Same sh*t different election

Written By: - Date published: 10:55 am, May 10th, 2015 - 164 comments
Categories: International, john key, national, uk politics - Tags: , , , ,


Watching the recent United Kingdom election results unfurl brought back feelings I experienced during  the aftermath to last year’s general election campaign.  Same sorts of issues, same problems for the left and at the end of it all a deeply upsetting result.

The similarities are clear.  A wealth of resources and a Crosby Textor styled campaign turned a tight election campaign into a Conservative win.

The Crosby Textor designed attacks on the stability of a potential Labour Government were very effective.  The Conservatives campaigned on the proposition that a vote for Labour would lead to instability because it was clear that it would rely on the Scottish Nationalist Party to form a Government, if the margin was close enough.  There was also an anti Scottish dog whistle being blown and damage to the relationship between England and Scotland was clearly not something that CT was concerned about.

From the Telegraph:

In the wake of the independence referendum, Lynton Crosby – the Conservatives’ campaign chief – was quick to spot that the risk that Labour would try to squeeze into power with the support of the SNP.

This rapidly became one of the Tories’ main lines of attack and, during the election campaign, effectively drowned out Labour’s key messages.

Backed by polls suggesting a landslide for the SNP in Scotland, David Cameron and his team repeatedly hammered home their message about the threat Ed Miliband poised to the Union.

In the final weeks of the campaign, the message was reinforced by Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister, who said Ed Miliband must rule out a deal with the SNP.

Labour floundered as it tried to respond. For weeks, Ed Miliband tried to duck the question of whether he was prepared to do a deal, claiming that he was instead focused on securing a majority.

It was only in the final week of the campaign that Mr Miliband finally ruled out a deal, by which time the damage had already been done.

Labour’s relationship with the SNP is clearly a troubled one.  Supporters of Scottish Independence are obviously less than impressed with Miliband’s campaigning with the tories against independence and it is interesting that the proportion of the vote the SNP achieved in Scotland (50%) was up slightly on the Yes vote in the referendum (45%).  The seats that the SNP did not win, Orkney, Dumfriesshire and Edinburgh South were generally the areas where the Yes vote received the lowest support.

The popularity of the SNP is not however a recent phenomenon.  It has held power in the Scottish Parliament since 2007 and in 2011 it gained 45% of the vote.  Only a semi proportional voting system prevented a landslide result occurring.  But the SNP’s strength allowed the Conservatives to wedge the Labour Party claiming that Labour would be beholden to the SNP and a Labour Government would be deeply unstable.

The tactic obviously worked.  Shy tories obviously voted against their better intentions for continuation of tory rule.  Only in London where Labour gained seven seats did its performance give any reason for cheer. An intensive on the ground effort may be the reason for this particular result.

The tactic was very similar to that used in 2014 by National that a Labour Government would be beholden to the Greens and Mana and deeply unstable.  That one factor more than any other I believe cost the left the election last year.

Other similarities?  The tories ruthlessly attacked their former allies the Liberal Democrats which finished up a la ACT and United Future as a rump of a party with its future looking grim.  And now that the tories are free of LD’s moderating effects they have signalled immediate action to strengthen surveillance laws.

From the Guardian:

The Conservatives will move swiftly to strengthen the online surveillance powers of the police and security services now that the block placed by their former coalition partners has been lifted, the home secretary has indicated.

Speaking as early results on Friday indicated the Conservatives would form a government with a Commons majority, Theresa May said increased surveillance powers was “one very key example” of Tory policy that was blocked by the coalition arrangement with the Liberal Democrats in the previous government.

May’s remarks alarmed privacy campaigners who fear a Conservative government will revive the controversial draft communications bill, which was beaten last year after the Lib Dems withdrew their support.

That law, labelled a snooper’s charter, would have required internet and mobile phone companies to keep records of customers’ browsing activity, social media use, emails, voice calls, online gaming and text messages for a year.

Another similarity is that as over here the Tories had significantly greater resources.  I have not been able to locate up to date figures but I am sure that the experience from the last election campaign where the Tories outspent Labour two to one has been repeated if not amplified.

And finally a word about Ed Miliband.  Like David Cunliffe here I thought that Miliband had a good campaign, debated well and progressed as he went on.  But a subversive media campaign against him persuaded enough people that there was something not quite right about him.  The use of proxies to conduct these attacks meant that Cameron and Co could stand to one side and appear to be reasonable while a manufactured persona for Miliband was created.  And although the Guardian provided an alternative MSM view my impression is that the dominant voice in the English media, particularly in Rupert Murdoch’s papers was a pro tory voice.
The sun Miliband cover

The basic lessons for Aotearoa from the English election results?  Progressive parties need more resources and a more sophisticated way of responding to CT designed campaigns.  And it is imperative that we gain the upper hand in terms of setting the media agenda.

There will be a debate about whether we need a Blairite third way type campaign where ambition is as important as compassion.  Apparently changed use of words will deliver the left power.  These discussions have always frustrated me because Labour has always been ambitious for everyone and the Blairite insistence that we talk about these issues ignores the fact that we always have.  The proponents of this particular way want to substitute slogans and feel good euphemisms for practical measures designed to actually address major issues.  Child poverty and climate change will not be solved by watered down measures designed not to offend anyone.  They require honesty and direct action.

In the English speaking western world progressives are politically on the back foot.  But as the SNP has shown progressive ideas can be popular ideas.

[Edit – Ed for David]

164 comments on “Same sh*t different election ”

  1. wyndham 1

    ED Miliband Micky – – – you got the wrong one !

    [Fixed thanks. There are far too many Davids in the English and NZ Labour Parties! – MS]

    • Anne 1.1

      Excuses, excuses. You’re the same as me MS. Can’t remember people’s christian names.

      Like me, you no doubt have to resort to the “Oh hello, I haven’t seen you for ages. What are you up to these days?” in the desperate hope they’ve been up to lots of things and it gives you time to remember who they are.

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        I have noticed a gradual degradation of memory with age …

        • alwyn

          This is not meant to be a dig at you but writing it, as I assume you first did, about “Dave” Miliband illustrates part of the Labour Parties’ problem. They seem to have had a totally non-charismatic leader and one whose name people couldn’t remember.
          Can you see anyone not getting Helen Clark, John Key or Winston Peters’ name wrong? At worst they might add an ‘e’ to Clark or a ‘s’ to Key. Ed on the other hand never really registered.

        • Ron

          Take up Bridge its good for memory and other concentration

    • greywarshark 1.2

      Find us a man called Goliath and we will have a probable antidote to our frequent losses. Or set up slingshot training camps for spirited resistance. Wonderful Israeli journalist living in Ramallah interviewed this morning said resistance is not futile.. This was just one of the interesting informative items so similar to those on commercial radio or Mike Hosking Paul Henry et al. /sarc

      Amira Hass – Monitoring the Centres of Power ( 39′ :29″ )
      11:06 Amira Hass is an Israeli journalist who has spent more than two decades reporting on the Israel-Palestine conflict from within the occupied territories – first Gaza and then the West Bank. The daughter of Holocaust survivors has won numerous journalism awards – including the World Press Freedom Hero award from the International Press Institute and the Reporters Without Borders press freedom award – and is the author of Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land under Siege.

      Samanth Subramanian – Sri Lanka After Civil War ( 21′ :30″ )
      10:38 Journalist and author Samanth Subramanian traveled around Sri Lanka after the civil war that ended in 2009, talking to people about how the war affected them – and how it continues to impact on their lives. He’s put these experiences together in a book – This Divided Island – Stories from the Sri Lankan War.

      and how coffee lovers can really help small farmers in Papua New Guinea.
      Daniel Kinne – The Source of the Latte ( 12′ :53″ )
      11:47 Daniel Kinne is a coffee farmer, plus chairman and founding member of Papua New Guinea’s Highland Organic Agricultural Cooperative. He is visiting New Zealand for Fair Trade Fortnight and he talks to Wallace about the work it takes to get a radio presenter his $4.50 latte.

      and This is sad. Our casino economy of would-be wealthy prepared to suck ordinary NZs dry of everything now or soon.
      Experts say many new migrants become problem gamblers ( 5′ :14″ )
      07:21 Gambling experts say more and more new migrants are becoming addicted to gambling in New Zealand, with some losing their entire life savings.

