Posts by Lew Stoddart

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  • OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Are we talking about MPs, or activists? Because political party members who actually get out there and do stuff are a valuable commodity. These are not the days of mass party membership. Picking a bunch of people and saying “You, you, and you – your ideas are irrelevant under the new regime, begone!” is as good a way as any I can think of to turn a whole lot of people off the idea of volunteering for Labour permanently.

    Depends which people.

    In ideological and project-oriented communities the baseline participant culture can help or hinder progress towards the group’s goals. This usually isn’t purposive, most often it just is what it is – an expression of participants’ enthusiasm. In a (would-be) popular movement an insider culture, or one that is at odds with the views of the public at large, represents a significant barrier. This discussion has been had here about the PAS culture and whether it encourages or discourages participation from outside, so I expect you’re familiar with it.

    I reckon the extent to which die-hard we’re-never-wrong-even-when-we-lose activism remains in the rump of the Labour party membership after nearly everyone of more moderate views has drifted away is a significant part of the problem, and many of the attitudes I’ve seen in response to David Shearer’s leadership have been along the lines of “the caucus should do what the activists and membership tell it to do”. I think that mistakes the goal of the party, which isn’t to be popular among partisan tragics; it’s to inspire and represent a much wider swath of the Aotearoan population. Labour is not the Greens, for whom an influential niche position is a significant achievement. It is, or ought to be, a mass movement.

    I get asked a fair bit why I’m not a member, what work have I done in the trenches, and so forth. But why on earth would anyone with a stressful job and a mortgage and a young family join such a dysfunctional movement, where you’re judged less on teh quality of ideas and more on the length of your tenure or the quality of your connections and extent of your agreement within the existing hierarchies? I admire people who do, but I can see why they are so few.

    I guess it’s their party to fuck up if they want to. But more broadly, I think Aotearoa needs Labour, and it needs Labour to perform, and if pissing off a few of the die-hards will help that then it seems like a very good trade-off.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus, in reply to BenWilson,

    You don’t care to elucidate a single principle that they stand for in that analysis

    To be fair, it's not the full treatise on what's wrong with the Labour party -- I've written things approaching that elsewhere and elucidated a good many principles they ought to stand for, into the bargain. But it's not the principles, or the policies, that are really their problem -- it's strategy and organisational competence.

    It’s like you believe that sufficient marketing can sell any old lemon. It can’t.

    I suggest you relay these concerns to Messrs Key and Joyce. Belly-laughs all around.

    But you're right -- I'm not suggesting that Labour should have a crap product. It's that the "product" isn't just the policy platform and motive ideology behind the party; in fact, these are a pretty small part of the product. Voters liked the policy platform; they just didn't vote for it. By and large they didn't vote for it because they lacked confidence in the rest of the package -- the people, the dysfunctional party structures that gave them the people, and because the party had failed to articulate it in ways they can care about.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus,

    Dear all of yous taking exaggerated umbrage to my comment about alienating the activist rump being a not-bad thing: As I made abundantly clear over there, I don’t mean get rid of the folks who’re doing the hard work and getting results – I mean that if folks can’t see the reasons for Labour’s decline since 2006 by now, they’re never going to see it at all.

    Utterance of the words “not too bad” or “just a few tweaks around the edges” or “in-touch, really” or “bring back Helen” or “Goff should stay on as leader” should be a ticket for the figurative wall. (Yes, the Key government’s majority is slender, but if you think a grand coalition including Catherine Delahunty, Hone Harawira, Winston Peters and Richard Prosser has a snowflake’s chance in hell you’re very much mistaken. I would bet a large amount of cash money that if a re-election were needed Key would emerge with an outright majority and hold it for a long time indeed.)

    That’s not about hating on well-meaning folks or deriding years of loyal service, or whatever. It’s to say that there should be no space in a political movement for people who can’t perform, who aren’t really committed to reform, or who think Labour can do better by just pushing the same old barrow a bit harder next time.

    Re-educating people because of sentimental links to the party is too time-consuming; it burns resources that could be used for building a more disciplined, effective political movement. Folk who can’t or won’t shape up should ship out. Yes, it might mean the loss of some old hands. But if that means an influx of young blood, fresh ideas, new people and perspectives, reinvigoration, it’ll be worth it.

    Flame away.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus, in reply to BenWilson,

    It’s more like a derivatives market, surely? Zero sum minus the house cut.

    Technically I think it was established as a futures market. I'm not au fait with the difference between such things.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yeah. This is why I don't do ipredict -- I would obsess and fret about it, and probably lose my shirt &c. I only gamble bottles of whisky on events that are years away, that limits my liability.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus, in reply to Andrew E,

    Heh, was worried I was being a bit subtle :)

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Rich,

    How is it legal? You would have thought that gambling on (alleged) inside information would contravene gaming law, securities law or both.

    It’s not gambling; it’s a stockmarket. One that has exemptions from securities law & is very severely constrained (in terms of value, volume and so on) such that insider trading isn’t a BFD.

    Ben,

    Thing is that for most of the preceding two weeks the ipredictions have been saying something like “if anyone but Shearer wins, he or she will be rolled by Robertson who will beat Key in 2014”. Make of the whole mess what you will. At this point it’s a great big political rorschach test.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus,

    iPredict has been very accurate over near-term predictions. It hasn't been around long enough to demonstrate accuracy on long-term predictions. Anyone who claims to be able to predict the result of an election three years from now is either insane, delusional, or trying to sell you something.

    In the case of ipredict, it's the latter. I think what we're seeing is some jockeying now because the result of the leadership contest tomorrow will impact the price of other stocks that don't close for a long time yet.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Public Address Word of…, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    I have a theory – the best nominations for Word of the Year stand on their own with out needing to be explained.

    I endorse this theory, and think it so powerful that there's no need to talk about it any further.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Public Address Word of…,

    There can be only one: munted. If for nothing else, Bob Parker, thank you for giving this term the exposure it deserves.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

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