Posts by Tom Semmens

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  • Polity: Post "post-truth" post, in reply to steven crawford,

    Neither did all those hand cranked Gestetnered flyers we used to print after hours at the local high school, but we did it anyway.

    *remembers the smell of purple spirit when making handouts*

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2006 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Post "post-truth" post,

    There is a considerable Anglocentricity about posts like this. Now, that is fair enough as far as it goes. We all speak english and we are all, by and large, monolingual. But the thing is, the depth of the rot is largely (but not totally) confined to the Anglosphere. And we need to ask ourselves why that is. It seems to me the set of economic and social ideologies that have dominated the Anglophere for the last forty odd years have produced a society that is completely atomised, In Spain, for a direct example, people don’t like the idea of moving 100km from their home town for a job. For them, family, community and culture is central to their lives, not work, materialism and hyper-individualism. The same applies, although to a somewhat lesser extent, to countries like Germany. In fact, to practically every non-English speaking non western country. This of course produces economic and social problems of their own, but in my experience, Almost all Spanish and German communities seem much happier places on average than New Zealand or the UK are. And even if we park with reflexive Anglosaxon racism the indolent Spanish, if the high productivity Germans can maintain happy communities then we need to seriously rethink how we orgainse our society.

    Our atomised, over worked and debt riddled non-society no longer has the anchors in the community of a decent civil society that moderates wild swings of extremism, filters nonsense, and provides a widely understood ambient understanding of reality and the truth. Couple to this is a Murdoch media that constantly reinforces fear and materialism. The result is a wierdly schitzophenic Anglo culture where people want to be part of a community of decent humans who believe 99% of their fellow humans are good people but are constantly fed a diet of Hobbesian brutalism; isolated, and subjected to relentless media propaganda people no longer believe or trust their own basically good instincts. This represents a fundamental loss of civic moral confidence that leaves a society where dishonesty is no longer a particularly morally reprehensible act, and increasingly savage compliance governance replaces the self governance of functioning communities.

    To my mind, any call for the elite media to behave in an ethical or responsible way in telling the truth will always fail in societies as shattered and broken as ours. If we want to get back to lying having consequences, we first need to rebuild communities and society that understands what the truth actually is.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2006 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A Disorderly Brexit,

    Without the Remain voters, Corbyn is stuffed. Thousands of members don’t beat millions of voters, even if they all have placards.

    I am a remain supporter, but I have just about had enough of the entitled whining from the remain camp. There have been serious discussions in the quality press in the UK at the need to do away with the universal franchise, like a bunch of urban middle class yellow shirts in Bangkok bemoaning the stupid people to dumb to be allowed to vote.

    The collective wisdom of the pro remain PLP that wants Corbyn gone committed Britain to the disgraceful Iraqi debacle, has lost Scotland forever, lost two general elections, lost a leadership contest and lost the referendum. Pretty smart cookies they are. Now the PLP expects to be able to stand up on it’s hind legs and stand on it’s authority to bray about how it knows best.

    The mainstream left has been completely hamstrung in it’s ability to respond to the rise of fascism because it’s chief vehicles in parliament are hopelessly compromised by now being part of the problem, supporting the neoliberal status quo and drawing it’s MPs from exactly the same narrow establishment class as the right. The battle between Corbyn and his mass movement is an existential battle for the existence and future of the Labour party. This isn’t a leftist social democratic PLP battling militant tendency anymore, It is a bunch of self serving neo Tories at war with the fundamental principles of the Labour party. If the PLP win, Labour is doomed. Voters will always prefer the bold Tory shout to a feeble Labour echo. And the people who want real change will simply flock to the fascists, because the mainstream parties will have proved so decadent they are incapable of reform. A victory for Corbyn and the defection of the PLP Blairites will be a terrible thing in the short term. But a Labour party that is again a party of the poor and desperate and a genuine change option might just have a future. And that might mean supporting Brexit.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2006 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A Disorderly Brexit,

    The Portland Communications coordinated Blairite coup looks like it will collapse. The key problem for the PLP Blairite majority is they know they would almost all lose their seats if they stood as some sort of new, not-as-bad-as-whoever-is-running-the-Tories Peter Dunne clones, so for all thier air of superiority they know they need the Labour logo more than Labour needs them.

    Therefore the plan was to use a carefully orchestrated assault to bully Corbyn out within 48 hours by ganging up on him in what was an extraordinary display of vicious class solidarity, drip feeding resignations and subjecting Corbyn to vile personal abuse. Nothing is quite so hysterical, whiny and nasty as entitled middle class troughers having thier access to publicly funded free swill removed, especially when the removing is done by their class inferiors. In normal times and against a normal politician this coup would have worked. But Corbyn has always been an isolated dogmatist, and he hung tough for the crucial window of time to allow his base support to mobilize. Now we are witnessing an extraordinary (extraordinary is the only word to use a lot of the time just now) counter-attack that is leaving the British PLP and it cheerleaders in the liberal press completely isolated. The Blairite PLPs only hope is Corbyn finally cracks and resigns. 60,000 new Labour members in a week. The threat from Angela Eagles electorate committee to de-select her. The grass roots support for Corbyn is rock solid. Once Chilcott is released, discrediting the entire pro-war PLP, and then the party conference in September which under Corbyn will certainly wrest large areas of political and policy control away from the PLP, the Blairite s will be finished. I expect them to abandon Labour en-masse in 2017 if they can’t oust Corbyn, and try and destroy Labour as they do it.

