The Dim-Post

August 14, 2016

The old personal is political routine

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 11:57 am

The gallery are all writing about the Andrew Little/Stuart Nash/Nick Leggett/Phil Quin thing that happened this week. Tracy Watkins’ column is a representative sample:

  • What hasn’t been covered and which I’d be pretty curious to know about is: what actually happened with the Labour selection for the Wellington Mayoralty? There’s obviously incredibly bad blood over it, which has resulted in Leggett leaving his party and Labour declaring war on him. Labour doesn’t have so many young, successful mayors of multi-cultural working-class cities that they can afford to just burn them off like this. Maybe Leggett was unmanageable and the relationships were too toxic; I’ve no idea. Seems like there might be a story there.
  • Is Little’s rage at Leggett really ideological – outside of Labour’s tendency to label all of their opponents ‘far right’ – or a more pragmatic form of rage, given that Leggett might split the left vote, deny Justin Lester a first preference win and risk Leggett or the right-wing candidate winning on second preferences?
  • Telling Nash he couldn’t go to a public function with Phil Quin seems pretty reasonable to me, given that Quin routinely attacks Labour in print columns in the Herald. Telling MPs they can’t say or do something is routine stuff in a political party, but I’d expect that to be handled by the party whip, not the leader, and also for the conversation not to be made public, or for the leader to comment on it when it did. Nash will struggle to hold his seat next year, I think – the Conservative Party candidate split the vote in 2014 – and I doubt he’ll make it very high on the list, especially now.

83 Comments »

  1. “Labour’s tendency to label all of their opponents ‘far right’”

    To be fair, from where Andrew Little sits on the political spectrum, most people may well appear ‘far right’ to him. This is a guy who has gone from school, to Victoria University of Wellington, to a paid Wellington lobbying job as President of NZUSA, to a job as a Wellington union lawyer, to a top Wellington union boss, to President of the Labour Party, to parliament as a list MP, and then into the party leadership only because of his backing from the unions. To my knowledge, he has never even done an OE. According to his disclosures, he has no investments except for a house in Wellington, on which he still has a mortgage despite Wellington house prices being cheap and having worked in white collar jobs all his life. This is just an incredibly limited background and it should not be too surprising if almost anyone with a business background, or even an Auckland background considering the culture of this city, would be seen by him as incomprehensibly right wing. The only topics on which he really appears confident are student issues (the free education thing earlier in the year and now the idea of writing off people’s student loans) and winning union votes. I am not sure we have had a PM with such a limited outlook. Even Bolger and Clark had been successful senior ministers in previous governments, which is an enormous learning experience for people who take their ministerial jobs seriously.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — August 14, 2016 @ 12:53 pm

  2. “This is just an incredibly limited background…”
    Oh gosh. A limited background indeed for Andrew. I guess Key’s background is much more wholesome and well balanced. University then a career buying and selling money. Much better than living and working among the Workers who have real life problems to solve. The Workers are not real people are they Matthew?
    It seems that Tracey Watkins and Matthew are part of the Character Assassination Team Key.
    However, if Andrew is so hopeless why bother to erode his prospects?

    Comment by ianmac40 — August 14, 2016 @ 1:08 pm

  3. Phil Quin was supposed to be living in Vietnam, so how does he turn up in the Wellington mayoral dust up?
    http://www.philquin.com/archive/

    Comment by duker — August 14, 2016 @ 1:16 pm

  4. …given that Leggett might split the left vote, deny Justin Lester a first preference win and risk Leggett or the right-wing candidate winning on second preferences?

    Under STV, the only way Leggett’s presence on the ballot could lead to the “right-wing candidate” winning is if:

    (1) In a Leggett-less vote, Lester would get a majority of preferences ahead of the right-wing candidate; but,

    (2) With Leggett on the ballot, more voters (but not a majority) prefer Leggett over Lester (so Lester is knocked out), and then a majority of voters prefer the right-wing candidate over Leggett because the Lester-preferences flow right.

    That seems unlikely?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — August 14, 2016 @ 1:59 pm

  5. I am not sure we have had a PM with such a limited outlook.

    In line with ianmac40 above, I await with baited breath MH’s explanation for why Little’s background gives him a more “limited outlook” than John Key’s 15-odd years as a currency trader.

    But I guess playing with pretend money in international financial centres is much more “real world” than representing the interests of workers here in little ol’ NZ.

    Comment by Flashing Light — August 14, 2016 @ 2:07 pm

  6. ianmac40, the post was about Little.

    But seeing you mention Key, yes I do think that a career in foreign exchange and investment banking in Christchurch, Auckland, London, New York, Singapore and Sydney provides a broader and deeper perspective on the world than Wellington-based student and industrial unionism. If you know people in the foreign exchange and investment banking industries, I am sure you will agree it requires people to develop a very broad general knowledge of political and economic affairs in a wide range of countries and to have deep understanding of the opportunities and risks that exist in those countries. I think some people have a perspective of currency trading in particular – but investment banking more generally – that it based on quite a cartoonish view taken from movies like Wall Street, and which seems to consider making investment decisions as something like playing Pacman or something: that its just about responding to immediate stimulus.

