The Dim-Post

April 29, 2014

What the opposition are up against

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 7:56 pm

Over the weekend David Cunliffe gave a speech to the Young Labour conference. Nobody reported it because ‘doomed leader gives speech to doomed youth’ isn’t much of a story. But someone in the National Party read it and fact checked it so thoroughly they discovered Cunliffe’s claim that his grandfather won a ‘military war medal’ was technically incorrect, and the actual medal awarded was called a ‘British war medal’. This was duly published on WhaleOil and Kiwiblog, and you can just imagine the gallery journalists sitting down at their desks this morning to digest Labour’s new monetary policy, scowls on their faces, when someone in the hallway screamed, ‘Cunliffe made a gaffe about his grand-dad’s war medals!’, followed by a flurry of footsteps leaving behind a row of empty rooms with spinning chairs and copies of charts and tables of figures slowly drifting down to the floor. The story led the Herald web site for most of the day and made the tv news tonight.

Because National’s media management is amazing. Rumour has it that this kind of ‘black ops’ stuff is run by a guy called Jason Ede, who was Don Brash’s press sec back when Brash was party leader in 2004 and 2005. Maybe it wasn’t him, but my point here is that a lot of National’s people have been doing what they do for a long time now, and they’re very, very good at it. By contrast, most of Cunliffe’s senior staffers started working in Parliament this year. If Labour stumbled across some trivial error Key made over war medals they’d put it out in a press release with some dumb quote from a Labour MP, and elite political media commentators would be sneering at Labour for such a clumsy smear. ‘Nice to see Labour focused on the issues that really matter,’ etc.

When people bemoan Labour’s poor performance they insist that Labour need to ‘move to the centre’ or ‘renounce neoliberalism’ or connect with ‘blue collar workers’, or find some other magical combination of words and deeds that will instantly connect them with the public. Those words don’t exist. Labour’s real challenge is much harder: they need to defeat an opponent who is just far more competent and experienced and better resourced than they are.

And yet: I don’t think that’s an impossible task. (Let me qualify that. It’s an impossible task this time around. Short of a miracle nothing Labour can do can win them this election). But National has this awesomely competent and well resourced media team because they don’t have any policy or vision they can put up against Labour’s. They have to release trivial smears to disrupt Labour’s policy launches, because its not as if they have solutions of their own they can throw out there in competition. Their policy achievement for their second term was partial privitisation of the energy companies. That’s their big win, and it was a dismal failure. In aspirational terms their grand vision for New Zealand is . . . what it is now but with different dates to signify the passing of time.

I’m not that impressed with Labour’s monetary policy, but at least they’re looking at problems and coming up with solutions instead of directing all their energies into leaking trivial meaningless shit to WhaleOil and leading the press gallery around by their noses. Eventually that’s going to pay off.

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50 Comments »

  1. “That’s their big win, and it was a dismal failure.”

    Really? Care to explain? It was a boring rejigging of the balance sheet and it appears to have run fairly smoothly despite the opposition trying to throw spanners in the works.

    Comment by Swan — April 29, 2014 @ 8:10 pm

  2. “But National has this awesomely competent and well resourced media team”
    there is nothing to stop Labour doing this as well, but the fact they simply cant, speaks volumes.

    Comment by Grant — April 29, 2014 @ 8:27 pm

  3. Releasing your monetary policy aimed at assisting exporters on the same day that stats are releasing trade figures that everyone was forecasting to show a very healthy surplus is just plain stupid, luckily for Labour the assorted journalists didn’t notice labour once again proposing a fix for something that doesn’t need fixing because they generally have fallen in behind Gower and have given up critical thought and analysis.

    Comment by David — April 29, 2014 @ 8:39 pm

  4. …proposing a fix for something that doesn’t need fixing…

    Ask any exporter whether the exchange rate, and the interest rates driving it, are something that doesn’t need fixing.

    In aspirational terms their grand vision for New Zealand is . . . what it is now but with different dates to signify the passing of time.

