The Dim-Post

March 15, 2012

Lew bait, divine providence edition

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 9:37 am

What is this line doing in Shearer’s speech?

A vision is a marvellous thing, but it’s a bit like Excalibur. You have to know what you’re doing with it.



  1. Cue comments about how the size of the vision *does* matter.


    Comment by Lew — March 15, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  2. He want’s it to go viral by inspiring people to make Monty Python references. See also: Finland, Finland, Finland, Finland, the place he wants us to be.

    There aren’t, it has to be said, many examples of people who had Excalibur but didn’t know what they were doing with it. I imagine someone was thinking along the lines of “it’s not much use having it if you can’t pull it out of the rock”.

    Comment by lyndon — March 15, 2012 @ 9:40 am

  3. Oh I see… I’m not sure I wanted to know that, David.

    Comment by lyndon — March 15, 2012 @ 9:43 am

  4. Its a coded call for the knights templar to show themselves and rid us of John Key.

    Comment by Squirrel — March 15, 2012 @ 9:49 am

  5. HE wants to be King David, but less Jewish

    Comment by insider — March 15, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  6. Listen, strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 15, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  7. “My vision is a bit like ‘Excalibur’ (1981) – it’s low-budget and badly researched, and there’s both a PG and an R-rated version. But I promise the nation this: there will be graphic volence, period costumes, and scenes of a sexual nature.”

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — March 15, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  8. “My vision is like ‘Excalibur’ (1981): low-budget and poorly-researched. And there is both a PG and an R-rated version. But I promise the nation this: there will be graphic violence and scenes of a sexual nature.”

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — March 15, 2012 @ 10:16 am

  9. @Sanc – I thought Labour party swords were distributed by strange women livin’ in New York?

    Comment by James Stephenson — March 15, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  10. It’s a dog whistle. Chris Trotter knows what he just heard.

    Out over Waitakere men tilted their heads.

    Comment by Oh Busby — March 15, 2012 @ 10:24 am

  11. You’re all reading this wrong. It’s a reference to the Gray Nicholls “Excalibur” cricket bat, as weilded by Lance Cairns here:

    Shearer is seeking to ride the 80’s revival wave to connect with the youth

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 15, 2012 @ 10:24 am

  12. “Lance”

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — March 15, 2012 @ 10:28 am

  13. When you’re done with it, you need to throw it in a lake?

    Comment by ObjectiveReality — March 15, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  14. Apparently, what a lot of people do with visions is make them go away with neuroleptic medication.

    Or start cults where they claim to have exclusive access to onmipotent sky ghosties.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 15, 2012 @ 10:31 am

  15. Perhaps it’s about “Having a dirk lobbed at you by some watery tart is no mandate from the people”.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — March 15, 2012 @ 10:33 am

  16. Ah, snap Sanctuary.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — March 15, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  17. Newbury made the excallibur. Grey Nicholls at that time made the scoop which a bat we would probably link with Winston Peters.

    Comment by King Kong — March 15, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  18. “What is this line doing in Shearer’s speech?”

    Its called leadership.

    People will follow Shearer anywhere but only out of curiosity.

    Comment by Simon — March 15, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  19. @4, perhaps David Shearer is really Belbo?

    Comment by Chris Bull — March 15, 2012 @ 10:56 am

  20. He meant this one:

    It is a comment about a 1960s vision tarted up in the retro-glamour of 1920s rhetoric, or something.

    Comment by Sam — March 15, 2012 @ 11:49 am

  21. Why did he not try some decent lines he could have used
    Ich bin Aucklander that would go down a treat
    I have a dream…
    There are so many good speeches available there is no excuse for giving a bad speech

    Comment by Ron — March 15, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  22. Why don’t we cut to the chase – Shearer is unlikely to be the leader by the next election. He seems like a hell of a nice guy, but by all accounts so was Bill Rowling.

    Comment by Ross — March 15, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

  23. Lance-a-lot. I’m with Geddis and Busby.

    Comment by Sacha — March 15, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  24. My fifth form History teacher, Mr Wilde, had a metre ruler he named Excalibur. He also had a stapler named Moby Dick and a paper weight called Ebenezer. I’m not sure what the moral of this story is other than cliches like Shearers don’t really do anything to improve political discourse.

    Comment by JJW (@_jjw_) — March 15, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

  25. A meat-free touch of teacher-bashing here, a pinch of benny-nudging there, all wrapped up in typically anodyne Pagani bread.

    Good sign that the internal polling is up a notch, but: the nasty Natz already pinched all the MOMs and dads on top of the cliff growing pies, so lambs and King Arthur it is. Would’ve plumped for bunnies meself, with Easter just round the corner, but there you are…..and there’s always babies to fall back on for next time I spose.

    Comment by ak — March 15, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  26. Me Too: Well, for instance, 42% of students are in schools whose principals report a shortage of computers hinder their capacity to provide instruction ( , Table 13). More generally, capital spending on schools hasn’t increased at the same rate as other spending schools.

