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Why does the right control the English speaking world?

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, November 16th, 2014 - 116 comments
Categories: australian politics, class war, climate change, global warming, International, john key, national, uk politics, us politics - Tags:

A recent Guardian Article by Jason Wilson asks a very pertinent question.  Why is the right in control of the English speaking Western world?  In England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States (despite Obama’s presidency) the right is in control.  The repercussions are significant.  For instance the response to climate change is insipid in the extreme and the western world is going backward.

Wilson sums up the situation as follows:

Right now the Anglosphere nations share another institution: everywhere, the political right is in charge, despite the times offering us reasons to vote for parties emphasising leftwing notions of environmental responsibility, equality, and military restraint.

The common policy features amongst these states are the unwinding of action to address climate change, even though the need to do something is more relevant than ever, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor, the starving of most branches of state of resources, apart  from the military and the security forces, and the attacking of beneficiaries.

And why is the right doing so well?  Wilson sums up the reasons for success in this paragraph:

Each country has its own internal political dynamics. In each case the right has come to power in different ways. But these groupings share a lot of ideological common ground. This is no accident — multinational corporate lobbying, a global network of thinktanks, and the planetary echo chamber afforded by organisations like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation keeps right wing ideas circulating and resonating throughout the English speaking world.

Anglosphere conservatives want to erode whatever remains of their respective welfare states, with a particular emphasis on wrecking social security, education and public health. They have profited by scapegoating immigrants or refugees, and stoking paranoia about border security. More so than in previous eras of rightwing ascendancy, they are joined at the hip to the carbon merchants whose products are worsening the climate disaster already under way. While Abbott waxes lyrical about the civilising properties of coal, Harper redesigns Canada’s foreign policy around getting the products of its dirty oil sands industry to market. In the US, the Koch brothers and other carbon moguls bankroll the Republican party. If New Zealand and UK conservatives are less strident on this topic, it’s because their carbon industries are nonexistent or were deliberately destroyed. Right now, they’re all committed to the negotiation of a Trans -Pacific Partnership that economist Joseph Stiglitz says benefits “the wealthiest sliver of the American and global elite at the expense of everyone else”.

Wilson describes Key’s Government as being “relatively moderate” when compared to the likes of the Cameron or Abbott or Harper governments.  But the attacks on beneficiaries and labour law reform that weakens Unions and conditions of employment are happening locally as well as globally.

It is not all doom and gloom for the left though.  In Australia Abbott is deeply disliked and if the Labor Party can unite and organise then anything is possible next election.  In England Ed Miliband for the past few years has looked a likely winner until recently when declining polls has caused some from within the Labour Party to leak to the press and created a sense of disunity.  You would think that they would have learned.  They only have to see what happened to Gillard in Australia and Cunliffe here to see the damage that disunity and internal leaks can cause.

Wilson thinks that the basic cause is a weakness amongst the leadership in the left.

Leaders tend to look better when they are moving in a discernible direction. The real problem for centre-left parties in the Anglosphere is that it’s very difficult to tell what their objectives are, and what, if anything, they stand for. (If any Australian can provide me with a succinct account of contemporary “Labor Values”, I’m dying to hear it).

Having spent the last three decades chasing conservatives rightwards in pursuit of a mythical centre, it may be that politicians are as confused as voters are. Between them the social democratic governements of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair redefined progressive policy, seeking to effect social change through market-based, capital-friendly mechanisms. Capital showed precious little gratitude to them, and none to their successors. But the habit of trying to please everyone, including the vested interests who actually need to be confronted in order to bring about lasting change, dies hard.

This is however a vicious cycle.  As mass membership declines and parties become more dependant on corporate funding a drift to the right is almost inevitable.  And the professionalism of politics and the very dependant relationships with the media means that any point of difference can be seen as a weakness and attacked.

But there is hope.  In the recent US elections five referenda advocating the increase in the minimum wage for different states were passed convincingly.  Issue by issue campaigns can work and achieve change that being in Parliamentary opposition cannot.

This neatly leads into a question on which leader is most likely to achieve change for New Zealand Labour.  Business as usual is not an option.  And caucus needs to be united, disciplined and rejuvenated.

116 comments on “Why does the right control the English speaking world?”

  1. BM 1

    It boils down to the fact the right has more money than the left.
    If the left wants to compete they need to find some wealthy benefactors.

    Everything else is peripheral.

    • RedLogixFormes 1.1

      Yes it would nice too if the left owned some big media.

      Note that this article appears in the Guardian – one of the few places which are not owned by a big corporate or extremist right-winger.

      But otherwise you are correct this time BM – big money owning the political process to ensure they keep getting the big share of the wealth. Most people know this at some level which is why voting participation continues to decline everywhere. I don’t foresee any social democratic government in the Anglosphere in my lifetime. Big right-wing money has it permanently sewn up.

      Eventually they will so discredit democracy as a political process that some other alternative will arise in its place.

      • Colonial Rawshark 1.1.1

        BM is partially correct when he says that the reason is that the Right has more money than the Left.

        But that is only one part of the story. The Right used that money to build Right wing infrastructure and Right Wing capabilities. It used that money to buy and build Right Wing expertise, Right Wing experience, and to change the laws of the land. The Right used that money to build connections into the living rooms of every household in NZ.

        TL:DR the Right invested, built and connected with that money, and dared to envision a completely changed society.

        • Sanctuary 1.1.1.1

          “… The Right used that money to build Right wing infrastructure and Right Wing capabilities. It used that money to buy and build Right Wing expertise, Right Wing experience, and to change the laws of the land…”

          The other aspect if this is how the right constantly strives to dismantle any of collective points of resistance , defund alternative points of view and attack the traditional power bases of left wing political parties. What has made it worse in New Zealand is these attack was initiated by traitors within the Lange government and when in power during the Clark years Labour did nothing to rebuild organisations promoting alternative left wing POVs and bolstering the means for left wing resistance.

          When your power base has been over-run, it is hard to win the war.

      • BM 1.1.2

        I agree.

        The only way we’ll end up with a socialist system is because of technological advances and automation, a capitalist system just won’t work in that environment.

        I find it rather ironic that to have a socialist system, you will probably have to do away with the “worker”.

        • coffee connoisseur 1.1.2.1

          hit the nail on the head.

        • Lanthanide 1.1.2.2

          I dunno, if we get a societal apocalypse in the form of shortage of cheap oil and bad weather from climate change, ie to the point that we have a depression, then I think we might end up with a very left-wing government…

          • BM 1.1.2.2.1

            I would expect energy shortages to lead to more automation.

          • greywarshark 1.1.2.2.2

            @ Lanthanide
            We will get confusion, distress and more protest and the way to keep order will be to have military control. It will be as people friendly as the methods used in Christchurch to make people do what the authorities decided without consultation, curfews etc.
            There will be an autocratic response and that tends more to the right wing.

            • Colonial Rawshark 1.1.2.2.2.1

              I believe this is why countries throughout the western world are passing laws and implementing systems enabling unlimited warrantless surveillance, para-militarisation of civilian police forces and permanent detention without due process or trial.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.3

          I find it rather ironic that to have a socialist system, you will probably have to do away with the “worker”.

          I don’t. That’s what the Left should have been doing from the beginning but instead they’ve been holding onto jobs that could, and should, have been done by machines. You see this in the complaints on here about automated tellers at supermarkets.

        • barry 1.1.2.4

          Last time we had an excess of unemployable young men after a technological revolution the solution was to line them up and shoot them in their thousands. Of course they couldn’t actually shoot their own men so they organised an “enemy” to do it for them. We shoot theirs and they shoot ours and everybody is happy.