    That’s unfair – their vision also includes lower wages for proles and lower taxes for rich people.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — April 29, 2014 @ 9:17 pm

  5. Milt, this kind of trivial garbage is only occurring because both parties are more or less the same. With no real points of difference to write about, this is all the MSM are left with.

    Comment by Redbaiter — April 29, 2014 @ 9:29 pm

  6. I can only agree, but I find this whole post incredibly hypocritical. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen Danyl pointing at some trivial error of the sort the National media machine loves to hype and saying “This! This is why Labour isn’t ready for government!”. To jump all over Labour for this kind of penny ante crap and to then turn around and castigate the mainstream media for paying attention to it is pretty rich stuff.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 29, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

  7. I mean politics in NZ is just trivial. A bunch of walled in nitwits trying to make an impossible system work.

    Comment by Redbaiter — April 29, 2014 @ 9:31 pm

  8. According to the “The Standard” the words he used were “Military Medal” not “the military war medal” and with their links to his office I presume they are right
    So he was mistaken and although it is illegal to claim honours it is not a biggy
    But when you add it to all the other cock ups there is a pattern
    Surely he and his team would have learnt by now, no more tricky suff and less BS and get someone to check his stuff because the Nats are going to do it, if they can afford to it Labour cannot afford not too

    Comment by rayinnz — April 29, 2014 @ 9:42 pm

  9. So incredibly stupid. There are actual issues of importance, a policy that will affect every working New Zealander, and *this* is what makes the media?

    Comment by George D — April 29, 2014 @ 10:32 pm

  10. “nothing Labour can do can win them this election”
    You are entirely correct. It is National’s election to lose, with the help of Dotcom, Banks and CERA.

    Comment by Jeremy — April 29, 2014 @ 10:39 pm

  11. So, Cunliffe stuffs up again but what you take away from it all is a National conspiracy. Depends on your world view I suppose. BTW, you might try to dismiss the mistake as trivial but to those who understand these things it ain’t. I appreciate that those on the left don’t understand military medals much, but there is a big difference between a medal for velour and a service medal. Most folk I’d dismiss it as a bona fide mistake. But given that Cunners has form for this sort of thing, I’m convinced it was yet another deliberate attempt to stretch the truth for vanity’s sake.

    Comment by tdog — April 29, 2014 @ 11:40 pm

  12. That should have read “valour” obviously. Damn you auto correct!

    Comment by tdog — April 29, 2014 @ 11:43 pm

  13. @3
    Yes the merchandise trade surplus for the March quarter was strongly positive. Terms of trade are at or near 40 year highs. Yet we still have a large current account deficit, which kind of proves Labour’s point about the lack of productive local investment and an ‘unbalanced’ economy.

    Comment by Mike — April 30, 2014 @ 2:17 am

  14. Yeah well I’m still waiting for some scrutiny of Key’s claim that his trip to China was worth billions. Will worry about this medal business if and when that has been dealt with.

    Comment by Adrian — April 30, 2014 @ 5:44 am

  15. I agree this is what Labour are up against. If they are But let’s imagine a sitiuation where both parties start from scratch – one recovering after the various ‘Brashgate’ fiascos and one recovering from the ‘Siege of Helengrad’. If National are ‘far more competent and experienced and better resourced’ is that anyone’s fault but National’s? Oh those nasty conservatives!

    Since the ‘level playing field’ I suggest, then one side has installed a competent long-standing leader, who saw off the long-standing PM, gained control of ‘the middle’ and managed to maintain its power base by skillfully managing the mainstream media and blogosphere employing ‘kiwiblog’ as a ‘reasonable’ blogsite which presents itself as an ‘even-handed’ and considered kind of format in which anyone can have their say.

    Emerging from the ashes of it’s own fall from grace, the other side has lost one ground-breaking PM, (who incidentally smoothed her own future job prospects by ‘donating’ cash to her future employers) sacrificed three others and can’t appear to get basic stuff into the public forum. It’s major champion of the blogosphere denigrates, censors and ridicules non partisan opinion and frankly comes across like a rat trying to chew its own leg off sometimes. I mean – they actually censor people. In this day and age. Can you believe it?

