cunning move of the ex PM to endorse Blinglish – its pretty obvious the ex PM was put in place to patsy up to the people, get them mung beaned out on his whacky aw shucks sort of manner and then hand over the job to a dry hard right wing zealot to finish the job off properly for his overseas masters. I think I may be becoming a conspiracy theorist in my old age – but I do think there is a measure of truth in what I am surmising.

    • BM 13.1

      I see the Herald is trying to make something positive about Blinglish”s UK visit but he got diddly squat out of the UK PM for more working rights for Kiwis in the UK

      Give us an idea of what English should have offered or done?

      • Paul 13.1.1

        The comment is on the Herald’s obsequious sucking up to the Nats.

      • Molly 13.1.2

        National is all about getting the deal, but it is apparent they can’t really do that.
        They can only get deals for NZers if the offer is already on the table, or it costs the other party less to provide it than it does to give.

        But hey, credit where credit is due.

        None given because none is deserved – unless the Herald decides to spin it as good.

        • garibaldi 13.1.2.1

          There’s BM deflecting again. More important is what that shithead Key is up to.

          • Whispering Kate 13.1.2.1.1

            “more important is what that shithead Key is up”

            Yes Garibaldi, see my post below – I am still waiting for BM’s reply to the PM’s little trip to Munich.

            • BM 13.1.2.1.1.1

              Did English go to Munich?

              • Whispering Kate

                I have no idea but it wouldn’t surprise me the two met and conspired as they do. By the way why didn’t the Herald publish that Key had gone there, it was hidden in the gossip about the royal wedding in Wanaka. Being an ex PM it was newsworthy enough that we are told he is still involving himself in some high power pretty stinky stuff in his holiday time.

  13. Whispering Kate 14

    No I don’t think he could have done better, but the Herald should have called it like it was – not tried to place spin around the trip as being successful. No opposition parties in this country have a hope with our biased useless MSM and BM you should acknowledge that – even poor witted people can see it.

    How do you explain your precious ex PM’s actions fraternising with that repugnant International Democrat Union – does it make you feel good?

  14. Sabine 15

    ahh, priorities

    Make America Porn free Again! 🙂

    i wonder how that will go down with the turds supporters 🙂

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/a-porn-free-america-republicans-pledge-expurgation_us_58755de8e4b065be69099018?k656m9ednio2edn29

  15. Rosemary McDonald 16

    The Far North is in the grip of a severe drought.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11781786

    December rainfall in Kereikeri is the lowest since records began in 1935.
    ( A comment elsewhere on the web from a resident saying he was too scared to leave his property because of the extreme fire risk gives a clue about how real the danger is.)

    Combined with the summer influx of tourists, water supplies are low…and even rural dwellers with their own tanks are being told to conserve their water as town supplies are being impacted by countryfolk needing the truck out to put water in their tanks.

    All sounding a bit grim.

    We are going to have to stop taking our water supply for granted.

    Seriously. maybe we should all practice water conservation/awareness by occasionally trying to use the barest minimum of water each day. when we’re living in our Bus, we can get by on less than 10 litres each per day.

    • weka 16.1

      I agree about water conservation. I also think that while the rainfall is lower than in the previous century, it’s land use that is creating the drought. Changing land use will not only conserve water but make ecosystems and human communities more resilient.

    • Ad 16.2

      Check out the Metvuw 10 day forecast: tropical storm coming up.

      http://www.metvuw.com/forecast/forecast.php?type=rain&region=nzni&noofdays=8

      • Rosemary McDonald 16.2.1

        It’s been persisting here in the Waikato today but I suspect that front will bypass the North.

        I hope I’m wrong, because Mangawhai residents are having to wait for tanker deliveries because the water carriers have been shut out from the taps in Wellsford and Snells Beach. Trucks are having to go to Silverdale to fill up.

        Cost of 10,000 litres gone up from $200 to $600.

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11782730

        • Jenny Kirk 16.2.1.1

          Agree with you, Rosemary McD. It is very very dry here in Whangarei, and whenever any rain looks as if its on the horizon …… it just peeters away somewhere to the south.

          Not only tough on farmers, tough on gardeners too. We moved here a year ago and put in a stack of little orchard trees and others …… have been building up the mulch around them to give them some protection, but they still need watering every so often.

          • Rosemary McDonald 16.2.1.1.1

            There is a company here in the Waikato that cleans plastic and steel drums.

            I wouldn’t use them to store drinking water…but we did buy a heap after the 2007/8 drought here and hooked them together and connected them to the wee chookhouse, another bank to the wee hot house and yet another behind the garden shed. Only used for the chooks and the garden.

            Our big concrete inground tanks used only for the house.

            I’ve sat and watched rain travel along distant ranges with bated breath…hoping, just hoping. We’re heading back up your way in a few weeks, I’ll try and drag a cloud or two along….;-)

    • richard rawshark 16.3

      I was at Port albert a few days ago, all the grass was brown tree’s were green but the land was dry as a bone. It did look pretty bad up there, and that’s not really North it’s just Wellsford really.

      • Rosemary McDonald 16.3.1

        Port Albert…has hosted two weary travelers, exhausted after battling Auckland traffic on our way Up North on many occasions. I hope you read up about the history of the place. there are descendants of those early settlers still in the area…real characters!