    Looking at the main political leaders, Key I think has a broad background, and has also been PM for a number of years which, as well as making people go mad with arrogance, also gives them extraordinary insights into New Zealand and the world.

    I would also say both Turei and Shaw have fairly broad backgrounds in their own way. There are not many people who are both Random Trollops and Simpson Grierson! And Peters, just by dint of being a senior politician for so long, and visiting to every small town in New Zealand, as well as all the major world capitals as Deputy PM, Treasurer and Foreign Minister, brings quite a broad perspective, whatever we think of him.

    Little, compared with these, and also Cunliffe, Shearer, Goff, Clark, Moore, Palmer and Lange really is quite extraordinarily limited, especially for a man of 51. And I think it is showing in his performance. He just is not able to operate competently across multiple policy areas at once, as the events of the week appear to confirm.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — August 14, 2016 @ 2:08 pm

  7. Flashing Light, your use of “currency trader” really demonstrates your lack of understanding of what Key’s career involved, and what that industry involves. See my response to your mate.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — August 14, 2016 @ 2:10 pm

  8. More of the same from Watkins, sadly. Stacey Kirk’s piece was also pretty amazing – something about an “opportunity squandered” regarding the Leggett stuff, as though the fourth estate has no role in the framing. It’s almost parody. Then it gets insulting when Farrar does his, I’m sure, highly scientific “analysis of bias” and suggests that both Kirk and Watkins are (from the latest one) 100% and 88% negative about National.

    Comment by Patrick — August 14, 2016 @ 2:11 pm

  9. Telling Nash he couldn’t go to a public function with Phil Quin seems pretty reasonable to me, given that Quin routinely attacks Labour in print columns in the Herald.

    He had no problem with the Chinese-sounding names shock horror story but demands Labour MPs not mingle with centre left critics of Labour.

    Comment by NeilM — August 14, 2016 @ 2:31 pm

  10. “Labour doesn’t have so many young, successful mayors of multi-cultural working-class cities….”

    Young Leggett may be, but – judging by what Porirua city’s like at present – successful he ain’t. He’s a carpetbagger to boot, as has been pointed out elsewhere.

    “Andrew Little……has no investments except for a house in Wellington, on which he still has a mortgage despite Wellington house prices being cheap and having worked in white collar jobs all his life.”

    So evidently he wasn’t paid megabucks when he was head of the union, while many of the workers he represented were likely on low or minimum wages. And he manages in the same way that many people in our society do: he lives a modest life. And this is a bad thing? Seems to me he’d have a better understanding of what life’s like for many people, than would be the case were he an overpaid and overentitled tosser. Rather too many for my taste of the latter sort infesting the body politic here.

    Comment by D'Esterre — August 14, 2016 @ 2:32 pm

  11. @MH

    I think some people have a perspective of the EPMU in particular – but union leadership more generally – that it based on quite a cartoonish view taken from movies like On The Waterfront, and which seems to consider representing member interests as something like playing Streetfighter or something: that its just about strong-arming them into doing what you want.

    FIFY

    But hey … a Hooten gonna Hoot.

    Comment by Flashing Light — August 14, 2016 @ 2:36 pm

  12. Leggett didn’t go for the selection but just declared he was going to do it and left the Labour Party so as to not face discipline. It’s Leggett’s egoism and sense of entitlement, and the way the Labour Party was just a vehicle for his political ambition rather than a reflection of his values that is the cause of the bad blood.

    It’s normal for the Leader to be involved in caucus discipline matters, but the President would usually take care of other party stuff – but the President is overseas. What is surprising is it seems Nash told Leggett and Quinn that he was told not to go and then they told the media, meaning the cause of the media storm is Nash’s ill-discipline and perhaps naivety. Little’s rage is probably at ill-discipline rather than ideological – and the idea that Little is somehow hard left is laughable. Nash has probably done himself out of a cabinet seat.

    The hooting about Little’s lack of broad life experience and investment portfolio shows what a vastly different world the likes of Hooton live in from than the rest of us. Let’s not forget that Little has been mixing with and helping working people his whole adult life, as well as having grown up in a Tory household in provincial NZ.

    Comment by RHT — August 14, 2016 @ 3:30 pm

  13. Actually, while MH is frequenting these parts, I wonder if he’d care to update us on his prediction that the Labour-Green cooperation agreement will be a disaster for Labour … seeing as he’s one of NZ’s leading political prognosticators and would welcome being judged on his record, of course.

    Comment by Flashing Light — August 14, 2016 @ 3:58 pm

  14. I agree with RHT: there’s a process for Labour local govt selection, and if you’re going to flout it, there are consequences.

    “Hooton gonna hoot” made me chuckle.

    Comment by Stephen J — August 14, 2016 @ 4:59 pm

  15. D’Esterre at 2.32pm assured us that Andrew Little led a “modest” life and wasn’t an overpaid and overentitled tosser.
    He declared his income, or at least that portion that came from the EPMU and Parliament. some time ago.
    The figures he declared then included $178,000 per year as his taxable salary from the union. That makes him one of the highest 1% of income earners in New Zealand. It did not include non-taxable payments.
    How much do you have to earn to be overpaid?

