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Wee gripes: the Steven Joyce cult

Written By: - Date published: 10:54 am, March 17th, 2010 - 33 comments
Categories: spin - Tags: ,

The smartest man in the (cabinet) room?

Oh for crying out loud would the media please stop fawning over Steven Joyce. So far everything he’s touched has turned to pus with roading projects that fail cost/benefit analysis, the gold card fiasco, the PR fiasco over Radio NZ cuts and now the really bad move to step in just as the super city issue starts to get gangrenous.

And even before he was in parliament he was orchestrating the Exclusive Brethren cock-up that (probably) cost National the 2005 election!

I know people who have dealt with Joyce who’ve described him as an man with low cunning, a penchant for bullying his way through situations and a few tricks for fooling the media (which seem to work).

What I’d like to know is whether the gallery, who are generally quite astute, are actually fooled by this guy or whether they’re so really desperate to find a contender in Key’s cabinet that Joyce is bigged up because of some kind of a best-of-a-bad-situation approach to horse-race political journalism.

But then again, I’ve got a funny sense of political deja vu and if I had to try to put my finger on it I’d say it’s the feeling that Joyce is the pale imitation of a young Turk era Muldoon to go with Key’s pale imitation of Holyoake.

It’s like that Marx quote I guess. You know, the one about history repeating itself as farce.

33 comments on “Wee gripes: the Steven Joyce cult ”

  1. Bored 1

    Those who can do, those who cant become Steven Joyce……

  2. Lew 2

    Kiwis like to mythologise a dark horse. The leadership rates him as one, the media rates him. He sure does rate himself, too. The other week on Checkpoint when announcing performance funding for universities he used some wonkish policy acronym I don’t recall, and Mary Wilson asked him to speak in plain English — the reply was bookended with something like “Been in the job six weeks and I’ve already got a handle on the terminology!”

    Yeah, because that’s what we want out of our ministers.

    L

  3. Zaphod Beeblebrox 3

    The stuff ups keep mounting
    1. The broadband plan- Fed farmers are not happy about the time its taking. Telecom share holders will be apoplectic.
    2. Auckland Transport. Banks/Barnett/Cameron Brewer don’t like his meddling.
    3. Gold Card announcement. Slapped down by Key.
    4. Holiday highway/Transmission Gully. $4.4 Bill with oil prices predicted to rise rapidly. Can he be serious?

  4. He is one of the few cabinet ministers who can walk and chew gum at the same time. It is no wonder that he stands out …

  5. Bill 5

    But, but he’s the son of a grocer!

    Nuff said?

    • Mac1 5.1

      As the son of a grocer myself, yep, ’nuff said.

      Probably too much, actually.

      Being a grocer’s son taught me honesty, service, numeracy, social skills. I enjoyed the great crack (being St Pat’s Day) of the customers and my father. I learnt about the ways and wiles of the world through the variety of people who came through that door. I listened to Parliament at night with my Dad as we weighed provisions, restocked shelves etc.

      A great childhood worthy of a retelling. But not today.

      • Dan 5.1.1

        Absolutely Mac. People skills, wide range of people, finance, work ethic… son of a grocer!
        So far it is the only positive I have heard about this new young Turk.
        But then, alas, I remember Margaret Thatcher.

      • Bill 5.1.2

        “I listened to Parliament at night with my Dad as we weighed provisions, restocked shelves etc.”

        That would be in brown paper bags would it? Those weighed provisions? Which would have come out of those hessian sacks? The ones you humphed up the rickety stairs to the back shop? That were dropped off earlier by horse and cart coming straight from wharf or warehouse?

        You must be in your 70s by my reckoning of that ‘Open All Hours take of yours on ‘Life in the Grocery Trade’…

        How’s about defensive mergers and more defensive mergers preceding corporate take overs? How about the bankrupting and disappearance of your wholly imagined ‘small shop keepers’ Grocery Trade at the hands of Corporate Supermarket Chains?

