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What should Labour do with Red Alert

Written By: - Date published: 1:28 pm, October 14th, 2013 - 130 comments
Categories: blogs, labour - Tags:

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This is a subject that I have thought about covering for a while but have not because of the sensitivities involved.  But now that peace has broken out in the Labour Caucus and everyone is on the train it is a good time to rethink Labour’s social media efforts.

Red Alert burst onto the blogosphere a number of years ago.  It’s first post was published in May 2009 and at the time it was called the voice of Labour’s MPs on issues that they care about.  At the time it was a brave forward looking proposal to allow the caucus to engage directly with the population at large.  At one stage it was one of the more popular political blogs in New Zealand.  It was somewhat cutting edge and compared to the insipid imitation of a site that is National’s equivalent it gave Labour a decided edge.  If you want to see how bad sites can get then you should look at the National equivalent.  For quite a while I thought that National MPs was a cruel parody site put up by National’s enemies.

Red Alert has had its problems.  There was the unedifying sight of Colonial Viper being threatened with disciplinary action for speaking his mind on that site.  This led to one of the most enjoyable actions of on line solidarity I have seen when we all became vipers for a day.  The site also struggled with moderation.  Obviously the site attracted the attention of Labour’s enemies and sometimes the moderation of those smug annoying uber confident and unnecessarily loud comments that only the right are able to make meant that the discussions were a bit hit and miss.

The lack of nestled comments also affected the operation of the site.  The Standard is an example how nuanced and discrete conversations can occur when comments are nestled.

The site appears to have run out of enthusiasm as the regularity of posts by MPs and comments by others has declined.  I do not know the current figures but I suspect that frequency of posts, and numbers of comments and hits are well down on previous times.

As an example of the site’s problems I thought that its handling of the recent leadership campaign struggled.  It may be that the administration is too rigid and the Parliamentary Services funding restrictions too difficult but certainly things can be improved.

So what should Labour do with Red Alert?  In the spirit of the party’s unity can I ask for comments to be constructive and future looking.

130 comments on “What should Labour do with Red Alert ”

  1. infused 1

    do a redirect to thestandard

  2. captain hook 2

    give it to some red hot radical instead of some piss weak party suck up!
    politics has become a try to please all game instead of going for the jugular.

  3. vto 3

    they should use it properly

  4. TheContrarian 4

    Relaunch and learn to accept disagreement

    • Tiger Mountain 4.1

      Major makeover, Labour needs a credible blog type presence of it’s very own as well as supporters appearing on other blogs.

      Contrarian is full of it, Red Alert was loaded to the gunwales with disagreement that was obviously accepted because it was there for all to see. Moderation was used too thankfully.

  5. fender 5

    Keep Claire Curran and Trevor Mallard well away from it, in fact as a final middle finger salute to Curran it could be handed over to Colonial Viper and Millsy to look after! There’s no way anyone will get away with bad-mouthing Cunliffe with CV moderating 😈

  6. Pete 6

    It may be time to let it go. Labour has other avenues to get its message out and a much better profile in the mainstream media. The gold standard for politics and social media is Obama’s campaign in 2012 and he wasn’t blogging. He was Facebooking, Youtubing, Tweeting, podcasting, Instagraming and Redditing.

    What turned me off Red Alert were the walls of text. 250-300 words should be enough. I want interesting things I can retweet and post to Facebook. Activists, members and politically inclined people will seek out dryer content like Red Alert, but to get through to the average punter things need to be a bit more bite-sized. Ideally with a dash of humour or a bit light-hearted. The trouble is humour in politics can be a big risk – witness the snapper debacle. So too is constant anger.

    • Pete 6.1

      To add to above, I’m a big fan of infographics. And Labour have been doing really well with these recently.

    • JK 6.2

      I agree. Dump Red Alert. It was too, too wordy …. not enough sparkle….

      • hush minx 6.2.1

        Me too. While I like the idea of a slightly longer format for MPs to explain issues in more detail either they need to be sharper, or it needs more ‘real time’ feel. perhaps something off the Labour site?

