The Dim-Post

March 13, 2012

Is vague better than glib?

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 6:19 am

Gordon Campbell interviews David Shearer. Although I’m not sure ‘interview’ is the right word:

National uses its partners as its ideological outriders, which gives it more room to seem moderate by comparison. Should Labour supporters expect to see Labour operating similarly in tandem with the Greens, rather than trying to outdo them on social justice and environmental issues?

With the Greens, there is the possibility that obviously on a number of issues, we are very, very similar. There nuances between us. So it makes good sense as oppositional parties to be looking at some of these same issues, in a similar way. But we are still contesting that vote, we are not going to sit back –

I’m not suggesting abandoning it. I’m talking about relative emphasis. There could be a de facto division of work where the Greens can pursue the centre left message while Labour focusses on wooing those who have defected to the centre right.

But..why would we want to do that?

Because its crucial to becoming the next government.

Read the whole thing. It’s a really great interview(?).

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21 Comments »

  1. Ooh, that was mean – you cut him off right before he points out “I understand what you’re saying. It was a rhetorical question.”

    Comment by Psycho Milt — March 13, 2012 @ 6:47 am

  2. Shearer is quite interesting up until the “…” in almost every reply. Then you can practically see useless advisors like John Pagani in his head taking over what he is saying, and he starts to sound like a dithering fool. I don’t want to do the “good king, bad advisors” thing but Labour seriously need to review who gives them political advice at a senior level.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 13, 2012 @ 7:28 am

  3. Wow, the gymnastics he goes through to avoid ANYTHING that could be spun by the political media into a position are quite phenomenal. And hey, if he wants to take a “keep the powder dry” approach for now then OK – but if the waffle and prevaricating is anymore than that then he’s in trouble…

    Comment by garethw — March 13, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  4. I like how he goes off the record on Iran, showing, I hope, that he (i) knows a ton about Iran, and (ii) actually has opinions about Iran. As he grows into the leadership role, I look forward to him going off the record on every subject.

    Comment by bradluen — March 13, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  5. “Labour seriously need to review who gives them political advice at a senior level”

    totally agree. I didn’t know anything of Pagani until a year or two before the last election and everything I hear from him and about him is pure, sticky, black stupid. he is like an oil slick of terrible advice.

    All these comparisons are floating around between Key and Shearer but the danger is that Shearer will turn out to be a more Brash (in his National phase) type of politician: A badly-fitting sock puppet slowly learning how to mouth his lines but never really able to sound like he’s speaking naturally.

    Key may have pronounciation issues, but these at least help to make it appear like he’s speaking with his own voice.

    Comment by nommopilot — March 13, 2012 @ 10:17 am

  6. All I get from that interview is that Labour is entitled to be one of the big parties, and that its only job is to wrest power from National and keep it as long as possible by appealing to the middle ground.

    As long as they continue to not actually stand for anything – much less actual, left wing values – they can forget about my vote.

    Comment by The Green Blazer — March 13, 2012 @ 10:31 am

  7. “As long as they continue to not actually stand for anything ”

    Look, I’m not going to talk about what we stand for, because we’re ‘still working through that*’. We’ve still got a couple of years til we have to have principles again…

    *ie. waiting for the focus group results

    Comment by nommopilot — March 13, 2012 @ 10:39 am

  8. Ooh, that was mean – you cut him off right before he points out “I understand what you’re saying. It was a rhetorical question.”

    I quoted it for Campbell’s questions, rather than Shearer’s answers. But it is salient that National are desperately trying to keep their support parties alive, and Labour still regards their largest potential partner as a fearsome enemy.

    Comment by danylmc — March 13, 2012 @ 10:39 am

  9. There seems to exist in politics a sort of generational lag. Whilst the world moves on and learns from the mistakes from the past, politics is stuck in the past for an entire generation longer than everyone else. I suspect that this is because politicians have such longevity. A classic example is Bill English. Two years in treasury at the height of new right madness then elected in 1990 just as National found economic religion, his handling of the economy reflects ideas that were fashionable yesterday and are now widely repudiated by even mainstream economists. Winston Peters was first elected 37 years ago. trevor Mallard some 27 years ago and it goes on. A similar generational issue I think can be discerned in long lived political advisors. Pagani’s political thinking formed when conservative, pastel pink/powder blue Blairism/third way identity politics still had considerable credibility and like a lot of that generation of liberal/centrist “Labour” politicians just doesn’t “get” the game changing nature of the 2008 financial crisis or even the long term macro-economic implications of the injection of a billion new workers in China into the capitalist labour market equation.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 13, 2012 @ 10:40 am

  10. I get the feeling that most contributors to this blog wont be happy until Shearer delivers a rousing rendition of L’Internationale on the steps of parliament which is kind of ironic considering that Danyl voted for National in 2008.