  2. Bernie 2

    the comparison i make is same lack of ideas or more precisely inspiring ones.
    No fire in the belly , no thing to inspire people outside bland numbers .

    trying to be tory lite or nat lite is not going to work or at best get us a Blair like PM which really is nothing to dream of.

    Syrisa or Podemos that what we should look to emulate or Rachel Notley in Alberta

  3. Pat 3

    I watched the Lynton Crosby clip posted on here and note he was choosing his words very carefully , presumably as it was for public consumption….I would imagine the briefings given to their clients would be more pointed and at least coherent (but then you never know, people put up with a lot bullshit if it produces results and they appear to do that….currently)….but as to your point around countering this type of campaigning , without the support of the MSM I see a counter-strategy as very problematic….and the right have by (or buy) and large got that one wrapped up…..there is one small consolation however, one of two things will occur….the general public will realise and resent being manipulated in this manner and punish the offenders at the polls (sadly I believe the less likely) or the strategy will continue to be successful until such time as the results of those policies supported by the CT cliental create societal conditions that lead to their overwhelming rejection, with the potential to violently divide society the more successful they are….not a future to look forward to, and that dosnt even take into account the real problems we should be attempting to deal with….

    • felix 3.1

      “I would imagine the briefings given to their clients would be more pointed and at least coherent “

      Is he the same guy who taught John Key how to talk?

  4. Nic the NZer 4

    “Progressive parties need more resources and a more sophisticated way of responding to CT designed campaigns. And it is imperative that we gain the upper hand in terms of setting the media agenda.”

    “Supporters of Scottish Independence are obviously less than impressed with Miliband’s campaigning with the tories against independence and it is interesting that the proportion of the vote the SNP achieved in Scotland (50%) was up slightly on the Yes vote in the referendum (45%). ”

    Labour did set the agenda for this to happen. All CT did was recognize that Scotland was not happy with Labour’s policy (no independence) in representing them, and amplify this message. In NZ its been apparent that Labour would not work with the Greens in government for quite some time. The political wedges that CT exploits do not spring from nowhere.

    Blairite third way policies are that wedge in NZ.

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.1

      Correct – CT strategies work with the intrinsic and unaddressed dissatisfaction which is already there on the ground. The more Labour is unresponsive and tone deaf to the mood and the primary concerns of the majority of voters, the more CT has to work with.

      • Pat 4.1.1

        but the fact is theCT strategy dosnt work with the concerns of the majority of the electorate….merely the particular groupings they have determined (through polling) will play the significant part in the election….that is why it is so difficult to counter

        • Colonial Viper

          its dead easy to counter: Labour needs to address directly the serious concerns people have with where our nation is going. Instead, Labour tries to play it safe with meaningless, ineffective, small target and austerity-light type policies.

          • Pat

            and those policies are? …maintain until such time as the bulk of the electorate are hurting and are prepared to take a risk this strategy will work

          • Ron

            Now all we have to do is to convince the party. Oh well Conference next week for us. Lots of suggestions for policy inclusion to discuss

            • Colonial Rawshark

              Yeah Region 6 have just had our Conference. Lots of remits about policies talking about exploring talking about policy.

      • Tracey 4.1.2

        CT uses fear real and manufactured… these guys understand “hot buttons” and they play it for all it’s worth. The scenario they conjure up is almost never factual or likely but it triggers the hot button and voila… People find change damned hard, and that makes them conservative by reflex. THIS is far easier for a right of centre strategist to exploit than left.

  5. cricklewood 5

    I guess a good start would be to;
    Sit down with fellow parties of the left, identify common ground and work together in the years leading up to the election.
    Then it will be much less credible to say that a coalition will be chaotic, and you wont get a leader scared witless by said spin by stating they wont work with party xyz. Which probably puts off a number of favourable voters and likely doesnt attract any new ones.
    It also helps if in the years of opposition there aren’t multiple leadership spills etc.
    You’ve got to offer a credible looking alternative if you want to win…

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.1

      Sit down with fellow parties of the left, identify common ground and work together in the years leading up to the election.

      Not going to happen. The Labour establishment views all other parties as enemies to be suppressed and sidelined where possible.

    • Anne 5.2

      Sit down with fellow parties of the left, identify common ground and work together in the years leading up to the election.

      If the Oppo. parties don’t thrash out a common strategy they are doomed to remain on the Opposition benches. It doesn’t need to be overt in practice – in fact there’s good reasons why some of it should happen behind closed doors – just so long as it happens.

      • Matthew Hooton 5.2.1

        Who do you define as the opposition parties? I see only Labour and Greens.

        • felix

          Parties in parliament who aren’t in government are opposition parties, Matthew.

        • Rob

          Typical CT talk
          Commonly called BS
          All other parties do not agree with National
          otherwise they would join them!
          No the opposition need to bat for the future and the opportunity they may give to our country; as your party are only interested in the 1%
          Any progressive party that looks at a positive future will beat your selfishness hands down.
          Lets face it if most of us are even moderately satisfied and successful then nearly all of us will be satisfied that we can have a better future for our children and families, but as is now the case where many cannot even afford basic housing or have tremendous uncertainty in life then any political group that offers opportunity for a more stable life will win hands down.

        • Tracey

          You’d think after Northland you would consider NZF an Opposition Party… such short memories…

  6. Colonial Rawshark 6

    We can’t claim that UK Labour was ambushed. Fact is that the Conservatives used classic CT tactics very well known to and tested on Labour Parties around the world, right down to Cameron talking about the UK being on the cusp “of something special” and a “brighter, more secure future.”

    Instead of effectively countering these familiar strategies, Labour predictably responded by turning against potential coalition partners and turning on pathetic staffer approved publicity stunts – though not a snapper for UK Labour but an engraved tombstone.

    Now the Blairite Labour right wing are going to seize control of the Labour party once again.

    BTW it’s obvious what the CT plan for victory in 2020 is going to be: they are going to bury the now dead body of the Labour Party in Scotland by effectively letting Scotland cede in federal terms (although they will stay part of the Union), and they will push back harshly against immigration and compliance with the EU. That will suck into the Tories a whole lot of the millions of UKIP votes. The sell out Lib Dems are discredited and in disarray and will not return as a political force until 2030 or so.

    Labour establishment inflexibility and navel gazing means that even though the right wing strategy can be determined years in advance, nothing effective or practical will be done to counter it.

    So, a UK Labour defeat for 2020 is already almost assured.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      There is a lot of interesting analysis to be read; found this one made as much sense as any:

      The third and less dramatic sense in which national swing proved a better guide than expected came in the main Conservative/Labour English battleground. Compared with 2010, Cameron added 0.8 points to the Conservative’s UK-wide vote share, while Labour could add only 1.4 points to Gordon Brown’s 2010 result. Those numbers imply a vanishingly thin 0.3% swing between the two main parties, which was never going to shift many seats – and it didn’t.

      That is very interesting – while everyone is saying how wrong the polls where and what a crushing defeat for Labour – the numbers say different. Excluding the Scotland, and allowing for the Lib Dem vote collapsing back to the Conservatives – Labour did exactly as predicted.

      But structurally, shorn of Scotland and an FPP voting system that crucifies potential coalition partners, UK Labour can never, ever become government again.

      The upshot of this, after years in which the electoral system has been rigged in Labour’s favour, is that it now helps the Tories more. This week it took about 6,000 more votes to elect a Labour than a Conservative member. The Tories can now be expected to use their majority to cement this advantage by redrawing the boundaries as they had planned to do in the last parliament until coalition wrangling got in the way.

