Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Be the party of good science

240 Responses

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  • Idiot Savant,

    Personally, I find the idea that no idea should be discussed if there is a possibility it might whip up well-organised moral hysteria pretty depressing.

    The joy of political parties: they can't stand for anything in case someone doesn't like it.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1668 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    It was a speech that was aimed for the politically simplistic and squeally minds of Guyon Espinor and friends

    Goff would have been a lot smarter to actually attack the cheapness of such empty words as "nannystate", "politically correct" and " social engineering."

    We need adult politics.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Dear lord. I understand the bind that Labour finds itself into, but that was an awful speech.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7412 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Goff would have been a lot smarter to actually attack the cheapness of such empty words as "nannystate", "politically correct" and " social engineering."

    He didn't use number one and three, at least not in the published version that Russell linked to. Does anybody know if he did in the delivery?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7412 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Dear lord. I understand the bind that Labour finds itself into, but that was an awful speech.

    I may have erred on the side of kindness.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Half the things on that list (er, the second half) of issues are things that I liked about the Labour government. I think it's called "making some sense".

    Good that they've knocked that on the head though. Wouldn't want to have something evidence based to attack the current government on.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6227 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    I found Labour's inability to argue their case wrt lightbulbs, showerheads (and now maybe condoms) utterly pathetic. I don't necessarily think these are great ideas, but if, as a party you do, then you must surely be prepare to fight for them. Not run away like a gunshy dog at first resistance. And these weren't really difficult issues to argue for.

    This speech now seems to reinforce the concept that any initiatives that may be criticised are off the menu. Sheesh, why don't they leave it all to talk-back radio.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    As both an historical Labour supporter and a scientist I would be thrilled to have seen Labour become the 'party of good science', what they've actually been is the party of 'we'll do whatever we think is right and anyone who doesn't agree can go fuck themselves', which is somewhat less appealing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Personally, I find the idea that no idea should be discussed if there is a possibility it might whip up well-organised moral hysteria pretty depressing.

    Isn't it just.
    If Labour want to draw a line under the story that beat them last time, then OK. But if they adopt the same tactics, or allow good ideas to go silenced because they're scared of Duncan Garner then they won't be seeing my vote for some time.
    I think I have a tendency to support the party in power (after some time) because that party has to lower the hysterical tone and begin to deliver on the realities that they have as the Government. National ain't there yet (they either keep up the spin, or just avoid the whole thing so far) but it's entirely possible they'll get there by 2011. Labour may want to beat them to it.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1722 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Danyl, you said this in your blog:

    I think the move away from pointy-headed urban liberalism back to an old school socialist economic platform is absolutely the way to go. This could be a bit problematic since many of the smartest, most formidable new MPs are pointy headed urban liberals: they really do need some MPs cast in the Paula Bennett mold (in terms of demographic appeal, not penchant for class warfare and contempt for the law).

    1. I'm not sure that picking potential ministers on the basis of attractive life stories rather than competence is a good idea.

    2. I personally don't think "an old school socialist economic platform" is the way to go.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Dita De Boni in the Herald likes the condom idea.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    As both an historical Labour supporter and a scientist I would be thrilled to have seen Labour become the 'party of good science', what they've actually been is the party of 'we'll do whatever we think is right and anyone who doesn't agree can go fuck themselves', which is somewhat less appealing.

    What, specifically, are you talking about here?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    The condom idea is a good one and all, but randomly throwing out ideas ain't the way to do it.
    If Labour more carefully craft the "Endace, Scion" story* they had in Goff's speech to create a well-argued theme, then things like the condom idea fall within it and are harder to argue against.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1722 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    'we'll do whatever we think is right and anyone who doesn't agree can go fuck themselves'

    It strikes me that we have an array of political commentators across spectrums that have personal issues with the labour movement because that comment is utter rubbish.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • R A Hurley,

    I found Labour's inability to argue their case wrt lightbulbs, showerheads (and now maybe condoms) utterly pathetic. I don't necessarily think these are great ideas, but if, as a party you do, then you must surely be prepare to fight for them. Not run away like a gunshy dog at first resistance. And these weren't really difficult issues to argue for.

    Wouldn't want to have something evidence based to attack the current government on.

    Perhaps. But I think that the problem here is the importation of the American style right-wing idiot populism where evidence just doesn't matter. It's like arguing with creationists. If facts/arguments changed their minds, they wouldn't be creationists. I think Labour is finding itself having to wrestle with questions of how to work in an environment where evidence just doesn't matter, and how to engage with people who are either wilfully ignorant, or knowingly lying to those who are.