    If we consider ‘Whaleoil’ as if it is a an ‘official’ mouth piece of National machinery, (and that is up for discussion) let’s face it, when it comes to political street-fighting it has successfully managed to steal the ‘Bombers’ lunch money and now rules the playground. In fact on occasion it has shown the mainstream media how it should be doing its job.

    But we aren’t in the playground are we people. We are grown ups. Labour has been the actual architect of its own downfall, and to blame other party’s resources is a symptom of why it’s fallen. A popular impression is that it is out of touch. People who have the potential to be won over and take a more invested interest in politics consider that Labour It has sacrificed a generation of potential advocates who once would have been out there knocking on doors and supporting a change of plebiscite, and replaced it with a generation of apparatchik drones who alternate between covering their ears and going ‘La La La’ when they can’t argue a point, or castigate difference of opinion as some kind of ‘neo-liberal’ or ‘class-traitor’ agenda or else go whining into their beer and blame metaphorical ‘grown-ups’ when for some reason, they appear unable to ‘get their message across’.

    The irony is that they have superbly managed to get their message across; its just that it comes across as unintelligible elitist and often – sorry- incompetent. The evidence suggests fewer and fewer people have been buying it. The voters are out there, it’s just that on election day they stay at home in their droves. Why? because National are ‘slicker’ at selling their brand?

    No, I really think if Labour wish to stop the hemorrhaging they have to stop treating their party like a corporate brand and their ‘loyal’ elctorate like it is casual labour to be used once every four years and start standing on soapboxes on street corners communicating with actual voters and win the undecided back. Offer wavering voters an actual job – the job of having a real say in how their country is to be run.

    Rant over – It’s tough love really..

    Comment by Lee C — April 30, 2014 @ 6:52 am

  16. “But National has this awesomely competent and well resourced media team”
    there is nothing to stop Labour doing this as well, but the fact they simply cant, speaks volumes.

    $$$$$$$$$ National is swimming in it, and Labour is not. English and Joyce and Key put their pants on exactly the same way Cunliffe, Parker and Norman do. But National’s “in touch” comes from polling incessantly, including overnight polling on selected issues. And that costs money. Lots of money. You don’t go trekking in Nepal on what you earn on monthly surveys of 800 voters with landlines, you know.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 30, 2014 @ 7:21 am

  17. Lee C summed it up pretty well, I come from a Labour family but as my uncle [ a past president of his local branch] said when he quit the party “I didn’t leave Labour, Labour left me”. Apparently disagreeing with their policies makes me in the words of your average Standard contributed a “right wing nut job” or an idiot , which is nice. Personally I think the left fail to understand how many people these days are contractors [like me] with no job security who need to be able to keep a string of continuous work going so that they might be able to retire at the same age as their parents and not end up as a greeter at Bunnings in the golden years.

    Also while I have voted for the greens in the past the level of condescension emanating from that party now is something to behold, I had huge respect for the like of Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons but I can’t for the life of me imagine any of the old guard fronting up to parliament in a $2000 jacket and trying to plead the case of NZs poor.

    Comment by Del Griffith — April 30, 2014 @ 7:22 am

  18. @Del: Jim Anderton is your uncle?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 30, 2014 @ 7:40 am

  19. ” Yet we still have a large current account deficit, which kind of proves Labour’s point about the lack of productive local investment and an ‘unbalanced’ economy.”

    2.5% is not a large CA deficit. With a growing economy a 5% CA deficit is sustainable. 2.5% is good! Net foreign liabilities have been tracking down for five years!

    Comment by Swan — April 30, 2014 @ 8:06 am

  20. BTW, you might try to dismiss the mistake as trivial but to those who understand these things it ain’t. I appreciate that those on the left don’t understand military medals much, but there is a big difference between . . .

    Yeah. Some guys really fetishise this nonsense. Others think different types of car, or stereo, or computer or train are a really big deal; in the grand scheme of things, mixing up the medal his grand dad won with the medal his grand dad’s brother won a hundred years ago is as meaningless as it gets.