      The left everywhere has good reason to be bitter about the manipulations of propagandists like CT and Murdoch. The rise of the super-rich – of whom a mere 85 people now control more than 50% of the world’s wealth – and the fact that there is a whole generation of voters who are too young to have ever known anything other than the trickle-down feudalism they have grown up in, are all factors which I believe will permanently deny left-wing social democracy from ever gaining reformist momentum in the Western world.

      I don’t mean to say this to be bleak. It is the same problem as climate change – we have a long-term problem and denying it is the wrong response.

      • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1

        That is very interesting – while everyone is saying how wrong the polls where and what a crushing defeat for Labour – the numbers say different. Excluding the Scotland, and allowing for the Lib Dem vote collapsing back to the Conservatives – Labour did exactly as predicted.

        But structurally it can never, ever become government again.

        1) Yep – the UK polls tend to have a margin of error of roughly 3%. Quite a few polls in the last 6 months showed a LAB/TORY split of around 32%/35%. And the actual result was just a stones throw from that.

        2) Yep – UK Labour has boxed itself in, institutionally and structurally, into being the permanent no. 2 party. In some ways, it is the roadblock now preventing further evolution of the political left.

      • lprent 6.1.2

        That is very interesting – while everyone is saying how wrong the polls where and what a crushing defeat for Labour – the numbers say different. Excluding the Scotland, and allowing for the Lib Dem vote collapsing back to the Conservatives – Labour did exactly as predicted.

        But structurally, shorn of Scotland and an FPP voting system that crucifies potential coalition partners, UK Labour can never, ever become government again.

        That is my analysis as well. About the only thing that Labour in the UK can do is to hope that the SNP implodes. But the SNP has been around for a long time. I suspect that it be around for a lot longer.

        I rather suspect the UKIP might implode. I can’t see much holding it together.

      • swordfish 6.1.3

        “….and the fact that there is a whole generation of voters who are too young to have ever known anything other than the trickle-down feudalism they have grown up in, are all factors which I believe will permanently deny left-wing social democracy from ever gaining reformist momentum in the Western world.”

        Bear in mind that (as in New Zealand), the Under-40s in the UK are far more Left/Labour-leaning (according to the Poll breakdowns) than middle-aged and older voters. UK Labour were well ahead of the Tories among younger Brits according to the final polls.

        Along with (most) ethnic minorities, Low Income (DE socio-economic) voters and – to a somewhat lesser extent – Women, the young are UK Labour’s key demographic.

        • RedLogix

          Well if the under-40’s, women, ethnic minorities and women are all Labour’s key demographic – I’m kind of left wondering why they keep losing elections.

          • Colonial Viper

            Labour might think that those people are its “key demographic “. Doesn’t seem like any of them know that or agree with it, however. Re: ethnic minorities, count up how many Asians NZ Labour has in its caucus. Yeah, fucking nil.

            • RedLogix

              And not just some non-entity backbencher with a forgettable career. Labour needs an Asian who has the potential to be a Senior Minister.

              With the increasing presence of Asians in this country – their lack of political visibility is a real concern at many levels.

            • adam

              As Chinese have been here since the gold rushes in the 1860’s. You think labour will change Colonial Viper? It’s been over 150 years…

              I’m trying to find a Masters thesis I read about early labour party and it’s anti-asian sentiment. And how they quietly enforced a white New Zealand policy. I think it was from either Massey or Otago University. Not finding it online or I’d add a link. Very enlightening read.

          • swordfish

            I can only go by the polling evidence. And it’s pretty consistent (albeit with some variation here and there) – we’re talking hundreds of UK polls over the last couple of years.

            Trouble is: as in Nouveau Zealande, the young and the poor end up staying at home on the Big Day.

      • Ron 6.1.4

        Maybe the entire UK Labour should resign and join the Conservative Party and do a takeover.

  7. Paul 7

    “How does the left counter this?”


    Look at how the SNP did it.

    a. they put forward real alternatives to neo-liberalism. Their policies were to stop austerity, tax the rich and protect the welfare state.

    b. they countered the media’s usual fear-mongering and hostility during the referendum and the election. Despite the vile lies of the media, they got 56 out of 59 electorates Websites like these have ensured social media has spiked the guns of the Daily Mail and Sun’s attempts to misinform the people

    People in Scotland don’t know the media lies so attempts to distract or scare them don’t work.

    Sadly the NZ Labour Party only offers the same form of milder neo-liberalism.
    If you are a Labour of Green leader in New Zealand, please read this article and change how you are working.

    • RedLogix 7.1

      The first comment below that link is interesting too:

      during my joint honours in hist/pol BA, my big topic was weimar germany and the rise of hitler.
      SO many of the same factors are around now:
      1. economic depression
      2. fear leading to more and more right wing governments
      3. excessive banker/corporate power
      4. war and the threat of war (Ukraine/Russia/ME)
      5. geopolitical change destabilising the existing order (rise of Russia/China/Iran/BRICS)
      6. extreme and worsening social deprivation
      7. economic and class-based warfare
      Add to that the additional factor now of the impending US/Western (shale/junk bonds/derivatives – 110 times bigger debt factor than in ’08 – and it’s unraveling right now) economic implosion in the next year or 2 that will make 2008 look like a chimps tea party.
      History is repeating itself, and me and my kids alongside many others are smack in the middle of it; despite my atheism I am sincere when I say may God help us all, since I see little hope of anything else helping us.

      The critical lesson about democracy that must be repeated over and over is that emotion trumps reason every time.

      And the more stressed and fearful a population is – the more it is emotionally manipulable and vote against it’s rational best interests. CT deliberately target and feed our fears with lies and distortions. It is a calculated, skilled methodology based on decades of research. It is no accident whatsoever.

      This is the critical factor missing from our strategy. There really are only two options I can think of: one is to simply wait until things get so bad the people revolt in revolution. (Although given the example of how relative stable feudalism was for centuries the wait may be longer than hoped for.) The other is to aggressively educate the electorate about how they are being manipulated and give them the tools to recognise when they are being lied to. (No matter who is doing it.)

      • Paul 7.1.1

        SNP managed it.

        • RedLogix

          While that is true Paul, Scotland introduces that always reliable emotional card – nationalism.

          In essence SNP has successfully played on the centuries of legitimate Scottish resentment around how the English have generally mistreated or ignored them. In this case the emotional and rational drivers happen to align – which is fortunate for SNP and fatal for Labour.

          • Bill

            Red, you need to get your head around the difference between civic nationalism (eg – Plaid Cymru, SNP) and chauvinistic nationalism (eg – UKIP).

            They really are two completely different animals…one being generally positive and empowering, the other being generally negative and ill informed.

            • RedLogix

              I think that is why I used the phrase ‘legititamate Scottish resentment’.

              Your phrasing is more sophisticated and it expresses better what I was saying.

        • Pat

          would be very interested to know how the Scottish MSM presented the case during the run up ….that is in my opinion the key….if the MSM perpetuate the narrative rather than calling it out for what it is then it will work, ipso facto the Scottish MSM didnt participate in the game….unless of course the anger overcomes the fear

      • Bill 7.1.2

        The other is to aggressively educate the electorate about how they are being manipulated and give them the tools to recognise when they are being lied to. (No matter who is doing it.)

        Nope. Far too paternalistic. All that’s needed is an avenue to engagement. Scotland did it with the referendum debate. England and Wales probably won’t do it with the EU debate – that’ll be fought with facile sloganeering.

        Of course, if the SNP, Scottish Greens and the plethora of organisations that flourished during the referendum debate manage to ‘export’ their civic nationalism to places like Yorkshire or wherever during the lead-up to that vote…

        Hmm. Resources, time, media penetration, money….

