Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The file-sharing bill

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  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Labour could table the amendments, argue for them and decide whether the final bill deserves their support.

    Which is great if the government needs Labour's votes to pass the Bill. Except that, well, it doesn't. So Labour could table amendments that would end global poverty and hunger for no cost and, for good measure, bring about world peace, make the world's greatest arguments EVAR!!!! in their support, and still have them fail to be adopted by the House because National's "principled" position is to vote down amendments posed by other parties. Whereas if they'd negotiated with National they might've got an end to poverty into the Bill, with the certainty that their combined vote with National would push it over the line even if Act took objection to the serfs being fed.

    Obviously this is completely hyperbolic, but it's intended to illustrate how such an inflexible position as yours can lead to very sub-par outcomes that could be made rather less sub-par through some application of flexibility. And when the government of the day cares as little for democracy and democratic principles as does the current government, you're going to get nowhere by trying to table amendments that are for something less than guaranteed alleviation of global poverty.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I happen to believe that having a National government is a "sub-par outcome" per-se, and that moderating their stupidity just makes the continuance of their rule more attractive.

    If a change that Labour managed to get through *was* so attractive as to seriously reduce the impact of the act (for instance, introducing real accountability, or limiting Henry VIII powers to specific laws like the RMA) I might be more convinced. (I can't actually see the amendments to the bill as the Parliament and legislation.govt.nz appear to delete them when a bill passes).

    In the case of the Copyright Act, I think it would have been *better* had the law been passed in its original form and Big Media allowed to start laying into Pt. Chev mums with filesharing offspring. That would have at least created a reaction against further such measures including ACTA, TPPA and the like,

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4424 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    In the case of the Copyright Act, I think it would have been *better* had the law been passed in its original form and Big Media allowed to start laying into Pt. Chev mums with filesharing offspring. That would have at least created a reaction against further such measures including ACTA, TPPA and the like

    I'm coming to believe this would have been the best option. I have no doubt that National WILL enact the clause allowing termination, but they'd rather not allow too much time before the election for it to bite them.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1897 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Maybe the tide is turning? David Cunliffe lays out a clear Labour position about the cost of living on Radio NZ's Morning Report show (5 mins streaming) - h/t Te Standard.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Seeing as this is the nearest to a copyright thread we have at present, here's a tidbit that's just been unearthed by Jamie Love at Knowledge Ecology International:
    Homeland Security's 2008 letter to USTR: ACTA is a threat to national security

    In 2008, DHS was concerned that:
    "some possible outcome of the ACTA negotiations may harm national security and the ability of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to exercise managerial discretion in setting priorities for intellectual property right (IPR) enforcement."

    As Love notes:

    The 2008 DHS concerns about ACTA are relevant today, both as regards ACTA, and as regards the new proposals on the same issues presented in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which is designed as a binding enforceable agreement.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1897 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I happen to believe that having a National government is a “sub-par outcome” per-se, and that moderating their stupidity just makes the continuance of their rule more attractive.

    I agree with the former. The second is a pretty hard question to know yes or no, and I have no doubt that it's keeping Labour Party strategists up late at night as well.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    "Labour Party strategy" basically amounts to waiting another two or three elections for the public to finally decide that it's "time for a change". Since the Labour party has maybe 30% sheeplike "tribal" voters who will never desert them, they'll then get to be the government for a few terms.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4424 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Pretty much sums up the political system and the way people vote in all western democracies.

    National didn't so much win the last election as the voters got sick of Labour. They sure as sh*t haven't brought anything new and refreshing to the table with the same old tired stable of ideological dinosaurs coming back with a plain face leader.

    Since Nov 2006 • 866 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Those are both achievements, and neither would’ve been possible had Labour previously acted in bad faith towards National over votes on legislation.

    Both parts of that statement are assertions without a shred of evidence to back them. Perhaps they achieved nothing that National would not have done anyway, as soon as Labour proposed it because the amendments made sense. Perhaps Labour acting in "bad faith" would make no difference to anything National does. If Labour is as powerless as you make out on the one hand (while on the other hand claiming that they achieved a lot for file sharers and Christchurch), then they have nothing to either gain or lose from National by voting as they see fit. They do, however, have a lot to lose in terms of credibility with the people who might vote for them in the next general election on the basis of offering an alternative to National.

    Obviously this is completely hyperbolic, but it's intended to illustrate how such an inflexible position as yours can lead to very sub-par outcomes that could be made rather less sub-par through some application of flexibility.

    Yes, it's hyperbolic and could well have had the diametrically opposite outcome to your projections without the slightest inconsistency. You haven't done anything to show that the sub-par outcome we did get isn't also a result of too much "flexibility". I'm not offering any other evidence myself, other than "how's it working out for Labour at the moment?"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    And since when does voting against legislation that you don't support constitute "bad faith"?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to 3410,

    It does count if you have agreed not to.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    It does count if you have agreed not to.