    Comment by alwyn — August 14, 2016 @ 5:57 pm

  16. If the leftists find out that Andrew Little is a member of the 1% they will have to organise a protest against him, eh? To demonstrate that the Occupy Movement didn’t actually die due to collective lethargy amongst the participants – it just went into tactical recess, awaiting a suitable target.

    Comment by Dennis Frank — August 14, 2016 @ 7:34 pm

  17. Our Tracy and the Dom Post appear to be backing Blairite candidate Leggett, just as they heavily promoted Tory Establishment Boy John Morrison last time.

    I’ve noticed quite a bit of PR on Leggett in the paper over recent weeks. ‘Nick and wife Emily welcome new baby etc’. And I got the distinct impression that a prominent page 2 article on Leggett a few weeks ago (can’t find it online, but was in the print edition) was actually written by Leggett himself. Could be wrong but had all the hallmarks of a press release printed verbatim. Included lines like: “Leggett sits back in his chair and smiles at the suggestion …”

    Instantly reminded me of this scene from The Office;
    (David Brent being interviewed by local journalist Helena)

    Helena: “Right, so would you like to tell me about your individual outlook on management ?”

    Brent: “Sure. Put: “David Brent is refreshingly laid back for a man with such responsibility” ”

    Helena: “Yeah, could you just answer in your own words and I’ll work it up later.”

    Brent: “”Yeah.” (Thinks long and hard about this) “Brent mused and then replied …”

    Comment by swordfish — August 14, 2016 @ 7:43 pm

  18. “Telling Nash he couldn’t go to a public function with Phil Quin seems pretty reasonable to me”

    Seems pretty unreasonable to me. If Quinn were a holocaust denier, an advocate for legalised incest or some such, then yes Nash shouldn’t be seen with him. But this is just petty. Will all Labour MP’s have to get their diaries check by Andrew at the start of each week? Just to be sure their not seen with some out of favour lefty who doesn’t actually matter in any case.

    Comment by artcroft — August 14, 2016 @ 7:46 pm

  19. It’s all a bit Shane Jonesy, isn’t it?

    Somebody has a row with the Labour hierarchy, and is promptly annointed as “Labour’s Lost Leader”, because the only possible reason he could be on the outer is that Labour no longer represents the salt of the earth.

    Or … he could just be a bit rubbish.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — August 14, 2016 @ 8:03 pm

  20. Danyl: “Labour doesn’t have so many young, successful mayors of multi-cultural working-class cities that they can afford to just burn them off like this.”

    Jesus ! Don’t let the good Burghers of Whitby and the Northern suburbs (including your own upwardly-mobile seaside retreat of Plimmerton) hear you say that. After all, wasn’t it real estate mogul and key Leggett supporter, Chris Gollins, who campaigned a couple of decades ago to change Porirua’s name to “Twin Harbours” – in the hope that the long-suffering chartered accountants and tax advisors of Whitby wouldn’t have to live with the working-class, multi-cultural stigma ?

    Might also add that we need to be just a little bit cautious before trumpeting Leggett’s “success”. Bear in mind that the almost entirely unknown Leggett only won the Porirua Mayoralty a couple of terms ago because he managed to get himself endorsed by the popular retiring Mayor Jenny Brash, allowing him to win with a plurality in a crowded field. The incumbent is then almost always re-elected, especially when the competition is so marginal – as was the case last time.

    Which leads me nicely on to: Danyl: “Nash will struggle to hold his seat next year, I think – the Conservative Party candidate split the vote in 2014 – and I doubt he’ll make it very high on the list, especially now.”

    Yeah, true as far as the split vote goes. But, again, incumbents do have an advantage. Wouldn’t be entirely surprised if a decisive minority of Nats (and others) Party-Vote National / Candidate-Vote Nash. Like Leggett, Nashie’s certainly the kind of “Labour” our Tory friends can happily live with (always interesting to see how close Hoots and Quin are on Twitter. Like UK Blairites / Progress group Apparatchiks, the Phil Quins and Nick Leggetts of this world see themselves as some sort of astute professional class of politico, finding far more common ground ideologically and ego-wise with Hoots and Farrar).

    Comment by swordfish — August 14, 2016 @ 8:27 pm

  21. It may seem odd to people who have no experience of how political parties work, but supporting candidates who are running against duly selected candidates of your Party is a serious matter. That’s how political parties work – otherwise there’s no point.

