Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Limping Onwards

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    they did, though I haven't checked it out - Open Labour

    Jeez that's one under-nourished wiki. No wonder Clare Curran was pleading for people in the open source community to help pick it up and run. Y'know, I'm tempted...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr, in reply to BenWilson,

    they did, though I haven’t checked it out – Open Labour

    Jeez that’s one under-nourished wiki. No wonder Clare Curran was pleading for people in the open source community to help pick it up and run. Y’know, I’m tempted…

    Only tempted Ben? How can Labour win when the people with the ideas are sitting on the sideline feeling tempted?

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    If Labour lose, Ben, it's your fault.

    Do you want that on your conscience? Do you? DO YOU?!

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2292 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich Lock,

    It would be bittering not to get paid for it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E, in reply to BenWilson,

    Not sure what 'bittering' is, but surely the pay-off is in the form of better policy and hopefully a better government and better country to live in?

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 196 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Andrew E,

    Not sure what 'bittering' is, but surely the pay-off is in the form of better policy and hopefully a better government and better country to live in?

    All that just from letting Labour down? Gawd I do that every day and it's never made a difference yet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Andrew E,

    Not sure what 'bittering' is, but surely the pay-off is in the form of better policy and hopefully a better government and better country to live in?

    A point worth making is that Labour, like other political parties, generally developed policies in a more traditional and narrow manner through members/councils etc. The Open Labour approach actively sought input from broader interests... so Ben, you don't even need to pay the membership fee!

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2185 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    <rant, meaning it can safely be discounted as such>

    Government and opposition being what they are – that is, about the here and the now with a view to the future – I consider any attempt to excuse the Labour Party resting on its laurels utterly irrelevant to the discussion, if not disingenuous. History really is bunk when you try to trade on it.

    OK, they’ve done some nice things, but the Brides of Douglas, Goff and King, did some shitty things, and no, you can’t say that they were innocents during the 80s – they were far too prominent, far too enthusiastic hucksters of Douglas’ policies – even after the 1990 loss (Oh, so it wasn’t “communicated” so well to me. “Communication” apparently matters more than actual experience. Oh dear… and fuck you too).

    All I see from Goff’s Labour Party (note that I do not call it The Labour Party) is a mish-mash of gutter populism and platitudes and downright incompetence. So Michael Joseph Savage certainly did some very nice things. Then. What now? “Nationhood”? Lovely. Winston Peters and Don Brash must love it, or be furious with jealousy… but at least Chris Trotter should be happy.

    What are they doing now, what will they do? “The many, not the few”? Nice… but who are the “many” – clearly not the aggregate of minorities you’ve thrown under the bus to appease Chris Trotter, I take it. Police beat up a suspect and some handwringing appears on the Beige Alert, but questions to the sanctimonious MP about substantive action go unanswered.

    All I see is vague, meaningless, uncosted bullshit. More detailed answers in a brown paper bag behind the water pipes at the men’s loo in the Wellington railway station please. That will be less obscure than any of their current policy and communication of that policy.

    If Goff’s Labour Party does not seem worthy of a vote, it’s time to stop blaming the voters and start asking why it isn’t connecting with them. In politics, the customer is always right.

    </rant, meaning it can safely be discounted as such>

    Yes, I'm furious, obviously, and have been for some time... and it's because Phil Goff has almost certainly ensured that the government after November this year will be National-led.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E, in reply to Kracklite,

    Yes, I'm furious, obviously, and have been for some time... and it's because Phil Goff has almost certainly ensured that the government after November this year will be National-led.

    Ditto.

    And the quite deliberate disembowelling of the public sector that will have been done by 2014 will mean that any future left-of-centre administration will be able to make little progress in turning things around, since there simply won't be the capacity left for government to do much in the short term. As people upthread have commented, it's past time for one of the 'next generation' of Labour MPs to ante-up and take a shot at it. It's not like this government haven't provided them with plenty of sitting ducks to aim at...

    You'd have thought that the experience of the 90s and the effects of the more recent collapse in other countries might have cured NZ of its neo-liberal infection, but it appears not. Sigh.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 196 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom, in reply to Andrew E,

    Not sure what 'bittering' is, but surely the pay-off is in the form of better policy and hopefully a better government and better country to live in?

    I take Ben's point. There is money available to be spent on communication and policy development and the like. It's the money that's being paid to the Goffice and the numerous other flunkies who are failing abysmally to do their jobs.

    So why should they trot home every evening, their wallets stuffed with the taxpayers' dollars, while Labour expects Ben or anyone else to make up for their inadequacies as some sort of public service?

