Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: The Politics of Absence

523 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 11 12 13 14 15 21 Newer→ Last

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sacha,

    That childish eye-rolling clip yesterday should be repeated rather a lot.

    Frankly, and not for the first time, I wish both Key and Goff would remind their caucuses that they're not Tourettes-rotten toddlers and lead by example. The last general debate of a Parliament is never the most seemly affair, but FFS... And politicians wonder why they're not exactly the most-respected of occupational groups. THAT.

    (**ETA:** To be fair, Lockwood Smith - and the Assistant Speakers, like Ross Robertson who was in the chair during that incident - have done a good job in reducing the ass-hattery levels. Like requiting Ministers to actually answer questions during Question Time, which his last four predecessors too often seems to regard as an optional extra among all the caterwauling and pointless points of order. Still, I'd be increasingly sympathetic to Question Time and General Debates being conducted in silence. I'm a big fan of the old saw that interjections should be rare, reasonable and preferably witty. No matter what Mr. M. Loaf says zero out of three is bad.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11853 posts Report Reply

  • JLM, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And God knows I developed a wee man-crush on Dr. Judith Steinberg Dean, who committed the unspeakable faux pas of saying she though her busy pediatric practice was more important that making cow eyes at her hubby while he hit the presidential primary trail.

    Wasn't she great! Howard Dean gaining the democratic nomination that time round is one of my favourite alernative futures.

    Judy Martin's southern sl… • Since Apr 2007 • 226 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    In the end, I think you marry a human being not a political party.

    I had the media more in mind when I was talking about the partners being forced into a role that wasn’t necessarily wanted. Seen but not heard. And God help them if they’re not immaculate.

    On your Stepford wives theme, The Guardian has been running ‘Mrs Cameron’s Diary’ for the last year or so, with the running joke being that Samatha Cameron is a Marie Antoinette-style uber-ditz and so clearly the perfect political partner for an Evil Tory.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2343 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Burton Shipley in drag perhaps?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1184 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rich Lock,

    On your Stepford wives theme, The Guardian has been running ‘Mrs Cameron’s Diary’ for the last year or so, with the running joke being that Samatha Cameron is a Marie Antoinette-style uber-ditz and so clearly the perfect political partner for an Evil Tory.

    Ugh. I know imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Catherine Bennett shouldn’t apply for a job at Private Eye (50 and still every defamation lawyer’s wet dream) any time soon. Even though 99.9% of the topical references are dead as a dodo, Richard Ingrams and John Wells’ Dear Bill and Mrs Wilson’s Diary were not only sharp and genuinely funny, but weirdly affectionate.

    (SIDEBAR: What’s more terrifying? a) Private Eye has survived for half a century. 2) Editor Ian Hislop has been on the job for twenty five of them. 3) He’s eight months older than the magazine he edits. 4) He still looks like a faintly malicious baby at the age of 51. 5) All of the above. 6) None of the above.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11853 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    a faintly malicious baby

    That's going in the mental quote-bank.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2343 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rich Lock,

    I had the media more in mind when I was talking about the partners being forced into a role that wasn’t necessarily wanted. Seen but not heard. And God help them if they’re not immaculate.

    But there I'd agree with you, up to a point. As I said way up thread, I cringed at the sight of Bronagh Key and Mary Goff doing the rounds of the lad(y) mags to prove their husbands are uxorious paragons despite being perfectly willing to colour Liz Hurley white with their love crayons. Or something.

    But blame the media if you must. As far as I'm aware, the only time Gordon and Sarah Brown ever did a photo call with their sons was at the very end of his premiereship. I'm sure the usual media/spin thing suspects didn't like that one bit, but they made a choice and stuck it. Only as difficult as you choose to make it, I think.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11853 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    But blame the media if you must.

    Sorry, Rich, that sounded not only gratuitously snippy but outrageously unfair and hypocritical - given how much time I spend bitching about the lamestream media. :)

    My point, and one not made at all well, is how insanely frustrating it is watching the media and politicians point at each other when they're actually in an unsightly circle jerk. You don't like it, all you have to do is take your hand off the other chap's cock, pull up your pants and go home.

    Instead of Tapu Misa bitching and whining in her column about the lack of "real" news, how about she have a chat with her editor about the dubious news value of Dan Carter's crotch and Jonah Lomu giving a paid interview to a women's mag. As I said elsewhere, our media is not assembled by magic elves while all the editors are tucked up in bed.

    I'd also note politicians don't, never have and never will accept every interview request and media op that comes across their desk. They're not passive victims of the evil media machine, and I just wish they'd stop pretending they are when the current news cycle is not to their liking.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11853 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    willing to colour Liz Hurley white with their love crayons.

    Great! Now I have coffee all over my new Crane Brothers shirt.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Martin Lindberg,

    At the risk of being an Ihimaera, I have to admit I stole that line from Kevin Smith's charmingly vile Zack and Miri Make a Porno. (Kevin Smith writes great bad porn dialogue. This should not surprise anyone. Discuss.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11853 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Our implementation of MMP relies on people joining political parties and influencing their internal list ranking processes. Party membership numbers have plunged over the last few decades for various reasons. The system has not been changed.