  7. Rich 7

    What’s it for?
    a. convincing potential Labour voters:
    Most of the tiny minority of voter who read political blogs have pretty much made their minds up, so it’s not going to be a big channel for that.
    b. trying to drive the thread of political discourse
    There’s possibly more traction here, but even so, independent blogs like this one are more likely to have an effect

    A blog with comments is always going to draw a substantial number of hostile commentors, especially one from a political party. I’d suggest that they address a. by having a well-edited comment-free site and b. by engaging with active party supporters outside the hierarchy, who are in a better position to express opinions.

    Providing a venue for Tories to criticise is just a counter-productive waste of energy.

    (Although it does allow a database of IP addresses to be built for post-revolution reprisals).

  8. McFlock 8

    Figure out the distinction between media releases and blog material, and then make it a required activity for MPs to blog at least once a month on each policy area they deal with – no policy areas? Make it something more philosophical, wider issues of social justice or historical activities by previous labour members (I recall one wonderful story about Lab1 going to visit the UK in the thirties – one of the delegation asked a porter what his award rates were. The porter stared blankly, so the MP asked what his wage was – the porter worked strictly for tips. Outraged, the MP took the delegation wandering around london looking for a hotel that paid award rates) and then bringing some of those lessons or morals back to the current situation.

    Basically, used media releases to cut and parry events, and the blog to provide greater depth.

    And get in a consistent and fair moderating policy set – (they’d probably have to be a bit more firm on sensibilities than TS mods such as no F-bombs [fuck it], but focused debate and disagreement would make Labour stronger).

    • Bunji 8.1

      Very much this.

      But if they don’t have the resources to properly do moderation (ideally some non-MPs who have more time & distance and a very clear set of rules), then make it that by default your comments don’t get published. If you have something interesting to say then it will get through, but no “socialism is rubbish” or even “socialism is the best” comments, only those with actual points / debate etc get through. It wouldn’t be as good as doing it properly, but better that than the trolls harassing everyone away.

      Deeper views and more personal stuff and a direct source to the public. Hundreds of press releases aren’t published, so some more current stuff may want to go in as well (in the correct blog format, not recycled press release).

      • mickysavage 8.1.1

        Agreed. The moderation effort needs more people to handle it than just the MPs, in fact if they did not handle moderation at all it would probably work better.

  9. Ennui 10

    Red Alert hmmmm. It depends upon what messages you want to get out there.

    It would seem to me that Red Alert has the capacity to send the WRONG messages if not well controlled and edited. It should only carry what is in alignment and consistent with party policy BUT that implies control and self censorship with all the negative aspects therein.

    Maybe given that Labour has taken a democratic approach to leadership and may again be a broad church Red Alert could set up policy debate forums free of censorship to encourage all Labour party members to add their views. This should be regardless of whether these breach party policy, thus expressing the true democratic nature the party aspires to. It would also allow for Red Alert to keep official party policy and comment “censored” but open to party criticism. Very healthy n’est pas?

    • Anne 10.1

      It would also allow for Red Alert to keep official party policy and comment “censored” but open to party criticism. Very healthy n’est pas?

      Sounds good in theory but hard to bring about in practice.

      One of the main problems was the proliferation of some very nasty right wing tr—s whose central aim seemed to be to bully and render silent many of the regular Labour supporting commenters. They succeeded because the moderators of the site did a poor job keeping them in line. Over time most of the bullied (women commenters were over represented of course) left the site never to return.

  10. Tom Gould 11

    Red Alert has the same problem today as it had when it kicked off, it is only for MPs and what they write is ‘on the record’. So it was doomed from the start, as a blog, competing with the Tory’s Kiwiblog and Whaleoil. Best put it to sleep.

  11. Sanctuary 12

    1/ Require registration to comment.

    2/ Enforce a high standard of comment – or, as Phil Plait puts it under his one rule of commenting over at Bad Astronomy, “Be Polite”. That’s it. if you are not polite, you’ll be deleted for not being polite. nO LONG LIST OF RULES.

    2/ Keep on message – the purpose of the site should be to get talking points and useful facts and figures to supporters to promote around the watercooler and on the boards everywhere
    Act as a sort of useful reference site with links and a good search engine.

    3/ Posts can be cross-posted authomatically on FB. others automatically cross on Twitter, Youtube, or podcasts etc.

    4/ Don’t be afraid to include things of wider interest – Ted talks, for example.