    People occasionally suggest to me that I advise one party or another, gratis. I do, to some small extent, if they wish to take note of what I say publicly here and elsewhere. But I do that (amongst other things) for a living. I don't mind a reduced fee from political clients - if I did, I wouldn't do it at all because compared to what corporate clients pay, it's always a reduced fee - but I'll be damned if I'll do it for nothing when dropkicks are taking home a pay packet.

    There are sectors of society who genuinely have no resources: the homeless, prisoners, abuse victims and the like. They're the people I do the pro bono stuff for and, frankly, if Ben had any free time he wanted to give I know of at least two groups working in those areas desperate for web development skills, not because they're paying people who can't code a static page but know how to suck up to the boss, but because they have utterly no money.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rex Widerstrom,

    I'll be damned if I'll do it for nothing when dropkicks are taking home a pay packet

    I should adopt that as a personal mantra

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15716 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Muldoons ill fated dictatorship. That prick left this country in the same state that these buggers will, given the chance.

    Whoa, say what you like about Muldoon (and there's much that can be said) but if he were alive today he'd have them wheel his hospital bed to the Parliament forecourt to protest asset sell-offs to foreign "investors" alongside the rest of us.

    He may not have had the right ideas, economy-wise, but he was never so wrong as the current lot, or their predecessors, or the Rogernomes.

    He knew, for one thing, that you never get anything other than a temporary bump by taking your assets down to Cash Converters and would have scoffed at anyone suggesting it as a strategy. Muldoon was "Think Big", Key is "Sell Big".

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E, in reply to Rex Widerstrom,

    It's the money that's being paid to the Goffice and the numerous other flunkies who are <i>failing abysmally to do their jobs</i>.

    So why should they trot home every evening, their wallets stuffed with the taxpayers' dollars, while Labour expects Ben or anyone else to make up for their inadequacies as some sort of public service?

    Conceivably - although I hasten to add that I don't know for sure either way - they might not be failing to do their jobs and might not be inadequate. Conceivably, they're doing their jobs well, and it's their bosses that are turning their work into turds?

    But otherwise, I take your point; if the taxpayer is funding policy development and communications workers for a party, it can be a bit galling to be asked to provide your expertise for free.

    However, if you don't work to see the outcome you want, why should you be surprised if you don't then get the outcome you want? I think parties moving to involve those outside its membership in their policy development processes are to be welcomed: it signals a recognition by some at least that we should be shifting from a model of democracy that is basically representational (give us your vote every 3 years, then naff off) to one which is more participatory.

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 196 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom, in reply to Sacha,

    I should adopt that as a personal mantra

    And you can, for a mere 15% of above-the-line additional revenue generated after it's application. Well I did say I don't provide free advice :P

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Sacha,

    I think that is, by some circumstance of chance and chicken entrails, a somewhat-ostenibly-more-or-less-I-mean-compared-to-the-alternative-sort-of-vaguely-leftish-at-least-according-to-its-brand coalition could emerge in November, it still won’t last past a term, while a disastrous neoliberal alliance would collapse catastrophically in 2014, and that might ensure that a real leftish alliance could emerge and last at least two terms to do something substantive… but then the damage that could be done post-2011 doesn’t bear contemplating…

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Actually everyone misunderstood me because I wasn't clear. My lame joke was actually that I'd be bitter not to get paid by the National Party if I had to wear Labour losing on my conscience.

    I'm not against helping Labour with their wiki at all, and I wouldn't be doing it for charitable reasons. It would be because I was interested, as most wiki contributors seem to be. But I haven't examined their site enough yet to convince myself it wouldn't be a total waste of time, talking to an empty room. If someone in Labour really believed in it hard enough to keep it up to date, it would definitely give me more interest.

    It would be interesting because sites like this one are great for discussing issue but not really places in which policy is formed - they just don't work like that. It could be instructive to experience the real difficulties of forming policy from a collection of antagonistic viewpoints. It might feel a lot more empowering than helplessly raging about an inevitable National victory.

    I do draw a little bit of pause from what happened to one of the bigger attempts to do exactly this - the Green Party of Canada did it in 2004, then the whole thing was derailed by the party leader because it undermined their position. Clare Curran suggested that getting the upper echelons of Labour to take it seriously was a pretty hard ask. But I got the impression she still thought it could work, it just needed people with real open source experience, which is NOT career politicians, to pitch in.

    I actually don't have that experience. But nor does anyone, until they do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8015 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom, in reply to Andrew E,

    they might not be failing to do their jobs and might not be inadequate. Conceivably, they're doing their jobs well, and it's their bosses that are turning their work into turds?