    Just saw this! I don't agree with this in the slightest.

    Our implementation of MMP has created a powerful DISINCENTIVE for parties to encourage broadbased membership, since in doing so all that would happen is the power of the elite party cadres would be diluted. By keeping membership at a minimum the party cadre is able to easily manipulate the all-powerful list to produce outcomes that often more serve the internal jockying of political courtiers than reflect the desires of the party membership or the the wishes of the wider electorate.

    Anyway, I am studying for an exam so it is back to the flash cards now...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1768 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    I don't agree with this in the slightest

    The design intent may bear no resemblance to the actual incentives or behaviours. Allowing voters to re-rank lists would be one fix.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16419 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Sorry, Rich, that sounded not only gratuitously snippy but outrageously unfair and hypocritical

    Quite alright, Craig - I have very thick skin. I barely noticed...

    My point, and one not made at all well, is how insanely frustrating it is watching the media and politicians point at each other when they're actually in an unsightly circle jerk. You don't like it, all you have to do is take your hand off the other chap's cock, pull up your pants and go home.

    Although the opter-outer does have to then put up with it being more or less open season on them. Gordon Brown being the classic recent political bear, baited to his inevitable doom. And recent phone-bugging events in the UK have possibly shown that even if you try to get out, they'll pull you back in. I have a few small micro-iotas of sympathy for those who choose to at least pretend they're sleeping with the devil willingly. Without that excusing the horribly corrupt result, and it taking two to tango, and all that.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2343 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Farrk you're well read Ranapia, jus'sayn (then probably everyone 'round these parts, 'cept me, is)

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2193 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Allowing voters to re-rank lists would be one fix.

    This would be a significant turn off for voters IMHO. It relies on an assumption of political engagement that simply isn’t there. Most people are not political junkies. They just want to vote for a party once every threee years based on a bunch of prejudices, self-interest and fair dollop of class and tribal identification. They expect the political process to be self-managing, and would resent having to re-write party lists for parties that are too dysfunctional to come up with a decent list on their own.

    Another fix would be to:

    a) raise the number of members a party needs to register for an election for the purposes of contesting the party list to a significant number like, say, 15-20,000. And don’t give me any crap about this being an undemocratic barrier to entry – if you can’t persuade 15,000 people to lay down some cash to be party members (.35% of the population) from 4.3 million people then you are just astroturfing and don’t deserve to be able to contest the party list vote. Do the hard work, build a constituency, get your members, become a proper popular political movement, THEN contest the election, not the lazy, arse about face way we currently do things.

    b) except for the provisions in the broadcasting act, ban all funding to political parties except for that generated from membership dues, and make the total numbers of party member and membership fees public knowledge.

    c) Impose term limits on list MPs.

    Taken together, these measures would force the careerist political class to re-engage with a party base and would make a broadbased political party attractive as it would allow voters to judge for themselves political legitimacy based on party membership and it would be the ONLY means of generating income for contesting elections.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1768 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    b) except for the provisions in the broadcasting act, ban all funding to political parties except for that generated from membership dues, and make the party membership and membership fees public knowledge.

    This would also play into the hands of parties representing the interests of the wealthy; because a) despite the protestations of DPF and others that money doesn't buy elections, it does; and b) even if the spending levels are made public, the mere fact that most people aren't political junkies makes this data kind of irrelevant, because the majority of people won't read it.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    This would also play into the hands of parties representing the interests of the wealthy

    Huh? Any less than being the ACT party with 501 members and mega-rich funders? Obviously, if you have only 15,000 members and have a membership fee of $10,000 then that would make a nonsense of my idea - but that is just a silly objection in reality. Less than forty years ago, with a population of three million, Labour and National boasted memberships approaching six figures. We should atrivce to re-produce that level of political engagement. And they wouldn't exactly be broke - a party with 25,000 members charging $30 membership PA would have up to 2.25 million to contest an election, a princely sum for a campaign.

    One of the interesting things about the massacre in Norway was that the ruling party even held a popular youth camp. Wouldn't it be great for the NZLP to have summer camps for hundreds of young people, or for the National Party ball to be the highlight of the social calendar in places like Gore and Howick?

    , because the majority of people won’t read it.

    And this objection also doesn't hold water either. The publication of membership numbers and fee structures is EXACTLY the sort of rude and easily digestable populist information people would be interested in reading. Trawling through partylists and bio's to re-write it? No so much.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1768 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Our implementation of MMP has created a powerful DISINCENTIVE for parties to encourage broadbased membership, since in doing so all that would happen is the power of the elite party cadres would be diluted. By keeping membership at a minimum the party cadre is able to easily manipulate the all-powerful list to produce outcomes that often more serve the internal jockying of political courtiers than reflect the desires of the party membership or the the wishes of the wider electorate.

    Can you name the parties in which the membership have a direct influence on the ranking of their party's list ? Labour have some three dozen strong cabal to do their list ranking process. If I understand correctly, ACT set their list via their Board, I have no idea how National do it (but would be surprised if it was even remotely democratic relevant to their wider membership). Last I heard, the Maori Party had some kind of multitiered approach.

