The Dim-Post

October 6, 2016

And so it goes

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:25 am

Via Radio New Zealand:

Helen Clark has congratulated Portugal’s Antonio Guterres as the “clear winner” in the selection for next United Nations Secretary-General.

The former Portuguese prime minister is poised to take up the role after none of the five UN Security Council veto powers voted against him in a sixth secret ballot, diplomats said.

Helen Clark ended up fifth overall but three of the permanent Security Council members voted against her, effectively vetoing her selection.

In a statement, Miss Clark thanked everyone who who supported her campaign and said she deeply appreciated the backing from Prime Minister John Key, the the government and the public.

Domestically the big winner in all this is Key, who got to demonstrate to a couple hundred thousand female swing-voters what a progressive, balanced women-leader-supporting, generally great guy he is. It’s conventional wisdom on the left that Key et al are morons, and the left is morally and intellectually superior, and I’m not sure how this squares with Key and his party constantly doing very smart things, and the left’s parties and leaders mostly, consistently being pretty dumb. But we have all those withering take-downs of neoliberalism and books on Gramsci! It’s almost as if we congratulate ourselves on metrics that have nothing to do with success in modern democratic contests.

37 Comments »

  1. A recent comment by Scott Alexander:

    “Leftism has never been about controlling the government, and really the government is one of the areas it controls least effectively – even now both houses of Congress, most state legislatures, most governors, etc, are Republican. When people say that the Left is in control, they’re talking about academia, the media, the arts, and national culture writ large. But all of these things have a tendency to define themselves in opposition to the government. When the left controls the government, this is awkward and tends to involve a lot of infighting. When the right controls the government, it gets easy.”

    Comment by repton — October 6, 2016 @ 8:14 am

  2. When people say that the Left is in control, they’re talking about academia, the media, the arts, and national culture writ large.

    I think there are two things happening there. Firstly, the left believes in the concept of ‘cultural hegemony’, so being an academic, or a media commentator can be justified as a left-wing thing to do, because you’re challenging capitalism and patriarchy, and the regulation of the expressible and the thinkable, vis Gramsci, and the right are happy for the left to dominate these spheres because Gramsci’s theory of culture and hegemony is obviously wrong.

    Comment by danylmc — October 6, 2016 @ 8:21 am

  3. Yes, but every smart thing the right does is: a) a cynical act of evil; and b) done on the advice of their big business masters or Crosby Textor. Moral and intellectual superiority is retained!

    Comment by Richard — October 6, 2016 @ 8:27 am

  4. The things is can you imagine Prime Minister Andrew Little supporting John Key becoming World President or any other position above County Dog Catcher?

    Comment by Ray — October 6, 2016 @ 8:33 am

  5. “the left’s parties and leaders mostly, consistently being pretty dumb.”

    The Greens don’t count as part of the left, right?

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — October 6, 2016 @ 8:48 am

  6. Yes Ray I can. Ultimate loyalties are an effect of class & elitist self interest.
    Trouble is you have trouble seeing anything twenty twenty. The comment about the right in NZ ‘with Key and his party constantly doing very smart things,’ is a comment about political effectiveness, and as has been said already with unintentional brilliance by Richard, that effectiveness comes with a wad of cynicism.

    Comment by paritutu — October 6, 2016 @ 8:49 am

  7. The Greens don’t count as part of the left, right?

    I think they do. When’s the last time they dazzled anyone with their strategic acumen?

    Comment by danylmc — October 6, 2016 @ 8:53 am

  8. In other news, Teresa May makes the fatal error of moving the Torys into the center during her conference speech. Andrew Little will be texting Corbyn about his good fortune and undoubted victory at the next GE in Britain.

    Comment by artcroft — October 6, 2016 @ 9:41 am

  9. Domestically Key was only a “big winner” if you listen to the likes of Paul Henry, who all of a sudden think Clark is a “smart, capable woman” who’s so wonderful that when she was Prime Minister they couldn’t denigrate her enough.

    You could just as easily have a TV commentator calling key a craven, two-faced coattail-rider who’d backed yet another losing horse. But we don’t have any of those.

    Comment by Oravida — October 6, 2016 @ 9:43 am

  10. For some reason the title of this thread stayed with me, and then I got it, because this too was about the triumph of smart and dirty politics, even if it’s not listed as one of the great quotes from the movie:

    And so it goes … Detective Lieutenant.

    Ace ’em at the Grand Jury tomorrow, son. Wear a smart looking suit and ace ’em.

    And Ed …. lose the glasses.

    And maybe it’s reaching too far – but I can see John Key in Ed Exley.