    In other words. Why fight over lightbulbs when it will potentially cost you an election even if you're right.

    I think it sucks, but I can understand why they're doing it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    'we'll do whatever we think is right and anyone who doesn't agree can go fuck themselves'

    It strikes me that we have an array of political commentators across spectrums that have personal issues with the labour movement because that comment is utter rubbish.

    "haters and wreckers"?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3012 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Goff needs to start setting the record straight on the last Labour government .The record in the context of the array governments that proceeded them since 1975 is was pretty fucking impressive on many fronts including 9 years of economic growth.

    You were the natural party of government for nearly a decade , a legacy impressive enough to be copied by national party strategists in that this first term National Government knows that the famed mainstream voter liked Clarks sense of fairness enough for 3 succesisve election victories.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    "haters and wreckers"?,

    Go on.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    What, specifically, are you talking about here?

    Let's take the EFA. Seems to me a scientific approach to the issue of election funding would have been a comparative study of other countries, and/or an independent body to study the problem with the government seeking to build consensus around the recommendations.

    Instead Clark rewrote the laws around election funding to suit herself and her party and to handicap her political opponents. Her reaction to any criticism of such actions was that all of the (MANY) detractors of the bill were part of some right-wing conspiracy and not worth listening to. Goff - to his great credit - apologised for the whole, loathsome fiasco almost as soon as he became leader.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    In other words. Why fight over lightbulbs when it will potentially cost you an election even if you're right.

    Because you could actually win votes with logical policy. It's 2009, we area few steps down a death spiral to the end of sustainable economies with global warmimg. We have a declining standard of living. We have no vision beyond 2011 apart from a cycleway.

    ..but lets be honest Goff wrote a speech for Fran O Sullivans and their science challenged minds.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • John Morrison,

    Whether we like it or not, currently NZ just wants to be governed by a popular, essentially do-nothing government. What I mean is there are many hard issues facing us now but we simply don't want to apply our minds to them.

    Key certainly doesn't want to stray much beyond 'party central', and Goff believes there is no appetite for any worthy issues to be debated even if the electorate was listening to him.

    It is quite sad, but hopefully we might get out of this stupor before it is too late.

    Cromwell • Since Nov 2006 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    But I think that the problem here is the importation of the American style right-wing idiot populism where evidence just doesn't matter.

    I don't buy that.

    There will always be whack jobs who froth and make no sense all over the political spectrum. And some issues have their time.

    But the idea that you can't gain reasonable popular support in NZ for policies that all the evidence backs up as being good policies, shows you're not doing your job well.

    If Labour had sold lightbulbs as saving us all $XXX million dollars from not having to build another dam, as well as saving us all money from buying lightbulbs that last longer and cost us craploads less in electricity, it could have stood up. They didn't sell it to start with and then when it got attacked they got timid and didn't fire any guns.

    If you let people who use 'nanny state' win every time, as a party of the left you're going to lose most battles before you start. Devalue the term by pointing out how it's a crap argument and how what you're proposing makes sense.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6227 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    Personally, I find the idea that no idea should be discussed if there is a possibility it might whip up well-organised moral hysteria pretty depressing.

    I don't think this is well organised moral hysteria. I think it's how most people in our country think.

    Look at our immunisation rates, domestic violence, child health stats, rates of organ donation, etc.

    And that's the problem with Goff's speech. He can't use derision, satire or irony because it just doesn't wash. We don't get derision, satire or irony in our political discourse because no one likes it. So he has to take them seriously.

    It's just the way things are. In other countries, intelligent people get to say intelligent things and have them taken seriously. NZ is more like a riot in Springfield: someone sees Groundskeeper Willy running down the street with a pitchfork and within seconds the whole town is on his side but no one is quite sure why.

    Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Let's take the EFA.

    It was drawn up in response to utter fucking vileness at the 2005 election. It was drawn up in response to a national party who fucked with the basic fairness of our electoral landscape.

    It is an unfinished programme to get fairness back into politics, especially concerning the dominance of big money in the production of our own grand old party.

    It's handicaps are unknown to me, usually a calculated handicap results in a burdon of defeat. How were National handicapped by the EFA?

    AND yet the exclusive bretheren fiasco was a disgusting handicap to the centreleft.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    The record in the context of the array governments that proceeded them since 1975 is was pretty fucking impressive on many fronts including 9 years of economic growth.

    Actually it was 8 and 3/4 years of economic growth, followed by 3 months of economic collapse. But apologising for being in government when a global financial crisis hits would appear trite.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

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