Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Let's lynch the liberals!

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  • Sacha,

    On the Goff speech and its context, can I also recommend Lew's thoughtful post at Kiwipolitico and Tapu Misa's latest Herald column.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16996 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Would you believe that's my first first.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16996 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The other benefit here, says Trotter, is that it marginalises the "liberal left", a " risibly small" segment which has selfishly blocked the Labour Party's path to a proper class-based philosophy of the Left.

    So, was I the only person who had a mental flash of the Labour Party getting tea bagged by its own leader as soon as Phil Goff's senior policy/media advisor popped up in comments to squee all over Trotter?

    I'm not proud to be say this, but as a Tory partisan the sooner Pagani reduces Labour to the same kind of ideologically pure but rancid and electorally irrelevant joke as the GOP (and the Australian Liberals are rapidly becoming) the better.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12073 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Call me crazy, but I'm going to trust scientists with relevant expertise before I trust Ian Wishart…

    That's cause you're a damn liberal lefty.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1722 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    As a "liberal lefty" myself, I can only watch the performance of Labour under Phil Goff with despair. I've been aware for a very long time that there was a socially conservative wing of the party that was interested only in trade protectionism and a narrow definition of workers' rights (i.e. job protection for old white men), but it's sad to now see that bunch as the face of the party. I can't see myself continuing to support them if this continues, which leaves me in a bind-I'm not comfortable with the anti-science agenda of some members of the Green Party, and ACT's economic policies are simply at odds with the role I believe government should have.

    Interestingly, the demographic that Goff & co. represents isn't visible very often, which is why I'm so surprised Goff is trying so hard to angle for them: older Pakeha blue collar workers and some Anglican/Catholic voters (honestly, I've never met a more economically "leftish" crowd than at some church functions.) I'm trying hard not to see Trotter's piece as a more socially-acceptable version of "anti-elitism", just this time directed at everyone's favourite punching bag, "snooty liberals".

    As for the climate change stuff:

    In New Zealand, there's a philosophical argument within NIWA, in which scientists' natural preference for openness and publication is set against the fear that zealots will take raw data they don't understand and misuse them.

    I read this and immediately recalled the disappointing coverage of Chris de Freitas' latest research. That particular "news" article made it appear that de Freitas had somehow managed to undermine the entire scientific basis of man-made global warming with a single article (helped in no small part by de Freitas' own hyperbole quoted in the article and in the research itself.) Of course, what he had done was shown a cyclical correlation between localised temperature variation and El Nino, then claimed that El Nino was responsible for most global warming temperature variation, then claimed that this showed that global warming must be a natural phenomenon, all without explaining what caused El Nino in the first place, or clarifying that he was generalising a great deal out of very specific data.

    Of course, the majority of people who commented on the story had no clue that that's what was actually being discussed, and just took the statements of the news articles at face value. I think that what this shows is that raw data is in fact important, but what is even more important is a scientifically-literate media. Most people won't take the time to look into the data in more detail, so the initial reporting matters so very much (although let's face it, anyone who still believes that global warming isn't occurring and/or isn't caused by human activity isn't going to have the necessary level of objectivity to do so anyway.)

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Insofar as Trotter goes, I've long since ceased to read his work, or take him seriously as a political commentator. He has no strategic sensibilities whatsoever when it comes to dealing with the plural constituencies of the modern left, nor any recognition that there are such animals as socialist feminists or gay leftists who agree about the relevance of class and distributive justice as centre-left policies, as well as robust industrial relations and a comprehensive welfare state.

    Class is relevant, but it's one constituency alone for the contemporary centre-left, although it is an analytical category and political constituency...but not to the exclusion of all else. Moreover, it is cartoonish to view LGBT, feminist or Maori politics as matters of identity alone.

    Note my take on these issues:

    http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/31/printer_8240.php

    Craig Young

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 377 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    At times like this, too, I really miss Bruce Jesson.

    Craig Y.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 377 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    At times like this, too, I really miss Bruce Jesson.

    On sale at Unity Bookshop in Wellington: "I miss Helen" badges.

    What are the topics for Media 7 this week, Russell? I will be in Auckland on Wednesday (at TVNZ in the morning) but I think our media teachers Christmas do may take priority in the evening.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2342 posts Report Reply

  • Glen Saunders,

    Goff and dog whistling is a storm in a tea cup. Labour may occasionally whistle a bit - so what? - but they're never going to go rancid. It's not in their DNA (nor National's in fact other than at the idiot extremes). Calm down. All be gone in a couple of weeks.

