Posts by Tom Semmens

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  • Hard News: RWC 2015: This wasn't in the script!, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Have you considered a job at the Sun?

    Funnily enough, one of my best friends works for the Sun.

    But actually, the line came from my flatmate, a man who hates rugby and South Africans with an equal and indiscriminate passion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1924 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: NZME and you,

    Reading through this discourse puts me in mind of the public broadcasting license. I think Bolger put an end to it in 1999, in his last political act before electoral feat later the same year.

    I am a strong believer that some sort of broadcasting fee needs to be brought back - possibly by taxing internet downloads. I have no idea how much data New Zealanders download every year, but a small tax on each gigabyte, collected by ISPs and built into the monthly line rental of users, could potentailly be a very profitable way to make public broadcasting free of tax payer funding... If guess that if you wanted to raise a 100 million a year and someone knows how much data is downloaded in NZ every year it would be easy to work out the tax per gigabyte, and that would tell you if it was a practical idea or not.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1924 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: NZME and you,

    “there is no longer any requirement for Auckland commentary”.

    The democratic implications of having a media where political and Auckland coverage is all rolled up in one series of uncritical celebrity worship news about Max Key's bimbo girlfriend and her performance in a beauty pageant are terrifying.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1924 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: RWC 2015: This wasn't in the script!,

    A sudden, swift and well planned surprise attack on a complacent major power. Not like Japan at all....

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1924 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A better thing to believe in,

    The irony there, of course, is that the rationalisation inevitably brandished by those who favoured playing with apartheid South Africa was that sport and politics shouldn’t mix.

    When you have pro-National, ex-media works head Brent Impey as head of the NZRFU then the temptation to use all that soft power was always going to be to much for Impey and Key.

    Usually, it takes a generation to forget the lessons of the past - and it is about a generation since 1981. And the lesson of that year? In New Zealand, if you try and mix rugby with politics, you'll get a violent reaction.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1924 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A cog in the Mediaworks machine,

    Poor Cameron, the media slug passed by the heir apparent, news glaucoma.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1924 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: To have a home,

    Key's problem is almost certainly that his focus groups tell him the majority of muddle Nu Ziland is afflicted with a serious case of Islamophobia, and beyond that we've ALWAYS had a degree of xenophobia about foreigners in general (yes the irony is not lost). After all, if New Zealand has a foundation myth it is that of the noblest race of savages building a new nation with the best of the British, untainted by inferior peoples. So on the one hand, he has elite opinion demanding he do the morally right thing, while on the other his focus groups are telling him that most people in his support base are secret Tories when it comes to these refugees. Many people I talk to are informed largely by a media that parrots the Daily Mail, and are terrified of repeating the "failed" immigration policies of the EU and creating terrorist havens on home soil.

    And how can you blame people of having a fortress mentality? Key himself has whipped up fear of Islamic extremism to justify all sorts of new spying powers. If you trust that nice man Mr. Key, then how can you not believe we are under siege from shadowy ISIS sympathisers, and need to be constantly on the alert?

    Anti-Muslim feeling is the elephant in the room no one is talking about in this tragedy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1924 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The silent minority,

    Lovely graphs. Pity the Soviet Corbynites are now shelling your bunker.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1924 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: In defence of the centre, in reply to Nick Russell,

    190,000 since the 2015 general election according to the guardian – that was at 9 August.

    You are flat wrong.

    The polls may be wrong (YouGov has Corbyn on 57% of the Labour electorate) and the 400,000 people who have swelled the number eligible to vote in Labour’s leadership to 600,000…

    According to that same story, 160,000 people joined Labour on one day.

    I’d feel a lot more hopeful about that if you had some evidence. It sounds like wishful thinking.

    Check out this story in the Financial Times that talks about his support base:

    Meanwhile Kat Fletcher, the 35-year-old former president of the National Union of Students, has been put in charge of organising nearly 5,000 volunteers — an army far larger than anybody in the core Corbyn team expected at the outset of the campaign.

    What is happening in England right now is in some ways a replay of the Scottish independence referendum. The intervention of the English establishment politicised Scotland and while the referendum failed, the dominant establishment party – Labour – was routed and it increasingly looks like a Phyrric victory. Corbyn could easily spark a similar politicisation of England, which is why the establishment is so terrified.

    Pitching for the youth vote in this day and age is a waste of time. There are too few of them and they don’t turn out to vote.

    I would contend that no one has really tried to turn out our ’missing million”, To do that, you’d first need a leader offering real choice and real hope and secondly you’d need to convert that hope into a powerful, mass based political movement. Corbyn currently has both, no Labour party here has had anything of the sort since the early 1980s.

    To that extent you are right – New Zealand is saddled with two elite cadre parties and I don’t think Labour actually wants mass participation and the attendant risk of leftists re-capturing the machinery of candidate selection and mobilising a radical, hopeful base. So far, our suffocatingly provincial media and parochial political outlooks has permitted this to continue. But don’t bet on it lasting forever.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1924 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: In defence of the centre,

    One definition of insanity is said to be doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

    And how has the same worked out for UK Labour the last few elections? Like I said, times change. This site is full of forty and fifty somethings who grew up knowing a welfare state that closely resembled Corbyn’s current “radical” agenda. But today’s 18 year olds were born in 1997 and grew up under “new” Labour and neoliberalism. To them, the old is fresh.

    Maybe Corbyn does sound old fashioned to baby boomers and gen xers, but he doesn’t to the under 35s who are lapping up the first ideologically coherent voice of hope on the UK left they’ve ever heard. And anyway, what of definitions of insanity and capitalism in the 21st century? Here is the thing – the UK has tried privatisation, and it’s largely been a disaster. And the nationalisation model Corbyn is proposing isn’t the solutions of Clement Attlee. For example, I’ve heard his advisors postulating a re-nationalised railways that included some sort of active ownership by it’s users.

    The thing about Corbyn is the alternative isn’t more of the same Centrism. The alternative is the SNP, the end of the union, the end of the centre and the rise of parties like UKIP and a radical popular right. In New Zealand, we will not be magically immune to the same forces. To my mind, better a radical popular left led by the Labour party than a respectable radical right led by Farrage being outflanked by the BNP.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1924 posts Report Reply

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