          Don’t expect the prospect of robots replacing labour to end any better this time.

    • weka 1.2

      “If the left wants to compete they need to find some wealthy benefactors.”

      What, like KDC?

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      If the left wants to compete they need to find some wealthy benefactors.

      Bollocks as I’ve shown before. What the left needs to do is resurrect the mass party and have every member paying in up to $5 per week and the left could easily out finance the rich.

      It’s almost as if the Left don’t understand collectivism anymore but that the RWNJs do.

    • Bob 1.4

      Yes, welathy benefactors is the reason that the Conservatives and Internet-Mana are playing such a pivotal role in our current government….

  2. TheContrarian 2

    Obama’s presidency is certainly not left-wing. Further to the right than National I’d say.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      It is all relative TC. Agreed that Obama is not left wing although at least he is willing to try and do something about climate change and affordable health care.

      • Colonial Rawshark 2.1.1

        Obama *talks* about climate change.

        But when you watch his actions, he approves deep sea well after deep sea well, he approves oil pipelines and more use of Canadian tar sands.

        • Bill 2.1.1.1

          Promised $3bn US to a Green Fund. Gives over $3bn US every year to Israel.

          And what were his promised cuts again? Some %age below some other years’ %age by some-time when. That approach simply isn’t scientific, and not in any way, shape or form sufficient.

      • Foreign Waka 2.1.2

        The US president is “owed” by the wealthy of the US. For them to lecture the world is just the height of audacity.

    • RedLogixFormes 2.2

      The situation in the USA is dire – a large portion of the people are well to the left of any political party that might represent them. But money system completely excludes them.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        And the money system is getting like that here as well because we’re following along in the same path as the US.

  3. mpledger 3

    Or a lot of donors giving a little.

    The “benefit” of lots of little donors is that they don’t have a coherent voice. One super-enormous donor can pretty much set the policy agenda e.g. Bill Gates running Education policy in the USA (and stuffing it up big time).

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Yep and that’s also why every political party in the country needs to be following the Internet Party’s lead and using Loomio or similar to determine policy. It gets the influence of the rich out of politics.

  4. Ad 4

    It’s a good article.
    I went where he is going last week when commenting with Mickey on the US midterms.

    We can be a lot more specific than the writer when addressing the common solutions.
    “Leadership” is necessary but insufficient.

    Labour’s review findings will echo right across the global left due to its timing.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      The review process is important, just as important as the current leadership contest. Once the leader has been selected there will be a few posts on the subject. Arguably the review should have been completed before the leadership contest …

      • lprent 4.1.1

        My problem with the review is that I have seen too many of them before and too little effective change falling out of them.

        At this point I don’t think I can be bothered to make the effort of contributing to another one. Besides I’m much more interested in the ‘do’ rather than the ‘review’. I currently thinking about what I want to do for the next few years, and most of the alternatives have little to with anything that is likely to be falling out of the review.

        • shorts 4.1.1.1

          the review won”t change those tasked to enact any change – its members of the “team” that are holding labour back, well that and the parties inability to control their message – when combined we have, well the last two election shambles

  5. coffee connoisseur 5

    That plus the fact that the only solution the left has for the changes they want is through redistribution of wealth. There are many who are struggling even on what would be considered by many in society to be a good if not acceptable wage.
    Not many people want to give more money to government and even less want bigger govt with more control. You only need to have a look at what is happening to our civil liberties to understand why that is.
    It is a bit of a paradox given that by and large it is the right which has president over the ever increasing suveillance in the western world. Yets whilst the left are seen as bigger govt and higher taxes they will continue to come second more and more to the right.

    There are solutions and alternativesbut you need to get your head out of the current system in order to find them.
    The left also need to start doing a much better job at destroying the myth that the current system works or is the best option we have. This won’t be done by taking pot shots at the rights ineffectiveness at being able to deliver good social outcomes but more by destroying the premise for the entire system that we all are subject to.

    The sad thing is that the message in order to do this is a very simple one. It starts with Maslows and Capitalisms effectiveness in being able to deliver on these things.

    Why Maslows? because Maslows Hierarchy is used as the basis for much of the current economic theory and and therefore the justification for which system is best for society.

    Subject it to Green Fields Systems Analysis and you can even determine the system we should have for everyone.

    • Bill 5.1

      There are solutions and alternatives, but you need to get your head out of the current system in order to find them.

      At the level of my core political convictions, I agree with that.

      But since I suspect (rightly or wrongly) that you’re speaking, essentially, from a social democratic perspective, I’m simply going to point out (for the umpteenth time) that there is a left of center governing party in the English speaking world that provides free education, free prescriptions, a progressive property sales tax, old folk care, and so on – that gained an absolute majority in an MMP environment off the back of a ~50% voter turnout.

      Labour, in that same country, is nose-diving. Now, do we really need belly button fluff analyses to figure out what, within a social democratic context, is going on? I think not.

      • coffee connoisseur 5.1.1

        No I’m not talking about social democracy. That is just another subset within the current system

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.2

      Why Maslows? because Maslows Hierarchy is used as the basis for much of the current economic theory and and therefore the justification for which system is best for society.

      No it’s not. Economics is now a mathematicised discipline. Nothing to do with the social sciences.

      • coffee connoisseur 5.2.1

        Yes it is actually. The mathmatecal part comes into play once the system has been determined. which as far as those in power and the economists that advise them think it has.
        You need to go right back to the justification for the entire system i.e. the justification for Capitalism.
        Thats at the point you need to use Maslows. At that point (which is the very beginning) Capitalism (just like communism) is great in theory but falls stunningly short in reality.

        Maslows and its role in Economics was being taught in New Zealand Universities> I first learned of it in Economics 101.

        As Maslows is widely accepted as the basis for what is required for a person to be happy (not necessarily all for a particular individual but at least a subset of depending on the person) then this becomes the single most powerful srgument you can put forward as the justification for looking at serious system change.

        Ask these questions

        Who is the system for or more importantly who should the system be for?

        The answer should be everyone.

        What do people (at the most fundamental level) want?

        to be Happy.

        What is required for that to occur?

        ,Shelter, Food, clothing security etc……… i.e. The contents of Maslows

        How effective is the current system at delivering these things for the entire world population?

        Well for more than half of the people in the world not all of the bottom level of Maslows is delivered on, The most basic and fundamental needs are what make up the bottom level.

        When looked at in that context Capitalism has failed dismally.

        You can then continue the exercise to determine the system that we should have.

        • coffee connoisseur 5.2.1.1

          Add to that what most voters on the right actually want is small Govt and Less tax.
          Go through the exercise with the people with the necessary skillsets and The right (voters that is) will get what they want and the left will get the social outcomes and freedoms they are after more than they have been able to achieve at anyother time in recorded human history.

          The only ones who won’t be happy are the 1%.

      • Murray Rawshark 5.2.2

        I don’t agree, CR. Economics is ideological. Politics and class interests drive the way any particular economist will look at things. Once they apply that, they put a few equations in, but the model has already been decided. They think that because they use maths, they are scientific like physics. Unfortunately science requires falsifiable models, and any equations reflect these models. Economists use equations, but don’t understand what lies behind them.

        • Colonial Rawshark 5.2.2.1

          I tend to follow Steve Keen’s line that most neoclassical economists (out of the ones who are paid to be correct as opposed to the ones paid to take a corporate PR line) are positive, altruistic people who genuinely think that their analyses and research is going to lead to a better world.

          Unfortunately science requires falsifiable models, and any equations reflect these models. Economists use equations, but don’t understand what lies behind them.