    The bigger story in Russell's piece is the CRU emails. Monbiot has it right: this is serious and it won't go away. And good on him for acknowledging that given his very strong profile in this space to date. The science - like all science - has never been that certain in fact. The balance of probabilities has it. That's reinforced by the precautionary principle: we don't want to discover in 50 years time that we SHOULD have done something and now it's too late. Far better to discover it was going to happen anyway but thanks for trying.

    Actually, that'll do, but because the science has been oversold - because the idiot media read by the idiot us require it to be so - it must be kicked back one day. And good men and women will resort to subterfuge - as they appear to have done at the CRU - because they're not allowed to be real scientists when they get into the interface between science and policy. The real question is then how we have a sensible debate about this without it descending into supporting different footie teams.

    Our future seems rather to depend on it which is a dismal prospect given our sub-chimpanzee behaviour on anything serious.

    Banks Peninsula • Since Nov 2009 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    The CSC was told by NIWA two years ago why the data were corrected, and seems to have simply ignored that explanation in the hope of getting a "gotcha" story to take hold.

    Ah no.. The WHY is not in dispute , its the HOW where NIWA are digging in their heels or they play the trick of 'putting it in plain site', its up to you to find it ?.
    eg
    "The graph of the New Zealand temperature record on the NIWA website is based on just seven weather stations. What, precisely, gives NIWA confidence that they are representative of the whole country?"

    "2. What, precisely, are the adjustments made to the temperature readings at each of those seven stations and when were they each made? We request access to the raw data involved in the making of these adjustments."

    Mr Dunleavy comments: “We disagree. We have no record of receiving an explanation. NIWA has in fact refused numerous requests over the years to disclose the corrections. The most recent one was a written request to Dr James Renwick - over a month ago - still unanswered
    www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC0911/S00057.htm

    Of course the AGW people want the change the way "everybody else works" , but hey they want just stick to their research without these pesky FOI/OIA requests.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 251 posts Report Reply

  • Ana Simkiss,

    I previously had a minor dilemma about whether I was more Green than Labour and whether I should actually get involved and join one of the parties and you know DO SOMETHING. Phil has cleared that up anyway - if this is how Labour is trying to sell itself then count me out.

    Craig - I miss Bruce Jesson as well, he may also have had something sensible to say about the newest prescription from Dr Brash.

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 128 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Goff and dog whistling is a storm in a tea cup. Labour may occasionally whistle a bit - so what? - but they're never going to go rancid. It's not in their DNA (nor National's in fact other than at the idiot extremes). Calm down. All be gone in a couple of weeks.

    Glenn: Welcome, please hang around and I hope you're going to take what follows in the spirit in which it's offered.

    This was supposed to be a major "scene setting" speech laying out where the Labour Party is supposed to be going under Goff's leadership. That's not going to be gone in a couple of weeks, and one might think there are people inside Labour shaking their heads that their leader has pretty much said "fuck off" to any meaningful role in crafting a durable replacement for the F&S Act when even he admits Labour "mishandled".

    I don't share your confidence that Goff -- or his senior advisors like Pagani -- aren't going to tea-bag their own party from the top down. It took over fifteen years for the grown-ups to regain control of the British Conservatives (and they're still facing a massive obstacle to win a workable majority thanks to an FPP system massively advantaging Labour); I've written off the GOP for at least a generation; and God only knows WTF is going on with the Coalition over the ditch, but the Liberals seem determined to tea-bag their own leader and give Kevin Rudd an early Christmas gift.

    Happy to be proved wrong, though.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12073 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Goff and dog whistling is a storm in a tea cup. Labour may occasionally whistle a bit - so what? - but they're never going to go rancid. It's not in their DNA (nor National's in fact other than at the idiot extremes). Calm down. All be gone in a couple of weeks.

    Not sure I agree sorry, Glen. Statements like Goff's are an outgrowth of factions jockeying for position within Labour, and social liberals are losing badly. Even if this is just a play to grab more airtime, it has the effect of altering perceptions of what Labour is and what it stands for, and in politics perception is everything.

    If this carry-on manages to drive away one group of voters and attract another, then it doesn't matter what their underlying policies originally were, they'll be shaped by who their supporters are.

    The more I think about it, the more I see this as pre-emptive positioning to scoop up NZ First's base prior to Winston making some sort of comeback.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Judd,

    The Real Climate guys have reacted to recent claims of "secretive scientists refusing to share data" by putting up a page of data sources (both raw and processed, including source code for a number of Global Circulation Models used in research at the present time).
    Worth a look if you really do want to check the working of climate experts.
    This is in addition to their excellent list of references and primers on climate science.

    Perth • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    On sale at Unity Bookshop in Wellington: "I miss Helen" badges.