        • RedLogix

          As a strategy that seems to be an appeal to increasingly narrow slivers of identity politics and the break-up of nations into political fiefdoms of the day.

          While I you are dead on with the notion of engagement, it is fear and distrust which inhibits this – which is exactly what the CT/Murdoch propagandists are feeding.

          And is precisely the locus of where distinction between civic and chauvinistic nationalism lies.

          • Bill

            Hmm. When I say ‘export’ I simply mean spreading the idea – not that those same people organise and speak at meetings in N. England. Cameron is already speaking of federalism. That may well, and quite reasonably to my mind, include a degree of autonomy for the likes of Yorkshire. Whether Yorkshire would have the same powers as Scotland or Wales is another question…they might form a level of devolution that sits below an English Parliament.

            I mean,it’s entirely theoretically possible to have tiered federalism, yes? So…Scotland, Wales, N.Ireland and England on a equal footing with cross subsidy arrangements, with Yorkshire etc sitting below a principle English structure of governance.

            I dunno.

            But Cameron will be desperate to save a UK and is open to federalism. (As is Boris Johnson) He just has to pitch it to a level that mollifies calls for independence. That can be done.

            Miliband and Labour though, they’re far more centrist…

            As for fear of engagement, well oddly, (warning: BIG broad brush stroke coming up) it’s been the Scottish protestant unionists who have fallen back on emotive (fear driven?) beliefs and simply not engaged.

            For now, as long as the civic nationalism of the SNP continues to contain the chauvinistic elements within it (the ‘Bravehearts’ et al), then the future’s looking bright and far moredemocratic and empowering for communities as well as individuals.

  8. Maui 8

    “And it is imperative that we gain the upper hand in terms of setting the media agenda.”

    The question is how does the left do that? Popular media is owned by the right and filled with right leaning douchebag commentators. The left’s messages get hijacked by these types and spun.

    Either we need some big crisis that gives rise to a popular leftist message (i.e Greece), or some sort of groundswell has to come from communities that they’ve bought into a different political schema, something that mainstream media couldn’t ignore.

  9. Michael 9

    Perhaps the left needs to fight fire with fire. Play on people’s fears about the right. The right likes to keep repeating lies over and over until the people believe them: “Labour will return to 70s class war! Labour will bankrupt the country! Labour’s overspending caused the GFC!” etc etc.

    Maybe the left need to make up absolute bullshit about the right. “National will privatise the health system.” “National will be beholden to the far-right ACT who will privatise ____.” “National will be beholden to ACT who will abolish the minimum wage.” etc. (Although these aren’t even that far from being BS…. but you get what I’m saying.)

    US Democrats have a whole website attacking potential Republican Presidential contenders. A lot of it is half-true and misrepresented but it will ensure victory most likely.

    I like to think the left is above these types of politics but sometimes you have to be aggressive when the right is well-funded, has the media on its side, etc.

    • RedLogix 9.2

      I disagree for two reasons:

      One is that the game is not symmetric. The right can lie endlessly and rarely get seriously called to account by the media, the left will get crucified for every single one regardless of how significant.

      Secondly, and more importantly, you only lie to manipulate someone. Lies create confusion and ultimately fear. In a heightened emotional state people will then doi things which are not in their self-interest. For instance, voting for policies which systematically take what little they have and give it to those who already have far too much.

      If you want people to make rational choices – lying to them will never get the result you want.

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        you can get a short term shallow result, but in the medium and long term it fucks the relationship.

      • Michael 9.2.2

        I don’t think that people should be *lied* to. But there is room to be a bit more aggressive in attacking candidates, etc when that is all the Right does since they have no good policies. Maybe their attacks can be turned against them, i.e. attack them for making up lies about people. I shouldn’t have said “make up absolute bullshit” but there is room for being a bit more sensationalist, is basically what I meant.

        (For example, the left should have taken advantage of the fact that Key is a currency trader, and brought up how irresponsible bankers caused the GFC. Get Key associated to the mess of financial irresponsibility and the GFC. There goes the allure of ‘fiscal responsibility’. “Why would you trust a currency trader, who got us into this mess, anywhere near the Government books?” etc etc. Obama did this in 2012, which ultimately cost Mitt Romney the election. The Democrats distributed two things during a time of high unemployment and low incomes: the fact that Romney laid off workers at a plant his hedge fund bought; and the fact that Romney made derogatory comments about the “47%” who don’t pay any income taxes because their income is too low and “expect the government to look after them”.

        However what really needs to be done is to expand independent media, reduce the influence of money in politics, and regulate campaigning more. but that will only happen with a left wing government. And the left needs to build up a network of progressive think tanks, progressive media, etc. Change the debate.

        • Draco T Bastard

          For example, the left should have taken advantage of the fact that Key is a currency trader, and brought up how irresponsible bankers caused the GFC. Get Key associated to the mess of financial irresponsibility and the GFC.

          Key was directly involved with the actions of the banks that brought about the GFC. That’s not a lie but it’s been covered up by the MSM.

          • TheContrarian

            How was Key directly involved and how is it being covered up?

            • Draco T Bastard


              That’s been known for ages on this blog. Key was the manager at the failed bank (Merrill Lynch) in charge of introducing the failed derivatives that crashed the economy.

              It’s being covered up by it not being talked about in the MSM despite it being known. Essentially, lying by omission.

              • Melb

                Key headed up Forex at ML in London – a whole different division (and part of the world) to their loans outfit in America.

                Key left ML in 2001 – years before they began the derivative practices, and seven years before the GFC.

                Trying to link him to that is just plain idiotic. Keep that kind of thinking up mate.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Key left ML in 2001 – years before they began the derivative practices, and seven years before the GFC.


                  Glass Steagal was repealed in 1999 at the behest of the bankster lobby. The day that went, the large US investment banks were into it full steam ahead.

                  The banksters have been parasitic on the real economy for decades. Don’t insult our intelligence and pretend it’s only been for the last few years.

              • les

                Key says that the derivative bubble occurred after he left!

                • Anne

                  Well in that case we know it must have occurred before he left.

                  • felix

                    Before, after, that’s just one word, so even if it’s the wrong one, at the end of the day the vast majority of the sentence is factually correct.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Yeah, FJK has been lying consistently to NZ for at least 5 years and probably longer. If you still believe anything he says then, quite simply, you’re an idiot and totally naive.

              • TheContrarian

                John Key was the manager in charge of introducing derivatives at Merril Lynch?

                Are you sure about that? Because I’m pretty sure that’s horseshit.

                As for a coverup that’s just conspiracy theory nonsense.

                • felix

                  I seem to recall the Great Man himself bragging that he invented some of those derivatives, or “products” as he calls them.

                  But I don’t remember where or when and I don’t have a link, so I probably wouldn’t believe it if I weren’t so consistently reliable 😀

                  • TheContrarian

                    References (reliable references 🙂 ) are unfortunate nessicities, my man.

                    Not to mention Key saying he had a hand in some of these “products” == manager in charge of introducing these at Merrill Lynch which is then covered up by the media by not reporting on these things

                    • TheContrarian

                      A chemtrail Blog that draws speculative conclusions bit gives no actual evidence of the claim you made about John Key being the manager of introducing derivatives.

                      Slow clap…..

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes I can confirm that I did see a picture of John Key standing in front of his Merrill Lynch office with a plaque identifying him as “Managing Director – Debt Products” dated 1999.

                      And the interview mentioned; if you dig about in the archives here I made reference to it here:


                      In it Key was explicitly talking about the pivotal role he played in revolutionising ML’s market in securitisation. So yes he was at the centre of the game. And quite a few of his mates know it.

                      Sadly I didn’t think to take a screenshot in those days. It’s long gone from the net. Scoff all you like – I clearly recall it.

                      BTW – the interview was done when Key left ML in 1999 to move to London to serve on the “Foreign Currency Committee of the US Federal Reserve” for about 18 months before he came back to NZ straight into the safe seat of Helensville.