          Indeed. Again, Steve Keen has shown over and over again that many neoclassical economists haven’t read or don’t understand their own mathematical literature.

          http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2011/07/13/neoclassical-economists-dont-understand-neoclassical-economics/

          • Coffee Connoissuer 5.2.2.1.1

            So essentially you now have a large portion of the answer.

            “Unfortunately science requires falsifiable models, and any equations reflect these models. Economists use equations, but don’t understand what lies behind them.”

            The policy of the right has failed dismally with its calculations (and continues to do so) and through Capitalisms abject failure to deliver social outcomes across the board.

            Whereas on the other hand left wing Solcial goals are supported by Maslows and supported by systems analysis (which is a discipline for determining how systems should work and how to identify problems with systems that don’t work).
            Where the left goes wrong is that to date it has tried to implement solutions when it gets to power that are essentially still within the sphere of a Capitalist system.

            Systems analysis shows that the system that we should have for all mankind is closer to a Resource Based Economy and without a monetary system.
            Yes money was in theory introduced to make things easier due to portability and it did exactly that, but unfortunately it has now evolved to the point where money rather than being an enabler, has become a barrier for more and more things. This barrier is being experienced by many at a personal or family level, at a local govt and at a central govt level.
            The reason for this is that the system implemented to deliver on Maslows was flawed from the outset on a couple of fronts.

            Maslows can be distilled down to wants and needs. A person at a basic level simply wants their needs and wants met. How they are met doesn’t matter so long as they are met. The introduction of a monetary system solved many problems back when it was introduced, Unfortunately it has evolved to the point where we are today in society and creates arguably more problems than it solves. It is certainly no longer allowing people to have their needs and wants met under the current system.

            Auckland transport problems are a stellar example of this. The resources exist to fix Aucklands public transport, the knowledge, skills and technology to fix Auckland transport all exist. So why hasn’t it been fixed already…
            Money or more accurately the lack of it. This problem is everwhere and across all levels of society.

            With that in mind go back to who the system is for, what people want, and what the system needs to deliver in order to achieve that.
            Capitalisms biggest failure from a systems analysis point of view was that was and continues to be a system of resource management and it uses the concept of profit to deliver these resources. It is also predicated on the concept of resource scarcity and at its inception this was a valid concept. At its inception there was no Amazon, Trademe, Ebay or Internet. There was no Automation, no commercial airlines so getting resources from one country to another or one location to another (Auckland to Wellington?) was a far more difficult task.
            This sort of scarcity no longer exists.
            As for other types of scarcity i.e. simply not having enough of a particular resource We simply don’t know with 100% certainty.
            But the speed at which we are currently burning through resources is only exacerbated by the profit motive and the need to make profit in order to survive within the current system.

            By employing better design and changing the way we think about and use resources, the needs and wants in Maslows can be delivered far more effectively and to far more people than Capitalism will ever be able to.

            If we keep going the way we are there will probably be a living wage and an ever increasing number of people will end up on it. Corporations will even use that as justification to simply pay just that for more and more roles within their organizations. Is that really the world we want to live in?

            But as I was saying Capitalism and in fact ALL systems tried to date have essentially been systems for resource Management and through their implementation they have been systems that people have had to work for. This is going to fail ever single time.
            Why? Because systems analysis shows that the system should be designed to work for man, not the other way around.

            It should enable people, families, communities to have their wants and needs met as per Maslows.

            Society has finally reached the point technologically where a monetary system is no longer required to do this. Think about it, you can order pretty much any product or service you need in this day and age and have it arrive at your doorstep within a week or less.

            The thing the left need to do is focus on the outcomes they want to deliver and stop thinking that the only way to deliver them or that the best way to deliver them is within the constructs of the current system.

            remember
            “Unfortunately science requires falsifiable models, and any equations reflect these models. Economists use equations, but don’t understand what lies behind them.”
            hence the failing system we have today.

            Lastly stop looking to economics for the answers for the very reason above( the right will beat you on this front everytime at least whilst they can still sell the dream of increased wealth and riches so you can have all your wants and desires, because that when you break it right down is what it is all about.
            Instead look to Systems Analysis.
            1. it hasn’t been corrupted (and probably cant be)
            2. It is what is used to determine what system is required
            3. The Systems Analysis supports left wing social outcomes
            4. it destroys the entire premise for right wing policy.

            If you go down this track using automation rather than fighting it and looking at the concept of restructuring the goal of society to have maximum unemployment rather than minimum unemployment whislt still delivering peoples wants and needs and the future you’ll be able to sell to the voter and future generations is a 3 day working week or even less. How does the Right even begin to compete with that.

        • Chooky 5.2.2.2

          MR..agreed… “Economics is ideological”

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      Not many people want to give more money to government and even less want bigger govt with more control. You only need to have a look at what is happening to our civil liberties to understand why that is.

      That’s because we’ve been taught to think of the government as being other rather than thinking of the government as being us. We need to start teaching the latter to everyone.

      Democracy is the biggest government you can get as it includes everyone and trying to make government smaller is to move away from being a democracy. I’m sure that the leaders of the Right want that though which is why they keep attacking big government despite them being the ones that institute bigger government oversight of the general populace.

      The left also need to start doing a much better job at destroying the myth that the current system works or is the best option we have.

      Labour have been telling us that the present works and that it just needs to be slightly amended. This is a load of bollocks and we need the old Labour back, the one with the courage to change the system. This also applies to the other parties of the Left as well.

    • sir pat 5.4

      it would be good if more on the right could be convinced of “enlightened self interest”

  6. Bill 6

    I admit to taking this type of analysis with a pinch of salt.

    If the reasoning included an explanation for the ascendency of the left of center SNP in Scotland – that succeeds in spite of an antagonistic media environment; that has tripled its membership to over 80 000 in spite of being on the losing side of the referendum vote; that won an absolute majority in an MMP environment before any talk of a referendum on independence and on a turnout of 50% – then I’d afford them more weight.

    The only thing the SNP didn’t do (as far as I’m aware) was seek and promote some expression of ‘third way’ nonsense.

    So, sod pinning hope on some increase in minimum wages in some states on another continent – the evidence from the ‘Anglosphere’ is that the NZLP simply needs to get off the ‘third way’. Or, in the words of quite a few commenters here, cut the bullshit, and ‘just tell the fucking truth‘.

    • RedLogixFormes 6.1

      Or, in the words of quite a few commenters here, cut the bullshit, and ‘just tell the fucking truth‘.

      Inclined to agree with you – but with the right completely owning the message for over a generation – exactly where to get to tell that truth?

      In a place where it is not mocked, smeared and derailed constantly? BM is right – big money will always win. Look at how it has completely won the fossil fuel debate. Not on the facts or moral suasion – but simply creating so much doubt, polarisation and thus preventing the necessary consensus needed for action.

      • Bill 6.1.1

        Do you think that the right somehow owned the message in England, Wales and N.Ireland, but somehow, mysteriously, not in Scotland? It’s the same major media outlets dropping their headlines and editorials through the letter boxes and schmoozing their messages through the TV sets and radios in all four countries. And as a part of that, do you not think the SNP is smeared, mocked and derailed constantly?

        And yet…

        • RedLogix 6.1.1.1

          And yet what actual difference have they made on the ground?

          Same in Australia – Shorten polls better for now but wait until the election looms and then see the media stick the boot in.

          • Bill 6.1.1.1.1

            What actual difference have they made? Well, free tertiary education, free prescriptions, free doctor visits, free aged care…oh yeah…and recently got an entire nation politically engaged.

            edit – allowing for political spin (it’s from their site) 4 out of 5 public sector contracts go to small businesses and 27 000 houses built since 2007.

          • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 6.1.1.1.2

            wait until the election looms and then see the media stick the boot in

            like the media sticking the boot into Miliband recently ……

        • karol 6.1.1.2

          England is governed from the South. The old industrial centres, I’m told, in the north, have a totally different culture and perspective. Scotland is part of that. They have a long working class history and legacy.

          • Bill 6.1.1.2.1

            England is governed from the South.

            Hmm, no. The UK is governed from the south, ie – Westminster.

            Anyway, taking the rest of your comment ‘as read’ – then why is Labour in Scotland nose-diving while a more left Social Democratic party is, more or less, cleaning up?

            Is it because of a ‘right wing’ media dominance, controlled narratives, money or, as the quoted article touches on, because Labour abandoned labour and are now reaping the consequences?

            Just to note, the narratives, money and media bias hit the SNP harder than they do Labour by a long shot. The SNP has one sympathetic newspaper in Scotland – ‘The Glasgow Herald’. Every other newspaper, from the tabloid ‘Daily Record’ to broadsheet ‘The Scotsman’ is antithetical to the SNP while, in some cases, being sympathetic to Labour.

            The BBC, ITV, SKY and STV certainly favour unionist parties over independence parties (greens, socialist party and SNP).

            Other media, located outside Scotland, betray their bias through omission. Scotland and Scottish affairs are rarely, if ever, mentioned, and certainly almost never mentioned in a positive light. (Shades of NZ media reporting on Maori issues there…? )

            Anyway, if an argument is going to rely solely on cultural/historical differences to explain the situation in Scotland, then the same argument can’t a turn around in the same breath and use media bias, and all the rest of it, to explain away Labours’ woes in NZ. I mean, any such argument suggests these things (media, money, neo- liberal narratives) have a limited impact, no?

            • karol 6.1.1.2.1.1

              I did mean England is governed from the south. ie that England compared with Scotland – really doesn’t differentiate between the north and south of England.

              In the north of England and in Scotland, I suspect there is a strong grass roots culture that still counters the dominant right wing media bias. And that bias largely supports the dominant powers in the south of England. So in some ways, the north of England, and the whole of Scotland are somewhat at a distance from the dominant culture in the south of England – gives them more of an outsiders’ perspective.

              • Bill

                So okay…I’m feeling uneasy about these generalisations, but that as it may be, why do you think the Scottish Labour Party is absolutely tanking in Scotland? And if you see no parallel between the travails of the Scottish Labour Party and the New Zealand Labour Party, then do you also deny or dismiss any comparative evaluation of the UK and NZ Labour Parties?

                • karol

                  I don’t know enough about the Scottish Labour Party, but my guess is, it’s tanking in Scotland because of it’s association with the English Labour Party.

                  The UK and NZ Labour Parties have similarities. But they come from a slightly different base. this is because NZ was never a highly industrialsed society. Think of the UK urban working classes. In NZ, the Labour Party originated at a distance from cities – in a mining community.

                  NZ has never had the strong working class consciousness that I’ve experienced from people in the UK – or even in Aussie. There has been a working class/labour movement in NZ – but, not as strong as in the UK.

                  And, to make the comparisons between Uk and NZ Labour parties more complex, this the different electoral systems that we have now.

                  • Bill

                    Okay. So there is all this comparative analysis going around that focuses on the UK Labour Party and tries to draw lessons for the NZLP. (Bryan Gould – leading NZLP review committee – did a long, rather comprehensive interview that included such analysis)

                    In kinda broad brush strokes they all tend to focus on the reactions of Labour Parties to 30 odd years of neo-liberalism and angst about what to do next…blah, blah – media…blah, blah – low voter turn out…blah, blah – arse? elbow?

                    Meanwhile, the SNP never opted for any ‘third way’…just stayed the course and kept left…and (as I keep repeating) is a majority government in an MMP environment off the back of a 50% voter turnout.

                    Now, Scotland is no more different to Canada or England or Australia. And they are no more different to one another than NZ is to any other place in the so-called ‘anglosphere’… all those countries have unique characteristics sitting alongside various similarities.

                    There is however, only one situation that shows the same political platform in two different political environments, and that’s UK Labour in England and Wales and UK Labour in Scotland. In England and Wales they struggle to match the governing right leaning Tories, while in Scotland (Labour Party heartland) they are being buried by the governing left leaning SNP – who on current polled voting intentions are going return more MPs to Westminster from Scotland than Labour will- (50 odd SNP versus a handful from Labour).

                    Anyway. Probably not good for academics and their pay cheques if they were to acknowledge the great bluddy elephant in the room having a magnificent dump over all their hard thought out theories.

                    • karol

                      My way of approaching this seeming difference in Scotland, is to assume there is something different between the contexts in the places you mention. Human beings are not that different. And for such a strong ground swell, there must be something different going on in Scotland.

                      I have already pointed out one difference between the north of England and Scotland, and that of the south of England (and different from NZ) – a sizable industrial working class legacy, and sense of solidarity.

                      The other difference that seems relevant, is the fact of Scotland’s colonisation by England, compared with the colonisation of NZ, Aussie & Canada. Unlike Scotland, the 3 latter countries all had a significant influx of European/Brit settlers supporting the colonisation of tangata whenua.

                      Scotland retained a sense of independence from and antagonism towards rule from London. The fact that it is the Scottish National Party that is gaining traction seems to be connected with that – a mix of working class solidarity, plus the desire to counter the prevailing ruling classes in England – seen as both the wealthy/aristocratic elites, and the descendants of Scotland’s colonisers.

                    • mickysavage []

                      I agree. Scottish history is clearly hard wired into the DNA of every Scotsman and woman. I have never met one I did not like. And I have never met one who did not know of the oppression they suffered at the hands of the English.

                    • Bill

                      So you don’t think it’s as devastatingly simple as a population still having an option to vote for something widely recognised as being ‘of the left’?

                      I mean, that option (a recognisably left leaning parliamentary party) simply doesn’t exist in England and Wales…or NZ…or Australia…where the main parliamentary parties on the left all essentially abandoned the left to peddle some third way to somewhere nonsense that has wound up nowhere.

                      On the bright side, there’s no reason why the NZLP can’t occupy that space of a genuine left leaning parliamentary party again (just as the SNP is in Scotland) and give us that choice again.

                    • karol

                      Bill: So you don’t think it’s as devastatingly simple as a population still having an option to vote for something widely recognised as being ‘of the left’?

                      Not really – at least, not on its own.

                      I think a clue in NZ is that the NZ Labour Party got a strong Maori & Pacific vote this election. That’s probably similar to the SNP strength from a combined sense of legacy of being colonised, plus a left bias from having a significant proportion of people in the lowest socio-economic groups.

                      For people to be resistant to the ideas peddled by the media, it helps to be part of a social group/peer group with alternative values and ideals.

                      Maori and Scots have maintained a strong sense of independence and grievance vs English/Brit colonisation. It’s part of various media and cultural activities/communications. In Scotland, for instance, the reverence for Burns poems and songs, “Flower of Scotland”, etc.

                      The rest of the left in England, Aussie, NZ, Canada, etc, don’t have any such core unifying narratives and beliefs: ones that unite people against a common dominating “enemy”. And the Pakeha/Europeans, etc have been subjected to decades of individualism, and various myths (the meritocracy, etc).

                      To counter the dominant media and government “neoliberal” values, the left needs to create more unifying narratives from the flax roots like the 99% vs the 1%: ones spread through communities and their rituals and communications.

                    • Bill

                      I agree that Maori and (some) Scots share the same perspective with regards colonisation…even down to the ‘partnership’ type treaty and all that followed.