    5/ ABOVE ALL See 2/ STAY ON MESSAGE!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 12.1

      So RA is standing in the grave and you want to hit over the head with a shovel then

  12. Puckish Rogue 13

    Take it out the back and put it down, its the only humane thing to do

  13. Colonial Viper 14

    No one is going to go to Red Alert if all that is going to appear there from MPs are repetitions of the ‘party line’.

    It is (should be?) a place to engage, to discuss, to generate new ideas, entertain new perspectives, make a case one way or another, and yes, give a broader perspective on world trends, historical events, etc.

    Cunliffe has been quite successfully using the ‘policy comes from the party, let’s be clear that as Leader I don’t make policy, but here are some perspectives…’ approach.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      And perhaps a strong privacy/confidentiality policy might be helpful 😈

    • marty mars 14.2

      CV – how can it be anything other than repetitions of the ‘party line’, the ‘party line’ is sacrosanct, everything and everyone must fall onto that line,t otherwise there is not ‘unity’. All of the other stuff in your second paragraph happens within the bowels of the Party, at local-local and regional level doesn’t it? Genuine question.

      • Colonial Viper 14.2.1

        I’ll respond to your question with more questions (sorry bad form I know, but also from the standpoint of someone who sees that the rise of party politics has been both good and bad):

        1) Do we want NZ democracy to be about a discussion with the citizens, or do we want it to be more top down as it has been in the past?

        2) And: when David Cunliffe says that he wants to do politics “with” New Zealanders, and not “to them” what online form might that process take?

        Finally the question of “unity” that you raise does have to be answered because of the MSM. The answer is: Labour is a broad church with many opinions and viewpoints. Our caucus and Cabinet utilise collective responsibility, but let’s be very clear that unity and uniformity are not the same thing.

        • marty mars 14.2.1.1

          1) The Parties create their positions on anything and everything and present them for the citizens to assess and support via the ballot box. The Parties are made up of citizens so it is both top down and bottom up.
          2) Any way that presents the positions clearly to as many citizens as possible, so they (hopefully) vote for the Party.

          The Cabinet are the head and sharp bit of the spear – and the caucus are the shaft – the members the weight behind it.

          This broad church meme is a bit overdone imo but understandable from a Party that wants to appeal to the middle – the big bulge in the bell curve – the middle are fickle souls cos they can’t get no satisfaction, sadly.

          • Rogue Trooper 14.2.1.1.1

            but they try…try try try

          • Colonial Viper 14.2.1.1.2

            OK, I disagree that your formulation is the way ahead. To me you have described nothing more than a continuation of existing party style politics.

            Put more succinctly: if our vision of doing politics “with” New Zealanders is to give them a vote every 3 years, then it is an abject failure.

            • marty mars 14.2.1.1.2.1

              ‘with’ ‘to’ – are just words designed to get votes and I don’t have a problem with that, after all it is a dirty game, politics.

            • Crunchtime 14.2.1.1.2.2

              I absolutely agree. The internet is a way for people to connect with people. It makes participatory democracy possible – if it’s done right.

              Making the comments threaded/nested and open to discussion is a good idea…

              Is there a forum somewhere on the web where only paid up Labour Party members (not just Caucus) can post?

        • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.2

          2) And: when David Cunliffe says that he wants to do politics “with” New Zealanders, and not “to them” what online form might that process take?

          Referendums, making sure that the general populace has knowledge of all the resources we have available and a say in how they’re used.

          • Colonial Viper 14.2.1.2.1

            Yes to all of the above.

            Civics education, true public broadcasting and a more democratic economy too.

  14. The Baron 15

    I’m in two minds – to leave it under Clare Curran or not?

    If so, it will continue to be a source of constant hilarity due to her batshit insanity – who can forget everyone’s favourite “white ant red ant” rant. Such a communications professional!

    But then again, she runs moderation and scripting tighter than Pravda in its glory years, booting anyone who doesn’t lick her bum right.

    Tough one, Mickey!

  15. Bill 16

    A blog like ‘Red Alert’ will never function if it is designed to be a platform where politicians profer their opinion on a, b or c. The reason why is, quite simply, that in an organisation like the Labour Party it is necessary to have m.p.s ‘toe the party line’. Sure, faint to meaningless departure from the Party line is tolerated but, well….that’s pointless.