    Comment by danylmc — April 30, 2014 @ 8:36 am

  21. “…BTW, you might try to dismiss the mistake as trivial…”

    Apparently some family that won a place in the ballot to go Gallipoli next year got told they weren’t elegible after a search of military records revealed their revered ANZAC veteran of Gallipoli had actually spent the entire 1914-18 war in a stores depot in Trentham.

    Great War veterans were humans and not above embellishing their war records when asked by doting descendants what part they played in the Kaisers downfall. People saying “He was at Chunuk Bair, but he doesn’t like talking about it” would have freed them from bothersome details that might expose the tall tale. Who is the say that for many a family, a long-lost set of campaign medals have morphed into all sorts of tales of awards for daring-do in the face of Johnny Turk and the dastardly Hun?

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 30, 2014 @ 8:52 am

  22. I appreciate that those on the left don’t understand military medals much

    Yeah, Cunliffe really should have left digging up and dry-humping the glorious dead to to the creeps in camo underpants.

    Comment by Joe W — April 30, 2014 @ 9:11 am

  23. “Mixing up the medal his grand dad won with the medal his grand dad’s brother won a hundred years ago is as meaningless as it gets”. Nice try. I’ll be more explicit, because obviously I haven’t explained myself well. What Cunliffe said about his grandfather was “he was awarded a Military Medal for valour, but hardly mentioned it to his family”. The implication is plain, that his grandfather had undertaken a high act of bravery, for which he was awarded a significant honour, but was too modest to talk about. No such thing occurred. The medals awarded to his grandfather were service medals – that is, medals which are awarded to every service man or woman who served in a particular theatre of war. I say that without any disrepect to his Grandfather’s service for his country. But the awarding of an honour for bravery is simply a world away from receiving a service medal awarded to tens of thousand of kiwis of that generation. That’s not some obscure point obsessed over by military fetishests, and only a committed apologist for the Labor party would fairly suggest otherwise.

    Comment by tdog — April 30, 2014 @ 9:39 am

  24. “But the awarding of an honour for bravery is simply a world away from receiving a service medal awarded to tens of thousand of kiwis of that generation.”

    Sort of. Except of course thousands of bravery gongs were dished out fairly arbitrarily – like my Grandfather’s MM received when he got lost leading a supply cart back from the front in the dark, and stumbled into a bunch of tired, hemesick and hungry German’s who were grateful for someone to surrender to.

    Because, in an intensely bureaucratic organisation like the Army, career officers stood (and still stand) better chances of advancement vis-a-vis their peers if their underlings showed fighting spirit and vigour, which was measured is medals and glowing dispatches.

    A bit like PBRF I suppose.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 30, 2014 @ 10:03 am

  25. *homesick and hungry Germans

    Comment by Gregor W — April 30, 2014 @ 10:04 am

  26. But someone in the National Party read it and fact checked it so thoroughly they discovered Cunliffe’s claim that his grandfather won a ‘military war medal’ was technically incorrect, and the actual medal awarded was called a ‘British war medal’.

    I hadn’t read the speech, as I hadn’t posted on it. But I read your post and thought: wow, the stories have been way over the top. So I read the speech *that you link to*. Cunliffe’s speech did not make a claim that his grandfather won a “military war medal”.

    The quote is:

    He was awarded a Military Medal for valour, but hardly mentioned it to his family.

    Military Medal is capitalised. The word “valour” is included.

    I don’t know whether he actually said this. Maybe he was reading the speech live and corrected it, realising he was in error. But either way, they released text of a speech that is not talking about a “military war medal”. It is talking about a Military Medal. The Military Medal is an actual thing.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — April 30, 2014 @ 11:23 am

  27. Del #17: So that makes you one of the ‘precariat’, a bit like me? What’s your industry by chance? I’m guessing you were originally in a salaried job that was later contractorised, like Telecom switching its maintenance to Visionstream?

    Several years ago, I interned for a telco technician who was working for a company sub-contracted to Telecom (then led by Theresa Gattung), and I didn’t get paid a cent for the simple fact that he wasn’t getting paid a cent. He wasn’t getting paid a cent because the company he worked for was screwed down by Telecom, to the point where they went under the following year.