                    • TheContrarian

                      So John Key’s role as Managing Director of Debt Products at Merrill Lynch has been quietly scrubbed from the internet outside of vague ‘references’ on a chemtrail blog?

                      Sounds legit.

                    • RedLogix

                      For the man in charge of the GCSB does this sound so hard? The material was definitely there when we looked for it in 2008 – but gone almost immediately after the election.

                      Traverev used to be a regular here, and while she got very sidetracked by 911, chemtrails and other distractions – she did often dig up interesting material.

                      For instance she was onto to the kind of mass surveillance that Snowden revealed, and the US Supreme Court just ruled as illegal – way before anyone else local imagined that it was going on at such a scale.

                      Nobody is ever 100% right, or 100% wrong.

                    • TheContrarian

                      “For the man in charge of the GCSB does this sound so hard?”

                      So you are now suggesting the possibility John Key used the GCSB to completely wipe all mention of his former position from the internet. That doesn’t sound hard, it sounds unhinged.

                      There is plenty to not like about Key without having to make up conspiracies about him.

                    • RedLogix

                      I certainly would not claim with any certainty that this is what happened. Things disappear off the net all the time for all sorts of reasons. But given the timing, the nature of the material, and everything else dodgy we have discovered about JK’s dealings with the GCSB since – would you entirely eliminate the possibility? Would you bet your life that Key could absolutely NOT have done this?

                      We are just talking about possibilities here and that is naturally a subjective thing. I accept that you will assign a much lower probability than me – but I suggest that zero is the unhinged value.

                      But demanding evidence when we have acknowledged we have nothing concrete is pointless. What you do have is my word that I did see it – and I genuinely regret failing to make a record of it at the time. That link above to a comment I made about it 6 years ago is evidence that it is a genuine recollection for me at least. If that’s not good enough for you – then so be it.

                    • joe90

                      Derivative markets were up and running in the early eighties, and partly or wholly the cause of the Orange County bankruptcy in 1994, so we can take John Key’s word that he was active in trading them.

                      After 10 years in the New Zealand market he headed offshore, working in Singapore, London, and Sydney for US investment banking firm Merrill Lynch. During that time he was in charge of a number of business units, including global foreign exchange and European bond and derivative trading.


                    • felix

                      Funny how as the thread gets longer, the list of things TheContrarian can scoff at gets shorter.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  As for a coverup that’s just conspiracy theory nonsense.

                  Not when the NZHerald produces hagiographies of FJK that don’t mention it at all.

                  • TheContrarian

                    I don’t think the herald ever mentioned the moon landing was a coverup either. Guess that means they are in on it.

                    You’re an idiot Draco.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      And that would be you going to false equivalence proving that you’re the fucken idiot.

          • Bob

            “Key was directly involved with the actions of the banks that brought about the GFC. That’s not a lie but it’s been covered up by the MSM”
            Draco, isn’t that bordering on defamation? Especially since, as Melb has pointed out, Key left ML in 2001
            I am interested to hear about the “direct involvement” he had though, as all I can find is this:
            I find this part the most interesting:
            “The products which underpinned the sub-prime boom – then bust – were hatched in 2004-2005, long after Key had left Merrill. Indeed, he says when he went back to London in 2007 he was “horrified” at the level of risk Merrill was running. “It was enormous and I just didn’t think that enough had changed to warrant that level of risk.””

            The fact he could be “directly involved” in products that were release 3-4 YEARS after he left suggests you are clutching at straws as much as Iain Parker is.

        • RedLogix

          I shouldn’t have said “make up absolute bullshit” but there is room for being a bit more sensationalist, is basically what I meant.

          If by that you mean NZ Labour needs to be stop being quite so prissy-mouthed about how badly the system is rigged – then most of us here would agree with you.

    • Coffee Connoisseur 9.3


  10. Michael 10

    Also, an interesting photo from the 1922 UK election:

    Same sh*t, different year…

  11. Coffee Connoisseur 11

    I think the problem is that whilst many people are struggling the only solution the left are seen to offer is a solution that comes with greater redistribution of wealth and more taxes.
    Unfortunately struggling people don’t want more tax.
    They do want a better future but as with all parties all you get given is the a narrative geared to the 3 year election cycle. The left need to create an idea of a better future and how it can be achieved. It needs to be one that people not only buy into but one that they take onboard as there own idea of a better future too.
    That just isn’t happening.

    Ed Milliband’s interview with Russel Brand was the only interview of any politician that has ever given me any real hope for the future. It gave me a sense that for the first time here was a politician that understood what the problems were and one thing that I thought was pure gold and hit the nail squarely on the head was when he said at the 4:42 mark ‘What we need to determine is who is the country run for’.
    Then at 14:47 where he says that the country can be better vs the Tories who are essentially saying this is as good as it gets. This is a hugely powerful message.
    The country can be better vs National essentially saying that this is as good as it gets.
    The only thing missing is HOW it can be better without just reverting to the usual redistribution of wealth.
    If thats all you’ve got then tie it to how doing so will step by step build a better future,
    If thats all you’ve got then front foot a message on what you are actually voting for when you vote Left vs Right.
    If your voting for the Left or a party considered left leaning then what you are voting for is redistribution of wealth from the shareholder class to the working class.
    If you vote for Right wing or parties considered right leaning then what you are actually voting for is wealth to be redistributed away from the working class (and the reality is that is most people) to the already wealthy shareholder class.
    Most people don’t even understand that this is the case.
    Then you need to detail exactly what Rightwing policy does and how this wealth is redistributed away from workers.
    watering down of labour laws
    selling off of assets owned by the people, built by previous governments.
    Open immigration policy that leads to increased competition for jobs and puts downward pressure on wages. So if you want to earn less over time then by all means vote National because that is what their policies are designed to do.
    High CEO salaries that incentivise restructures to remove workers and middle management jobs. Relocation of businesses overseas both of which put more people out of work resulting to more people fighting for the jobs that remain resulting again in more downward pressure on wages.
    And last but not least massive amounts of Taxpayer funds being given to corporates or already wealthy people through Corporate Welfare, Then provide examples and amounts, Hollywood, Team New Zealand (point out by asking the question how many ordinary New Zealand workers are into yacht racing), Rio Tinto and now some Multi millionaire Saudi Businessman gets a free farm with all the trimmings because the law changed after 4000 sheep died in transit on a ship and he got his panties in a bunch so we had to appease him. Seriously?! This is New Zealand FFS, We are the country that told the US to shove their nukes where the sun doesn’t shine but upset a Saudi Businessman and we need to spend millions of taxpayers money to appease him.. come on.
    The Right promise the earth but this is the nuts and bolts reality of what their policies deliver.
    Take the focus off policy a bit and drive home the message of ideaology. When they try to paint it as Communist then hit back with No it is simply about having policy that is there to work for ordinary hard working every day kiwis. It’s about having policy that doesn’t continuously redistribute what little money ordinary working class and middle class kiwis have by giving it to already wealthy shareholders and big corporates like Right wing redistrbution of wealth policy does.
    Don’t run from your ideaology. Own it. Own it in spades.

    • les 11.1

      your last line says it all if Labour are to have any hope.

      • Colonial Rawshark 11.1.1

        What is this “Labour ideology” you hope the party still has?

        • Coffee Connoisseur

          the ideology of the Left.
          Redistribution of wealth from the wealthy shareholder class to the working class (and middle class these days).

          • Colonial Rawshark

            In many ways that ideology belongs to the situations of the last century and voters no longer support it. Labour has done nothing in the last 30 years to enact that ideology anyway (and in fact with things like Kiwisaver has striven to make every ordinary NZer a capitalist shareholder), so what makes you so sure that they still hold it.