                      But…Burns is bigger in Russia than Scotland.
                      NZ has more bagpipe players per head of population than does Scotland.
                      The Conservative party routinely took most of the vote in Scotland not so long ago.
                      55% of the population just rejected independence.
                      Scotland has a large middle class and some families/individuals, historically, did rather well out of the slave trade and tobacco trade .
                      Antagonism to London is negated or balanced out by the protestant/catholic dynamic in Scotland.
                      It has growing numbers of immigrants who tend to see themselves as Scottish as opposed to their counterparts in England who see themselves as British.

                      In other words, Scotland is as diverse and fucked up as anywhere… with a really shite unofficial national anthem to boot.

                      And it has a genuine parliamentary left option at the ballot box that the majority opt for these days…and it ain’t Labour 😉

                      edit – just to add, that where no genuine parliamentary left exists (eg England and Wales where Labour are the cuckoo in the lefts nest) UKIP is growing quite fast.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      In other words, Scotland is as diverse and fucked up as anywhere with a really shite unofficial national anthem.

                      Sheeeezus. Scotland consumes twice as much vodka per capita, and 19% more alcohol overall, than those south of the border.

                      http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-23758796

                    • karol

                      I’m sure Scotland is pretty diverse as is everywhere else these days. But, there is still some sections that have strong nationalistic feelings vs England. And, I repeat, the political vehicle that is getting the left wing vote is called the “Scottish National Party”.

                      And I don’t think it’s as simple as providing a strong left alternative.

                      There needs to be a strong left wing grass roots narrative to support it.

                    • Bill

                      I think you are hanging too much on the name there. They have been around since the 1920s and never really achieved much of anything for years…decades.

                      The Labour Party formed the first Scottish government in ’99 and again in 03. It wasn’t until the Labour Party struck off on its ‘third way’ – abandoned the left – that the SNP assumed the mantle cast aside by Labour. They (the SNP) formed a minority government after the 07 elections and achieved an outright majority in the 11 elections prior to any talk of a referendum and ona very low voter turnout.

                      But if you want to put the Labour/SNP swing in fortunes down to cultural history, antagonism of the English and what not, then you have to explain, by those criteria, why Labour ruled the roost in Scotland pre-devolution and up until 03 or 07 (depending on how you want to view the minority government of the SNP in 07).

                    • karol

                      I doubt that the rise of the SNP is purely because they stuck to a left wing agenda, after Labour went third way.

                      In NZ, we had some parties that tried to go back to a more true left wing agenda, after the 80s. They haven’t gained that much traction: Alliance, new Labour, etc. The Greens (out of the ashes of Values, and maybe some strands of Alliance), have been the ones that have made modest and stable gains.

                      I think their position probably indicates something about the place of environmental issues, plus something about the left in NZ. It isn’t firmly based in class/union politics, but wider ideals about social inclusion and social justice, of which class is a part.

                      The other party/ies that have gained some traction (at least for a limited period) are NZ First, the Maori Party, and Mana. They all have at their core some strong Maori support. NZF got a lot of Maori support in its early days.

                      That SNP took off soon after Labour went third way, indicates to me a core of the populace who already shared such Scottish left values.

                      I still see no reason to reject the notion that there needs to be strong grass roots community support for a left wing party to do well.

                      In the UK (dominated by the south of England), with the rise of “neoliberalism”, there was the formation of the Democrats – before Labour went new way.

                      I repeat that I don’t think people in specific places are unique. If a strong Labour-like party has gained traction in one place, and not elsewhere, I think there must be something specific to that place that has enabled that to happen.

                    • Bill

                      Seems we agree on a number of points then. So, no people are particularly unique. Grass roots organising is a good thing. And so on.

                      It seems to be the notion of credible and genuine left leaning social democratic parties that we’ve got differing opinions on.

                      You point out that attempts have been made to form such parties in NZ. The same can be said for England and Wales as well as Scotland. In neither place did such parties attain much traction.

                      In all the places we are discussing, a Green party was formed. In all of the places we are discussing they have enjoyed a limited, though not insignificant amount of traction.

                      In only one place was a party, perceived as a credible political entity by the electorate, already in place. They (the SNP) were able to offer an alternative to what had become the tweedle dee and tweedle dum of left and right in a neo-liberal context.

                      In Scotland, as elsewhere, newly formed left leaning political parties struggled and either settled to very low levels of support (Scottish Socialist Party) or disappeared altogether (Scottish Labour Party – a party wholly independent from UK Labour and not to be confused with the current Scottish arm of the UK
                      Labour Party).

                      I look at this way. The longer something has been in existence, the more credibility it is afforded. So, to offer a religious example, and just speaking generally, Catholicism is seen as more credible than rastafarianism. That’s the basic psychology of perception and credibility that new political parties run up against, and that has to be factored into any argument that points to new political parties of the left falling over.

                      Also, Labour Parties the world over have a terrible habit of claiming the entire left as their own. Now, when they are actually on the left, it’s limiting to the left but a situation that can be lived with. When they leave the left, but stay in the nest as cuckoos and attempt to jettison everything else that comes along, then it’s deeply problematic.

                      Did Labour here attempt to nurture the Alliance or Mana in any serious fashion, for example? Or did Labour in Scotland lend any support to the Scottish Socialist Party…or the SNP…or the Greens? What support or encouragement does UK Labour offer the Left Unity Party? Assuming the answers tends towards a negative, and we then compare that approach to ‘the right’ (National, the UK Conservatives) with regards to nascent right wing parties (ACT, UKIP Colin Craig’s conservative party)….

      • weka 6.1.2

        “Inclined to agree with you – but with the right completely owning the message for over a generation – exactly where to get to tell that truth?”

        Well, within the Labour party for a start. Whatever the true right are doing, any chance we’ve had in the last 30 years has been seriously undermined by the philosophical divide in Labour. And outside. I’d still like to know what’s going to be done about the likes of Pagani and Williams ffs, who have prime spots on MSM.

  7. fisiani 7

    [RL: Banned from this thread. Not allowing your non-stop sycophancy to derail this one.]

    • Bill 7.1

      There is no failure of the left

      Correct. The failure has been on the part of the parliamentary parties that abandoned the left.

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        Sorry Bill but this creep has overstayed his welcome.

      • Ecosse_Maidy 7.1.2

        Correct McBill,
        This is a matter of where Labour & other parlimentary parties are at fault.
        They have abandoned True Left.
        I agree with what you have stated in respect of the analogy of Scotland and the SNP and what could occur in NZ and the NZLP, if we truly wished it to be so.
        Yes there are differences in culture, economics etc etc.
        Yet lets not overly complicate it as Karol seemed to do.
        600,000 people in NZ felt that disconnected from the democratic process and political parties in this country at the last election, they chose not to vote. Very similar to Scotland and The Missing Million, whom because the Messages reflected their concerns, fears, dreams, wishes came out and voted, which they had not done in decades.
        If we put forward as a True Left party, polices that refelect and engage our fellow citizens…We don’t need to worry about what TV1 or New Zealand Herald think. We don’t need to worry about what industry or speculators think. We don’t need to worry what The Green Party, etc etc think, Because people can be engaged, electrified, connected, no matter the odds, as Scotland has shown, to over turn theses fears….and put People first and not Political Parties.
        Well said Bill.

    • weka 7.2

      Thanks Red.

  8. Sanctuary 8

    On the wider point as to exactly why the right are dominant across the Anglo-sphere, it is really a consequence of the fact the Anglo-American Empire has controlled the world since the end of the Seven Years war in 1763, with the capital city of that empire merely moving across the Atlantic from London to Washington. For 250 years the English speaking powers have been engaged in running the greatest global empire the world has ever known.