    A good advisor is also a good salesperson. Winston isn't the easiest person to wrangle, but in all modesty I think I did a fairly good job of ensuring he said the right things by selling him on them, not simply putting them up and hoping.

    To his infinite credit, Winston was open to debate and even in-your-face criticism (I lost count of the number of times I let him rant about something, then simply said "Right, but in reality what we'll do is...") Sometimes you need to be willing to tell the Leader (and the Deputy Leader) they're a bloody idiot. You can't do that if you're angling for preferment as the candidate for Mana, for instance.

    Unless he's changed significantly since I knew him I don't think Goff is so arrogant or so stubborn he wouldn't take on board good advice, provided it was presented logically and, perhaps, with some passion.

    So, going on that - and what I've seen of the performance of individual members of the Goffice, I'm going with the "dropkick" theory.

    However, if you don't work to see the outcome you want, why should you be surprised if you don't then get the outcome you want?

    Well because our politicians are meant to be our representatives for one thing, and I shouldn't have to staple corflutes and make scones to have a voice in the process - but I realise that's a naive view.

    And I'd argue that policy and message development take real time and mental energy if they're done properly. Sure I can pop up on a wiki and say "what about..." and hope someone does something. But there needs to be people who'll research the feasibility of that idea, massage it into a policy, shepherd that policy through the approvals process... that's not a task that can be done gratis by most of us... we're too busy saving up to pay the electricity bill.

    I think parties moving to involve those outside its membership in their policy development processes are to be welcomed

    Couldn't agree more, which is why one of the first things I did was set up the NZF website and then run an open "bulletin board" (no blogs in them days!) soliciting criticism and ideas. Praise was nice but it gave me nothing new to work on. But then those ideas were picked up and worked on by me, Terry Heffernan and two researchers and the results were evident in the party's shift in the polls. There's no way that, if Terry and I had been asleep at the wheel, any of that would have been of any use.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Rex Widerstrom,

    I lost count of the number of times I let him rant about something, then simply said “Right, but in reality what we’ll do is…

    I really don’t intend a Godwin here, but I’m reminded of my readings of WWII history where Hitler would rant on enthusiastically about some new gargantuan superweapon and Albert Speer (Minister of War Production and Armaments) would nod and smile and let development continue for a while before quietly canceling it. He probably prolonged the war by a year at least.

    He was a smart guy and it’s a pity that he was on the wrong side.

    Sorry, really.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Due respect, but it’s bullshit to say that positivity can’t be a winner.

    Change you can believe in
    The audacity of hope
    Yes We Can

    It also helped that the message was being delivered by an adult -- and one whom I may frequently disagree with (insert rant about how feeble Obama has been on marriage equality & DADT) but still doesn't seem to have a psychotic break and new personality every polling cycle.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    insert rant about how feeble Obama has been on

    ...everything.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    To my outside eyes (and having no stake in what the USA does except in reguard to copyright) I think Barrack Obama has been a wonderfully intelligent & cautious President – as he needed to be.

    Given the extremism of Shrubya & co – and the dire state a great nation was left in, at the end of that term of office -they elected the person that will – for his terms of office- bring the USA back on a steady keel.

    And, into world respectability again...

    (I find Glennd's comments really strange but - I dont have much to do with conservatives-)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Islander,

    OK, I’ll accept that, and history, I hope will judge him, as I hope history will judge Jimmy Carter, as a cautious person and perhaps therefore moderation provides an example that is necessary when extreme rhetoric is so prevalent and so toxic.

    There have been areas in which I have an especial interest in which he has shown an appalling lack of initiative and sheer guts and as a consequence I’ve been concerned that my hand will become permanently fused to my forehead.

    Still, OK, considering the nature of political rhetoric in the US these days…

    The hyperbolic style of the time holds that he’s a revolutionary Fascist Socialist Jacobite Guelph supporter of the Great Criminal Akhenaten, so it seems laughable that he’s so lukewarm in practice.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Kracklite,

    OK, they’ve done some nice things, but the Brides of Douglas, Goff and King, did some shitty things, and no, you can’t say that they were innocents during the 80s

    It was that Phill Goff who ordered the light houses to be fully automated, leaving the keepers and there families homeless, thats unforgivable.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2277 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Looks like Chris Trotter has his chosen one for Opposition leader. Draw yor own conclusions.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3897 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Slightly off topic but well worth looking at.
    Zeitgeist 3 - Moving Forward (Trailer)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4445 posts Report Reply

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