If Labour's deadwood were just a bunch of has been reactionaries determined to resist any move back to left and determined to keep their overwise miserably unemployable asses off the dole queue, they might not be a problem. But they are also the rotting corpse of Labour's betrayal grining grotesquely down on the public Betrayed. Labour needs to get them underground, for the sake of sanitation and so the stink doesnt keep reminding people not to vote for them. Then start doing something about the low wage economy.
One of the amusing aspects of the middle class left's debate around the missing million voters is none of them seemed to have much idea who they actually are, and it never seemed to occur to them that if you want the missing million to vote, it might be a good idea to have some policies that appealed to them, like protecting their wages and conditions.
Also, I challenge as glib the assertion that tough financial times lead to conservative government. Michael Joseph Savage hardly won at the height of dizzying boom. What people vote for is a coherent solution. The reason in recent times that has translated to "conservative" is because the establishment left is so fucking useless.
And out of left field we suddenly get "the new middle class" who the fuck are they? I guess he means the casualised contract middle class? Well sure I guess. Labour can get to wave something meaningless at them on their way down to, all the time happily signing free trade deals and and letting migration drive wages down.
Whats gone wrong? The collapse of the waged class in the face of globalisation, recession, fraud and corruption. The people who work for an hourly wage (the cleaners, the shop workers, council workmen, you know who I mean) were Labour´s grassroots. The people who will turn out to Jerry Collins funeral, who used to open the halls and provide the tea and biscuits and sweep up afterwards. And when things turned to shit, they discovered Labour´s salaried class professionals preferred clinking champagne flutes with the investment class and kissing the asses of bankers to doing anything to help them.
So they left Labour, leaving it a shrivelled urban rump of screeching identity politics factions, salaried trade unionists and self serving professional politicians. When people who have lost everything support Trump or Le Pen, or people who want an alternative to neoliberalism go for Corbyn and Sanders what they are also saying is that they see the soft as chickenshit social democratic parties of the establishment are as big a part of the problem as wall street bankers. Trump isn´t an irrational vote if you are part of the American wage class, he is the only politician who you can vote for for own self interest.
So what is to be done? Well I would suggest growing some balls and actually having the guts to say what you stand for. Working for Families was a disgrace. Who would have ever thought they would see the day a Labour government would use taxpayers money to subsidise middle class incomes andimpose crushing discrimination against poor beneficiaries while they were at it all because they lacked the balls to take on the boss class? A better policy to define Labour cowardice would be hard to devise.
Labour first needs to convince its one time supporters it isn´t just a shrunken rump of pastel pink Nats by doing things that might be actually socially democratic to convince waged people they are social democratic, and that voting for them might actually be in their interest.
Getting rid of the 1980s and 1990s deadwood parliament collecting an obscene salary to blow smoke out of their asses would a good start.
Oh yes one other thing. We all agree that $211 a week is a hopelessly inadequate amount to live on, but why is there so little questioning of the sky high cost of living in NZ? Food in particular is a compete outlier in NZ. I pay 350 euro a month for rent of a modern three bedroom apartment, including power and water. 15 euro covers the gas. I eat a fairly typical diet and, including alcohol, I pay 100 euro a month for groceries. A beer is 2 euro. A nice apartment can be had for 110,000 euro. Medical care is free. The schools are free and often have a lunch program. On 1600 euro a month (what is that? $2500-3000NZ?) Your standard of living is much higher than in NZ. We kid ourselves about the quality of life in NZ.
But really, I come back to food. Ten dollars for a cauliflower? Are you fucking kidding me? Basic food items in NZ should cost half what it does, especially given our wages.
So now everyone has allowed themselves to be successfully distracted by the ramblings of a dishonest right wing spin doctor who thought it was a lark to try and get Nicky Hagar killed by Chinese gangsters, can I ask a few questions regarding the policy itself?