    Comment by RHT — August 14, 2016 @ 8:54 pm

  22. swordfish: He also has the support of ACT donor & another property mogul, Chris Parkin.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — August 14, 2016 @ 9:42 pm

  23. Well my biggest take out from the media reaction to this was is mirrored in a much watered down way the utter shock of the UK Blairite media at the temerity of the great unwashed voting for Brexit and electing Jeremy Corbyn. Essentially, what they fear is Little has done is limbering up to say that red Toryism is done and the neoliberal political/establishment consensus is over. Of course it could just be a personal grudge, but it has certainly got the cosy insiders club rattled.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 14, 2016 @ 9:53 pm

  24. Swordfish, thats the first time I’ve heard of “Twin Harbours”. God thats awful, my first thought was of Sylvania Waters and then of course Whitby.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — August 14, 2016 @ 10:02 pm

  25. Sanc: The irony is that in the wake of the Brexit vote, certain Blairite commentators blamed ‘middle class liberals’/’champagne socialists’ for deserting the UK working class, when it was Tony Blair who shifted UK Labour towards ‘middle class cubicle monkeys’ and nouveau-riche ‘Essex Men’. It’s the kind of spin the likes of Alistair Campbell or Peter Mandelson would have pulled off.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — August 14, 2016 @ 10:06 pm

  26. Cliff Clavin: “Stepford” or “Wisteria Lane” also come to mind.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — August 14, 2016 @ 10:07 pm

  27. Under STV, the only way Leggett’s presence on the ballot could lead to the “right-wing candidate” winning is if…

    Of course, it’s possible that the people in Labour annoyed at Leggett don’t understand how STV works🙂

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — August 14, 2016 @ 10:11 pm

  28. swordfish: In light of Andrew Little’s ‘purges’, he might be pre-empting what’s unfolding in Britain. Over there, UK Labour’s caucus has gone out of its way to shift the goal posts in order to block out new Corbynite members that it basically thinks of as ‘entryists’.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — August 14, 2016 @ 10:11 pm

  29. Kumara Repulic, legoland works too. If you didn’t see this already its sums the place up nicely http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/home-property/83078747/replace-your-car-its-damaging-your-neighbours-property-prices

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — August 14, 2016 @ 10:15 pm

  30. Also, if the Blairites in NZLP jump or are pushed, where would they go if they’re too Right for Labour/Greens, too Left for NACT, too globalist for NZF and Maori Party, and too liberal for Peter Dunne? The SDP tried to go it alone after bolting UK Labour, and sank, ending up merging with the Liberals to form the LibDems. In NZ there’s no major equivalent of the LibDems, so how long would they be politically homeless?

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — August 14, 2016 @ 10:15 pm

  31. I wouldn’t write Nash off in Napier. He is reasonably visible and regarded locally as effective, his name recognition helps and the tide is slowly going out on the Nats. Napier is my home town, and if I am honest the people there hold completely irrational political views. To say there is a hatred of bludgers (with a strong class/racial subtext, often “Maori” is the prefix to “bludger”) is not to strong. Petty crime, and the fear of crime, from the huge underclass is a major issue. The whole place is deeply depressing.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 14, 2016 @ 11:40 pm

  32. NeilM: “He had no problem with the Chinese-sounding names shock horror story….”

    Story schmory! Prospective buyers in the Auckland housing market at the time that story broke knew that it reflected what they were seeing at the dreaded auctions. It is clearly still the case: do you really think that those real estate agencies up there employ as many Chinese agents as they do purely out of a sense of duty, because most of said agents are new migrants? Oh, and remind me: which agency is it that’s done a deal with some China-based company to market NZ houses in China? Ray White, isn’t it? I suppose that’s a figment of somebody’s fervid imagination too…

    Comment by D'Esterre — August 14, 2016 @ 11:41 pm

  33. “…Also, if the Blairites in NZLP jump or are pushed, where would they go…?”

    Well Josie Pagani landed a nice little number with a do-gooding Quango. They’ll all bail out to safe jobs organised by their mates in the establishment and from there snipe at Labour from astroturf think tanks, Jim Mora’s panel, newspaper opinion pieces on the death of the reasonable left, and why being a Quisling to global capitalism like them is the only realistic hope Labour has of being elected.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 14, 2016 @ 11:44 pm

  34. @ Cliff / @ Kumara

    Creepy ‘Twin Peaks’ also comes to mind. And, yeah, certainly evokes the Stepford Wives. Bland, sterile, soulless. Remember Gollins explicitly saying Whitby residents were embarrassed to be associated with the name “Porirua” (too blue-collar and brown-skinned, presumably. Wanted to evoke Golf courses, knitting patterns, bank managers, kids in Private school Blazers and Young National branches instead).

    Pretty sure, incidentally, that Leggett’s Labour Party membership had lapsed by the time he was first elected Mayor in 2010. Remember an interview where he basically suggested that he and other Moore faction types like Quin had been on the outer since Clark took the leadership in 93. So, a precarious, on-again / off-again and wholly inactive membership over the last decade by the sound of it. All of which raises questions when he tells Richard Harman (Politik) that this latest skirmish is all part of Little’s strategy to purge the Right and swing the Party Left and, hence, he won’t be re-joining a Party where he’s suddenly not wanted. Smells of rank opportunism and calculated spin.

    Blairites like Leggett and Quin will always seek to sabotage any Labour / Social Democratic party leader who doesn’t emanate from their own faction. True in the UK, true in NZ, probably also true in the powerful ALP Right faction in Oz (where Quin spent many active years).

    Comment by swordfish — August 14, 2016 @ 11:49 pm

  35. “… If you know people in the foreign exchange and investment banking industries, I am sure you will agree it requires people to develop a very broad general knowledge of political and economic affairs in a wide range of countries and to have deep understanding of the opportunities and risks that exist in those countries….”