    When the domination of that empire was absolute and unchallenged, the ruling elites could afford some liberal democratic reforms to it’s resident populations, especially in the face of the presence of those two revolutionary and ideologically implacable opponents to landlordism and rentier capitalism, the USSR and Maoist China.

    Once the cold war was won and the pressures of empire moved towards controlling the enemies within – their own restive populations – the elites of this global capitalist empire have moved towards authoritarian right wing governments.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Once the cold war was won and the pressures of empire moved towards controlling the enemies within – their own restive populations – the elites of this global capitalist empire have moved towards authoritarian right wing governments.

      Notice that we’re now being told that there’s a new Cold War brewing and that it’s all Russia’s fault?

      • Sanctuary 8.1.1

        But it isn’t really an ideological cold war – the situation today with the slow emergence of a multi-polar world of distrustful and authoritarian great powers governed by decadent elites drawn from the top 1% of their societies all jostling for supremacy in complex alliances is much more like the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

        And we all know how that ended up… Only this time round, everyone is tooled up with nukes.

  9. greywarshark 9

    What’s the difference, if any, between RedLogix and RedLogixFormes? Is it one person or not? If it is one person what is the actual pseudonym? If it is two people, then one should find a new pseudonym that is individual to them.

    [lprent: I haven’t looked but I suspect that it is the same RedLogix. RL is a moderator, but has to login to do that. So he gets his normal logged in name. He can change his displayed nickname if he desires, but I think it will change it on every comment he has made. The other are the defaults from a machine where he hasn’t logged in. ]

  10. Olwyn 10

    Thank you Mickey, for giving this piece a post of its own – it has been haunting me since Paul put up a link to it a couple of days ago. I think the crunch came in 2008 – before that, third way politicians could say, and perhaps even believe, that while the “market” must come first, a “maturing market” would deliver on the social front. Since 2008, however, that story is no longer credible, though I notice that John Key was still pushing it on RNZ this morning: to paraphrase him, business will tackle the problem of poverty, but it needs predictability, deregulation, a lack of corruption, and a good dispute resolution process. He went on to cite NZ as a great place to do business.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/20157427

    This to me said, yes there is poverty because people like me now have just about all the levers. But if you guarantee us absolutely all the levers, for ever and ever amen, then we might think about alleviating poverty…(but we won’t really have to because we’ll still have all the levers).

    It seems to me that we need either one of two things – a major psychological shift, like those associated with St Francis of Assisi and Mahatma Gandhi, or to come up with some kind of leverage that they cannot easily wrest from us.

  11. Atiawa 11

    The left derails itself on occasions by getting too far ahead of its constituents with progressive policies that although important and sometimes worthy of manifesto inclusion do not immediately resonate with those they crave to represent. When we have too many academics representing the interests of working people an unintended consequence is the tension between the two.
    Political parties on the left need simple messages focusing on the issues facing their voters – jobs & wages, housing & health, education & training opportunity, a retirement to look forward to.
    I understand those of you decrying this as simplistic, but most of us lead simple lives and we will be engaged by straight forward messages with easily understood solutions. Andrew Little “get’s it” and is able to articulate the connectivity required between the party and the labour movement and the need for closer links with the communities they represent.

    • Olwyn 11.1

      I wholeheartedly agree. That is how you generate people for whom lobbying in your favour is as natural as breathing, and it is something the right has. For example, the tradesman in his fifties or sixties with a small string of rentals and an eye to his retirement just automatically regales the lunchroom with what a dick the Labour leader is, what a bunch of clowns the Greens are, and how National will see us right. Policies that speak directly to people get people speaking to each other, and that is how they gain traction. We don’t need to replicate their policies, but we need our policies to strike our kind of voters with that kind of enthusiasm.

  12. millsy 12

    The left can’t get its shit together. The right can. They are united, diciplined, and clear about what they stand for.

    You can navel gaze all you like, but that’s what it comes down to.

    • mickysavage 12.1

      So what would the left look like if it got its shit together?

      And in my post there are a few areas raised, discipline, money, adverse media, lack of conviction. In NZ Labour could still in improving in some areas, it need not be all of them.

      • Bill 12.1.1

        Hmm. What do you mean by ‘discipline’?

        Outside of a caucus environment – which should always be a very minor part of any left, ie the parliamentary expression of a broad left that exerts pressure through the doors of parliament onto/through any given caucus – ‘discipline’ (the ‘one voice’ nonsense) quickly degenerates into cultism and factionalism.

        Adverse media. I mean fuck, are my comments only showing up back to me? Adverse media is not the major influence that’s claimed. All major media outlets (one newspaper being the exception), international ‘experts’, the financial sector etc, routinely and incessantly slammed the recent Scottish ‘Yes’ campaign. And it still garnered 45% of the vote and continues to build, if growing party membership numbers (Greens, Socialist and SNP) are a measure of sentiment.

        Money. Big bucks are not needed. Some money is needed for effective organising, and sure, the more the merrier. But the smell of an oily rag is enough to keep those who know what they are doing, going.

        Conviction. Well, yeah. I’ll buy that one. The failure of the left lies squarely with the parliamentary parties that abandoned everything associated with being left.

        • BM 12.1.1.1

          Money. Big bucks are not needed. Some money is needed for effective organising, and sure, the more the merrier. But the smell of an oily rag is enough to keep those who know what they are doing, going.

          Disagree, the left struggle because they look like amateurs, the right looks like a professional organization.

          A political party is like a business, if you’re underfunded you’re going to struggle, the days of the tradie rocking up to someones house in a fucked out old ute are long gone, people demand and expect professionalism.

          And that comes back to money.

          • weka 12.1.1.1.1

            “Disagree, the left struggle because they look like amateurs, the right looks like a professional organization.”

            Crap. The GP have run some of the most effective PR campaigns of recent years. They look good to the people they are speaking to. They use a combination of things that include large private donations but not on the scale that National receives. They also use other methods, including working with the membership base, working with supporters outside the membership, and using social media. While not perfect, they come across as professional and organised because they are, not because they have big bucks.

            • BM 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes the greens are quite professional, there’s no denying that.

              When I say left I really mean labour.

              • weka

                “When I say left I really mean labour.”

                Well that makes you stupid or a trole or someone stuck in FPP. Besides, Labour’s PR machine while not as good as the Greens’ is improving and is still adequate to the job. It’ll get better when Labour sort their internal ideological problems and start to work more functionally again.

          • Bill 12.1.1.1.2

            Yeah, but I was talking about organising in a wider sense, while you’re talking specifically about political parties.

            Regardless, the basic point is simply that a little money in the right hands can go a fuck of a long way. It should probably be stated in addition that a heap of cash in fucktard hands invariably goes nowhere… really, really fast.

        • lprent 12.1.1.2

          …are my comments only showing up back to me?

          Nope. I can see them.

  13. adam 13

    Blah blah blah money. Bullshit and baked beans – the left has always been poor and we have won.

    The left was internationalist once, you know giving a damn about what happened to our fellow human beings overseas. But if you read the standard day in day out you’ll notice a very narrow focus, inward and nationalist. Actually vulgar nationalism is what I’d call it.

    What is happening to labour here is happening to labour the globe over. We are getting laughed at, distracted and shat on. Labour laws rolled back and basic rights eroded by fear. I’d like to point out, that we have a social democratic movement full of spinless wankers. Weak in thought, action and courage – a social democratic movement which is so disorganised and pathetic, it’s frightening.

    The labour party leads this foolishness with it’s continued fetish for elections and election results, has meant that working people get it in the neck – and the social democrats keep crying like a 2 year olds who have lost their pacifier.

