Evil? Doctor Evil, maybe. As much as Hager might want to prepare the way for blame-shifting after an electoral drubbing his thesis ignores two important points:
First, Crosby Textor aren't that evil any more. They failed to save John Howard. They failed to get Michael Howard across the line. And their "small target" strategy for Boris Johnson overlooked the fact that his status as the "anti-Livingstone" was what appealed to his core supporters. Fortunately for Johnson he was an outspoken colourful character whose strong views were already well known - not something that can be said about Key.
So a fairly blunt and nasty campaign worked in Australia in 2001. Let's not forget that had a boat load of refugees not co-operated by sinking on cue, the "strategy" would have been... well, what, exactly?
Then it was warmed over for Michael Howard (you could almost see where "Michael" has been pasted over "John") and failed. And it's been failing since, as evidenced by the fact that the Liberals aren't in power anywhere in Australia and, what's more, don't look like ever being.
They've definitely lost their lustre in Australia, where bipartisan firms like Government Relations Australia (GRA) and the Labor-leaning Hawker Britton are seen as better strategists.
Second, that when Labour gets a pasting at the polls by the undeserving National Party it will be solely and completely the fault of Labour and, in particular, their behaviour during this past term. The level of hubris displayed by this government and in particular this Prime Minister has been nothing short of breathtaking. Not for nothing is she being compared to Muldoon. I even came across one lefty defending her behaviour in the same terms the other day - that "at least you know what she's thinking".
Yes, but if the majority of people you claim to represent think otherwise, and you don't even try to win them over but instead force laws through, you're toast.
To blame the work of "evil" consultants (I know you were exaggerting Russ, I suspect Hager and others believe the hype) is to give them credibility they don't deserve and to excuse those truly responsible.
Russell, this might work for playing WMA files on a Mac: Flip4Mac.
We use it a lot in our edit suite where we're running Final Cut Pro on multicore G5s and people womble in with stuff they've "helpfully" burned in some Windows-only format or other. It seems to convert just about anything to anything.
Proviso: I don't drive it so don't know all the ins and outs; plus I'm not sure how it may or may not deal with DRM stuff because I just won't go there for broadcast stuff - too annoyingly complicated when there's libraries of royalty-free music around.
Michael Laws might have declared on Sunday that "South Auckland is the badlands of New Zealand … not a place that you choose to live. It is a place that you end up..."
What, like you "end up" in Wanganui after getting up to your mascared eyes in the s**t for telling porkies and blaming it all on Antoinette in Hawkes Bay and Wellington?
I lived and worked in South Auckland for over 2 years. Aside from the usual yoof hanging about making a nuisance of themselves the folk there were no more nor less menacing than anywhere else I've lived.
And since many of them had genuinely fallen on hard times I found more people willing to lend a hand and greet you with a smile when you needed one than I ever found living in Remuera when I moved north.
It really is about time the media stopped paying for this predictable, knee-jerk bigotry from "commentators" from whom - and about whom - we've heard more than enough.
There's people who consistently write better researched and more challenging stuff here on PA, and even over at Kiwiblog and The Standard. Time for some new blood, surely.
Okay, so I'm currently producing the first DVD released by Toby. It's a live concert... this is an UNedited clip. Reviews welcome :-)
Shameless link whoring: www.tobymusic.com.au
Four hours is no time at all to permit a jury to deliberate on a complex case. Is that applicable to every case, Graeme? So, for instance, a jury which heard the evidence in a case which stretched over weeks of complex testimony would be under pressure to reach a verdict in half a working day?!
The underlying message I think this will send to jurors is one that too many people seem to assume in any event - that the Police only arrest and prosecute those who are guilty.
Thanks for highlighting these issues, by the way. Like Lyndon I thought I was pretty smart because I'd caught up with the substance of the Bill on double jeopardy (which also concerns me) and depositions.
From the fount of good TV that is the ABC comes The Gruen Transfer, a new show about commercials that contrives not to be a cheap clip show of TVCs that happen to have won an Axis Award but actually manages to intelligently dissect the genre.
Highlight of the first episode: DDB's "pitch" for whales... though not quite in the way you'd expect.
...facetime is important.
So you're saying this was a conference with plenty of facetime to synergise about repurposing the Mission Statement so as to improve deliverables to key stakeholders? ;-P
Yep, sounds like damn near every conference I've attended (including those I've spoken at, and yes, almost always drew the 1st spot, 2nd morning and had to contend with a hangover).
From living in Christchurch & the centre of anything is in Wellington or Auckland, it is really good to meet the boss, et al.
Well I guess that depends on who your boss is. I could have gone a long, long time without having to encounter most of the people I've ever worked for.
But point taken. However, wouldn't it be cheaper to fly the boss, or even several bosses, round the country (economy fares, of course) to meet the workers, then let bosses and workers interact on line? Seriously - I'm presuming someone has done the figures on both options at some point and they're out there somewhere?
I see Craig has beaten me to it, but it's a point worth re-stating: Why couldn't this have been done by video conference?
Most of us who've been to conferences know that the information delivered by endless hours of PowerPoint could just as easily have been done online.
Getting to travel, spend the night in a nice hotel, have some posh nosh and generally get a bit of a break from the humdrum routine is part of an unspoken bargain between us attendees and the organisers - "If you promise to try and pay attention while we drone on, we'll let you have a bit of fun in the evening".
Most conferences - including this one - are a huge waste of money. However if APN choose to do so, the only people entitled to grouch are their shareholders. When a state agency does it - especially, as Craig points out - one whose "clients" would benefit from the money then yes, it is a legitmate target, even if it's the National Party who're making the bullets.
Ron Mark later expanded on his "clothes literally maketh the man" theme, calling for a ban on pantomimes, a cut in military funding, and restrictions on strippers.
"Obviously, any male who puts on a frock to play the Dame is going to immediately become a raving drag queen," said Mr Mark. "While I have no wish to see our nation's young transformed into gun toting gangstas (make sure you print that with the 'a' on the end to show I'm hip to the groove, he added) I think turning them gay against their will is equally repre... reepra... bad."
Hestitating to ask, nonetheless we ventured onto the theme of strippers.
"Well some of them wear these police uniforms... or at least so I'm told," Mr Mark said, stuffing what looked like a pair of panties back into his coat pocket. "Clearly we can't allow this because really, who wants strippers to have the power of arrest?".
Asked how this relates to military funding, Mr Mark pointed out that upon induction into the services, everyone is issued a uniform.
"See, no need for all this expensive training. Once they've slipped on the camo gear, bingo - instant highly trained soldier. Worked for me," he added, "though for some reason people keep saying I go round shooting myself in the foot".
"Gynaffectionate love"? What on earth...? I seem to have stumbled on something quite bizarre when all I really wanted to say was that David has created one of the most brilliant pieces of satire it has ever been my pleasure to read.
Now I'm going to ponder the question of whether gynaffectionate love involves a surgical glove, a speculum and a box of candy and, if so, how.