            • Coffee Connoisseur

              The ideaology is as valid today as it ever was. What people rejected was essentially forced unionism.
              Who is representing the middle class and the working class because right now the middle class is struggling too.
              Who is enacting policies that make their lives and the future of their children and the future of this country better? National?!
              Since Occupy and the GFC the pendulum has begun to swing back. I think people do care about the future and what they see is concerning. Things are a lot more uncertain and it scares them.
              The problem is that they can’t see a viable or meaningful alternative.
              The right simply run with voting Labour means you’ll pay more and you’ll then have the commie Greens. It’s subtle but powerful. Its a one, two punch everytime.
              It diverts attention from Labours idealogical message of redistribution of wealth toward the workers because if people got that (and that message needs to be worked on, There is a disconnect between workers and that message.) It needs to be pushed out strong and needs to encompass, workers, the middle, class, and SMEs. the message on Nationals ideaology needs to be pushed out also. The redistribution of wealth from the workers to the already wealthy and examples of it. Saudi businessman, Rio Tinto, Hollywood, Sky City. High CEO Salaries. Sale of public Assets. Weakening of Labour laws.
              They need to get people to understand the ideaologies and how action and policy enables that ideaology.
              Because right now you have workers and people struggling to redistribute more wealth away from themselves to richer people all because the ideaology in behind is not understood. ecause of that the policy might as well be smoke and mirrors.
              They should talk about and paint a picture of what this country will look like if we keep heading down the path we are heading down. What it means for them now as they enter their retirement. What it means for their kids, What NZ will look like.
              The message on Ideaology is now more important than ever, without it Labour look to an uninformed working voter like a similar choice to National but not quite as good.

              • Coffee Connoisseur

                Sorry there was a line in there that missed a key word – Because right now you have workers and people struggling, ‘voting’ to redistribute more wealth away from themselves to richer people.

    • locus 11.2

      Kapow…Coffee Connoisseur! – I’m liking a lot where that came from

    • Sans Cle 11.3

      +1 Coffee Connoisseur

  12. whateva next? 12

    Even before the election, I was hearing exactly the same comments from health service friends (i.e should be voting Labour without question!!) as I heard here in NZ last August e.g ” but look at the opposition” “there’s no point” etc. none of which could be substantiated with ANY facts, just propoganda from MSM.
    I feel for Harry Smith, at Labour conference 2014, who put his all into explaining why we needed to appreciate what we have, and treasure the NHS, but did the masses (or the great unwashed as Crosby refers to them in his master class) hear him?????

  13. Marty 13

    No matter how good the Labour campaign, its resourcing and the media control, you still have to solve the Green problem. The only reliable way is to not need them as a coalition partner. As long as we do, we’re behind the 8 ball.

    • swordfish 13.1

      Disagree. Greens are nowhere near as toxic to voters as some pundits seem to assume.

    • mickysavage 13.2

      The right have managed this problem by National eating its support partners. I cannot see this happening on the left. The Greens are far too coherent and have far too many quality MPs for them to disappear in the medium future.

      Better that Labour and the Greens sort out common understandings of what a future Labour-Green coalition would look like. Because this has not been done before (except arguably in 2005) the Nats can invent and say whatever they like about what a future government would look like.

      • Karen 13.2.1

        It is essential that the Labour Party and Greens do this ASAP as I believe that both parties will benefit in terms of support. Swordfish will know, but from memory there has been a boost in polls when Labour and the Greens have been seen to work together, but both drop whenever they start attacking each other. I am sure the Greens and Labour lost votes because of Russel Norman, just before the election, saying they could work with National.

        • phillip ure

          and the big issue to face down is how to tactical-vote – how not to cannablise each others’ votes..

          …and how to work together…not against each other..

          ..if they can get that sorted out – they will be unstoppable..

          ..if they don’t – they are fucked..

          ,,it’s as simple as that..

        • Clemgeopin

          And just the other day, Key and Norman went cycling together. Was that ‘politically’ good or bad for the Greens?

      • alwyn 13.2.2

        Surely the Labour Party destroyed every party who went into Government with them.
        Where are the Alliance these days? What happened to United Future? Didn’t New Zealand First vanish from Parliament for a while from 2008?
        The only thing that has kept the Green Party alive is the fact that Labour spurned them.

    • Bill 13.3

      “The only reliable way is to not need them as a coalition partner.”

      Fixed Term Parliaments Act. Problem solved.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.4

      Wrong on so many levels it’s not funny.

      The Greens really aren’t the problem but the solution to many issues. If everyone voted on policies the majority of people would vote for the Greens. The reason why they don’t is because of the negative image that has been built up by the RWNJs through lies and misinformation which is then spread through the RWNJ owned MSM.

      • Sans Cle 13.4.1

        +1 Draco
        What I find strange is that the Greens don’t seem to pick up the conscientious Labour voter who has rising income/more affluence/social mobility. It seems to switch ditectly to National. Anomalous.

  14. Bill 14

    Crosby Textor or who-ever can only ever have an influence when an electorate are fairly uninformed.

    Given that many of the same TV and newspapers that wind up in English living rooms also wind up in Scottish living rooms, the divergence of the Scottish vote from that in England and Wales can’t be explained by spin alone.

    Around half of the Scottish electorate took the opportunity to understand shit during the discussion before the Independence referendum, and then they ran with it and haven’t stopped running with it. Those people are now moredifficult to spin. Everytime Labour or major media tried, I suspect Labour lost a little more support. 100 000 people on the ground,knocking doors and countering arguments helps too.

    I’m not suggesting that informed people can’t be led down the garden path by the leash of their new understanding/political belief. But if NZ doesn’t want to be spun like a top, then NZ needs a political discussion that engages the electorate.

  15. Clemgeopin 15

    This map is stunning but sad. (Click the Twitter link)

    I think we have to admit that most English voters are utter cunts— Rick B (@TenPercent) May 9, 2015

    Of all the reasons given so far, the unmentioned reason is that people ignored the country’s massive debt and income gaps, and but simply voted to quickly grab the tax cuts and several money bribes/sweeteners that Cameron dangled. See the bribes here. Very effective:

    • Clemgeopin 15.1

      Um, I just found another map to counter the above one ;

    • Nic the NZer 15.2

      Given its a Tory program, that actually looks pretty good! This includes pledges to raise the minimum wage, and to increase the tax free band which everybody gets.

      • Sable 15.2.1

        Looks can be deceiving….

      • Clemgeopin 15.2.2

        Yes, it does, but is designed to win votes from the myopic masses while the other policies will screw them up slowly and steadily and increase the income gap in favour of the wealthy. For example:

        * Welfare spending to be cut by £12billion
        * No programme to reduce the massive Government debt of £1.56 trillion the interest to pay on it is itself £43bn!
        * No income tax rise, nor National Insurance contributions, nor VAT = Reduced public services. The wealthy will be fine.
        * No pledges to end zero hours contracts. Cool for crooked corporates, Woeful for desperate workers. Labour pledged to make 0-hour contracts illegal.
        * Tempting Housing policies will enrich the banks/developers/capitalists causing increasing demand and therefore higher and higher prices making homeownership even less affordable eventually. Also inducing a government created housing bubble and possible collapse affecting the vulnerable poorer new/nascent house owners the most.
        * Tenants of housing association properties would be able to buy their home at a big discount under a new ‘Right to Buy’ scheme. Good for them, but what about the diminished number of such state houses the future needy? [damn them! We need to win votes, NOW !]
        *Cap on benefits at £23,000, down from £26,000 a year, and to freeze benefits.
        Yes hit the most vulnerable first, of course! [Most of these don’t vote for us anyway! We are after the rest of the common, low/middle class of people, remember? ]
        * Tuition fees will remain at £9,000 and future rises have not been ruled out by the Conservatives. Ed Miliband had pledged a Labour government would have cut fees to £6,000. The former doesn’t worry the rich, the latter gives more opportunities for the less well off and poor.
        * Energy bills will not be frozen for the next two years, a plan put forward by Labour. The energy companies are screwing people, affecting the poor the most, as usual.
        *People living in expensive properties will not face a mansion tax. Labour had planned a contentious tax that was expected to cost those with homes worth £2 million to £3 million at least £3,000 a year. [The rich are the blessed ones needing government favours. They are our fonors after all!]
        *Renters will not receive help scraping a deposit together. The Liberal Democrats had proposed a help-to-rent scheme, to make low-cost loans available to fund rental properties for the under 30s, repayable over one or two years.

