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This Year

Written By: - Date published: 9:35 pm, December 14th, 2015 - 38 comments
Categories: Dirty Politics, Kelvin Davis, Minister for International Embarrassment, The Standard, uncategorized - Tags: , ,

As the year winds down, I’ve been thinking about The Standard, particularly this blog’s influence in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We’re sometimes called an echo chamber, a far left talk fest or, memorably, a “dreadful 21st century bastardisation of a once proud Labour broadsheet“.

The truth is that The Standard is very, very representative of the broad left and its allies. The authors range from Marxist through anarchist, social democratic, green, centrist, centre right to libertarian. The commenters also cover all strands of political thought, mainly being the voices of Kiwis who are engaged in politics and concerned about their country. We like to argue and we’re not afraid to do so publicly.

It’s also a strength of this left wing site that it attracts often interesting righties such as former Cabinet Minister Dr Wayne Mapp and commentator and professional stirrer Matthew Hooton. ‘I agree with Matthew’ is almost a comedy punchline round these parts. Actually, I rarely agree with what the right says here at TS, but I appreciate the opportunity to see how they are thinking. And despite the whinging about TS on other conservative blogs, the moderation here is not about limiting the expression of ideas. If you can argue a controversial point intelligently, your contribution is welcome.

And don’t think the Standard doesn’t make a difference. I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago, Deportee, that was the first media article to point out that John Key had given a false impression about the ability of Kiwis sent home to fight for their Australian residency. Specifically, the post broke the news that the cost of the flights home had to met before the appeal could start. This week, the Government announced that those travel costs would be dropped. It was The Standard that made that happen.

There will be posts in the next couple of weeks about the most commented and read pieces on The Standard, but in the meantime, here’s the TRPies, my end of the year bouquets.

First up, respect to Lynn Prentice. As readers know, LP does an amazing job of keeping the site running. As we learned from Ben Rachinger, the Standard is often under cyber attack, but the privacy of contributors has never been compromised. And this year, The Standard has been under a different kind of attack. [deleted]. Happily the racist, misogynist fantasists behind this attack on freedom of speech have shown themselves to be legal numpties.

Secondly, to my fellow authors. It will come as no surprise to readers that we don’t always get along. All of us see the world differently and we are passionate about what we do at the Standard. Authoring is hard work. It’s time consuming, often a battering for the ego and the responses can be hit and miss. But when it’s good, it’s very good indeed. Nothing better than seeing a post take off and generate a life of its own.

And the Standard is the leading left blog primarily because of the quality of the posts. It takes a good topic, clever thinking and engaging writing to spark a real debate. That happens here every day without fail, which is truly amazing.

Thirdly, to the commenters. At a guess, less than 10% of readers also post comments. We have a community of contributors here who really make the blog what it is. The authors may provide the vehicle, but it’s the commenters who turn the key and drive the site. Thanks to all of you.

My end of the year list:

Politician of the Year: Andrew Little. He has got the LP caucus humming after 7 years of division. And he is starting to look like a potential PM.

Up and coming politician: Kelvin Davis. His election was controversial for some, but he has done amazing work in his shadow portfolio and has seen off Serco Sam. Next in his sights: Judith Collins.

Political event of the Year: The Ponytail assault. The right would like to think it’s old news, but having a pervert for a PM is never a good look. It was John Key’s American Psycho moment.

Citizen of the Year: Helen Kelly. Nuff said.

Best commenter: felix. I don’t often regret my contributions here, but it’s entirely my fault felix doesn’t comment here any more. Come back mate, you’re missed.

Best other blog: Your NZ. Yes, I know; rolly eyes all round. But Pete George has steadily lifted his blog’s profile, readership and reader comments. It’s easily the best of the righty blogs right now, even if it is regularly pompous and disingenuous about issues like Dirty Politics.

Best post: For reference, here’s a small selection of the year’s most debated posts:

In Praise of Key

New Zealand shamed at Paris

Labour’s Betrayal Continues

A flag that suits Key’s NZ

John Key’s Lies Since The 2014 Election

An open letter to Andrew Little

Red Peak

Tony Veitch and the power of redemption

My Little Ponytail

Abusive and creepy

The Sabin issue timeline

All Apologies

Save Campbell Live!

UK Election; the lessons.

War, HUH!

There are many, many others. The Standard covered just about every issue going; Charlie Hebdo, ISIS, Greece, The UK election, Corbyn, Northland, the Auckland housing crisis and more.

But my favourite post of 2015 is Mandy Hager’s “An open letter to Andrew Little”. It’s as good a guide to how the parliamentary left can win the next General Election as you could hope to read. An outstanding, challenging post.