    AFAIK, only the Greens have implemented a grass-roots list ranking process - and this was not because our the way MMP has been implemented, it is because this is the fairest way to ensure each member has a say on the list rankings (or not, if they wish).

    As for your idea of forcing political parties to 15-20,000 in membership in order to register - that's possible even worse for democracy that re-introducing FPP.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 453 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    that’s possible even worse for democracy that re-introducing FPP.

    Why? Does having to get 15,000 members sound to much like hard work for you?

    Here you are displaying our current political elites typical aversion to engagment with the voters and a typical obsession with the mechanism of the electoral process rather than the actual state of our democracy. If our political parties had a cumulative total of 3-400,000 members then I would argue that FPP would probably produce a more democratic outcome than the current social-political environment that our MMP system exists in.

    In other words, tinkering with the electoral system won’t solve problems caused by our hollowed out democracy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1768 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Poole,

    And they wouldn't exactly be broke - a party with 25,000 members charging $30 membership PA would have up to 2.25 million to contest an election, a princely sum for a campaignAnd they wouldn't exactly be broke - a party with 25,000 members charging $30 membership PA would have up to 2.25 million to contest an election, a princely sum for a campaign

    And you somehow think that all current membership fees paid to parties are reserved solely for an election campaign? Good lord. These parties have to function beyond their role as an electoral machine for three months every three years.

    Since Dec 2008 • 161 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    nd you somehow think that all current membership fees paid to parties are reserved solely for an election campaign?

    No. But 2.25 million is kinda the bottom end. If you had 100,000 members with a $25 fee then you would have $7,500,000 - more than enough to fund a party machine for three years and contest an election! One of the purposes of these constraints on funding would put a halt to the deleterious impact of our current continual three year election campaign model. Steven Joyce wouldn't be able to afford to pay David Farrar to poll and focus group for him twice a week.

    The elction campaign would hopefully last six weeks only, and we would have to spend the rest of the time arguing about policy. Surely that would be a good thing!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1768 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    If our political parties had a cumulative total of 3-400,000 members then I would argue that FPP would probably produce a more democratic outcome than the current social-political environment that our MMP system exists in.

    Are you old enough to remember FPP, where the actual mechanism meant a two-party political oligarchy ? I can't see how Social Credit having 20,000 members would have improved their outcomes.

    Here you are dfisplaying our political elites typical obsession with the mechanism of the electoral process rather than the actual state of our democracy.

    The mechnisms have a massive effect, and you can call me elite if you want, but I'll argue against unrealistic barriers to democracy any time.

    Have you ever participated in a political party? Policy and research don't fall out the sky, you know. They take time and effort. If you want to hollow out our democracy, then forcing the smaller parties to redirect vast amounts of effort ensuring they have the required number of members will achieve that nicely.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 453 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Huh? Any less than being the ACT party with 501 members and mega-rich funders?

    No. I don’t like the current system either.

    Obviously, if you have only 15,000 members and have a membership fee of $10,000 then that would make a nonsense of my idea – but that is just a silly objection in reality.

    I disagree. I can easily imagine ACT (well, an ideal ACT, perhaps not the actual one) attracting a significant number of members even with a five-figure membership fee.

    Less than forty years ago, with a population of three million, Labour and National boasted memberships approaching six figures. We should atrivce to re-produce that level of political engagement.

    Agreed.

    And they wouldn’t exactly be broke – a party with 25,000 members charging $30 membership PA would have up to 2.25 million to contest an election, a princely sum for a campaign.

    Except this wouldn’t be just to run the campaign, it would have to run the whole party.

    One of the interesting things about the massacre in Norway was that the ruling party even held a popular youth camp. Wouldn’t it be great for the NZLP to have summer camps for hundreds of young people, or for the National Party ball to be the highlight of the social calendar in places like Gore and Howick?

    Yes it would.

    because the majority of people won’t read it

    And this objection also doesn’t hold water either. The publication of membership numbers and fee structures is EXACTLY the sort of rude and easily digestable populist information people would be interested in reading. Trawling through partylists and bio’s to re-write it? No so much.

    OK perhaps, I think the bigger problems would be that people a) don’t want to think they’re being influenced by money, and so are likely to discount the effect of that influence; and b) wouldn’t necessarily draw the conclusions from the data that you or I would. One thing the conservative parties in the US and here have proved in recent years is that people love winners, and can be persuaded to vote aspirationally against their own interest even when they know they’re helping only the rich.

    I agree with your assessment of the problem – lack of broad political engagement – I’m just not convinced of the details of your solution.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    forcing the smaller parties to redirect vast amounts of effort ensuring they have the required number of members will achieve that nicely.

    And I am afraid that for me, this is the exact encapsulation of everything that is wrong with the mindset of our current elite political cadres.

    No one should be elected who thinks that party membership is a tiresome chore that distracts from the business of government. It is an exactly upside down argument.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1768 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Quite alright, Craig – I have very thick skin. I barely noticed…

    I'm trying to use my powers of snarly hostility for good. Or at least be mean and bitchy on purpose. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11853 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 11 12 13 14 15 21 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.