    • joe90 15.3


      Vaughan Roderick

      Do I get a prize for this? Distribution of Labour seats compared to England and Wales coalfields.

  16. Sable 16

    Lets be honest, a vote for Labour is now not too dissimilar to a vote for the right. This lack of difference in policy platform is the real reason they are not securing victory. If you want people to vote for change they have to see enough of a point of difference for them to do so.

    That said, its a shame people did not see beyond Labour to look at other alternative parties. Just shows how slow people are to change.

    • saveNZ 16.1

      +1 Sable

      Yep I agree. Why would you vote labour because in a sense they are just National watered down with a few more taxes to the rich on PAYE. On all the controversial issues like Surveillance, TPPA and standing up for NZ sovereignty from foreign countries in terms of war, trade or asset sales. The same as the Nats or very similar. Maybe they are different in their minds (maybe even their policies) but who know because the message seems to be that they support the Nats on most things but not quite as far.

      The problem is also that Labours idea of change seems to be take from Kiwis and leave foreign investment alone. I am all for foreign investment done in the right way with protections to NZ. (What the TPPA is trying to take away).

      • Sable 16.1.1

        The TPPA Is economic imperialism. Sadly it may be the only thing that wakes people up to the reality of right rule. It will however come at an appalling price.

  17. Agent Orange 17

    I think the Labour Party died when the mighty Norm Kirk died. It has been over run by academic socialist since that sad day. I remember his great oratory skills pounding out the Labour Policies, not apologizing to anyone, no umming and arring. I remember he had a great vision for NZ and we believed him. I remember him introducing New Zealand day (6 Feb) to unify all of NZ but Muldoon changed it to Waitangi day in a misguided attempt to discredit the Labour party. I remember Norm Kirk giving pensioners at Christmas an extra weeks pension money, not saying to them they will have to work an extra 5 years to claim the pension.I remember him ordering the post office to reduce the telephone charges to pensioners. He had a vision and he articulated it to everyone. He was an Engine driver, a worker, who built his own house brick by brick, he was NOT an academic labour Prime Minister but a person who led by example, not telling people how they should live and that he knew better. I am sick of labour people who forgot they had $50,000 somewhere. Norm wouldn’t have had $5000. He was a Man who had been there done that the hard way. NZ needs another Big Norm! Until then Labour will be in the wilderness.

  18. les 18

    maybe Labour need to borrow another Bolger line…’a decent society’!

  19. joe90 19

    Peter Hitchens isn’t impressed.

    I never for a moment imagined that Big Money and Big Lies could so successfully scare, cajole and diddle the electorate of this country. I grew up in a Britain both better-educated and more honest than the one we have today. Perhaps that is why I could not see this possibility. I have not seen, in my lifetime, a campaign so dishonest, so crude, so based in fear and so redolent of third-world and banana republic political tactics.


    The truth is that both major parties are now just commercial organisations, who raise money wherever they can get it to buy their way into office through unscrupulous election campaigns. They then presumably reward their donors once they are in office. The electorate are a constitutional necessity for this process, but otherwise their fears, hopes and desires are largely irrelevant. They are to be fooled and distracted with scares (‘The other lot will privatise the NHS!’ ‘The other lot will nationalise your children’s toys and then wreck the economy!’ ) or with loss-leader cut-rate offers, like supermarkets (‘Vote for us and get a cheap mortgage!!’ ‘Vote for us and have your rent frozen!’) . Even if these wild pledges are implemented, the customer will pay for them through higher taxes elsewhere, just as with supermarket loss-leaders.

    • greywarshark 19.1

      I think Peter Hitchens put that well. Thanks joe90 for another insightful comment and link.

  20. Tory 20

    Or maybe the voting public have had a guts full of all the left ism’s and as I maintain, blue collar workers are generally conservative in their politics.

  21. Ecosse_Maidy 21

    Oh Dear, Tories return, on there own!
    A socialist friend of mine in the uk, encapsulated my disappointment, his and many other of the Left in UK.
    It was like waking up on Christmas morning, wandering into living room and looking below at Christmas tree expecting some lovely presents from Santa, only to realize he left a steaming pile of ****!

  22. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 22

    From time to time, I have toyed with the idea of being left wing. Just kicked it around. Tried it on.

    I see the attraction. You get to complain about fucking everything. Whatever happens, it is not your fault. You can blame other people for it.

    Like this shit.

    • Colonial Rawshark 22.1

      You don’t think that Lynton Crosby is worth every single penny he charged the Tories for his brilliant campaign strategies?

    • locus 22.2

      From time to time, I toy with the idea of being a decent human being. Just kick it around. Try it on.

      I see the attraction. You get to care about building better society. Whatever happens, you can share in others’ successes. You can be proud that you’ve helped.

      But as you know i’ll never be this as i think it’s ‘left wing’ shit.


    • ropata 22.3

      Once upon a time, I followed the footsteps of right wing assholes. Tried it on, kicked a few people around.

      I see the attraction. You get to laugh about fucking over everyone. Whatever happens, you can deflect the blame with a bit of teflon and media shine.

      I have a shit eating grin about it.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 22.3.1

        Oh, stop yer whining.

        • felix

          Says the guy who visits a website he doesn’t like, every day, just to tell people who disagree with him that they’re doing everything wrong.


    • Lanthanide 22.4

      You say that as if National still aren’t blaming Labour for the state of the country.

  23. Sanctuary 23

    “…I have defeat tattooed on my DNA. My great-uncle was shot dead. My grandfather was given the death sentence and spent 5 years in jail. My grandmothers suffered the humiliation of those defeated in the Civil War. My father was put in jail. My mother was politically active in the underground. My first experience of political socialisation as a child was in the mobilisations against NATO [in the 1980s], which was the last time that the Left in this country thought we could win. It bothers me enormously to lose. … And I’ve spent many years, with colleagues, devoting almost all of our political activity to thinking how we can win … The things I say in the mass media and how I say them require a great many hours’ work where we think about how to move through an absolutely hostile terrain. … We were in Latin America and we watched and watched how they did things there to win. And here is the secret. The first thing is not to feel any fear …. [Second] I know that all Left activists want the whole of the Left to be united. … If all of the Left organisations were, then we can beat the rogues in charge. Rubalcaba and Rajoy love it that we don’t think like that because they know that then we would be limited to 15 or 20 per cent [of the vote]. … I don’t want to be the 20 or 15 per cent. I don’t want my biggest political aspiration to be taking three regional ministries from the Socialist Party. I don’t want to be a “hinge”. I want to win. And in a context of complete ideological defeat in which they have insulted and criminalised us, where they control all of the media, to win the Left needs to stop being a religion and become a tool in the hands of the people. It needs to become the people … I know that this pisses off people on the Left. We like our slogans, symbols and anthems. We like getting together as a group. We think that if we get several party initials on a poster this means we are going to win. No way. [Winning] is about people’s anger and hopes. It is about reaching people who otherwise would see us as aliens because the Left has been defeated. … What should democrats do? Democracy is taking power off those that monopolise it and sharing it out among everyone, and anyone can understand that. … 15-M sent a damned message — firstly to the Left and there were left-wingers that took it badly. I remember Left leaders saying “I’ve been ‘indignado’ [outraged] for 30 years. Are these kids going to come and tell me what being outraged is all about?” OK, but it wasn’t you that brought together hundreds of thousands in the Puerta del Sol. The fact that [15-M] held the largest mobilisation since the NATO referendum and that this has been able to change this country’s political agenda to put the demand for democracy first, does that reveal [the Left’s] strength? No, it shows our damned weakness. If the unions and social organisations were organised, we wouldn’t need things like [Podemos]. The problem is that in times of defeat so you don’t get defeated again, …. you have to think and say “we can be the majority”. – Pablo Iglesias, leader of PODEMOS.