So that’s my list. What’s yours?

Other authors have made suggestions about other categories, such as best journalist/jonolist of the year, porky of the year, strangest political event of the year ( if only Colin Craig’s Mr X had a ponytail!). If we get a decent list, maybe next year we can get a sponsor and do it properly. I hear Xero are keen on supporting good challenging discussions. Give me a call Rod, we should talk.

But for 2015, it’s up to you, dear Standarnista; what’s worth celebrating, commemorating, or just contemplating? What made this year special for you?

 

 

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lprent: Material relating to a current case removed. It has restrictions from court orders

 

38 comments on “This Year ”

  1. Muttonbird 1

    The big one for me was CV tossing his toys when the Labour Party dared to ask for data to be collected on who exactly is buying houses in the problematic Auckland.

    The Standard has been a go to refuge for me despite that incident and thanks to those who maintain and write for this site.

    Hope everyone gets a break this summer to spend with those who count.

  2. Gael 2

    Merry Christmas to you all and thanks again for the best current affairs info in NZ. Awesome… best for me was Shoot the messenger and BLiPs first post.

    Happy hols if you have them… 🙂

  3. Rob 3

    Thanks it is good to get an alternate view on our world than what is in the current MSM.
    I agree that pulling ponytails is weird.!!

  4. Lanthanide 4

    Strangest political story of the year is definitely Colin Craig’s meltdown. You know that he has admitted to being “Mr X” and doesn’t think there’s anything misleading about writing in the 3rd person and that it’s just a “literary device”?

    Also I was wondering the other day where felix went.

    • Tracey 4.1

      Yeah @ admitted he was Mr X, and couldn’t see anything wrong with it. Even said it as often done? What colour is the sky on that dude’s planet

    • Anne 4.2

      …wondering the other day where felix went.

      Don’t know but he is sorely missed.

      • tracey 4.2.1

        Ditto

      • Pasupial 4.2.2

        This seems to be the exchange that led to felix’ departure, unfortunately it’s hard to see what the specific offense was due to the text having been deleted. It seems to be the protesting of another commenter’s (DG) ban leading to his own ban. But there has to more to it than that, as others also condemned the original banning on that thread without receiving their own banning:

        Open mike 10/06/2015

        I find I comment on the site less this year, due both to; my own problems with banning of commenters, and glitches with seeing comments I’ve made before the editing timewindow is up. With the site being optimized for mobiles, some compatability with clunky old desktops may have been reduced – or I could just be put in moderation by default.

        However, I continue to glance at the posts most days, and sometimes even have a look at the comments. It’s a valuable window into a certain section of the NZ community.

        • lprent 4.2.2.1

          With the site being optimized for mobiles, some compatability with clunky old desktops may have been reduced – or I could just be put in moderation by default.

          More the latter probably. But we are getting more and more traffic, much of it from mobiles and tablets. This is the last 30 days to give you an idea (click for a larger image).

          While the number phone sessions has increased a lot, the rise in the number of pages and time spent on site is somewhat smaller. Tablets are steadily rising in the pages per session and the time spent on site.

          But a big factor these days is that I simply have less time to do things on the site due to my time commitments. It means that it is taking longer to deal with technical issues when they arise.

          • Pasupial 4.2.2.1.1

            You do a lot to keep the site going with your coding skill, and I certainly appreciate that. But when have to close down the browser and reload the site from there each time I want to see the updated page it does discourage commenting. Especially as I’ll tend to open the site along with a bunch of other news sources on half a dozen tabs and flit between them, so closing the browser makes me lose all the rest unless I clog up my bookmarks even more.

            Fortunately, today the ctrl-F5 refresh seems to be working; so thanks for that if you did anything in the past day.

  5. Paul 5

    2015. The biggest news.

    ‘Global warming to make 2015 hottest year ever
    This year will very probably be the hottest year ever, according to the World Meteoreological Organisation.
    Global warming and the “El Nino” in the Pacific have pushed up temperatures, making the year so far the hottest on record.
    Temperatures are now 1-degree higher than they were, compared to pre-industrial levels.’

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/global-warming-to-make-2015-hottest-year-ever-un-agency-announces-ahead-of-paris-climate-talks-a6748721.html

  6. Ad 6

    In no order, I liked:

    – Many new commenters and some new authors.

    – The recent cellphone reading+commenting upgrade.

    – The increasing sharpness of debate, and great moderation.

    – The unity breakouts after the Labour conference and Climate Change march.

    – The growth of the site’s readership and influence.

    A great year for the site.