    But, hey why bother organising and fighting for your rights, when you can watch the rugby or have another drink.

    But, hey organising takes an effort. Trying might mean you actually have unity and power, then you’d have to do some really hard work.

  14. goodsweat 14

    I have so many tickets in both camps deciding whether I’m right or left pushes me towards schizophrenia. To live with myself I need to view a worthwhile alternative to the Nats simply as government with a distinct focus on creating improved outcomes for as many New Zealanders as they possibly can.

  15. Paul 15

    1. Corporate capture of the media.
    2. Corporate capture of the Universities
    3. Corporate capture of and influence over politicians and political parties.
    4. Corporate capture and control of language.

    • Chooky 15.1

      Paul..+100 …agreed ….brainwashed by the corporates and the media…and dumbed down

      …the infortainment media is the opiate of the people

  16. swordfish 16

    “Why is the Right in control of the English-speaking World ?”

    I know the following is a bit of a technical point, rather than dealing with the substantive issue but…

    I will point out that…

    In Canada, the Conservatives won a clear majority of seats at the last Election on a minority vote of just 39.6 %.

    The combined vote for Canada’s Centre and Left parties (Libs+NDP+Greens) was a little over 53 %.

    In other words, FPP.

    In the UK, the Conservatives took just 36.1 %. I haven’t seen any polling figures on the Coalition preferences of Lib-Dem voters following the 2010 Election, but I do know that polls of Lib-Dem Party Members over the last 3 years suggest almost 3 times as many prefer a LD-Labour Coalition to a continuation of one with the Tories. And, of course, it’s no secret that the Lib-Dems campaigned as a Party to the Left of Labour (particularly, though not only, on Foreign Affairs) over the 5 years leading up to the 2010 Election.

    Important, then, not to overemphasise the degree of Right-Wing sentiment in the English-speaking West as a whole.

    • Ad 16.1

      The word used was “control”, not “sentiment”.

      • swordfish 16.1.1

        True, but implicit in Wilson’s argument is the notion that voters throughout the English-speaking world have fallen for certain key aspects of the Right-Wing line and given conservative parties majority support..

        …..everywhere, the political right is in charge, despite the times offering us reasons to vote for parties emphasising leftwing notions…..

        Despite all this, the right are enjoying a new heyday that puts the Thatcher and Reagan years in the shade.

        …..multinational corporate lobbying, a global network of thinktanks, and the planetary echo chamber afforded by organisations like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation keeps right wing ideas circulating and resonating throughout the English speaking world.

        Anglosphere conservatives…..have profited by scapegoating immigrants or refugees and stoking paranoia about border security…..

        …..it’s become easier for conservative parties sponsored by billionaires to mobilise their supporters on cultural issues, and to offer an inverse populism…..

        The one thing Wilson does acknowledge, though, is that most of these Right-Wing Governments and their broad policy agendas are now – according to opinion polls – pretty unpopular. That somewhat contradicts, however, his thesis that right wing ideas continue to resonate thanks to the power of the MSM.

  17. karol 17

    On the topic of the funding of the political right, there’s also this article from The Guardian a couple of days ago.

    It’s about the special dinners, etc the UK PM goes to for raising funds, like John key and the Nats do…. but even more so:

    The Conservatives have received double the donations of Labour and 60 times more than Ukip over the past three months, including more than £1m from hedge funds…
    […]
    The Tories received more than £300,000 from Lord Farmer, a businessman and co-treasurer of the party who was awarded a peerage in August. It takes Farmer’s total donations to the party to more than £1m over the last year. John Griffin, founder of the minicab firm Addison Lee, gave the party £500,000.
    […]
    Almost £3m of donations in the quarter came from donors who have attended exclusive private dinners with David Cameron and other senior ministers.
    […]
    Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow cabinet office minister, said the figures showed the Conservative election campaign would be “funded by those who dine exclusively at the prime minister’s top table and a select few in the hedge fund industry”.

    He said: “David Cameron’s hedge fund backers and millionaires have been given tax breaks while hard-working families are struggling to make ends meet. The Tories are standing up for those at the top at the expense of working people across the country.

    “Whether putting private profit before patient care in the NHS or siding with the energy industry over consumers struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, David Cameron stands up for the wrong people.”

  18. DS 18

    It’s not just the Anglosphere. The entire western world is a sea of right-wing governments, and those “lefties” who do exist (Obama, Hollande) are forced to move ever more rightwards amid a state of siege.

    I think this is a reflection of many factors, but I think structurally you’re looking at two major issues: the disappearance of the industrial working class that gave birth to social democracy over a century ago, and the abject failure of Tony Blair-style “red neoliberalism” in the face of the Global Financial Crisis.

  19. A voter 19

    Of course the Angloshere is all rightwing because of the Greenspan, Douglas and whoever else involved in the upraising of the Free market system of a 100 or so years ago to squash the socialism of the workers
    Bastards of education ie those who used the universities to give ultimate power to the financial legal and corporate business rulers and gradually slam the dissidence of the 60s left movements in education so that they look like a bunch of gays and wasters (MULDOONISM)with no impotise to do anything practical like make war in Indochina, rape countries for their resources and call it business and God Bless Uncle Sam and France and Britain FOR not saying or saying their sorry for practising and continuing to practise colonial rule within puppet democracies like NZ which is really evident since Norman Kirk was PM Ya think
    Of the generation that I belong to the 1940 to 1960 very last to know what life was life before the govt sponsored WINZ cushion,a bit like a WHOOPEE cushion cause you lost your job and the hours of shovelling crap are now paid by the govt because there isnt another job like that one youve been replaced by a machine hooray!! and forget the Baby Boomer bullshit thats just another piece of ego gratification for white collar crims so that they can justify lying about why they fired the guy cause he was starting to look old in his 40’s loosing his edge when they were in their early 30’s and earned? the right to be the boss Yeah we know you Key fuckin standover man
    Retrain or loose to time like now THERE AINT NO JOBS FOR THE MASSES
    Key and co belong to the generation of manipulation and entitlement 1960 TO 1980 and “dont make me do anything that will make my clothes dirty because Im needed for greater things” yeah right fuck you what have the really done to help democracy ,SFA
    You really got to hand to the Keysters of this world they sure know how to make BULLSHIT INTO MILLIONS
    and keep the poor on a string swinging on a rainbow of false hope got you wrapped around their finger you know how the song goes

  20. Sanctuary 20

    I guess another reason for the domination of zombie neoliberalism has been the institutionalisation of the Labour party and the wider left across the west. When they were first founded, the likes of Harry Holland, Micky Savage and Peter Frazer were outsiders – men who had tasted poverty and jail and they were not afraid of standing up to the ruling elites. Contrast that with today, where the Labour party’s MPs are by and large members of the upper middle class property owning elite in this county. By definition, this group is largely winners from neo-liberalism.

    These days, the role of disruptive outsiders is largely been conceded to the populist political right.

  21. Chooky 21

    “the role of disruptive outsiders is largely been conceded to”… Mana/int and the Greens….these are the true inheritors perpetrators of old socialist Labour values

    ( and these are the votes that the Dracula Werewolf corporate representing Nact wants and is pretending to appeal to eg why Hooton wants the Greens to join with Nact….why Nact has actively gone out to destroy Hone and the Mana/Int Party)

    • Halcyon 21.1

      No Chooky, Mana/Int destroyed itself by getting into bed with Dotcom. His motivation was not the welfare of the poor but the welfare of the rich; himself. The middle NZ voters saw that and ensured that Mana/Int did not get into parliament. Unfortunately Labour were too slow in distancing themselves from Dotcom and suffered for their folly.