        And free trade and free trade and TINA and ‘no such thing as society’ and may the bitch live for many more years to come and Steven Joyce and everyone like him and her and them enjoy a similar old age?

        • TightyRighty 5.1.2.1

          ah the tirade of those who look down on trade. sorry, guvnor bill, i’ll leave by the tradesmens entrance. sorry for messing up your nice carpets with my workboots m’lord, won’t happen again (doffs cap to knuckle forehead). i’ll polish the handle on the way out too so you’re not offended by good honest hard earned finger marks. sorry guv.

          twat

          • Bill 5.1.2.1.1

            Tighty, you seem to be somewhat confused. I’m not Bill English.

            By the way, can’t help but notice your quaintly deluded image of workers is very similar to Mac 1’s olde fashioned caricature . Why’s that, you think?

            Meanwhile, you missed my references completely didn’t you? Reptilian bastards laying claim to ‘common’ and somewhat innocent heritages as though they embody goodness as individuaals is what I was tirading against. Do you understand that? Is it simple enough for you to follow?

            • Mac1 5.1.2.1.1.1

              Bill, even earlier. Fifties and sixties.

              My father taught me another thing. Fight ’em. He continued a very lonely fight against the corporatisation of Foodstuffs into a foodmarket chain which killed off the small corner grocers of which he was one, using the money that small grocers like him had put into a supposedly cooperative organisation.

              You were absolutely bang on with your third paragraph.

              But old fashioned caricature? That is how it was. A bloody good childhood, full of values that have been diluted, forgotten or devalued.

              When I got into my student days protesting of the sixties against the Tour, the Vietnam War and Omega stations et al, my father queried my involvement. I just quoted back to him his lonely fight against the Foodstuffs management. He never questioned my involvement again.

              God, I remember the Foodstuffs manager who came to talk to Dad one day in the shop, and even as a primary school kid realised that he was an unctuous and oily bastard using me to get into Dad’s good books. My father had to close the shop, BTW.

              My intention in replying to your crack at grocer’s sons was to point out that it was a generalisation and like all generalisations needed ‘exceptionalising’.

              • Bill

                Mac 1.

                I was taking you for being an young upstart apologist for right wing toshery. Apologies for my unwarrented cynicism.

                My grocer’s son comment was intended to be taken as solely in relation to Joyce and to draw a parallel with Thatcher’s claim to be just a common unassuming grocers daughter. A grocers daughter who subsequently laid waste to the livelihoods of people she claimed she shared common roots with.

            • TightyRighty 5.1.2.1.1.2

              you tirade was against those in trade and the values you think they represent. your smugness and self satisfaction about not being of the trading type is appalling snobbery. all compounded by the fact you then take your superiority complex into the stratosphere by assuming that i can’t follow what you are talking about. do you comment outside? as i don’t see how you can fit your overinflated sense of yourself through and form of door.

          • Galeandra 5.1.2.1.2

            Don’t sign off so acronymously,Tighty,I don’t think you’re a twat. But you sure do write like one of them boorjoys.

            • Mac1 5.1.2.1.2.1

              Cheers, Bill.

              The problem with Thatcher and Joyce does not come from their being the progeny of grocers. That they may have claimed common origins and then gone on to do as they have, or as we fear that Joyce may still, is the sticking point.

              I am a bit bemused, actually, that contact with the public, as grocers enjoyed, because nearly everyone went to the grocers to buy food, could not be anything but educational and instructive.

              Right wing ideology comes from another well-spring. Less educated, less intelligent, less empathetic, less open to diversity, tolerance and compassion.

              I don’t understand it, like I don’t understand vandalism.

              • Uroskin

                Don’t forget either that Nazism had its bedrock support in small shopkeepers too.

              • Mac1

                The banality of evil, Uroskin.

                Read a book, can’t give the title, examining a Gestapo office in a German City, which cited the impeccable middle-class, highly educated credentials of the Gestapo. There were many Doctors of Law who were bureaucrats who did this ‘work’ for the State. They were unexceptionable men in most ways.