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *Pause for breath* HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *Gasps* HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    What sort of fucking idiot actually thinks this, let alone says it out loud? Oh my fucking God. Every merchant banker I have ever met – and I’ve met a few – has been the blandest of people on anything not relating to their business. They never have original thoughts anything, and always redux everything to a monetary value.

    Jesus Christ, and to think you have a regular spot on National radio.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 14, 2016 @ 11:54 pm

  36. Phil Quin used to write on Pundit. Thankfully he knew when it was time to quit. Quin is to Labour what Roger Douglas was.

    http://www.pundit.co.nz/search/node/phil%20quin

    Comment by Ross — August 15, 2016 @ 6:20 am

  37. Creepy ‘Twin Peaks’ also comes to mind.

    Also “Twin Lakes,” which was the location Alan Duff invented for “Once Were Warriors” so he wouldn’t have to come straight out and call it Rotorua.

    Every merchant banker I have ever met – and I’ve met a few – has been the blandest of people on anything not relating to their business.

    All the interviews with Key suggest he would not be an exception to that. On the other hand, there seems to be a huge market for “bland,” judging by his political success, so us not-bland types sneering at him probably doesn’t bother him any.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — August 15, 2016 @ 6:40 am

  38. Sanc @35, sick burn🙂

    Comment by Antoine — August 15, 2016 @ 8:04 am

  39. Every merchant banker I have ever met – and I’ve met a few – has been the blandest of people on anything not relating to their business.

    I worked at a merchant bank in London, and my flatmate was a merchant banker, and they were pretty typical of white collar professionals. Some people were really smart, and some were interesting and some were both and others were neither, just like everywhere else. There was a culture of exceptionalism – we must be amazing! why else would we be getting paid so much fucking money! – but no worse than in IT.

    I don’t think Labour’s problems are with the leader. They’ve had Goff, who was a successful Minister and Shearer who was a star performer at the UN, and Cunliffe who was a successful management consultant and then a high performing Minister, and now Little, who was extremely well regarded during his time at the EPMU. The institution itself is dysfunctional, which is perpetuating a toxic culture. The party itself needs serious reform. That probably needs to be driven by the party president, rather than the leader. They missed a huge opportunity with their report into the 2014 election.

    Comment by danylmc — August 15, 2016 @ 8:11 am

  40. What about the non-parliamentary culture of Labour is toxic, Danyl, I’d love to know what makes you say that. There is a toxic culture within caucus, that Little has done an excellent job of beginning to change/suppress – it’s been the best 3-4 months since 2008, in terms of discipline and focus.

    It doesn’t seem to occur to people that maybe Jones, Cosgrove, Leggett, and Nash might be the toxic ones rather than the so-called leftists. The idea that people way out of step with the vast bulk of Labour membership, who are ill-disciplined (Cosgrove is a notorious leaker) and self-serving, are somehow the engines of fresh ideas and vitality is stupid. When National MPs get disciplined people see it as a sign of strength, but for some reason the fact that it was related to local body politics it has commentators all aghast.

    Comment by RHT — August 15, 2016 @ 8:46 am

  41. The thing that amazed me most about Hooton’s post is fully thirty years after The Bonfire of the Vanities was published he is still spouting the Master’s of the Universe nonsense about bankers. Sure, in 1983 when neoliberalism was the coming thing and our universities were full of ambitious young Rogernome clone warriors you could just about make a claim the future lay in the hands of the broadly educated technocrats of finance. Nowadays, given how comprehensively they’ve wrecked the world, only someone who has failed to have an original thought in a quarter of a century still spouts that bullshit.

    I guess Danyl I find most of the white collar middle class bland willing executioners of the status quo. Safe consumers whose variety comes from their choice of conspicious leisure consumption. Tony loving skiing while Nigel prefers mountain biking while Mary still skateboards from the carpark to the office, that daring skater chick! And they all aspire to the bosses flash gin palace to fish of in the summer.

    “… The institution itself is dysfunctional, which is perpetuating a toxic culture…”

    I don’t know enough about the inner workings of the Labour party to know if this is true or not, but forgive me if I consider it in relation to your close association with the white, merchant bankery dude currently leading the Green party and so I won’t don’t take it at face value – it fails the David Farrar smell test for innocuous political spite, methinks. Having said that, I would be interested to hear your ideas for reform.

    I think all political parties in NZ are still becalmed in the 1990s, with John Key allowing the one pure Rogernome left – Bill English -to pursue his various mad free market experiments in housing and welfare and (now) education on the unfortunate inmates of Stalag NZ, just so long as he does them slowly enough that the prisoners don’t notice their slowly dwindling numbers and riot. Labour can’t effectively oppose them because in 2008 – not 2014 – it failed to seize the opportunity to refresh the party, and instead veered down a failed route of hanging onto too many clapped out MPs. The upshot is Labour hasn’t been able to update it’s thinking. I suspect it’s caucus is a bit like a 1960s ancient and previously mighty English public school where the once formidable mind of the classics master has long since turned to pigeon fancying, the bursar has succumbed to an extra bottle of claret every night and the only hope is the newfangled ideas of the couple of young free thinking teachers from working class backgrounds they recruited out of desperation.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 15, 2016 @ 9:54 am

  42. When I read Sanctuarys posts I imagine them being spoken in the voice of Rik from the young ones only 35 years older and more mystified as to why the world doesn’t hold the same opinion of him as he does of himself.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — August 15, 2016 @ 10:27 am

  43. “I don’t think Labour’s problems are with the leader. They’ve had Goff, who was a successful Minister and Shearer who was a star performer at the UN, and Cunliffe who was a successful management consultant and then a high performing Minister, and now Little, who was extremely well regarded during his time at the EPMU. The institution itself is dysfunctional”

    This is a refreshing change from nearly three years of this blog beating the ‘sack [Labour leader] and everything will be fine’ drum.