    Only way I can see ‘Red Alert’ having a role is if posts are more proposed talking points rather than supposed personal opinion. That would allow Party members and others on the left to make positive and/or critically constructive contributions to Party debate and allow the Party to test its lines in a meaningful environment.

    Otherwise. Yeah. Nuke it.

  16. Matthew Hooton 17

    Labour should close it down. Party caucus blogs are just too boring. “Today the leader and I visited local ECE centre … ”

    But perhaps they should set up something like McCully.co in the mid-2000s. Obviously partisan but written with enough distance from the leader it could be funny and sometimes scandalous. Maybe jones.co?

    • bad12 17.1

      Did someone invite you here to spread more of your twisted bullshit Hooten, anyone taking advice from you must need their head read,(or better still locking up in a bin someplace), oh that’s right wee matty used to advise Shiply, just proves the point i am making really…

      • Matthew Hooton 17.1.1

        No one invited me here. I thought it was an open blog.

        So, I never worked for Jenny Shipley. Knew her and talked to her, and once or twice wrote a speech, but couldn’t claim to have advised her.

        PS. This makes me different from David Cunliffe who would, no doubt, [deleted – Matthew I thought you had learned about the undesirability of saying things about someone which are not true – MS]

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 17.1.1.1

          Still smarting after he humiliated you Hollowman?

          What a loser.

          • Rogue Trooper 17.1.1.1.1

            where you been hiding? behind a tree…

            • Anne 17.1.1.1.1.1

              No, Hoots has been to an urgently arranged Crosby/Textor led secret conference on the strategy to be used against Labour’s minimum/living wage pledges.

        • McFlock 17.1.1.2

          I thought you’d apologised for making that shit up? No surprises, though – you would have had to retract and apologise for your entire career, rather than just put smaller words in your CV so tory drool-bots might actually be able to understand it.

          Anyhoo, no worries either way – you accusing someone else of being less than truthful is like Ed Gein insinuating that his neighbour might be a wee bit odd.

          • Matthew Hooton 17.1.1.2.1

            I apologised for calling David Cunliffe a liar when he said he helped form Fonterra. Objectively speaking, he had nothing to do with the formation of Fonterra, as the information he released to the media shows. But I also accept that he deeply believes he helped form Fonterra. Which is why he was not lying and why I was wrong to say he was a liar.

            [And now you are really pushing it Matthew. You are also providing a textbook example of the sort of comments that Red Alert had to battle with.]

            • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.2.1.1

              Objectively speaking, he had nothing to do with the formation of Fonterra, as the information he released to the media shows.

              LOL. Seriously. What the fuck would you know about “objectively”?

            • Rogue Trooper 17.1.1.2.1.2

              sadly, you are an indication of much that is unhelpful about our country. (would have used stronger language, yet, horses for courses).(I looked like you, when I was a boy).

            • McFlock 17.1.1.2.1.3

              wow

              It’s the way hoots manages to accuse other people of having a variable relationship with reality while spreading innuendo and untruths in the same sentence that tends to stun me for a few moments after a clanger like that.

              It is an interesting problem for Red Alert or its successors, though – if it’s “Labour aligned” (unlike our current port of call, despite jonolist utterances), BS like that from hoots works against the Labour party. But they can also do with a forum where people can debate constructively.

              Public vs member_only chat rooms/threads, maybe, as someone else has suggested I think.
              Whack in an MP on regular sessions, CV can call them neoliberal and get it out of his system, then everyone discuss things with less hyperbole in the public threads?

              Especially if they have a slightly more private area where they can say “okay, our policy on F doesn’t do anything on issue Y, but policy Y will – we’re finalising it now, have a local member email me for details if they want to discuss it, we’re on schedule to release in in 3 or 4 months”. That way commenters can use pseudonyms, and if a few people email the mp the mp will have no idea who they were arguing with (barring indiscretions)

            • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.2.1.4

              In fact do you have any understanding of how ridiculous and small minded your attack on Cunliffe seemed to anyone who has worked on major corporate projects of scale?

              The most amusing thing was that big firm corporate types knew exactly what Cunliffe meant, and thought that either you had not a fucking clue, or that you were being disingenuously small minded. Or both.

              Talk about own goal glory, mate.

