Slack on Dagg and English

Written By: - Date published: 10:35 am, April 18th, 2017 - 21 comments
Categories: bill english, history, humour - Tags: , , ,

There was (among the usual dross) some great stuff in the papers over the Easter break. Here’s David Slack with some observations on Fred Dagg, NZ, and Bill English:

Fred Dagg left and took the old ways with him

Two things seemed to happen on TV in the 1970s at more or less the same time: there was John Clarke being brilliant, and there was the rise of Robert Muldoon. It was a time of middle-aged white men deciding what was good for all of us. They would look at the rest of us in a way that said we amused them and one day we might understand, now be quiet.

But here was Clarke with something new, something you wouldn’t hear on the radio or the TV or at a civic ceremony, but would actually hear wherever you went. Tom Scott says he and Clarke would swap lines they heard in shearing gangs and at the freezing works, and they would be on the floor laughing and then they would put it into their writing, and it was funny, and knowing, and genius.

It was the sound of us, it was also the sound of irreverence. It saw through the foolishness of people who knew what was best for us. You might be the boss, you might also be an idiot.

Bill English has that look. You can talk to him and it can feel as though he’s listening, but when you look back, you remember an amused grin fixed to his face.

Some people call him a policy genius. His big idea is “social investment”: you treat social welfare spending as an investment. That is: you ask how you can get a better return on it. You crunch the data, and work out which people need mending, like they’re Uber drivers ready to pop up on your app so you can give them a good sorting out.

Good old neo-liberalism! Always finding a simple solution to a complex problem. Pity there’s no such thing.

This is essentially how our economy works – Fonterra earns a huge wodge of money that it spends with big law firms and accountants and consultants and bankers. All those people spend a fortune on their beautiful homes in St Mary’s Bay and Parnell, and all the tradespeople and middlemen charge them top dollar and silly money. They all go out to dinner and spray loads of cash around and we call this a buoyant economy.

Next thing you know, you want to do some renovations and you call a guy for a quote and he arrives in a brand new Touareg and he tells you it’ll be $80K to renovate a couple of bathrooms.

The whole thing’s a lolly scramble. Everyone is borrowing enough money to pay for 80k bathrooms and million-dollar brick and tile houses, because we’ve all pretended that makes sense. It looks like foolishness.

But no doubt the Government knows best.

No doubt.

21 comments on “Slack on Dagg and English”

  1. Incognito 1

    Expect a major ‘social investment’ hijack when National replaces the school decile system with a system based on Predictive Risk Modelling Index AKA Future Risk Index.

    • bearded git 1.1

      That policy is all about stopping kids in poor schools getting more $$….its one of the few redistributive policies that has survived….and so under this lot it must go

  2. red-blooded 2

    Yeah, I’m not a big fan of the current decile system – it certainly has faults and limitation – but I have to admit I’m frightened by the spectre of whatever the Nat-appointed working party is going to reveal as their cunning new plan.

    We do still have comedians providing commentary on politics (I’m thinking of the one-minute segment on Q+A, for example), but it’s very much “once-over-lightly” and doesn’t do much to provoke thought. John Clarke did some wonderful work in Australia – I think he really grew as a comedian and commentator, but he did leave a gap here in NZ. For a while we had shows like “A Week of It”, but now the best we get is “7 Days”, and that’s usually drivel. Sigh…

    • Incognito 2.1

      The decile system is a dog, true, but paradoxically its demise might be worse.

      When comedians are the last or only barrier of defence we’re in big trouble; it’s called “symptomatic healing” by philosopher Slavoj Žižek.

      https://qz.com/896463/is-it-ok-to-punch-a-nazi-philosopher-slavoj-zizek-talks-richard-spencer-nazis-and-donald-trump/

      (HT to greywarshark /open-mike-16042017/#comment-1320966)

      • simbit 2.1.1

        The correlation with the efflorescense of Clarke’s talent is a rise in neoliberalism (more material?). He and others (Jon Stewart et al.) are like a safety valve for defeated liberals.

        As a footnote, the Trevs’ would have absolutely snotted any Nazis.

    • mpledger 2.2

      The decile system was at least reasonably transparent.

      The future risk index stuff isn’t and it’s easy to tweak. For example, it could be that kids with family incomes less than $50,000 generate more money for the school but then the govt can change it to $40,000 or $30,000, etc.

      Each year the funding will change just as the kids with the “wrong” characteristics start school or move to high school/intermediate. But in high turnover schools, the funding will be changing all the time as kids come and go. I remember watching a tv snippet and a teacher saying something like by the end of the year half her class was different from the start of the year.

      • I think the criticism of the decile system as too simplistic is valid. I also (ironically) think that another issue was that it was too transparent. Any well-intentioned method of catchup funding can become a PR millstone around a school’s neck if it’s publicly available. There’s a good argument that some level of opaqueness to catchup funding is necessary to avoid the league tables problem.

        I think part of the solution is absolutely to incorporate more data into the metric and to make it the most common way for a teacher to get promoted to be by serving at a school where students face additional challenges. You would also need to let the data get reasonably out of date though, so that school funding whiplash doesn’t happen as people try to adjust to get their kids into the best-funded schools.