  16. weka 17

    Is it just me or did everyone’s avatars just change?

  17. Draco T Bastard 18

    Sweden: ‘six-hour days could positively reboot working life’

    Preliminary results suggest that the reduction in working hours led to around a 10 per cent reduction in sick leave and that the health of care workers also improved markedly. Employees reported an improvement in the quality of care they were able to give patients too. Staff said they had more time to take part in social activities with those in their care – such as playing games and walking outdoors – which was particularly beneficial to patients with dementia.

    “I think one of the reasons this was such a big piece of news internationally,” said Bernmar, “is that we are, in a way, presenting the complete opposite narrative of the need to work more and to work harder.

    The ‘working harder for longer’ only ever benefits those who aren’t doing the work.

  18. joe90 19

    Oh dear.

    Republican Ben Ferguson: I can't imagine the fallout if a Republican were to ever say Obama wasn't a legitimate president CNN anchor: Umm pic.twitter.com/BJiOpJGrLo— David Mack (@davidmackau) January 14, 2017

  19. The fact is that although NZ labour is not a Socialist Party its is the only Party Socialists can belong too.So it’s up to us Socialist to join Labour and make sure that we have a fair amount of Socialist policies .If we want to move the Labour Party further Left its up to us . the NZ Labour party is a Democratic Party so join and move it to the Left.

    • Jenny Kirk 20.1

      Yep – The PP – the more socialists who join up with Labour, the more “left” it will be able to be.

    • Draco T Bastard 20.2

      Or they could join the Greens
      Or Mana
      Or even the Internet Party.

      Socialists actually have choice as to which party to support. Perhaps the problem is that many socialists think like you do and only believe that Labour is the only socialist party.

  20. weka 21

    Interesting read for those following gender identity politics. This is very US, and reminds me of the political chaos happening there where boundaries around belief and theory are being broken down and power is up for grabs by vested interests while the liberals are still just confused as fuck.

    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/01/13/todays-shameless-lesbians-wont-queered/

    • DoublePlusGood 21.1

      Just reads as the usual transphobic stuff. Which is sad, because it’s rooted in misogynistic ideals, the very thing that the author is trying to fight against.

      • weka 21.1.1

        Not sure about that. I though the author was attempting to draw a line in the sand and at the same time not centre that in the usual transphobia (I thought the transphobia didn’t come out until the comments). Although obviously she is part of the feminist and lesbian culture that is pushing back against parts of transgender politics/culture. What did you see as transphobic? I’m curious because I’m interested in how the issues she raises can be discussed without being transphobic.

        • DoublePlusGood 21.1.1.1

          It’s all couched in the concept that there’s this army of trans women amassing just over the hill, and they’ve infiltrated the sacred land of lesbians, but the trans women are secretly evil men come to wreck everything with patriarchy. When really trans women just want to not be treated like shit.

          • weka 21.1.1.1.1

            Ok, so there are sides and people are choosing them. I’d like to see feminists like her move further to make the arguments less against trans women and more about the specific issues, but I still think it was a shift from some of the stuff I’ve seen (the overt TERF positions for instance).

            “When really trans women just want to not be treated like shit.”

            Not sure we can generalise to that degree How do you explain some of the issues raised in the post?

  21. Sabine 22

    why of course it was just playful pinching the genitals. Why do silly women think that that would be ‘assault’ if someone grabs and pinches their genitals. And besides don’t they know that they know live in a new time and pc is out and grabbing and pinching of genitals is in. Repeat after me. Its playful pinching. Not assault.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/01/conn-republican-arrested-for-grabbing-womans-genitals-his-lawyer-says-it-was-a-playful-gesture/

    • Wensleydale 22.1

      Well, if Key could get away with repeatedly tugging on that poor waitress’s pony tail, what’s to stop a US Republican from going the whole hog with a full-on crotch-grab? Americans have never been a people to do things by halves. And now we have Trump leading by example. It’s all downhill from here.

    • richard rawshark 22.2

      When I was young we were out in Sunderland and my mate pinched a cop in the fanny..you should have seen how they over-reacted, or not..he was pretty pissed, but I think he was sober as a judge by the time he got in the paddy wagon LMFAO

  22. joe90 23

    Urine, urine, urine…..

    "This country will literally be showered with jobs. Because I am a major whiz with jobs." #SNL pic.twitter.com/kQGlmNePHW— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 15, 2017

  23. Sabine 24

    and it appears that someone in the
    turds team realized that not having someone responsible for security during the inauguration would make the turd team responsible should something happen.

    so they now have asked him to stay for a few days longer.

    the whole turd team is really just a pathetic bunch of urinators.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trump-transition-team-says-it-asked-dc-national-guard-general-to-stay/2017/01/14/c0aa76b2-da80-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?postshare=7121484452754387&tid=ss_tw

  24. Draco T Bastard 25

    When Tyranny Takes hold

    Xu Hongci’s experiences in China show that autocracy demands collaborators

    Xu’s story can be read as a testament to man’s unwillingness to succumb, or as the description of a moment when “the naked truth, so long outraged, burst upon the eyes of the world,” as Albert Camus wrote of Hungary’s uprising. But, above all, it should be read as a warning. Tyranny does not begin with violence; it begins with the first gesture of collaboration. Its most enduring crime is drawing decent men and women into its siege of the truth.

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