            • Tracey 17.1.1.2.1.5

              My god, you consider that an apology. You are not sorry which is evidenced by your ongoing desire to prove your allegation correct. Like you deeply believe you are NZ’s leading something or other. you are a boring little man who loves the sound of his own keyboard. You and josie pagani would make a great pair, although who would stop speaking first would be anyone’s guess..

              You have become a parody of yourself

              • QoT

                You have become a parody of yourself

                • Rogue Trooper

                  Wot?

                  • QoT

                    … so apparently I meant to add something after that like “This!” or “+1!” and didn’t and now I look silly.

                    • Rogue Trooper

                      never look silly to me, profane maybe. x. Be well, and don’t eat too many worms. (let me tell you about the Dos Gusanos days, when we walked over cars on the way to the Fitz, with real orange juice, and those little seasoning sachets).yet, I digress.

            • emergency mike 17.1.1.2.1.7

              Matthew Hooten says: “Objectively speaking,…”

            • Rhinocrates 17.1.1.2.1.8

              “I apologised”

              Oh, I’d laugh if I had the energy.

              Another heavily-qualified apology by a schoolboy sorry that he was caught and sorry for nothing else and eager to blame everyone else.

              You really are a contemptible worm.

              Did you apologise to Kathryn Ryan for bullying her or causing her to issue an apology on YOUR behalf to the people of New Zealand for YOUR behaviour shithead?

        • Matthew Hooton 17.1.1.3

          But MS, surely, if DC gets to say he helped form Fonterra as a result of doing some work for the Dairy Board in 1997, I get to say I was “a top advisor” to Mrs Shipley on account of writing a policy speech or two when she was PM?

          [Off topic final warning – MS]

          • ghostwhowalksnz 17.1.1.3.1

            As a spin doctor, you could claim to have ‘written speeches for Jenny Shipley’, as that was within your area of expertise.

            Then again, if you had advanced degrees from leading universities , and worked for a top knotch consulting firm, which was involved in the pre Fonterra merger economic analysis ( being bogged down in the Shipley- Act- Mauri Pacific- Alamein Kopu circus that passed for government back then) then we know that you probably werent working in the copying room

            • Matthew Hooton 17.1.1.3.1.1

              Agree GWW. Anything that happened in the final shambolic days of the Shipley regime was utterly irrelevant

              • McFlock

                Fair enough at trying to bury the shite speeches you wrote, but it’s not like GWWNZ wrote anything like what you “agreed” with.

                Deal with it – your career then was an embarrassment, and you’ve been digging the same hole for 20 years. Especially as Cunliffe is now a party leader with a good chance of becoming PM, and you’re basically still a tory shill trying to market himself as a PR guru so that important people will lavish money and attention upon him. The trouble is that they’re not biting, so you end up with media crumbs where you’re paid to dance about and act like an buffoonish clown of doubtful sobriety for ratings.

                At least Oliver Reed could deliver fine performances while shitfaced, even if he did end up playing the clown on talk shows. Your performances are inadequate even when stone cold sober.

              • Rhinocrates

                Still mumbling into your cocoa about the old days, eh?

                “I was, um somebody… people listened to me… they did, um, then… then they didn’t… and it cost them… if only… can I have a biscuit?… Shortbread… They didn’t listen! Yes, um… Nobody listens…”

                Coming up, Hoots starring in a reboot of Waiting for God.

          • The Al1en 17.1.1.3.2

            Can you say all that again, this time without the shrieking 😆

          • emergency mike 17.1.1.3.3

            Holy hell New Zealand’s leading political commentator, are you saying that people sometimes vaguely exaggerate their professional achievements on their own CVs? Have you contacted da news about this? People should know.

            Or maybe you should just get it out there by screeching “Liar liar!” on your next RNZ appearance. So how many complaints about your puerile PR stunt did RNZ get in the end btw?

        • Rhinocrates 17.1.1.4

          As someone said, you just open your mouth and the shit trickles down your chin Hoots…

          • Rogue Trooper 17.1.1.4.1

            you can be more pointed than that my friend.

            • Rhinocrates 17.1.1.4.1.1

              I’m tired tonight and Harlan Ellison won’t answer my calls for him to fill in, sorry. 🙂

              • Rogue Trooper

                try phoning Elmore Leonard 😀

                • Colonial Viper

                  Hoots is busy contacting Bridges, pointing out this post on The Standard, and convincing Bridges that he really really needs Hoot’s professional help.