    Also alleviating poverty improves educational outcomes for sure, but improving education also improves educational outcomes.

    Comment by bradluen — March 15, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  27. wrong thread godammit

    Comment by bradluen — March 15, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

  28. I happen to think schools don’t need computers for instruction, but that’s just me. Computers don’t solve educational problems.

    Comment by MeToo — March 15, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

  29. I thought visions were visions. How the hell did Excalibur get into it?

    If one has a vision and does not know what to with it , junk the vision and get a usable one.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — March 15, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

  30. was that Helen of the lake and does she want it back so she can annoint some other

    Comment by Minto58 — March 15, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

  31. Shearer was sending a subliminal message,
    A TELEvision is a marvellous thing, but it’s a bit like Excalibur. You have to know what you’re doing with it.

    The pen is mightier than the sword, but both must bow before the almighty TV
    Shearer wants NZ to become the worlds greatest TV and phone manufacturer. Look out Samsung, Nokia and Sony. Here cometh Excaliburrrrrrr

    Comment by ropata — March 15, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

  32. As the owner of a sword – not Excalibur, but a proper sword nevertheless – it is indeed very important to know what to do with it, as I said to my son when I came home from work one day and found him playing with it. His excuse for vague, wavey movements with it that were a clear and present danger to the TV, pictures and his younger sister plus had driven the cat into a tree, was a vague intellectually wavey excuse that he had been watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I told him he needed to know what to do with it before he played with it. This is empirical data that supports Shearer’s statement. But it did not improve my son’s school results and I’m not sure it will help Shearer address NZ’s problems. Especially if he is comparing us with Finland. The Finns are indeed very impressive people – and they have saunas in Finland and they hunt and they are very good at drinking vodka. Combining, hunting, drinking lots of vodka and a sauna is a definite must-do-before-I-die – experience, they tell me. So, I’m all for this focus on Finland. But they are unfamilar with the legends of King Arthur and completely baffled by Monty Python.

    Comment by HEAJones — March 16, 2012 @ 1:21 am

  33. Perhaps, HEAJones, Mr Shearer ought to keep his vision out of reach of small children? But having neither children of my own nor much of a vision myself, and certainly no lethal weapons lying around the place, I’m loath to tell people what to do with theirs.

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — March 16, 2012 @ 7:20 am

  34. Almost anything is a lethel weapon: you just have to have vision.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 16, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  35. There have been some local incarnations of the excalibur myth. As every cricket fan who grew up in the ’80s knows, Lance Cairns’ mighty bat – the sword of willow which smote the Aussie bowlers for six sixes at the MCG back in the second World Series Cup final in 1983 – bore the name of Arthur’s weapon. The very odd ‘Count’ Geoffrey de Montalk, who left New Zealand in the ’20s and wandered around Europe claiming various thrones and publishing bad pornographic verse before returning here in his old age, used to perform ceremonies with sacred, excalibur-like swords.

    More seriously, Judith Binney talks in Redemption Songs about how a version of the excalibur myth has attached itself to Te Kooti. After being pardoned by the colonial government, the elderly Te Kooti went on what he considered a mission of peace to his old hometown of Turanga/Gisborne, where decades earlier he had killed dozens of people in retaliation for his exile to the Chathams. Gisbornians were alarmed when Te Kooti and his followers approached their town on horseback, and sent out a hastily improvised militia to meet him. The prophet was unable to enter Gisborne, but if I remember rightly he is supposed to have made it to Makaraka, on the southwest edge of the town, where several roads intersect. According to a Ringatu church story which Binney relates, as Te Kooti stood at the Makaraka crossroads his walking stick suddenly began to sink into the ground. It disappeared, and continued to fall until it lay some distance from the surface of the earth. As he observed this unusual – or perhaps, in the context of his life, not so unusual – event, Te Kooti is supposed to have said something like “There will be peace in these islands as long as my sword remains in the earth”. I hope the blokes who dig up the roads and plant electrical cables out Gisborne way know about this story.

    Comment by Scott — March 16, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

  36. swords in the dirt. show your respect.

    Comment by ben — March 17, 2012 @ 12:14 am

  37. “Merlin and Arthur enter the forest, and Merlin tells the boy that he is the rightful king, and that he and the land are one. Overwhelmed, Arthur falls into a long sleep.”
    And awakens on the eve of the Great Enthronement ceremony in 2014, invigorated and invincible – and pulls the sword from the stone!

    Comment by Kerry — March 17, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

  38. You all have it wrong. Excalibur was a text retrieval package used by Labour in the 1997 election campaign for ‘rapid rebuttal’:

    (My then firm provided the PA newswire interface – as a commercial job I might add).

    Maybe Shearer was convinced when workshopping his speech at a nerd conclave with Farrar that spending $$$ on such things was the way to go..

    Comment by Rich d'Rich (@rich_d_rich) — March 18, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

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