    The amazing thing about the Brexit vote is how the venal Oxbridge establishment – seemingly impervious and untouchable – collapsed like a house of card after just one democratic contact with the views of the ignored. Revolutions unimaginable until inevitable indeed! The decadence of the British state is now starkly revealed. The attack on Corbyn was actually the first strike of a desperate elites attempt to re-establish the status quo. Expect more as the financial and political class seeks to recover from it’s brief encounter with the kryptonite of democracy.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2006 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Government you Deserve,

    I see ways of ignoring the referendum are being seriously discussed by the liberal elites and the capitalist class. If they succeed, they’ll ensure that the disempowered 52% who voted for Brexit will know the only way their voice will be heard will be to vote UKIP and send Nigel Farage to Number 10.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2006 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Are we seeing the end of MSM,…,

    I have to say I have found this vanishing Liz Gunn comment on Hoskings illustrative of how self censoring our media is nowadays. Commercial imperatives are all, and grafted onto that are journalists like Barry Sopher, a long past it hack who still uses meaningless and hackeyed 1980s memes like “pen pushers” and “long suffering taxpayers” and who anywhere else would have long ago been kicked upstairs or out but instead in NZ is allowed to cling to the ridiculous pretence that an old man long institionalised still understands the pulse of the nation. It seems to me the MSM isn’t only dead in NZ. Much worse, it has turned into a zombie.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2006 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Labour and the Greens in a tree...,

    Chris Trotter is a defeatist in the classic dictionary definition of the word. His unfailing willingness to accept the inevitability of defeat taints his commentary. The guy never got over the Rogernomics betrayal. We get it. Time for less aging white guys pining for the welfare state of their youth and a few more of the under 25, fire in their belly, frankly communistic leftist young Kiwis I have had the very good fortune to have met recently. Old men living in past? No thanks Chris. Go away.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2006 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Labour and the Greens in a tree...,

    Well, I just read Clare Trevetts piece and that is such a catatonically neoliberal framing that I can only imagine that her head is so far up the arse of the political establishment she spends most of her day wondering why they haven’t privatised tonsils yet.

    The idea that the Greens are somehow crazy in a way that ACT is not is laughable in a reality based world. Yet her framing that the Greens are “unacceptable” to “middle NZ” (a group that appears to grow ever more grasping, unpleasant and blinkered with every passing day in conservative pundit land) is classic.

    My 2c worth is it has been clear for some time now that Labour support has suffered an historic collapse in the provinces, probably forever. Labour’s electoral presence in many seats isn’t even at the level of an insurgency anymore, more like Japanese soldiers in the 1970s who haven’t heard about the surrender yet. Where National does lose support in provincial NZ those votes now go to either the not voting at all category or to NZ First. So those New Zealanders won’t be put off voting Labour by this move. In fact, Labour is now largely a rump urban party often competing for the same voters as the Greens.

    As I have said elsewhere, Labour is in bad shape politically. It’s performance in opposition is woeful due to it having a bunch of MPs who are hopeless politicians. They might be great technocrats and wonderful champions of their respective factions but they seem useless at politics. The party is saddled with several high profile MPs who well past it but who cling to safe electorate seats in a grim rearguard action for neoliberalism in Labour. They seem a lazy and underperforming lot, something no leader can correct without making a few examples of some people. The trouble is, without growing their vote Labour can’t renew, since too much deadwood clings to electorate seats and the list seats are mostly made up of party apparachiks selected mostly for their factional suitability – some (Clare Curran and Sue Moroney spring to mind) can lose votes by the fistful and end up getting promoted. Given Labour’s poor state, the Greens bring an injection of fresh talent and fresh faces. James Shaw so far has proved a lacklustre and largely useless dud as a leader, but if he can be jettisoned soonish then I say all good for the likes of Julie Anne Genter, Eugenie Sage and MetiriaTurei to shine.

    While Labour is showing an encouraging sign that is finally recognising it’s parlous state with this deal and I think it also needs to consider how to play a long game with NZ First. In the long run, Labour needs it’s provincial voters back to be a credible broad based party capable of governing for long periods of time. The thing is, Winston Peters is 71. He won’t be around after 2020, max. Labour ought to be thinking now about how it exploits his departure to rebuild a presence in the provinces. Peter’s departure will provide Labour with a one off chance to regain it’s former reach. The best way to develop and enact that plan is by being in government in 2017. This deal is the best way to ensure that, as long as Labour can work with Peters

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2006 posts Report Reply

  • Access: The Universal Basic Income and…,

    Surely any tax review also has to look at the dividends returned to the government by SOE's, a hugely regressive hidden tax that contributes mightily to the incredibly high cost of living in New Zealand. Sure, capital taxes, death duties and FTT's all have a place, but a UBI would be quickly made useless if the government simply kept rampant price inflation from monopoly utility providers.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2006 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Decrypting “social investment”,

    And since the sherry here is indeed dulce, I will add where the fuck are NZ’s muscular intellectuals of the left in Labour? I was at a Podemos gathering in cafe in the main plaza of my town the other week and a bunch of perfectly ordinary Spaniards had a much more bracing critique of capitalism in one afternoon than the NZLP has had in the last 40 years. Now who has a cigarette...

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2006 posts Report Reply

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