  7. Jenny Kirk 7

    And thanks from me, too – to LP, the authors, and commentators. The Standard is my go-to place first thing in the morning, with coffee. A good start to the day.
    Merry Christmas everyone, and hope you can all enjoy a decent summer.

  8. One Anonymous Bloke 8

    Special moments: Bill’s Rojava reporting stands out for me. Various posts providing ongoing pressure on Parliament to get serious about the Greenhouse Effect. TRP’s exclusive interview with the human rights abuse victim. Lprent.

    The change in moderation rules.

    And lots of comments. Pascal’s Bookie, Puddleglum, Bill, Weka, McFlock, sorry to everyone else I’ll remember as soon as I press the ‘submit comment’ button.

    And Ad, for stepping in to provide a better wingnut when no-one from the right could cut it 😉

    Personally it’s been a great year, marred by the awful spectre of poverty afflicting so many of our peers. Shoulder to the wheel.

  9. DH 9

    I find the site suffering from a decline of female contributors. There’s too much testosterone here for my liking.

    • lprent 9.1

      I’d agree. The lack of female contributors is an endemic problem that we have been trying to correct for many years, I first raised it as an issue in 2008 when I realized that our commenters and probably our readers were probably more than 95% male. These days it is better. Google Analytics has had our readership hovering between 28% and 32% female all year. My best guess is that our comments are similar than that percentage, and that our commentators in any month are about 35-40%.

      The brief on the site is for “robust debate” (see the policy), so it does tend to be “testosterone” laden. But we try to maintain a balance between maintaining a freedom of expression and making it an environment that people feel reasonably safe in coming to and contributing in.

      Just at present I think that the backend debate between authors is probably somewhat more robust than I’d like. I suspect that, along with the usual post-election fatigue, hasn’t helped on the female author side. However this is a new feature of the site (since October last year) and one that is still slowly settling into place. Previously the authors seldom talked to each other as a group except in the public pages and whatever contact they had with each other outside of TS. Incidentally, it rather gives a lie to the frequent lies by some of our critics that this place is some kind of vast conspiracy.

      • Mrs Brillo 9.1.1

        I too would like to see more women commenting and writing here.

        But I understand why they do not.

        Women get enough harassment, putdowns and abuse completely gratis in daily life, without coming on to a hostile Net and copping even more of it. Call it pre-emptive self preservation.

        If men didn’t stink up the room so much, you’d be hearing more from women. But you knew that.

        And some men rely on it; stinking up the room is their basic tactic in life as in politics.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          Women hold their own fine in daily life and you make it clear that it’s not just men who are proficient with throwing around personal put downs and acting like shite.

          • Mrs Brillo 9.1.1.1.1

            You illustrate the sort of thing I had in mind.

            (Pulls out room deodoriser.)

            • Ad 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Ka-ching!

            • Trey 9.1.1.1.1.2

              Bazinga, well played Mrs Brillo, well played

            • Adele 9.1.1.1.1.3

              Kia ora

              Perhaps I shouldn’t carry nuts in my purse. But I find this place to be an okay space. Why should it be feminised to attract a certain type of feminine.

              Besides, the men here are big pussies – and not in a regal lion king way. No, more like flea bitten, bung-eyed mangy cat flu way.

              In saying all that. Lynn you are a huge lion with a great mane and I thank you sincerely for creating and maintaining such a wonderful place.

              True feminine spaces are rare and remarkable. They are best experienced in the real and not over the internet.

            • greywarshark 9.1.1.1.1.4

              It’s called robust discussion Mrs Brillo. There is no reason that women can’t participate unless they think they are too special and fragile. In that case it appears that feminism has passed them by as it was an avowed intention to assist women to become more assertive and assume responsible positions instead of being pushed to the back,

              Instead women seem to whine that they aren’t being allowed to play, that the boys are too rough and swear too much.
              Women get enough harassment, putdowns and abuse completely gratis in daily life, without coming on to a hostile Net and copping even more of it. Call it pre-emptive self preservation.

              Self pitying and self-absorbed and regarding women as exceptional ,not wanting just to be on an equal footing with men, but be preferred and deferred to.

        • Puckish Rogue 9.1.1.2

          It takes time to change the habits of a lifetime but what all of us can do now is let people know when they’ve gone from being robust to being personal and calling them up on it

          Cheers

      • DH 9.1.2

        I don’t have any problems with robust debate lprent, I think we all like a good argument. The testosterone comment was more about the aggression and macho posturing which have little do do with debate and more about, well, dominating.

        Female posters tend to be a whole lot calmer and they argue with reasoning rather than aggression. They engage where too many of us blokes see a fight.

        That’s all a generalisation btw, but a reasonable one IMO.