    Gentle, as a start I think we all need to learn Spanish if we want to find the antidote to Anglo-Saxon monetarism.

    • greywarshark 23.1

      I am sick of English. It seems to be a tainted language. The English speaking 5-eyes project from the head of a monster – they are not beacons of light coming from healthy democracies. I used to think that Canada might have something going for it. Perhaps it did, but it kept going and they haven’t got it back. Australia, when it suits they will colonise us, perhaps instal a Commissioner as our NACTs did in Christchurch.. As for us. Well……

  24. joe90 24

    Marxist writer Richard Seymour on the collapse of the Labour Party and of labour movement politics.

    By degrees, Labour has come to accept most of the Conservative ‘vision’, not least because it lacks one of its own. The Tory Weltanschauung is complex, its racist and authoritarian flavours tempered by business-friendly cosmopolitanism and ‘free market’ libertarianism. It has taken only thirty years for Labour to metabolise the right’s ‘common sense’ about the market and spending, its repressive attitude to security and criminal justice (the prison population and police numbers expanded at a much higher rate under Labour than they have under the Conservatives; ‘anti-terror’ legislation and Asbos proliferated), and now its immigration policy. Shortly after William Hague became Tory leader in 1997, Labour took up the Tories’ rhetoric about asylum seekers and gypsies. Its response to the riots in the north of England in 2001, which pitted young Asian men against the far right and the police, was to blame local tensions on the Asian propensity for self-segregation. There were years of authoritarian exhortations to embrace ‘Britishness’. But, as the Blairite columnist Dan Hodges has argued, ‘trying to ape the language of the BNP succeeded only in boosting the BNP.’ It also gave Cameron the opportunity in opposition to belittle the ‘Alf Garnett’ race politics of the Labour front bench and to pledge to ‘reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour government’.

    btw he called the Labour loss too

  25. ropata 25

    same shit used in WWI
    what moved the mass of people was not fact or reason, but emotion…

  26. Gosman 26

    Here’s a conundrum for you.

    If you are correct and left wing parties need more resources to compete with right wing ones AND you also support the idea of State funding of political parties and restrictions on private election financing how do you expect to get right leaning parties to support these ideas and not just ditch them the next time they get in to power?

    • RJL 26.1


      c.f. MMP, right-wing would ditch if they could, but can’t.

      • Gosman 26.1.1

        MMP was selected via a referendum with strong support. If you want to promote a referendum on state funding of political parties and restrictions on private donations then you have my backing. I strongly believe you will lose the referendum if you managed to get enough support to hold it.

  27. Gosman 27

    The reply to my last comment has got me thinking. Why don’t the left in NZ start a Citizen’s Initiated Referendum on restrictions on private funding of political parties and promoting State Funding instead. By doing so you will avoid the Right just ditching any changes that you might make if you ever were able to implement the policy at some stage.

    • Sable 27.1

      This had crossed my mind too Gosman but image the opposition from the right. Not to mention them using their sleazy pals in the MSM to quash this idea.

      • Gosman 27.1.1

        Oh yes. You will be crucicfied in the media and by the right. That is a given. I for one will relish the opportunity to attack this sort of campaign at every opportunity. But if you think it is a worthwhile cause that is bringing an element of better democracy to NZ surely you can overcome such attacks.

        • Sable

          Its seems to me lately that nothing seems to make an impact. Its a nice idea but the MSM in particular are so right leaning the chance of it getting a fair hearing is almost nil.

          • Gosman

            If you can’t make the case for electoral finance reform and deal with the criticism that will accompany trying to do so then perhaps it isn’t a very good policy to begin with.

    • RJL 27.2


      A CIR on this issue is a bad idea because:

      A) Citizen’s Initiated Referenda are the preserve of clowns and kooks.

      B) The Herald would wheel out their “Democracy Under Attack!” banner heading.

      C) It would be better to have a proper referendum (like there was for MMP, length of parliamentary term), with an associated Commission, etc.

    • vto 27.3

      off the point gosman

      why should those with money have a greater say in the country than those with less money?

      goes directly to the heart of our one vote each principle

      • Gosman 27.3.1

        Why should people who have more time to devote to politics have a greater say than those that don’t?

        • vto

          that was not the question asked

          • Gosman

            It is basically the same question but reframed in terms of labour rather than capital.

            If you think people with excess capital shouldn’t use it to promote their political interests why should people with excess labour be allowed to?

            • vto

              I have no problem with people being allowed only the same amount of labour each – no problem at all.

              So, now to the money question gosman – why should those with money have a greater say in the country than those with less money?

              • Gosman

                Stopping people doing something they want to do freely should always be discouraged in society unless there is an extremely good reason to restrict them. I personally don’t think the reasons put forward are good enough. I don’t think people are able to buy an election, certainly not in New Zealand anyway. On top of that the restrictions are likely to be unworkable. How will you restrict both donations and volunteer work for political parties?

                • RJL


                  There is ample evidence that marketing and advertising strongly influences what people think about an idea/policy/product. Certainly the people paying for the marketing and advertising think this is so.

                  Do you really think it is desirable that society adopts (by voting) those ideas/policies that are merely marketed best?

                  • Gosman

                    There is also the law of diminishing returns where you get less impact for every dollar you spend over a certain value. Is the Left unable to generate the level of funding that means it is essentially on par with the right in terms of spend? I doubt it given that while the Right has greater potential for donations the left has the greater ability to extract funding from their sources. I also seem to remember reading here comments by numerous people that the left is generally better for business than the right. If so it then becomes a matter of convincing businesses of this fact and getting the associated funding from them.

                    • RJL


                      So, your Great Vision for Democracy is that “policies must appeal to (wealthy) business owners, so that the party can get adequate advertising spend”. That’s pretty fucking lame.

                    • Gosman

                      Considering many people already think left wing policies are far more beneficial to business owners (wealthy or otherwise) than right wing ones why do you think it will be difficult to convince them to support the left financially?

                    • RJL

                      Whether right or left (or some other label) have the most business friendly policies is not the point.

                      Why do you think that “having business friendly policies” should be the main thing that decides the advertising spend (and therefore success) of a political party in a democracy?

                      That’s an utterly lame idea of what a democracy should be.

            • felix

              “It is basically the same question but reframed in terms of labour rather than capital.

              If you think people with excess capital shouldn’t use it to promote their political interests why should people with excess labour be allowed to?”

              What rubbish.

              Most people have no excess of either, whereas the wealthiest have both.

            • McFlock

              Everybody has 24 hours a day.

              Not everybody has a half mill to throw around.

    • joe90 27.4

      Why don’t the left in NZ start a Citizen’s Initiated Referendum on restrictions on private funding of political parties and promoting State Funding instead.

      A ban on corporate and union funding was one of the policies that saw the NDP win in the most right-wing province in Canada.

      A Resource Owners’ Rights Commission to review the royalties oil companies pay to the province, with any amount earned above the current rates going into savings.

      A boost in the corporate tax rate to 12 per cent from 10 per cent.

      An increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018.

      More tax brackets on high earners than the Tories are proposing: A 12 per cent tax rate on income between $125,000 to $150,000; 13 per cent on income between $150,000 and $200,000; 14 per cent between $200,000 and $300,000 and 15 per cent over $300,000.

      The NDP also plans to roll back the Tory health levy.

      The creation of 2,000 long term care spaces over four years.

      A ban on both corporate and union donations to political parties.

  28. The Real Matthew 28

    How does the left counter this?

    Move to the center and get rid of the loony policies at the edge

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