Posts by BenWilson

  • Hard News: 2015: The Budget of what?, in reply to william blake,

    Yes, it neatly showed that the office of the PM has a nice big cluster of juicy purple grapes, but the Ministry for Women get a small handful of brown and grey ones. The Police got the same grapes, just a bigger handful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: 2015: The Budget of what?, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Word on all that. The small differences are enough now, especially in aggregate. I totally agree that going all bipartisan on child poverty can only play into Labour's hands.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: 2015: The Budget of what?, in reply to Sacha,

    Wrongfooting an opponent is a nice tactical play, but I don't think I'd give away 25 meters of territory for it, which is what's happened here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: 2015: The Budget of what?, in reply to John Palethorpe,

    By implementing the National version, they’re going after their own vote from 2014 who could swing.

    They are, but in doing so, that means Labour no longer has to keep pressing towards the center, and could go after their own vote who, rather than swinging, just stopped voting in disgust at a party too conflicted and unsure of itself to trumpet what they stood for, instead paying lip service to attacking beneficiaries. Will National nibble off Labour votes? I think they already maximized that. I think they're going for the center now, because they're realized it's a wasteland to the right of them. The people who don't vote are the real battleground, and in a battle to buy votes the Left has a natural advantage of having stood for that all along.

    Welcome to PAS, btw. Always good to get a new voice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: 2015: The Budget of what?, in reply to John Palethorpe,

    When you start talking policy, it now gets harder.

    No, it gets easier, because they don't have to fight over the basics. National just legitimized capital gains tax, and child poverty moves. Now they can say "too little, too late, we're more compassionate".

    Why go for diet coke when you can have full fat?

    I think this pearl of wisdom flipped over recently. Now we're getting Diet Compassion, and offering the tastier full-fat version feels more like the Real Thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: 2015: The Budget of what?,

    There are three ways of seeing the political outcome of this budget for Labour. Given that it looks like a compassionate budget at first glance, with devils that might still lurk in the details, the initial impression is that it's taken a number of ideas from Labour policy.

    If you are inclined to feel bummed about it, you can see this as Labour being outflanked, with diminishing fortunes now that National is moving into the center they were hoping to make gains in.

    If you're not especially hung up either way, you will just take compassion where it is given, and be glad that our democracy is often at it's most functional when the government feels that it has to compete with its main rival, feels that it has a chance to make another term and is not indulging in last term bridge burning.

    If you see it optimistically, this is a clear sign that the Left is now setting the agenda for the government. They can happily claim these moves were, in fact, their ideas, if implemented slightly differently. In a way, this solves a major problem for them, they don't have to justify their policy directions any more, they can say that they are so clearly correct that even the government has just decided to do them. Which means that to differentiate and win in the next term, the focus either switches to non-core policy, all the valence issues that Danyl on DimPost always raises as weakness for Labour, or they go even harder for more compassionate economics.

    At this point, I think Danyl is on the right track. With the momentum of government policy moving in their direction, the fight can focus on detail at every turn, something that always looks better for the Opposition anyway, since they're not in a position to fuck anything up. They don't really need to unveil any new huge policy directions - it can all be the little gains here and there for particular groups. And overall, their main policy is still a little bit more sensible and compassionate than National's.

    It's to their advantage that they are NOT differentiated so much now. They should simply be claiming this budget as a win for their ideas, and stick to their guns. That's how it feels to me. A number of things I've banged on about for years just happened. But there's more to do, lots more.

    FWIW, I don't think the idea of means testing super is going to be a winner for Labour. If they must differentiate, I don't think they should do it by trying to outflank National on the right. That is a big trap that has been set for them. Better would be them seeking to make universal benefits fairer by extending them. They could make a small UBI core policy now. It could replace existing benefits and be paid for in neutral taxation changes for the bulk of the population. All those beneficiaries who are fucking terrified of every visit to the WINZ office would actually like a policy like that, and for everyone else it would pretty much make no difference.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Synthetic cannabis: it just…, in reply to Alfie,

    Advertising? Unsold stock? Rents? Wages? It's pretty easy for a very successful business to go broke quickly when the product is legislated out of the market.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Stand for... Something, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Yes it could be one of those mosaics made from thousands of smaller pictures. And a stereogram as well, to give us the first flag people stare at crosseyed by choice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Stand for... Something, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    No messy history from those pesky Greeks.

    With key stars named after mythical Greek half-horse, half men :-). There’s no escaping them Greeks. Nor the Romans, if we must have Crux as our symbol. Nor Christianity, for that matter :);)

    ETA: I mean imagine the furore if we chose to have a sickle moon on there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Stand for... Something, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    So I’m not really seeing the necessity of recognising the Brits on our flag at all.

    True, if 50 other Commonwealth countries can do it, why not us? But I think my point is somewhat made by the noticeable lack of cultural signifiers in a great many of those flags. Most new countries are very much multicultural, so it's a safer choice not to load it up with symbols of the current political and social power structures, which can change, and selective representation in a flag can serve to undermine the appreciation of it, and the whole idea of the national unity that it's meant to stand for.

    Not that I care much. I don't wrap myself in the flag now, and I won't do it in future either. I might wrap myself up in team colors sometimes, but they're a different thing altogether. That said, if it's an actually cool flag...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8988 posts Report Reply

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