    Comment by Tom Hunter — October 6, 2016 @ 9:48 am

  11. I suspect this is standard operating procedure and doesnt particularly reflect on Key one way or the other. A left wing PM would do the same for a former right wing PM.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — October 6, 2016 @ 9:56 am

  12. Also, it’s hard to dazzle in Opposition…

    Comment by Antoine — October 6, 2016 @ 10:02 am

  13. “so being an academic, or a media commentator can be justified as a left-wing thing to do, because you’re challenging capitalism and patriarchy”

    Knowing firsthand about the growing disparity in working conditions between permanent academic staff and all other workers at Massey and Victoria makes the above comment seem somewhat anachronistic

    Comment by mag rodaigh — October 6, 2016 @ 10:11 am

  14. The word “neoliberal” seems to get used these days in the way I remember “fascist” being used in England back in the early 80s. Whenever I hear anyone holding forth on neoliberalism now I always find myself thinking of Rick from the Young Ones

    Comment by Nick R — October 6, 2016 @ 10:19 am

  15. A left wing PM would do the same for a former right wing PM.

    Jim Bolger came back to NZ after his stint as US ambassador and was immediately appointed chairman of Kiwibank and NZ Post. It’s not the same ‘big league’ as UN Sec Gen, but an example nonetheless.

    Comment by Phil — October 6, 2016 @ 10:33 am

  16. Careful, Danyl. Giovanni Tiso is already preparing a savage rebuttal that reads a lot like self-parody.

    Comment by Trouble Man — October 6, 2016 @ 10:37 am

  17. @mag, yeah, screw academics, they aren’t real leftists

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — October 6, 2016 @ 11:05 am

  18. Yeah, Clark & Key both come out looking good. Some of us were advocating reform of the UN back in the ’80s, so the fact that these liberal socialist mainstreamers are supporting that is an indicator that progress does sometimes happen. Rather than lapse back into complacency, they ought to remain staunch and organise a global campaign at the top level to eliminate the veto.

    As regards the Greens, I suspect “the last time they dazzled anyone with their strategic acumen” was when they voted themselves out of the Alliance when we voted MMP in. “Whew, out of that leftist cul-de-sac just in time! What a relief!” Then proceeded to park themselves in a less-obvious leftist cul-de-sac…

    Comment by Dennis Frank — October 6, 2016 @ 11:14 am

  19. Key is a thoroughly modern righty and is happy to do and concede anything that doesn’t interfere with his mates making money. Supporting Helen Clark for the UN role falls firmly into this category.

    Comment by Rich d'Rich — October 6, 2016 @ 11:24 am

  20. @18 voting themselves out of the Alliance was indeed the smart thing to do – Greens are third party in parliament – Alliance are… where?

    Comment by jmcveagh — October 6, 2016 @ 12:28 pm

  21. If thousands of female swing voters are impressed by Key backing a loser, then one can only hope that they dont actually vote. Of course Key also backed the wrong flag. I dont know that he was feted by voters for that choice.

    Comment by Ross — October 6, 2016 @ 12:42 pm

  22. It’s not necessarily that Gramsci is wrong about cultural hegemony, but that self-satisfied liberal arts academics aren’t really very effective at speaking to issues that matter to normal people. A lot like leftwing politicians and political parties at the moment, it seems.

    If the academic left hadn’t spent so much time attacking the very idea of truth, then they might do a better job of asserting a counter-hegemonic narrative. Pretty hard to do when all narratives are oppressive! (not an argument for modernism, btw)

    Comment by RHT — October 6, 2016 @ 12:57 pm

  23. @Ross, because only people who hate losers should be able to vote?

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — October 6, 2016 @ 1:28 pm

  24. The comment about the right in NZ ‘with Key and his party constantly doing very smart things,’ is a comment about political effectiveness,

    More accurately politically effective at a national level. Cunliffe and Little were arguably effective at a party level although by some measures less effective party level politicians than Corbyn.

    Comment by Richard — October 6, 2016 @ 1:32 pm

  25. When’s the last time (the Greens) dazzled anyone with their strategic acumen?

    Dunno. But I’m looking forward to being dazzled by a bunch of their least effective MPs being shuffled along.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 6, 2016 @ 1:59 pm

  26. @ danyl

    When’s the last time they dazzled anyone with their strategic acumen?

    Oh I dunno, maybe when they made appointments to their campaign committee…

    https://dimpost.wordpress.com/2016/03/31/voluminous-disclosure/

    Comment by insider — October 6, 2016 @ 2:22 pm

  27. @Richard:

    More accurately politically effective at a national level. Cunliffe and Little were arguably effective at a party level although by some measures less effective party level politicians than Corbyn.

    As has been commented a bajillion times before, those are modern Labour’s priorities. Better to lose elections than to lose internal power.

    Comment by @simongarlick — October 6, 2016 @ 2:34 pm

  28. A “- yeah, screw academics, they aren’t real leftists

    i’m not sure what a “real leftist” is (all facetiousness aside) – my definition shifts (like most people i don’t like pigeonholes and there is a tendency to second guess myself…) at the moment a “real leftist” might be defined by – how much bullshit can you swallow (of course you have to know what it tastes like) before you act – it’s not an intellectual pursuit – it’s more an everyday decision -which way are you swimming – with – or against the current (that said every now and then you need to scramble up onto the riverbank and catch your breath – zealots – like trolls are fucking exhausting

    Comment by mag rodaigh — October 6, 2016 @ 3:08 pm

  29. because only people who hate losers should be able to vote?