    Good point. How could Labour possibly have avoided being forced into that position?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to 3410,

    By taking the position that many of the posters in here apparently wish they had, and simply voted against the Bill, knowing it would pass anyway, rather than trying to moderate some of its greatest excesses.

    An Opposition is meant to try and limit the government-of-the-day's power, and that's what Labour has achieved, at least in theory.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    They have achieved that. The dispute is about whether alternative courses might have achieved more. You don't seem to be able to accept that an Opposition with a clearly articulated dissenting alternative can be more of a moderating influence than meekly settling for tiny amendments. Or you don't think Labour has a real alternative. If so, I agree.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to BenWilson,

    You don’t seem to be able to accept that an Opposition with a clearly articulated dissenting alternative can be more of a moderating influence than meekly settling for tiny amendments.

    If I thought the current government gave the teensiest, tiniest shit what anyone outside (or even everyone inside!) the caucus thinks, I might be more inclined to accept this proposition. But National clearly don't give a fuck for anyone's opinions unless they confirm their own biases; the same things of which Labour was being accused by the end of their last term.
    It's possible that a clearly-articulated strategy from Labour could make a difference, but that only helps if you've got time on your side with which to articulate. Urgency changes the equation, because no matter how good your arguments the only people to whom you're preaching are the implacable foe seated on the benches opposite. You cannot sway the proletariat into making their views known, because there's no time.

    Or you don’t think Labour has a real alternative.

    On this issue, I'm not sure that they do. Hell, even the Greens aren't against the bill in principle; they just object to some of the rules around what to do with infringing downloaders.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    But National clearly don't give a fuck for anyone's opinions unless they confirm their own biases

    Mining national parks?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    Mining national parks?

    Not convinced that that's completely off the agenda, though. It was also 18 months ago, and the "Our way or the highway" attitude has become a lot more obvious in the intervening period.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Also: Compare with the deep-sea oil prospecting that’s just been green-lighted.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 879 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Not convinced that that’s completely off the agenda, though. It was also 18 months ago, and the “Our way or the highway” attitude has become a lot more obvious in the intervening period.

    Their way IS the highway, according to RadioNZ this morning.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1897 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    If I thought the current government gave the teensiest, tiniest shit what anyone outside (or even everyone inside!) the caucus thinks, I might be more inclined to accept this proposition.

    I'm pretty damned sure they're concerned about what opinion polls say, and therefore Labour's message should not be pitched at National, but at the people. Both to influence National, to garner support for themselves, and because this is meant to be a democracy.

    On this issue, I'm not sure that they do.

    I'm seldom sure these days on any issue.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to nzlemming,

    Their way IS the highway, according to RadioNZ this morning.

    Yes, and that thought did cross my mind as I was typing.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to BenWilson,

    therefore Labour’s message should not be pitched at National, but at the people

    See what I wrote about how Urgency changes the equation. Under ordinary circumstances, yes, totally agree. But this Bill did not pass under ordinary circumstances. Labour actually did speak quite effectively in the House about why termination is a bad course of action, but that was the only place that they could speak because the government didn't care for public consultation on the Bill.

    Whether Labour have a clear contrary position to articulate is a different matter, but in this case they didn't have an opportunity to articulate said position in any way that would've mattered a damn.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3898 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    It's possible that a clearly-articulated strategy from Labour could make a difference, but that only helps if you've got time on your side with which to articulate. Urgency changes the equation, because no matter how good your arguments the only people to whom you're preaching are the implacable foe seated on the benches opposite.

    I think this is possibly slightly beside the point. The take-home message Labour are giving the public, including their core supporters, is that they aren't an effective opposition, because they'll just vote with the government anyway.

    The only thing people are noticing if legislation is under urgency is how the party blocs voted. The clarity (or not) of the arguments is beside the point.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2359 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to nzlemming,

    Their way IS the highway, according to RadioNZ this morning

    Transport Blog discusses Joyce's latest fact-free tarmac-licking government policy statement (or "GPS") which proposes spending even more public money on motorways like the essential Cambridge to Taupo route. Comments have useful links including RNZ interview and the GPS doc itself.

    If Labour and the Greens can not successfully take on this madness (let alone what Brash will add to the mix) then they richly deserve to be booted out of parliament by voters.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    they didn't have an opportunity to articulate said position

    Parliamentary debates are hardly the best place for that. They had months to do so through other channels. Just try asking most voters what the opposition would have done differently. Then consider if that might have something to do with their current likelihood of forming a government after November.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

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