    However shifting the blame on to the Labour party as a whole isn’t much better and is still grist for the mill of National’s spin machine.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — August 15, 2016 @ 10:44 am

  44. The “Blairites” vs “the membership” characterisation suggests it’s more of a British Labour Party style of identity crisis than an organisational problem.

    Comment by NeilM — August 15, 2016 @ 10:50 am

  45. private school boy decries limited background of labour leader

    Comment by mag rodaigh — August 15, 2016 @ 10:53 am

  46. I watched “The Nation” last Saturday with canddates for Welly mayor.. Leggett did NOT impress me at all. He will be bottom of my choices!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by A M Thompson — August 15, 2016 @ 11:19 am

  47. NeilM – it would be an identity crisis if it was the parliamentary wing and leadership recognised that they were out of step with the membership, or the leadership was out of step with both (i.e. “What and who do we stand for as a Party” being the principal question).

    Given that the leadership and the membership are broadly aligned and opposed to the parliamentary wing, and the parliamentary wing can’t answer the question above more deeply than “We stand for getting rid of a leader we don’t like / keeping our jobs”, then it clearly qualifies as an organisational problem.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 15, 2016 @ 11:29 am

  48. When I read Sanctuarys posts I imagine them being spoken in the voice of Rik from the young ones only 35 years older…

    On certain subjects, Sanc’s become vastly more measured and reflective. A couple of years ago his gushing over Stuart Nash’s blokey political muscle tone made the worst of Like Mike’s rants about John Key in a leopard print g-string sound restrained. Now it’s “I wouldn’t write Nash off in Napier.”

    Comment by Joe W — August 15, 2016 @ 11:33 am

  49. @MH

    Norman Kirk? A labourer who left school at thirteen and became mayor of Kaiapoi must qualify as limited.

    Comment by Eltalstro — August 15, 2016 @ 11:36 am

  50. @Sanc: More seriously, your point about conspicuous leisure consumption as a substitute for genuine subversion is well taken. But don’t you think that a lot of activism really comes under this heading? Somebody whose struggle against the status quo consists primarily of blog posts or attending protests is arguably doing no more to compromise capitalism than somebody mountain biking or skateboarding.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — August 15, 2016 @ 11:55 am

  51. “Somebody whose struggle against the status quo consists primarily of blog posts or attending protests is arguably doing no more to compromise capitalism than somebody mountain biking or skateboarding.”

    Maybe his lifestyle block is organic? And maybe he planted trees to cover the co2 emissions of his big trip to Europe? He’s a big fan of rugby, does he abstain from attending games or subscribing to SkyTV because of the elitism of the sport or the co2 emitted powering the lights of evening matches and the flights around the world the teams and supporters make to play or watch the game?

    But, no: he’s right-on, man. It’s all the rest of us sheeple with OUR travel and hobbies who are the problem. He’d be in agreement with Al Gore and Prince Charles on that…

    This blind-spot and the fervent need to be “different” (by talking and possibly even thinking the same as all the other progressives), is among the things that conservatives find funny about SJWs.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 15, 2016 @ 12:32 pm

  52. I think there is a bit more at play, With Wail-Oil running a pro Leggett line, no transparency over a bit $$ campaign (ask him who his donors are and he will block you on Facebook), and the Dirty Politics Labour MP Stuart Nash jumping in for team Leggett.

    More questions than answers from that campaign.

    Comment by Michael — August 15, 2016 @ 1:57 pm

  53. @CF – that’s a remarkable bit of projection right there. As it happens, I don’t like the circus of professional sport that much. And I do plant trees to offset my Co2 from flying. I know it is hopeless, but whatever. I am pretty sure the 300 didn’t go “Look at all those Persians, fuck it let’s just give up and change sides, I hear the pay is better anyway”. Oh the wider point, we all have to live in a world largely not of our making. Serious emission reductions require global action by governments. The crux is do you support parties that want to take that action or not? Since you are climate change denier, I think you’ll be the one with the explaining to do.