                  Wait, Hoots already contracted to Bridges? Ah shit, sayonara mate, your client just fucked up and is going to pin it on you.

    • fender 17.2

      Weasel words from a weasel

  17. Ad 18

    Kill the site.
    The editors have trashed the brand.
    Agree just redirect to The Standard, and sponsor them to do it.
    In fact an MP blogging on line should be compulsory. It’s the new town hall meeting.

    • Matthew Hooton 18.1

      Good advice.

      • BM 18.1.1

        Bit off topic, but I have to say
        I really enjoy your show on Nat rad Matthew, it would be nothing without your insightful commentary.

        Keep up the good work !!!!

      • geoff 18.1.2

        Hahaha there’s some high praise Matthew, positive feedback from none other than BM. Now you know you’re fucked.

        Hey I saw you on Q+A, with Rod Oram when he put you in your place. You looked fat and sweaty. Your behaviour has been very erratic of late, shouting at Kathryn Ryan the other week and almost losing it today as well, comically taking the high road by boasting about buying kiwi made like a good economic protectionist.

        The impression your behaviour gives is someone struggling with personal problems. Perhaps you’d like to talk about them with us here at the standard, seeing as you have no shame ‘n all.

  18. weka 19

    Does the name need changing?

  19. karol 20

    frogblog has been running a low key blog site for the Green Party for a long time. It seems to have avoided divisive controversy. It’s not one of the most mainstream blogs, but does offer some possibilities for members of the party and the wider public to provide feedback to the Green MPs and party.

    Can anything be learned from how they do it?

    The biggest problem for any left wing blog, IMO, is the right wing tr0lls who can be vicious and nasty in their attempts to disrupt, abuse and derail the blog.

    • BM 20.1

      I remember a poster called blue peter who used to post on frog blog, used to really enjoy his posts.

      Unfortunately he eventually got banned for repeatedly exposing the greenie bull shit and hypocrisy, it was really funny stuff seeing those arse clowns trying to justify their religion after having their arses handed to them on a plate

      From what I understand it’s basically an echo chamber these days.

  20. felix 21

    Kill it with fire.

  21. karol 22

    To answer the question, what should Labour do with Red Alert? there are prior questions, like what would they aim to achieve with it? Why would Red Alert be useful?

    To spread Labour’s policies and arguments for them?

    To enable some debate about proposed policies? To get feedback from the public? From Labour Party members and supporters?

    • mickysavage 22.1

      Precisely Karol. They need to work out the purpose first and then how to implement the purpose.

  22. pollywog 23

    Give it to Kris Fa’afoi to run.

  23. Ad 24

    Karol you are on to the good ontological stuff there. For the below I offer an apology to the editors for the presumption of talking about this site as comparison.

    In my view – with the election turnout writ large before us – a functioning site should be the proving ground for the progressive movement. And I think this site already does it, because this is what it already does and what any competitor site for the progressive movement would have to do better to supplant it:

    1. Leadership
    In case we forget, the hits on this site and the flow of debate across the last two years fully enabled the right kind of leadership to emerge, to be proven one way or the other, and to be sustained. We pantsed Red Alert. We helped break and remake the leadership of the Labour Party, and we get to hold it to account daily. They get to test their goods out, as on any other major media platform. Currently nothing else out there does this as well.

    2. Discourse
    We form community, connect speakers and like minds, and test ideas that bubble up into broader society. Habermas would be proud to see close-to-perfect communication in action across new kinds of community. We need to push caucus members out of their beltway bubble into dealing with all the passion, forcefulness and contest of ideas that they should also get up for in the morning. Parties of the progressive side should re-read the relevant bits of The Republic where only the best ideas won, and won not just because they we superior ideas but because of superior arts of persuasion (including rhetoric). That is what occurs here. Sites like this are the one thing stopping a whole bunch of furiously passionate activists descending into pessimism, cynicism and general misdirected fury.

    3. Policy
    We are a novel policy refiner. At some point I can see draft policies being launched here by parties preparing for coalition, to sound out what could work in public, what only sounded stupid until it was put out there into sunlight. The preferred policy consultation provider for the progressive movement.