                I am not sure though whether you can say that small shopkeeperism was the cause for Nazi support. What was it that appealed to conservative and radical German alike, upper, middle class or working class? Again, what are the well-springs?

                I’m not saying you are wrong that small shopkeepers as a group supported the Nazis at some stage. They must have been hurt by the hyper inflation of the Weimar Republic. But I still ask what was it that was attractive? The nationalism, the racism, the conservatism, the humiliation of Versailles? It’s not just being a shopkeeper or grocer.

                I can hear my old dad turning in his grave, God rest him.

              • Bill

                Uroskin.

                Somewhere on another thread I lamented the fact that the bar for fascism is set so high…nazi high.

                On that note, if what you contend is true, then due to the dominance of corporations there will now not ever be sufficient support for corporatism…fascism.

                Which is patently absurd.

  6. toad 6

    You’ve got to admit that if you take the likes of Tolley, Bennett, Wilkinson, Brownlee and Nick Smith as the norm, Joyce is a bloody genius.

  7. tc 7

    Joyce holds the sword over all the msm via his associations/networking and position within cabinet so it’s yet another example of the msm fawning and gooing to keep the sword at bay.

    I have some sympathy for the press gallery because if the copy doesn’t follow the test: “IF govt THEN good and/or IF Lab THEN evil” then their masters are displeased and will want some fresh gallery bodies……checked out the market for journo jobs lately……been shrinking rapidly over the last decade all over the globe so yet another employer lovin’ that depressed job market.

    • Clarke 7.1

      Remember also that he ran the Radio Works commercial radio empire before it was sold to CanWest, so he’s very much the media insider.

      He’s successfully managed two out of the three attributes .. Spin (check), Style (check), Substance (not so much).

  8. Name 8

    I help run a small community-owned, non-profit trust which was set up three years ago to bring wireless broadband to our very rural, very uncommercial, neck-of-the-woods. We can already provide >5MBps internet connections to our subscribers at a rate of $13/GB/Month.

    A couple of years ago we were on the shortlist to get some cash from the Labour Govt’s rural broadband initiative to help improve and expand our network, but that was all canned by National. Now we have a fan-fare announcement of a very similar scheme which with a nice long lead-in of “expressions of interest” and various other hoops to jump through before the money-go-round begins with lots of fingers for it to stick to before what’s left actually produces something noticeable.

    I don’t intend wasting any time on it. As a community we’ve done our own thing with our own money and already had it up and running for more than two years. Had we waited for the politicians, we’d still be waiting and would probably still be waiting when the scheme to follow this one is proposed with a fanfare.

  9. JD 9

    “I know people who have dealt with Joyce who’ve described him as an man with low cunning, a penchant for bullying his way through situations and a few tricks for fooling the media (which seem to work).”

    Well for the sake of credibility are you going to name these people?

  10. tc 10

    Sure JD….I’d say the NZ taxpayer currently, especially with that TG road and its CB ratio of 0.6

  11. DeepRed 11

    “I know people who have dealt with Joyce who’ve described him as an man with low cunning, a penchant for bullying his way through situations and a few tricks for fooling the media (which seem to work).”
    Prostetnic Vogon Joyce, anybody?

  12. JD 12

    Hit a raw nerve there have I?

    Maybe if you put actual analysis instead of anecdotes from imaginary people you’d have a decent post.

    PS the anti spam word is RUBBISH which says it all really.

  13. Herodotus 13

    Mr St Paddy – this is one of the most dissappointing posts on this site I have read for quite some time, perhaps it is the effecr of the Guiness or Kilkenny!
    I know people who have dealt with Joyce who’ve described him as an man with low cunning, a penchant for bullying his way through situations and a few tricks for fooling the media (which seem to work). For such comments made towards others on this site you would be bannished, or is it OK as long as it is directed towards the “other side”.
    It is this type of petty side show game that infuriates me. Yet on prev posts we get how poor the msm is, yet from the same mouths we get a very poor example to model on.