1/ What is a UBI trying to achieve? It seems to me that if the purpose of a UBI is to guarantee a sufficient income for everyone to participate in society in a future where robots have largely replaced people for doing work then $211 a week is nonsense, unless we invent some sort of Star Trek style replicator. The amount would have to be more like the $792 PW of the living wage. On the other hand, if it is a wage subsidy, how is that supposed to work? Say Mary works five days a week, 8am-6pm a half day Saturday and two late nights for 60 hours at $18 an hour and makes $1080PW. Does a UBI assume she will cut back her hours to 45 per week, freeing up a part time job? Now, that might happen in a society like Spain, where (to put in bluntly) they lack our crass materialism and you can buy a three bedroom apartment for $250,000. But in neoliberal NZ wouldn't Mary just take the $1291 as a bonus? Which leads to the next question. WWF is effectively a giant, taxpayer funded subsidy that Labour put in place because it was to scared to force employers to pay decent wages. Much as rightwingers wail at communism by stealth, no one can get rid of it now because it was keeps a lot of the precariat middle class afloat. What would stop Mary's boss, when it came to her next pay review, saying "Hey! It's been a tough year, no money in the kitty for a pay rise but that's all right the government gave you a huge one anyway!"?
2/ How politically defensible is a UBI when you would have our hostile, reactionary pro-boss class media contrasting at every possible opportunity virtuous, hard working young middle class family trying to get ahead in the face of unfair huge marginal tax rates in a society that exclusively measures success in wealth with meth mums breeding for cash and living the high life?
3/ my last point. The Chicago economic gangsters loved the idea of a UBI because they envisaged that it freed the state from moral responsibility to its citizens. What would stop a right wing government upping the UBI and abolishing free health and public education? Starving in the gutter? Then it is all your own fault. YOU ARE AN INPERFECT IRRATIONAL ACTOR! The state is perfectly in its right to let you die there.
I am puzzled by the politics of the media reaction back home to all this. Audrey Young, Claire Trevitt and (apparently) Paddy Gower wrote immediate pieces that amounted to being apologists for and defenders of Key, an extremely odd first blush anglet for a supposed independent media to do, and which only reinforces in the mind of an external viewer that this was always mainly all about John Key.
Secondly, I cannot believe Key’s basically walking away from his defeat by buggering off on holiday hasn’t attracted a storm of media scorn and unfavourable comment. Again, from a distance it seems an obviously petulant act that no one seems interested in commenting on.
The final peculiar thing that puzzles me is the near universal and undebated acceptance that this won’t damage his popularity. Surely it must? It seems to me that being exposed so comprehensively as egotistical and out of touch must rock voter faith in Key, it would anywhere else. Surely the ambient vibe towards Key must have taken a hit? What is going on?
And Richie McCaw is a commercial pilot...
Who already is struggling to tell the difference between our flag and Australias.
Do I want to come up for a spin Richie? Yeah.... Nah.
There is also the chance they enchased the suspect in carbonite.
One other thing about living in a country old fashioned enough to have a proper news media. It opens your eyes to how really, really, really, really, really awful our media has become and how complete the collapse of real journalism is in NZ. The situation isn’t juyst desperately bad, it is worse than you now can all possibly imagine, because it doesn’t take long to forget what decent news and analysis actually looked like and assume the Bullshit being dished up to the public in NZ is still journalism.
My reactions to reading the MSM in NZ from here nowadays range between disgust, incredulity and anger.
How cynical is it though?
The news media were interviewing people at the TPPA protest in Akl who couldn’t actually say what the TPPA was or why they were against it.
But somehow they “knew” it had something to do with the rich getting richer and John Key was behind it all, and John Key’s let us down, and John Key John Key John Key…
“Deranged” seems about right!
What leaps out at me from this piece of rubbish is how perfectly it fits the whole meta of so-called Key Derangement Syndrome. The aim is to keep the debate focussed entirely on delegitimising the messenger so as to avoid discussing the message. The opponents of the TPPA? Talk about how ignorant they are. That avoids engaging on the issues their representatives want to discuss. Critics of John Key? Accuse them of having a mental health syndrome, rather than have a proper discussion of Keys rather shabby record of honesty.
As a meta, it is perfectly made for a degraded and decadent media. It is easier and cheaper and rastes better to have Hoskings sneer at the PMs enemies as morons or obsessives than confront the issues.
The media here in Spain is such a breath of fresh air. The other night on the news a rumpled, boffin like political scientist spent ten minutes(!!!!!!!!!!) going through the latest state of play in the talks to form a government, and that was followed later by a panel discussion. Spanish voters may be cynical and disillusioned, but unlike NZ voters, they are not ignorant of the issues.
Speaking of the media, what the hell is going on back there in NZ??? Since voting started the MSM (as far as I can see from here) seems to have dropped any pretence of balance and launched into a frenzy of pro-change propaganda. It looks suspiciously like an almost coordinated pro-government PR blitz. Tell me it aint so.