    Comment by DeepRed (@DeepRed6502) — April 30, 2014 @ 11:26 am

  28. The implication is plain, that his grandfather had undertaken a high act of bravery, for which he was awarded a significant honour, but was too modest to talk about. No such thing occurred.

    That certainly would be pretty low – if he hadn’t actually just mixed up which medals his grandfather and his great uncle got. The nation’s armchair Colonel Blimp’s may find that an outrageous insult to the memory and honour of Our Brave Lads, but to the rest of us it falls into the category of “What’s your point?”

    Comment by Psycho Milt — April 30, 2014 @ 11:35 am

  29. Comments getting moderated? Is this thing on?

    Comment by Sir Simon of Garlick (@simongarlick) — April 30, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

  30. It is fascinating that even on this blog there are those who think that the medal issue is a big thing and they refuse to debate Danyl’s actual point, that this Government is very good at smearing people. I agree that Labour sucks at the ability to smear. I am surprised that anyone should think that it is a good thing to do. Where Labour can beat National is by sticking to the vision stuff and keep talking about its plans for the future. And refuse to get distracted by the latest National Research Unit sourced smear fed to the usual suspects and repeated ad infinitum by a bunch of head nodders..

    Comment by Greg Presland — April 30, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

  31. Where Labour can beat National is by sticking to the vision stuff and keep talking about its plans for the future.

    The thing is though, there isn’t much vision stuff coming out – not a coherent one backed by interlocking policies, at any rate.
    It’s also not that the Labour machine suck at smearing; it’s that they suck at anything to do with media management.

    I suspect what the NZLP need even more than a compelling vision is for people to start getting sick of Key’s brand
    When the press scent blood in the water, they’ll be all over him and the narrative will become one of “stale polices”, “tired front bench” etc.- the third term curse.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 30, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

  32. “It is fascinating that even on this blog there are those who think that the medal issue is a big thing and they refuse to debate Danyl’s actual point, that this Government is very good at smearing people.” Plus other points about dirty tricks.

    Danyl posted ‘military war medal’ and ‘British war medal’, which on the face of it look trivially similar and nit picky to complain about. But Danyl knew full well that the issue was the claim about valour, and not the use of military vs british.

    Hard to take a high horse when you’re resorting to the same crap yourself, isn’t it?

    Comment by Andy C — April 30, 2014 @ 2:37 pm

  33. …this Government is very good at smearing people. I agree that Labour sucks at the ability to smear. I am surprised that anyone should think that it is a good thing to do.

    Labour have expended enormous resources trying to smear Key with every shade of shit they could find in the barnyard over the past nearly-decade. I’m surprised that anyone in Labour is surprised. .

    When the press scent blood in the water, they’ll be all over him and the narrative will become one of “stale polices”, “tired front bench” etc.- the third term curse.

    That narrative won’t gain any traction until Mallard, Goff, King etc depart the Labour front bench. Only then will National, in comparison, start to look stale.

    Comment by Phil — April 30, 2014 @ 2:54 pm

  34. That narrative won’t gain any traction until Mallard, Goff, King etc depart the Labour front bench. Only then will National, in comparison, start to look stale.

    I agree with you – though I’m not sure that if Joe Punter is informed at every opportunity by the press gallery that an incumbent government is “tired” and “stale”, that it necessary follows that they will compare and contrast this received wisdom with the opposition benches before they buy into the narrative.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 30, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

  35. Danyl posted ‘military war medal’ and ‘British war medal’, which on the face of it look trivially similar and nit picky to complain about. But Danyl knew full well that the issue was the claim about valour, and not the use of military vs british.

    I didn’t know that, but now that I do I still really don’t care. If Cunliffe had made some error about steam trains in his speech I’d have a bunch of losers jumping up and down in this thread claiming ‘Danyl states the error is trivial! But the models of steam train were completely different!’ That wouldn’t be me being disingenous, that would be me not giving a fuck about steam trains.