  22. les 22

    The rapidly aging number of voters leaning towards more right wing/conservative parties,coupled with the apathy of youth to a system that denies them the priveleges enjoyed by their predecessors is certainly a problem that needs to be tackled.Bruce Jessons ‘triumph of venality’ has caught on and ‘looking after number 1’ has unfortunately become a widespread affliction.

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    1 day ago
  • Tabuteau to advance New Zealand’s trade and political interests with European partners
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, is travelling to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Spain next week to bolster New Zealand’s political and trade relationships in Europe. While in Spain, Mr Tabuteau will represent New Zealand at the 14th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid. “New Zealand strongly supports ...
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    2 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Kris Faafoi
    “I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said. “I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear ...
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    2 days ago
  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters met with Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa in Wellington today. The pair signed a Statement of Partnership setting out joint priorities for cooperation out to 2023.  “We welcomed Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa on his first visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister. Tonga ...
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    2 days ago
  • Shooting in Kurow
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says his sympathies are with the family of a man who died after being shot by Police in Kurow. “Initial reports are that Police were called by a family member to help the man who was threatening to harm himself,” Mr Nash says. “However ...
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    2 days ago
  • Govt supports Southland farmers in sustainability
    Healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing are front and centre in a new project involving more than 1000 Southland farmers and growers. Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor today announced that the Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project is the first region-wide extension programme supported by the $229 million Sustainable ...
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    2 days ago
  • Flood of support for Top of the South catchment
    Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Government funding support Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced in Canvastown today. “Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their local river without getting sick, and ...
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    2 days ago
  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
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    3 days ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
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    3 days ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
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    3 days ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
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    3 days ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
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    4 days ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
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    4 days ago
  • Early Learning Action Plan to kickstart long term change
    Today’s launch of He taonga te Tamaiti: Every child a taonga: The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 provides the foundation for long-lasting changes to early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   “Early learning will be one of the Government’s top education priorities going into 2020,” Chris Hipkins said.   ...
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    4 days ago
  • Climate change lens on major Government decisions
    Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. “Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Tertiary Education Commission Board announced
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced the appointment of Māori education specialist Dr Wayne Ngata and Business NZ head Kirk Hope to the Board of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Dr Alastair MacCormick has been reappointed for another term. “Wayne Ngata, Kirk Hope and Alastair MacCormick bring a great deal ...
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    4 days ago
  • Next phase of Pike River recovery underway in time for Christmas
    The next phase of the Pike River Re-entry project is underway, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little says. “Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Insurance contracts to become easier to understand and fairer for consumers
    New Zealand consumers will have greater certainty about their insurance cover when they need to make claims as a result of proposed government changes. “Insurance is vitally important in supporting consumers and businesses to be financially resilient when unexpected events happen,” Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi said. ...
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    4 days ago
  • A new opportunity for Ngāpuhi collective and regional negotiations
    The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little and Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The Crown is also ...
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    5 days ago
  • Referendums Framework Bill passes third reading
    A Bill enabling referendums to be held with the 2020 General Election has passed its third reading. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Act is important for upholding the integrity of New Zealand’s electoral process. “The Government has committed to holding a referendum on legalising recreational cannabis at the next ...
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    5 days ago
  • Referendums website and initial cannabis Bill launched
    The first release of public information on the two referendums to be held at next year’s General Election was made today with an informative new Government website going live. Additionally, the draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill has been released, showing the strict controls on cannabis that will apply if ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government to ban foreign donations
    The Government is taking action to protect New Zealand from foreign interference in our elections by banning foreign donations to political parties and candidates, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. Legislation will be introduced to Parliament this afternoon and passed under urgency. “There’s no need for anyone other than New ...
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    5 days ago
  • Governments and tech converge to strengthen joint response to online terror events
    Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. The workshop aims to refine and strengthen the response in the event of a terrorist attack with online implications. Companies, governments, civil society experts and NGOs will ...
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    5 days ago
  • Cancer Control Agency to drive improved care
    The new independent Cancer Control Agency has formally opened today, delivering on the Government’s plan to improve cancer care in New Zealand.         Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Health David Clark marked the occasion by announcing the membership of the Advisory Council that will be supporting ...
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    5 days ago
  • Supporting small business to prosper
    Small businesses who deal with government departments are set to be paid faster and have improved cash flow as a result, under a new strategy released today. The Government is backing recommendations from the Small Business Council (SBC) and has agreed to implement three initiatives immediately to support business and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Bill has biggest education changes in decades
    The Education and Training Bill 2019, introduced in Parliament today, proposes the biggest education changes in decades and is an important step towards improving success for all our learners, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “The Bill’s rewrite of education legislation is long overdue. Indeed one Education Act, parts of which ...
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    6 days ago
  • Bali Democracy Forum to focus on democracy and inclusivity
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Bali to represent New Zealand at the 12th Bali Democracy Forum that will be held on the 5-6 December. “The Forum is a valuable opportunity for Asia-Pacific countries to share experiences and best practice in building home-grown democracy and fostering ...
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    6 days ago
  • Innovative technology and tools to better manage freedom camping
    A package of new and expanded technology and other tools will encourage responsible camping and help communities and local councils better manage freedom camping this summer, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. “Our Government has been investing to improve the freedom camping experience for everyone because we want to support ...
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    6 days ago
  • Improving wellbeing by understanding our genes
    The government is laying the groundwork to understanding our genes – work that can help us tackle some of our biggest health challenges, like heart disease and diabetes, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. $4.7 million has been invested in the Genomics Aotearoa Rakeiora programme. The programme will ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government investing to future proof school property
    Nearly every state schools will receive a capital injection next year valued at $693 per student to bring forward urgent school property improvements, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.  The one-off cash injection is the first project to be announced from the Government’s infrastructure package ...
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    7 days ago
  • Infrastructure investments to be brought forward
    The Government has decided to bring forward major investments in New Zealand’s infrastructure to future proof the economy. “Cabinet has agreed to a significant boost to infrastructure investment. I have directed the Treasury to help bring together a package of projects that can be brought into the Government’s short and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Future-proofing New Zealand
    It is a great pleasure to be with you today in Whanganui. Like the Prime Minister I grew up with the TV clip of Selwyn Toogood booming “What do you say Whanganui, the money or the bag?” to an unsuspecting ‘It’s in the Bag’ audience. For those under the age ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, the Paparoa track opened – an asset for the West Coast
    New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, the Paparoa Track, was officially opened in Blackball today by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage alongside the family members of the Pike 29 and Ngāti Waewae.  Local mayors and MP for the West Coast Hon Damien O’Connor were also in attendance. “Paparoa National Park ...
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    1 week ago
  • P-8A Poseidon base works commence
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark turned the first sod of earth on the infrastructure works for the new P-8A Poseidon fleet at RNZAF Base Ohakea today. “The Coalition Government’s investment in Ohakea will ensure the Royal New Zealand Air Force can manage, maintain and task the new fleet efficiently ahead ...
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    1 week ago
  • Launch of the National Emergency Management Agency
    Civil Defence Minister Hon Peeni Henare today announced the establishment of the new National Emergency Management Agency from 1 December 2019.  The National Emergency Management Agency will replace the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. It will be an autonomous departmental agency, hosted by the Department of the Prime ...
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    1 week ago
  • NASA 2020 Internship applications open
    New Zealand tertiary students with top grades and a passion for space will once again be offered the opportunity to work with the world’s best and brightest at NASA, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Recipients of the New Zealand Space Scholarship are nominated by the Ministry of Business, ...
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    1 week ago