Posts by Keir Leslie

  • Speaker: A hazy, intriguing crystal ball,

    Insider trading is the point of prediction markets of this kind in many ways -- for instance, it's not entirely clear why an oil company employee betting on petrol price movements is doing anything unethical (except in terms of possibly misusing their employer's confidential information).

    Since Jul 2008 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Message,

    I doubt the voters of Mt Roskill care where in the strange world of Labour factions Goff sits (and it's not entirely clear he is "right" these days, his manifesto in 2011 will probably be the most left-wing manifesto for twenty years either side) but I suspect they do care about the fact Goff is a hard working and effective local MP.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Message, in reply to Julie Fairey,

    Yes! This is a minor point of annoyance for me - because local government in Auckland and Christchurch is FPP, it makes sense for the left to contest elections together to avoid vote splitting, and if you look at the rise of formations like City Vision and Christchurch 2021 they follow on from the fracturing of the left in the late 80's / early 90s.

    (Sure, some of it is about being "Labour in drag" but the need to co-ordinate a broad left front is an important and under-discussed factor.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: After Len,

    STV would create very large wards in Auckland, which would tend to favour the rich and infamous.

    It’s also not entirely clear that “proportionality” is a particularly coherent concept in a not-very-partisan environment like the Auckland council.

    And you can’t compare L/R on the council now with L/R if the Mayor was indirectly elected, as the Len Brown For Mayor campaign would have focussed on turning out marginal council votes instead of mayoral votes, and I think could have swung at least one if not more council wards left if that resource had been redirected.

    [I do think mayors should be elected by the Council, and probably shouldn't also chair the council meeting - or, possibly, should, and a new office of Leader of the Council be created for the political head of the council.]

    Since Jul 2008 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The pantheon of sporting dominance,

    Merckx was definitely doping, but probably just speed or variants of, which are unlikely to have made any real difference to his performance. Certainly he wasn't doping in the way Armstrong was, and it was part of the peloton culture at the time.

    But it's difficult to compare Merckx's dominance with the All Blacks given the sports are just so different. Merckx dominated across a range of formats - time trials, hilly classics, cobbled classics, sprinters' classics, stage races, grand tours, the Hour Record. And he rode in a culture where even as someone notorious for winning everything he was still socially obliged to give away victories to his underlings - he never won Paris-Tours because he sat up in the sprint to let a teammate win in '68, for instance.

    Professional cyclists race far more frequently than international rugby teams play, and many races are just not that important - same is true of most domestic teams in any sport, and many international teams in sports with global international reach.

    (There is, of course, substantial reason to think that many rugby internationals were played under the influence of various things we'd now see as performance enhancing.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Canada voted,

    It may well be be that Mulcair's decision to go hawkish the deficit was bad, but it's also possible that if he'd stayed dovish we'd now be talking about how he was always going to lose because Canadians couldn't trust him on government finances.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: TPP, eh?,

    I think the analogies with real property are a bit misleading because there's very different taxation and policy considerations involved there. (Although cf the prohibition on perpetuities, and death duties.)

    It's better - I think - to analogise copyrights to a weird bond with a variable term and variable interest. And we are quite ok with bonds having a finite term, and that doesn't seem strange to us.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Not yet standing upright, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    The Hundertwasser was proposed ( it just wasn't chosen for the Long List.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Not yet standing upright, in reply to James Littlewood*,

    It wasn't a facsimile! It was an altered version that took out at least one of the major components -- the black bar -- and smoothed out the hand-drawn irregularity of the koru in favour of what the alterer thought was a better design. It was an astoundingly arrogant gesture to "improve" on an artist's work and expect the Estate just to pat him on the head and say "oh yes you are better at this than Hundertwasser was, why didn't he leave that ugly unnecessary black bar out?"

    The problem for the Foundation wasn't that they didn't approve of the Hundertwasser Flag being considered, it's that -- quite rightly -- they didn't approve of a knock-off using his name.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Meet the middle, in reply to David Hood,

    Electorates with lower turnout do tend to elect more Labour MPs. But rich states in America tend to elect more Democrats -- doesn't mean rich voters are more likely to be Democrats!

    I'm not saying that the non-vote is identical to the voting population. Apart from anything else, they don't vote! But I don't think there's significant evidence that it differs from the voting population in ideological terms, particularly not at the kind of 40,000 ft level we're talking about here, and not in simple left/right breakdowns.

    In terms of winning-a-marginal-constituency, of course motivating the (left!) non-vote is crucial, and sometimes that means base-mobilisation strategies. But, importantly, many of the key tools for turning out voters are non-ideological - they are social and, frankly, pestering. But in terms of "where should Labour position" I think it's easy to use the non-vote as a sort of reservoir that will supply the numbers, and I am quite wary of it.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1436 posts Report Reply

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