    4. Media
    This site – and others – can and increasingly does shape and turn the mainstream. No officially sanctioned political site can do that. Be it this one or Kiwiblog or Whaleoil, we will shortly matter to politicians far more than television ratings for dealing with the political action to stories. Again, a Red Alert or successor cannot conceivably ever do that.

    5. Coalition
    One thing this site can do that an official party site can never do is be the proving ground for a coalition government in 2014. National would have no clue how to run a site that could do that. We are the proving ground for political trust – because politicians and parliamentary staff can see Greens, Mana, Labour etc checking each other out, contesting for levels of policy extremism, watching how inter-party dynamics are perceived. Ideally it will stabilise a coalition agreement before a coalition agreement is even proposed.

    The replacement for Red Alert is already here. You are reading it. You are participating.

    • Colonial Viper 24.1

      Sharp points.

    • mickysavage 24.2

      Someone should copy this comment and send it straight to Labour Party HQ. And to the Greens.

    • Chooky 24.3

      Ad +100…..Wow very good points and summary (This statement needs to be preserved somewhere prominent so we can use it as a reference)

      ….Especially liked the bit about : “Sites like this are the one thing stopping a whole bunch of furiously passionate activists descending into pessimism, cynicism and general misdirected fury”.

    • Rogue Trooper 24.4

      1, 2 and 4 (for the-time-being).

    • Not a PS Staffer 24.5

      ontological
      “Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences. In the broadest sense, Ontologists investigate what makes a human – human, relying on institutional, social, and technical conventions representing a nexus of intellectual activities.” Wiki.

      I’m going back to bed for a lie down.

      • Huginn 24.5.1

        That’s right, this is an ontological inquiry.

        Apply it to institutions to get the scale of mission creep.

        A serious mindfuck when applied to the self.

  24. Gruntie 25

    Kill it – because. In no particular order
    A) no one reads it
    B) no one comments on it
    C) no one writes anything worth reading

    Other suggestion which I think has started now under DC, get the MP’s – shadow ministers etc put up news, policy, updates on the official Labour Party website
    And labour people who want to blog will go to The Standard and The Daily Blog.

  25. Rhinocrates 26

    Kill it. Start from scratch. A problem Labour had under Mumblefuck and Beltway Grant was that they thought that social media were either “nonsense” or just another bullshit pipeline that flowed one way, or as Curran thought… well, we all know about that.

    The social media doesn’t work that way (nor should they be a pipeline for boob jokes, as Mallard thinks).

    They’re a network. Things connect, things come back.

    It’s a way on engaging. Like it or not, the party will have to understand that social media mean that they’ll have to listen too. It should be a place for asking questions, not issuing press statements or rambling “e-newletters” and sniffing out imagined enemies.

    Whatever replaces Beige Alert would be a place where policy flows into Labour, not where bullshit flows out.

  26. Mary 27

    End it in a way that makes sure it can never be revived. This must include Labour deciding never to create a Labour blog for how ever long it takes to ensure nothing from red alert can ever survive.

  27. the pigman 28

    Aside from the prevalence of nutjob visitors from WO, it was functioning passably until after the election of Cpt. *derisive scoff* “don’t read ’em” MF. That, obnoxious TM realising he was loathed by the R&F, Clare’s snarky shots at MS and then CV, the yawning chasm between the wishes of the R&F and caucus, the list of grievances is virtually never-ending….

    I agree a reboot is in order, and it would work much better if it sounded like it was taking the criticisms of Standardistas, TDBers, etc., more seriously.

  28. Not a PS Staffer 29

    Kill it.
    It was used to “control” Labour members.
    As a brand it is wrecked.

    How we interact among ourselves and with the public needs to be evolved. But that actiity does not have to be linked to the decision to kill Red Alert.

    Shut it dow by lunchtime today and move on.

  29. Not a PS Staffer 30

    A better idea.
    Give the keys to Red Alert to Colonial Viper and give him the brief to turn it into a funny witty silly self-deprecating site.
    We are mature enough for that.

  30. Crunchtime 31

    I believe you mean “nested” rather than “nestled”.

  31. peterlepaysan 32

    Does Labour need it?

    Curran and “Spud” certainly did not advance debate.

    A lot of posts wound up looking like the dreary “Staff Newsletters” that everyone dreads being asked to contribute towards.

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