    Maybe Cunliffe was being ‘tricky’ and made up a deliberate lie about his grandfather’s medal. Or, maybe, both brother’s kept their medals in the same box, and sometime over the last hundred years both men’s medals got merged into ‘granddad’s medals’ and Cunliffe made a really trivial honest mistake. If you can figure out which is which let me know, otherwise this is just really stupid.

    Comment by danylmc — April 30, 2014 @ 3:37 pm

  36. “Labour have expended enormous resources trying to smear Key with every shade of shit they could find in the barnyard over the past nearly-decade. I’m surprised that anyone in Labour is surprised.”

    Amen, or indeed faking surprise. It’s not that they eschew it on moral grounds it’s that they are bloody hopeless at it and wish they weren’t.

    Comment by Tinakori — April 30, 2014 @ 3:39 pm

  37. Thanks for your interesting take on National’s communications team and media strategy. I still – somewhat idealistically – want to see more independent political commentators driving the significant election topics rather than media over-reliance on spin. Hence my recent piece on poverty: http://tuliathompson.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/stop-blaming-poor-folk-for-the-effects-of-neoliberalism/
    What is your take on the Green’s media strategy?

    Comment by tuliathompson — April 30, 2014 @ 3:44 pm

  38. Maybe Cunliffe told his speechwriters that his granddad had a military medal and somebody along the track miscorrected his english to Military Medal.

    Does it matter what medals his grandad got. Are we electing a hereditary fighting champion who must be descended from suitably martial stock? “My grandad shot 100 Germans with his tommy gun! Mine flew a Spitfire and shot down 100 enemy fuckers* before breakfast…”

    * Don’t you mean “Fokkers”. No, these fuckers were flying Messerschmidts

    Comment by richdrich — April 30, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

  39. “mixing up the medal his grand dad won with the medal his grand dad’s brother won a hundred years ago is as meaningless as it gets.”

    Now if Cunliffe owned a copy of Mein Kampf, that’d be a real story, right Danyl?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 30, 2014 @ 4:36 pm

  40. I believe Mr Key has over 200 in his Media team. What else do they do all day? And when Labour get in they too will use taxpayers money to dig the dirt. What comes around….

    Comment by xianmac — April 30, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

  41. @ 40. Key’s own prime ministerial resources are extensive and part of the story in their own right but 200 in his media team alone is an order or magnitude out. At last count I was told by a reasonable source that staff in the Prime Minister’s Department numbered 130 in all. I don’t know Cunliffe’s but it might be a tenth of that. And obviously Key has access directly (the PM’s department says jump, you do!) or indirectly to the rest of core government public servants. There’s over 3400 staff in MBIE alone ready to think about any parliamentary question that comes his, Joyce’s or the Nats way in the economic domain, for example.

    That and the National Party resources are definitely the story. There simply is no comparison between the money the right and the left have access to and Danyl’s right that legions of smart, well paid, seasoned and highly focused political campaign people working away behind the scenes make a big part of the difference. I don’t buy into the propagandised, tribal, partisan righties, some possibly even part of the Nat’s war tactics team (a bit like astro turf groups) who have highjacked this blog and The Standard’s recently, that Labour has no coherent policies et al. I think it’s BS, noise, sooner some are banned or just ignored (e.g. Pete George on the Standard) the better. Labour does have coherent policies and the job for Nats is to ensure that they damn well never have a chance of implementing them. That’s the point.

    I don’t rate Cunliffe and the Nat’s strategy could well be working on me, but my starting point is that no human on earth exposed to the scrutiny and busy-ness of high office is going to be error free. Errors will in fact be every few hours. What is different here is the sunlight baked on to every sliver of error Cunliffe makes, not Key. The real focus of the left right now should not be on Cunliffe per se, but whatdoya do? I mean if this works, it doesn’t matter who you put up, they’ll roll this out forever. So what is the strategy in the face of it? They can’t do the same back, they will never have the resources. What do they do – Cunliffe or whoever rolls him etc faces this, that’s the issue. Short of installing Roger Douglas or Richard Prebble so that Labour really is “acceptable” to the folk who own this country and fund the Nats, how does Labour counter this strategy with the resources it has – because right now, it’s working, and changing leader won’t stop the Nats making it work again. So unless you want the Nats doing 10 terms in a row, coming up with a counter strategy has to be a priority.