    @Ortvin Sarapuu – I guess everyone finds their level. I do a bit volunteer work, and I have been told what I write about the place is read by some influential people. The thing is, where is your imagination? Nigel the mountain biking merchant banker has no imagination. He does what he does as status displays within the construct of a doomed materialism that he uncritically participates in because he neither wants or can imagine a different way of doing things. I suppose if you can imagine a different and better future, and at least post about it your desire to work towards it, then you have already achieved something better than Nigel – or John Key – ever has or will imagine.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 15, 2016 @ 2:43 pm

  54. @ Joe W/ Cliff

    You hear Rik? Funny, I hear Jerzy Balowski…

    Comment by insider — August 15, 2016 @ 3:34 pm

  55. I am pretty sure the 300 didn’t go “Look at all those Persians, fuck it let’s just give up and change sides, I hear the pay is better anyway”

    That’s what approximately half of the Greek peoples did say.

    Comment by Phil — August 15, 2016 @ 3:56 pm

  56. @Sanc: I’m just not as confident in my ability to divine people’s inner lives from their external behaviour as you are, I guess.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — August 15, 2016 @ 6:34 pm

  57. Insider, I admit I see the similarities but this comment is a Rik classic

    “I have been told what I write about the place is read by some influential people”

    Read it in Riks voice and then imagine at the end him folding his arms tightly across his chest and using that bug eyed stare Mayall did so well.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — August 15, 2016 @ 6:48 pm

  58. You hear Rik?
    I hear Roger Banister.🙂

    Comment by Sacha — August 15, 2016 @ 7:59 pm

  59. @ cliff

    Got you. With such omniscience I think we need remind ourselves of your true title (as revealed by the Venerable Rowan, a contemporary of Rik’s. ) http://www.inf.fu-berlin.de/lehre/WS06/pmo/eng/audio/Devil.pdf

    @ sacha

    given his disdain for sport I’d be surprised if he ran that fast

    Comment by insider — August 15, 2016 @ 8:27 pm

  60. Insider, cheers for that .I’m sure I saw that excellent clip on video a while back and the devil insisted on the French and Germans spending eternity in damnation together, and told them “you should have plenty to talk about”.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — August 15, 2016 @ 10:15 pm

  61. Well, there’s a few people on the blogosphere who remind me of Rik (more properly, “Wik”), but Sanc isn’t one of them.

    The Riks of this world are much more likely to inhabit the Uber end of the Identity Politics spectrum – all Values signalling / petty narcissism / loudly advertising what they perceive to be their unusually refined sensibilities / desperate attempts at erudite little bon mots / eyebrow arched with intended irony. People who take themselves VERY SERIOUSLY and apparently have much to teach the rest of us.

    Sanc has a sense of humour and much more self-awareness than Wik ever had.

    But, I have to say I do feel sorry for you, you zeros, you nobodies. What’s going to live on after you die? I’ll tell you — nothing, that’s what!

    This blog – the Dim Post – will become a shrine ! And punks and skins and Rastas will all gather round and all hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader! And all the grown-ups will say, “But why are the kids crying?” And the kids will say, “Haven’t you heard? swordfish is dead! The People’s Poet is dead!”

    And then one particularly sensitive and articulate teenager will say, “Why kids, do you understand nothing? How can swordfish be dead when we still have his poems?” Then another kid will say… [emits a long, loud fart from laxatives].

    Comment by swordfish — August 15, 2016 @ 11:37 pm

  62. @swordfish

    beginning to see why all your comments on Pundit go straight into moderation

    :p

    Comment by Antoine — August 16, 2016 @ 1:30 am

  63. This is getting a bit like when they used to go to asylums in the olden days to look at insane people for entertainment.

    Comment by leeharmanclark — August 16, 2016 @ 6:35 am

  64. Danyl; there probably is “a story there” as you suggest. None of your commentators has been able to tell it, unfortunately. I suspect it relates to why I decided in ’71 that Labour was as much part of the problem as National and the solution was to create a new option unencumbered by left/right historical baggage. That nothing has changed since proves politics is ruled more by inertia than anything else, I guess.

    Little sees non-union leftists as right-wingers just as Muldoon told everyone who disagreed with him that they were communists. Bipolar people like in a polarised world. No colours, or shades of grey. If it’s not white, it’s black. Dualism creates a zero-sum mentality in people.

    So for leftists who preach diversity yet practice exclusion, surprise that others see them as hypocrites is genuine. Nuance is inconceivable to them. Literally.

    For a political leftist, reality derives from the conceptual frame created by the French Revolution: the people on one side, the aristocracy on the other. This bicameral system nowadays functions as a tacit paradigm: ruling class vs us. Leftist therefore keep pretending they represent the people. Other leftists who disagree with them are therefore mentally categorised as enemies of the people. It’s so much easier to reject comrades and stab them in the back, because forging common ground through goodwill and discussion is laborious. And then, if enough suckers put a leftist into power, he immediately identifies himself as a new member of the ruling class. Identity politics!

    Comment by Dennis Frank — August 16, 2016 @ 6:46 am

  65. Alas Dennis your posting reads as if your view of ‘leftist’ politics is beset by a tendency to see everything with ‘No colours, or shades of grey’.The sad thing is that since ’71 you alone have understood the way, and no-one else has come to the Light.

    Comment by paritutu — August 16, 2016 @ 7:39 am

  66. This thread degenerated rather weirdly.

    Comment by RHT — August 16, 2016 @ 8:17 am

  67. What’s a “non union leftist”?

    Comment by Corokia — August 16, 2016 @ 10:16 am

  68. 42.When I read Sanctuarys posts I imagine them being spoken in the voice of Rik from the young ones only [] years older…

    You mean Alan Beresford B’Stard?