  10. savenz 10

    Political speeches of year – Russel Norman’s exit speech from parliament & Cunliffe speech on democracy

    Political event of the Year: The Northland By Election where the Natz were kicked out and ‘sent a message,’ and when the opposition worked together for a common goal.

    Citizens of the Year: Helen Kelly, Jane Kelsey

    Best other blogs: http://www.norightturn.blogspot.co.nz (for excellent research and zero hype) and http://thedailyblog.co.nz (for breaking hairgate and other breaking stories, lots of energy and anger in equal measures).

    Biggest closet Nat – Stuart Nash

    Biggest Liar, loser of our international reputation and economic and climate terrorist – John Key

    Most incompetent and dangerous politician – Tim Groser for championing a horrible, deluded and stupid deal, TPP with lasting consequences.

    Most confused and dysfunctional party – still Labour, in particular for not being clear about the above and losing votes and confidence from voters about their stance.

    Biggest political sabotage – Te Tai Tokerau

    Biggest political hopes – Centre left political collaboration to oust the Natz and Labour working out that NatLite on everything does not seem to be working.

    Stupidest corporates, TV3 for ousting John Campbell and Campbell Live, Fonterra for selling out the farmers land while giving really low pay outs and still!! burning coal for its milk drying and using palm kernel for feed, Westpac for giving out Hagers personal details without a warrant.

    Biggest coverup – Judith Collins undermining the head of the Serious Fraud Office when she was the Minister responsible for that organisation.

    Biggest corporate welfare – 10 million to oil companies for oil exploration from the science grants plus millions on the Dotcom case for Hollywood & the US instead of them pursuing it legally as a civil claim.

  11. Tiger Mountain 11

    well done to lprent for keeping the ship afloat in treacherous seas

    as for writers–an old union organiser friend of mine used to categorise fellow unionists as either ‘working class heroes’ or ‘sellout dogs’, and which category you were in seemed to change weekly–of course in the class struggle arena there are all sorts of gradations beyond such simplistic generalisations, and most writers here cope very well but TRP has tested one’s patience particularly with support for dear leader’s executive decision to send military personal to Iraq…

    but lets not dwell on the past for our purposes here, so 98% good stuff imo, and some very intelligent and well connected commenters too

    • To be fair, I thought Dear Leader was gutless over Iraq. Instead of pussyfooting around calling it ‘training’ we should have sent a proper deployment and got stuck in. In 1939 we didn’t offer to train the Poles, we called it for what it was. Mind you, I expect the SAS are far more deeply involved than we are led to believe.

      Anyhoo, all the best to you, TM. Keep on rockin’, comrade.

      • Morrissey 11.1.1

        To be fair, I thought Dear Leader was gutless over Iraq.

        So….if he had sent hundreds, maybe thousands, of Kiwis to kill and be killed in Iraq, he would cease being “gutless”, would he?

        Instead of pussyfooting around calling it ‘training’ we should have sent a proper deployment and got stuck in.

        So you’ve volunteered to “get stuck in”, I take it?

        In 1939 we didn’t offer to train the Poles, we called it for what it was.

        In 1939 we weren’t on the side of the aggressors. Huge difference.

        • te reo putake 11.1.1.1

          Oh dear, moz. I’d like to think your characterisation of Isis as the innocent party was just one of your jests, but I’ve got a terrible feeling that you’re serious. Say it ain’t so!

          • Morrissey 11.1.1.1.1

            It ain’t so. I did not characterise ISIS as the innocent party, and I never have. Of course you know that, just as surely as you know that the United States, along with the United Kingdom, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, has funded and diplomatically supported ISIL in Syria for the last four years.

            • te reo putake 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, who do you think we, and the Government and citizens of Iraq, are fighting, Moz? If we and the locals are the aggressor, who exactly is the defender?

  12. miravox 12

    Politician of the year: Kelvin Davis

    Up and coming: James Shaw (yeah, I know he’s co-leader, I want to see how he goes)

    Political Event of the Year: The continuing fallout from search warrant on Nicky Hager. Pity it won’t be noticed that the Police have begun to over-reach.

    Citizen of the Year: Helen Kelly – amazing work on workplace safety. This is core Labour.

    Best Commenter(s): McFlock, Tracey, Rosie

    Most Missed: Felix (btw – best apology: TRP)

    Best other blog: Pundit

    Best post: Anything Anthony R0bins writes on child poverty and all that entails. Even though the public seems to be ‘over it’ the lack of political traction this has is the most important social failing of our time, imo.

    Thanks LP and authors for all your effort to run this blog and to the commenters for mostly lively and thought-provoking discussion.

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