        I went to an underfunded Decile 10 school for my secondary education, as almost all the wealthy donors sent their kids to other, better Decile 10 schools, so the few households who could afford generous donations only sent their kids there because they valued public education. We got plenty of “problem kids” there because the decile system didn’t actually address overall risk factors. (I met more kids from wealthy backgrounds in intermediate than I did in college, too, so the decile system probably makes a lot more sense in terms of primary education than it does in terms of secondary schools)

        It’s not just a bad system because it stigmatised low-decile schools, it also selectively underfunded schools that underperformed relative to their zoning, and didn’t differentiate between private and public schools sufficiently, disadvantaging public education in wealthy areas, which probably held back a lot of parents from enrolling their priveleged kids in an environment that would have taught them some very valuable life skills, like say, humility and resourcefulness.

        That said, I don’t want National naively running school funding based purely on Big Data. Big Data is a starting point that should be used to tell us what to research next, and if we’re replacing school deciles, it should be based on well-founded research, so that we get it much closer to right this time. If a secondary school student can articulate the best arguments against educational policy, it’s definitely poorly thought out. Honestly, I hope any changing to school funding get held up until the government changes.

  3. ropata 3

    McPhail and Gadsby were peers of John Clarke and their satire was right up there, with a more direct political angle. McPhail’s iconic Muldoon impressions remain my strongest memory of his exploits in the late 70s/early 80s

    • Anne 3.1

      McPhail, Gadsby, Scott and Clarke have never been replaced…

      I blame it on neo liberalism. It’s taken the humour out of the people and left them with nothing but baubles, bangles and beads.

      • Incognito 3.1.1

        🙂

        Don’t forget the bubbly.

      • bearded git 3.1.2

        I was listening to Dagg’s real estate agent diatribe on rnz while driving into Dunedin yesterday arvo and cracking up so much that I was a menace to other traffic

        • Anne 3.1.2.1

          This will have you choking for air:

          Fred Dagg on Country Calendar

          • greywarshark 3.1.2.1.1

            Anne
            Wonderful. But that throwing himself across the porch wall in a light hearted manner that is misjudged and shows him falling on his shoulder, that’s very funny and part of his role of the enthusiastic man on the land. First I laughed and then I thought that looks like devoting yourself to your art beyond reason. Did he really do this, which could have broken his arm, or was it camera trickery somehow?

      • Gosman 3.1.3

        McPhail , Gadsby , Clarke and to a lesser extent Scott were screwed over by the State run media.

        • Skeptic 3.1.3.1

          And lets not forget Murray Ball – his cartoons were the icing on the cake – so many great memories of all these characters. Anyone else got the Fred Dagg LP?

      • greywarshark 3.1.4

        Funny that, funny strange that is. Baubles, bangles and beads by the truckload under neo liberalism hypnotising us with pretty things waved back and forward in front of women’s eyes, and also truckloads of fairly well made clothes, and fashion shoes mesmerising the free feminists. Or that should be free. It’s like the cliche of western colonisers bringing their manufactures to the natives. Now we are part of the natives, and the visitors from overseas want our farmland and houses, deja vu all over again wot!

        • SpaceMonkey 3.1.4.1

          Yup… NZ has been undergoing a second wave of colonisation by foreign corporations. Non-Maori NZ is going to understand what it felt like for Maori to be robbed the way they were. We will all be poorer for it in the long run.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Some people call him a policy genius. His big idea is “social investment”: you treat social welfare spending as an investment.

    Otherwise known as Social Engineering.

    • ropata 4.1

      Nanny State! Big Brother! Social Engineering! Attack on Democracy!

      Waiting for the MSM campaign against Blinglish in 3…2…1…

    • ropata 4.2

      More context:

      Some people call him a policy genius. His big idea is “social investment”: you treat social welfare spending as an investment. That is: you ask how you can get a better return on it. You crunch the data, and work out which people need mending, like they’re Uber drivers ready to pop up on your app so you can give them a good sorting out.

      If the Nats were honest about being data driven they wouldn’t be janking the stats for unemployment, crime, and homelessness. They have all the goddamn evidence in the world that state intervention is necessary from the earliest stage of life to help at risk kids, that proper healthcare actually advances an economy, that inequality is a huge drag on the economy and a waste of human potential, that free education is the best possible “social investment”.

      RWNJ’s don’t see public services as an investment, Blinglish is a penny pinching Scrooge who only sees human beings as a cost to be minimised on his goddamn spreadsheets.

  5. peterlepaysan 5

    bill english is and always will be a treasury policy wonker.
    Nothing matters except the Treasury dogma. Business knows best, give business all the advantages ( and national party coffers).
    english is a cold blooded ruthless economist from the same family as gordon gecko.
    Humans only exist to “prove” his economics.
    He did have enough wit to belatedly recognise greed can be a “bad look” but not a wrong (that might be sinful). I refer to residential /accommodation allowances in double dipton.
    Actually Dipton is a bloody good name for his electorate.

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    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago

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