    • Pascal's bookie 13.1

      Good grief. I see you are, once again, concerned> Herodotus.

      The post quite fairly states an opinion that Joyce isn’t all he’s cracked up to be, and supports it both with examples as evidence (which you ignore) and anecdote (which you pick on).

      At the same time you accuse Bill of being possibly drunk and a hypocrite. The argument you make to support this charge is refuted by your own post, and the many others you have made exactly like it.

      Are you at all aware of the irony there, given your criticism?

      Neither Irishbill, nor anyone else here, maintains that they are impartial reporters. Nor do they maintain that the Standard can or should be any sort of replacement for the MSM. As such, they can criticise the MSM for not being what they think it should be, without any hint of meaningful hypocrisy.

      This incessant focus on alleged hypocrisy is in my view the worst thing about blog discourse. Fuck, what does it matter? It’s utterly irrelevant. It might be relevant if we were politicians ourselves, or MSM editors or whathaveyou, but we are not. So it isn’t.

      It might also help* in the relevance stakes if the charges could be supported by more than the usual made up nonsense that it generally relies on.

      * when I say ‘help’ I mean, ‘help it be not absolutely wrongheaded on top of being pointless drivel’

      So, now that I’ve got that off my chest, what do you think of Joyce?
      Doing a good job as minister? Not really but a smooth operater?
      Getting a free ride in the press?

  14. Herodotus 14

    Where did that come from?
    I have no real issues with Joyce some others I do.
    I get the impression from here that most are supportive of the opposition because that is what they are suppose to do – Oppose.
    I think we got a very average job out of 04-08 years from Labour. They had no idea of what NZers were sufferring. Just throw a few morsels out there to keep just enough happy. If worked in 05 and tLab used the same strategy and wonder why they lost.
    Review a few of the posts there is the cult of personnality starting to dominate, Or the reverse of destruction of character as it is easier to destroy than build.
    Re the local Irish brew can you not see a lighter side, if I was to infer something more my comments would have been more direct, and that is not my way.
    I am aware of whose turf I am on do not worry. Yet you also do not forget that less devoted(Ideological) people than yourself makeup the majority of voters, so sometimes it pays to stay in contact with those that sway from one side to the other. Or else you will be like the 08 Lab and wondering why, as you have lost touch.
    I would say most people dont care about the finer points of politics, yet they would like to see some improvement in the health of the country that transferrs to their livehood (The reverse may be more appriopiate if they benefit perhaps the country will)

    • Pascal's bookie 14.1

      Where that came from, was your comment. It was a personal attack on the poster, in the form of a complaint about personal attacks, saying that commenters can’t attack posters on the site. The iron. It’s strikey.

      Now where does your reply come from? You don’t like Labour’s tactics or what have you. Many here don’t. I can’t see what moaning about the Standard on the Standard will do to fix anything. Moaning about Labour would make more sense. But being specific is important. Telling them they are out of touch? How does that help? It’s like telling someone they are lost. Might well be true, but it’s of no help whatsoever.

      Think about this: Why should your vote be affected in any way by whether or not some random guy on the internet is a hypocrite, or complains too much about the government in ways you don’t like?

      Now, for the record, I’ve voted Labour exactly once. I don’t really care who you vote for, and aren’t seeking to influence that. I’m partisan about ideas, not parties. I comment and read to get my own head around things, and see where others heads are at. That’s all.

      This is another wrinkle in what I talked about re complaints about hypocrisy. This idea that bloggers and commenters are politicians seeking votes, and that they serve as proxies for political parties. It’s wrong, and destructive.

      Why not just go with the idea that we are citizens talking about stuff, saying things because we genuinely think them rather than because we have some ulterior motives around trying to get your precious shifting allegiance? That way, you end up talking about the content of the post rather than the character of the poster. It may be that people change their minds about things. It may not. That doesn’t matter.

      Honestly, I don’t care if I change your mind. I don’t care who you vote for. What I care about is that you vote however you vote for reasons that make sense to you.

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