    Comment by unaha-closp — August 16, 2016 @ 10:36 am

  69. Perhaps Lord Flashheart? I can see his university common room meetings going something like this, can’t you?

    Comment by insider — August 16, 2016 @ 11:38 am

  70. “I decided in ’71 that Labour was as much part of the problem as National and the solution was to create a new option unencumbered by left/right historical baggage”

    45 years down the track, how’s that working out?

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — August 16, 2016 @ 11:43 am

  71. Pretty good, inasmuch as around a third of the electorate in most western countries have been rejecting both wings of the establishment since the ’80s. Not all that good, inasmuch as they mostly translate that into a lack of faith in democracy & drift into apathy instead of being proactive. I did get the Greens, but refugees from Labour have steered that vehicle onto the left side – despite the real greens telling everyone that neither left nor right was the only intelligent option long ago. There’s still plenty of people around dead keen to keep suffering under the left/right binary switch and they deserve leaders like Key & Little, The rest of us make sure we can enjoy life despite the retards, eh?

    Comment by Dennis Frank — August 16, 2016 @ 5:48 pm

  72. The rest of us make sure we can enjoy life despite the retards, eh?

    Hey, Dennis, buddy…. Go fuck yourself?

    Comment by Phil — August 16, 2016 @ 6:10 pm

  73. “The rest of us make sure we can enjoy life despite the retards, eh?”

    Do you usually characterise people who disagree with you politically as retards or is this hyperbole?

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — August 16, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

  74. Do you usually characterise people who disagree with you politically as retards or is this hyperbole?

    It’s OK – Dennis went on anti-racist protests back in the 60’s, so he’s allowed to say whatever he wants. Apparently.

    Comment by Flashing Light — August 16, 2016 @ 8:50 pm

  75. Oh dear. One or two may not have cottoned on that the final half of my comment (61) was verbatim script from The Young Ones (Bambi episode – Second series). Need to remind myself that most people aren’t Young Ones fan-boys like my good-self. The term “whoosh” comes to mind.

    Antoine : “beginning to see why all your comments on Pundit go straight into moderation”

    Only ever commented on Pundit once, Antoine. 2010, if I remember rightly (you’re probably thinking of a couple of my comments going into moderation here a week or so back – nothing to do with the content of the comments, I should add)

    Comment by swordfish — August 16, 2016 @ 9:11 pm

  76. Actually, far more amusing than anything from The Young Ones script is the fact that a few commenters here genuinely thought I’d suddenly snapped and viciously turned on them with: “But, I have to say I do feel sorry for you, you zeros, you nobodies. What’s going to live on after you die? I’ll tell you — nothing, that’s what !”

    Comment by swordfish — August 16, 2016 @ 9:27 pm

  77. Well Labour being OK with National spying on everyone doesn’t sound very Corbynesque.

    Sounds a bit Blairite so perhaps all this animosity is just about personalities rather than policy.

    Which reflects even worse.

    Comment by NeilM — August 16, 2016 @ 10:18 pm

  78. @sf

    I got it, just trying to wind you up

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — August 16, 2016 @ 10:27 pm

  79. And Little won’t give the Greens a seat on the Intelligence & Security Committee which he is entitled to do.

    Looking pretty Blairite.

    Comment by NeilM — August 16, 2016 @ 10:37 pm

  80. Antoine: “I got it, just trying to wind you up”

    Are you trying to be funny ? Because if you are, I think it’s in pretty poor taste, that’s all ! I’m not a fridge, you know ! … Anyway I’ve written a poem and I think perhaps it might help you.

    Oh Cliff !
    Sometimes it must be difficult not to feel as if
    You really are a cliff
    When fascists keep trying to push you over it !
    Are they the lemmings,
    or are you Cliff?
    Or ARE you, Cliff ?

    Comment by swordfish — August 16, 2016 @ 11:33 pm

  81. swordfish, I got it, too. Neil’s “It’s not plugged in” comes to mind when ever I am having tech problems. Along with:

    And apologies for my part in dumping on Sanc. I love him, really. I (usually gently) tease all the progressives I know when they come back from their winter pilgrimage to Serre Chevalire and complain about the co2 emissions of the great unwashed and their holidays, via cheap airlines, to the same camping ground in France every year. Or come back from Ankor Wat and complain that it’s been ruined by tourists.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 17, 2016 @ 11:54 am

  82. Re #72: But Phil, just because you find something satisfying doesn’t mean others will. Folks differ, doncha know? Get a grip.

    Consider also the possibility that signalling to blog readers that you have a mental age of 13 may not be the best way to develop your online reputation.

    Comment by Dennis Frank — August 17, 2016 @ 8:36 pm

  83. Consider also the possibility that signalling to blog readers that you have a mental age of 13 may not be the best way to develop your online reputation

    Hello Ms Pot, let me introduce you to Mr Kettle.

    Comment by Phil — August 18, 2016 @ 9:13 am


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