    Comment by Joe 90 — April 30, 2014 @ 9:53 pm

  42. Just a minor note: dear author, if you don’t like National party propaganda, stop spreading it. If some rag posts it, don’t link them. If some knob end on the TV talks about it, don’t talk about them. The internet is a thing where if you are followed, and you talk about things, then those things become easier to find for everyone.

    You know why people read Kiwiblog? You won’t find a link on the National party site. It’s because it’s the top google search for New Zealand political blog because everyone on the left keeps linking it. Media knob goes looking for a story, guess what comes up. It’s really not that difficult.

    Comment by tussock — May 1, 2014 @ 1:01 am

  43. Whatever spam-trapping algorithm WordPress is using right now, it’s getting seriously irritating.

    Comment by deepred — May 1, 2014 @ 1:24 am

  44. tussock: then maybe we need to start giving Public Address, The Standard, and The Daily Blog some good-old fashioned SEO.

    Comment by DeepRed (@DeepRed6502) — May 1, 2014 @ 1:32 am

  45. I remain sceptical that Labour needs to steal Sir Roger’s clothes to get back on the Treasury benches. At the same time though, much of the old guard needs to know when to quit, especially when the younger talent shows them up. And since the departure of H2 and Mike Munro, there’s been a big PR talent vacuum on Labour’s part.

    Comment by DeepRed (@DeepRed6502) — May 1, 2014 @ 1:39 am

  46. “my starting point is that no human on earth exposed to the scrutiny and busy-ness of high office is going to be error free. Errors will in fact be every few hours. What is different here is the sunlight baked on to every sliver of error Cunliffe makes, not Key… I mean if this works, it doesn’t matter who you put up, they’ll roll this out forever.”

    Nailed it.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — May 1, 2014 @ 5:19 am

  47. “I don’t buy into the propagandised, tribal, partisan righties, some possibly even part of the Nat’s war tactics team (a bit like astro turf groups) who have highjacked this blog and The Standard’s recently,”

    This is a perfect example of the point I made yesterday.

    Comment by Lee C — May 1, 2014 @ 6:25 am

  48. I don’t buy into the propagandised [etc.]…that Labour has no coherent policies et al.

    Aside from point policies on GCT and powerco monopsony, I can’t put a finger on many visible or coherent Labour initiatives and certainly no overall strategic policy narrative – something really simple like “A fair days pay for a fair day’s work” for example with a raft of policies that connect directly to that theme. Maybe it’s just me but I doubt it.

    I think it’s BS, noise, sooner some are banned or just ignored (e.g. Pete George on the Standard) the better.

    Right. So censorship is the answer as opposed to debate? Saying that, Danyl did apparently turf Pete for the sin of being a boring drone…

    What is different here is the sunlight baked on to every sliver of error Cunliffe makes, not Key… I mean if this works, it doesn’t matter who you put up, they’ll roll this out forever.

    Yes, and it’s shit for Cunliffe. But he’s a big boy and he can take it. It gives him more of an incentive to think on his feet and come come back with Winston-like misdirection and opacity, and use every media appearance (good or bad) as a platform for sticking it to Key with tightly scripted talking points. Which is, after all, his job.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 1, 2014 @ 9:29 am

  49. “…Let me qualify that. It’s an impossible task this time around. Short of a miracle nothing Labour can do can win them this election…”

    And yo, the Lord spake. And across kingdom of Maurice of Pakuranga a big, gay rainbow of corruption did shine. Thus the Lord looked at the raiments of corruption and smiled, for they were juicy and entangled the PM. And across the land the left did rejoice, and raise hosannas of praise to lord for his miracle of Maurice, and small things with raffia detail were put to one side, all the better to spread on the blogsphere the miraculous works of the Lord.

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 1, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

  50. If this is your idea of a miracle for the Left, I have a Panini on my desk with a crispy mark that bears a striking resemblance to Ruth Dyson.

    Comment by Phil — May 1, 2014 @ 1:52 pm


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