    Nope, but voters should be discerning.

    Comment by Ross — October 6, 2016 @ 6:10 pm

  30. As has been commented a bajillion times before, those are modern Labour’s priorities. Better to lose elections than to lose internal power.

    I think that’s become a bit of conventional wisdom to folk commenting on Labour as much as John Key being a moron is the conventional wisdom on the left. They want to get elected but there seems to be a strong disconnect somewhere between their perceptions of what people actually want from a govt and the party membership’s view of what will be popular with the people. I think the conventional wisdom on that is too much time spent in social media echo chambers but who TF actually knows.

    Comment by Richard — October 6, 2016 @ 8:26 pm

  31. “When’s the last time they dazzled anyone with their strategic acumen?”

    Do you feel it’s improved since you started contributing to their campaign strategy? Perhaps you could outline some of the suggestions you’ve made about how the Greens could be less consistently dumb?

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — October 7, 2016 @ 1:22 am

  32. Re the Key/Clark snugglefest. I think there is a ‘meta-thingy’ going on here. I decided to describe it as this because it’s not quite patriotism, but it is a curiously kiwi phenomena, I believe.
    At home we describe our politicians as ‘left and right’ and therefore infer they are locked in a continuous conflict like two falling skydivers over a single parachute (yes, it’s like a marriage).
    But overseas, a ‘brand-kiwi’ mentality often overrides the domestic infighting, and politicians of all hues tend to subconsciously unite to assert a strong message about kiwi independence of thinking to the world in general.
    This ‘brand-kiwi is why we can send people into conflict zones and engage in certain political discourses such as ‘no-nuclear’ or ‘clean and green’ and people overseas respond positively to it. I believe it is part of the kiwi culture to support a strong perception that we have a sense of honour and altruism about us, which transcends narrow party-political boundaries.
    Ergo: ‘meta-thingy’.

    Comment by Lee Clark — October 8, 2016 @ 10:41 am

  33. True, but that concord could be just as well-identified as consensus, couldn’t it? Inasmuch as Key has replicated her recipe of neoliberalism with a minor strand of socialism woven in, plus her blend of independence & pro-American alignment in foreign policy. I doubt Key would have endorsed any other Labour PM with such enthusiasm. Perhaps Palmer.

    The kiwi tendency toward an independent position in geopolitics has indeed become pan-generational. I recall being intrigued when Holyoake contradicted his robotic parroting of the yanks’ domino-theory hysteria by failing to introduce conscription, and then refusing to yield to yank pressure to participate in the Vietnam War (me & fellow kiwi male peaceniks didn’t have to become a draft-dodgers).

    Comment by Dennis Frank — October 8, 2016 @ 3:02 pm

  34. Because, Danyl, Key and his party only do these “smart” things as publicity stunts and that is painstakingly obvious to everyone on the left. Meanwhile, New Zealand still has a housing crisis; people are turned down for emergency surgical procedures by the public health system and have to go to a charity hospital or enlist the help of parents to go to a private hospital; children are still living in poverty and going without breakfast and lunch; taxes are too high when you consider what we are getting for our money; the Government gives a one-off $1,200 payment for couples when they have a baby, regardless of the fact that the male may be working full time and so the couple may not need the money and therefore the money could have gone to something more worthwhile such as on tertiary education, which has been neglected since National came to power in 2008; the failure of the Government to consider a Mansion Tax or a Comprehensive Inheritance Tax in order to be able to reduce GST (making groceries cheaper) whilst at the same time reducing funding to charities which have food banks and help the needy, shows quite clearly that the Government is dumb and are also very uninterested in doing what they should be doing, which is passing legislation for the greater good of the people who live in this country.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — October 8, 2016 @ 3:33 pm

  35. Jeebus, talk about hitting the nail on the head.

    The problem for the greens is they keep appealing for the 10% or so they already have. Davidson getting arrested on the flotilla for peace [actually one boat] might play well with them but its just eye rolling sanctimonious idiocy to a decent number of the voters in the 90% they are trying to slice a few points off of.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — October 9, 2016 @ 10:57 pm

  36. @35 – Marama Davidson wasn’t doing a stunt, she was doing what seemed like the right thing, along with other women of high calibre. It wasn’t about getting votes but about bearing witness – but I guess most people really don’t get that anyway. Cynicism rules.

    Comment by jmcveagh — October 10, 2016 @ 2:26 pm

  37. John Key’s support of Helen Clark was almost as stupid as his decision to invite the Maori Party into government when he didn’t have to.

    What a fool he is. What a dominated fool.

    Comment by Adolf Fiinkensein — October 11, 2016 @ 2:26 pm


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