    Comment by The Fox — March 13, 2012 @ 10:54 am

  11. Meanwhile, John Key knows exactly what his voters want and isn’t afraid to say so:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/6565441/Student-loans-to-remain-interest-free

    Comment by MeToo — March 13, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  12. I love how, to die-hard “postmodern liberal identity politics” haters, John Pagani is a “postmodern liberal identity politico”, when in fact he’s a “postmodern liberal identity politics” hater too.

    Remember Goff’s abortive blue-collar-red-neck back-to-basics brotherhood of the proletariat thing in late 2009? Pagani.

    L

    Comment by Lew — March 13, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  13. I was so hoping that the rhetorical why would we want to do that was a a jest. When it was followed by Campbell explaing thus:

    “The reason would be to avoid deterring those who you will need to become a broad spectrum government. Isn’t this a natural MMP evolution whereby the major parties focus on being the parties of the stable centre, while their more ideological partners mop up the hard left or the hard right?”

    though, it just made it seem like labour still has no idea how MMP works. Yet when Helen was around, they seemed to get it and be able to structure funtioning governments. How is it that they slid back into a FPP/non proportional mindset. [depressing]

    Comment by Ben — March 13, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  14. he went off the record on Iran because he had tied himeself in knots over how he would respond if the UN sanctioned actiobn against Iran.

    It’s not a completely unexpected line of questioning but he can’t give a straight answer. Maybe he thinks the public isn’t ready for his truthimess on the issue but I would have expected something considered about the difficulties the UN has re decision making with the obvious reference to Syria.

    Then he goes in to say how North Korea has “respect”. He should have stayed off the record.

    Comment by NeilM — March 13, 2012 @ 11:32 am

  15. Remember Goff’s abortive blue-collar-red-neck back-to-basics brotherhood of the proletariat thing in late 2009? Pagani.

    The besuited man-child politco thing seemed to be working so well for others, they decided to make their own:
    http://i1133.photobucket.com/albums/m590/hystricomorph/PoliticalManChild.jpg

    Comment by Joe W — March 13, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  16. That’s mean Joe W. Mean I tells you.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 13, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  17. *ie. waiting for the focus group results

    Yup.

    Winston Peters was first elected 37 years ago. trevor Mallard some 27 years ago and it goes on.

    Term limits ftw.

    Comment by The Green Blazer — March 13, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

  18. >There seems to exist in politics a sort of generational lag. Whilst the world moves on and learns from the mistakes from the past, politics is stuck in the past for an entire generation longer than everyone else.

    I totally agree. This goes economically, socially, culturally, and even on foreign policy.

    >he went off the record on Iran because he had tied himeself in knots over how he would respond if the UN sanctioned actiobn against Iran.

    To be fair to him, it’s a virtually impossible question for someone with a good chance of being the next NZ PM to answer on the record.

    Very good interview. Excellent questions and persistence.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — March 13, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

  19. Way to go Joe W

    Comment by Tinakori — March 13, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  20. Key is a puppet.

    Shearer does not appear to have competent puppeteers.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — March 13, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

  21. I thought it was a good interview. Shearer is obviously working hard to benefit everyone, doing it in a way that particular attention to one group won’t adversely affect any other groups.

    He’s right about many of those in the corporate sector backing a comprehensive capital gains tax. Sam Morgan for one. When you make money on your capital, you’ve got to pay tax at the sale of the business, otherwise you could just keep on building up a monstrous business and using tax loopholes to maximize your return.

    The fact of the matter is that we need a capital gains tax, an estate tax, and a lotteries tax, and if we had all that, we could reduce personal income taxation for those on low incomes. How about reducing the tax rate for on and off again beneficiaries when they spend three or more months of any given calender year in fulltime work (with no dependence on welfare)?

    Comment by Daniel Lang — March 14, 2012 @ 2:28 pm


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