    Indeed -- Helen Reddy hasn't put out an album of new material in over a decade.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12073 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Great post title. As for the substance, I'm all for calling the Maori Party on selling out their core constituency in favour of rich iwi elites, or holding Hon Harawira to account for his slacking on the job - but you can do that without pandering to racism and a sense of Pakeha grievance, which is what Goff was clearly trying to do.

    As for Trotter, he's yesterday's man, fighting yesterday's wars (and wars that matter little to anyone outside of a tiny clique of marxist theorists, to boot). And he's already lost. As much as he might wish it, women, Maori and gays aren't going to just get back into the kitchen/closet/whatever and go away; they'e not going to say "silly me, of course my concerns don't matter. What really matters is the class struggle, which of course is only about straight white males"; they're not going to subordinate their interests to his and accept a permanent second-class status. And if Trotter's political theory is incapable of accepting that, that's really his problem.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1668 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    As much as he might wish it, women, Maori and gays aren't going to just get back into the kitchen/closet/whatever and go away

    They'll go away in a sense, in that Maori, urban liberals and female voters will happily vote for the Maori Party, National and the Greens instead of Labour.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    For quite the most splendid explanation of the 'leaked emails' issue, a few minutes into this podcast...

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    It's about connecting with things that matter to people and making politics work for people, instead of instructing people in what's good for them

    Pagani has been saying the above for years, and I agree with him. It is important to put up policies, and also to understand what people relate to. A 52-page policy on giraffes is all very well but will not matter one iota.

    The devil is in the detail of how to go about making the connecting happen.

    And I/S "believes in an active democratic citizenry". Which IMHO is a fine thing to aspire to, but I think NZ is not there yet.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Craig, in my experience Pagani is many things and an intelligent principled guy (not that he needs me to defend him.) At your peril will you paint him as a one-dimensional f-wit who would foul his own nest.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    they're still facing a massive obstacle to win a workable majority thanks to an FPP system massively advantaging Labour

    Not the only reason, though. They really, really cocked things up last time they held the reins, at least towards the end of their stint. And quite a large proportion of the UK electorate have long enough memories to remember that.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    in politics perception is everything.

    Case in point: Hikoi in Auckland, for Maori seats in the Super City. Goff says "Yes". Key says "No". Very clear positions, very different.

    So the Maori Party are disappointed. But by some remarkable magic trick, they are disappointed in the government, not the leader of it. Key is painted as the good guy, who "reaches out" to Maori ... and pats them on the head. Go figure.

    Goff seems set on a strange double whammy: becoming the bad guy for liberals, while his party has more inclusive (liberal, progressive, choose your label) policies than the government he opposes. But then, who cares about policies? Can we be bothered to read that far?

    Thus Danyl:

    They'll go away in a sense, in that Maori, urban liberals and female voters will happily vote for the Maori Party, National and the Greens instead of Labour.

    Entirely illogical. But sadly, possible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 815 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    They'll go away in a sense, in that Maori, urban liberals and female voters will happily vote for the Maori Party, National and the Greens instead of Labour.

    And I'm sure Trotter doesn't care. As long as Labour is eternally dedicated to endless class warfare, all will be fine in the world.

    Phil, I hope you're right and that Goff (and Pagani) don't actually think that way.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 270 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, in my experience Pagani is many things and an intelligent principled guy (not that he needs me to defend him.) At your peril will you paint him as a one-dimensional f-wit who would foul his own nest.

    If Pagani would like to get in touch and assure me that arse-licky valentine to Trotter was written by a spoofer, I'll be honour bound to accept his word. Until then, I'll have to mark his integrity and principle down as one of those 'known unknowns' Donald Rumsfeld was so fond of.

    So the Maori Party are disappointed. But by some remarkable magic trick, they are disappointed in the government, not the leader of it. Key is painted as the good guy, who "reaches out" to Maori ... and pats them on the head. Go figure.

    Haters and wreckers, anyone? Sorry, Simon, but I'm trying to figure out how much vitriolic contempt the Maori Party is supposed to swallow from Labour before they're allowed to say "thanks, but no". Seriously, sit down with a volume of Hansard some time and ask yourself whether Labour's troubles with the Maori Party aren't entirely self-inflicted. (And, on the level of really deep subtext, informed by a profound HOW DARE THEY sense of entitlement to the Maori vote in general, and the Maori seats in particular. Something I find peculiarly obnoxious.)

    In grown-up politics, you don't expect to get your own way all the time. But nobody should be expected to say thank you for a relentless plate job.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12073 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Haters and wreckers, anyone?

    Eh, what are Maori gonna do about it huh? Form their own party? Go into coalition with National? Ha! I'd like to see that!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

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