Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Criminalising Journalism

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    The comparison is perhaps more United Future.

    Not really, they're in the middle and have gone both ways. That's not at all what I'm suggesting. ACT will never go both ways, they will always align with National. Similarly with Anderton, there was never a question of him going to National.

    The Greens were used by Labour like this for quite a while. I have to say, even though I prefer their leftist economic policy, I think them moving towards the center is the most sensible thing they've yet done. They are, after all, primarily environmentalists. In the center they are in nowhere near as much danger as, say, United Future, which loses votes in both directions because it doesn't actually have anything really unique about it, it trades entirely on centrism. In a funny way, this actually frees Labour to be Labour again, breaking from the 27 year neoliberal curse. The Greens can talk to both leftist and rightist economics, they just use different language for each. To the left, it's about fair use of scarce resources, how a better environment benefits rich and poor alike, etc. To the right, it's about user pays, they just have to clearly sell the externalization of cost as being not much different to being a beneficiary, indeed far more so, on a much grander scale, and hurting each other in the process. I think farmers could be far more amenable to this than is obvious at first glance. They do understand the consequences of the polluting activities of their neighbors. They're not a very long way from grasping that the Greens do have quite a powerful handle on the science of agriculture, and could present a powerful international branding advantage to NZ agricultural produce.

    But Labour could easily install a far more compliant group to their left, possibly even via a bunch of independent breakaways like Anderton. They just have get with all the secret handshakes and stage managed tea parties and they're there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8039 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    No but they were able to rely on Anderton on the left of them in much the same way as National has relied on ACT.

    I don't think that this is true, to be honest. Until 2002, Labour & Anderton were elctorally competitive. Since '02, Labour haven't tried very hard to unseat Jim, but then I think that would have been impossible. Labour have never gifted Jim a seat the way National have Act, and in fact pointedly didn't keep the Alliance alive in '02.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Nimmo, in reply to BenWilson,

    But Labour could easily install a far more compliant group to their left, possibly even via a bunch of independent breakaways like Anderton. They just have get with all the secret handshakes and stage managed tea parties and they’re there.

    I don't see quite how? At least at this stage... They would need to be a hugely popular electorate MP, probably with most of the local party in tow, and they would need to be standing on an actual principle at stake in leaving - Labour would probably have to be in government. And if there's a principle at stake in their leaving they probably aren't going to be very compliant, are they? I suspect this is possibly what Labour thought the Maori party would be - and look how that turned out. Maybe Taito could have been it if he'd left because of social conservatism rather than criminality...

    Wellington • Since May 2009 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    You know, a part of me is wondering if the police are effectively saying to Key: "You wanted a criminal investigation? This is a criminal investigation."

    On the money Mr B.

    Public servants can get quite belligerent when politicians try and drag them into their cesspit. Some rocket scientist thought this would mean JK had an excuse to refuse to discuss the matter...

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Christopher Nimmo,

    You're implying that there is no such thing as a back room deal with that analysis. The whole thing could easily be quite carefully stage managed, with the break-away wanting to "get back to core principles" or some other such thing. They only need one policy differential, really. The point is to maintain a honne/tatemae (as they would say in Japan) vote split so that voters don't feel too conflicted. The tatemae is their public position, their policy, their having a different party name with different logos and branding. The honne is that they're nearly 100% aligned with the mother-party. Even if they argue with them on policy, the important thing, their vote, will always fall in line.

    This is precisely what is going on with Epsom. Epsom voters, when explaining the way they are going to vote, can claim to be worldly in this, that the tatemae of voting for ACT is that it's a real party with policies they don't entirely disagree with, even if they find them a bit extreme. The honne is the fact that splitting their vote to National on the party sends a very clear signal where their real hearts lie, and wields at least twice as much influence as most other votes around the country.

    Labour could do the same thing quite easily, if they had a similar level of organization. Perhaps they're above it, but if so, they're just prey to it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8039 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Ben, I think Labour's travails with New Labour and the Alliance have cured it of the desire to establish separate parties (not that they were set up by Labour). Better to have the loose factions well managed, as I believe was the case under Helen, provide the platform for being a stable government. Personally, although her politics are different from mine, I was sorry that when the Alliance broke up, Labour couldn't come to an arrangement with Laila Harre instead of the deal it did with Anderton.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2185 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    And yet there were "microphones pressed against the glass" next to the leaders hoping to pick something up. They could see them yet did nothing about stopping it, and if one of those had gotten a recording it would clearly have been intentional. The claim of privacy is effectively destroyed, methinks

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 115 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Labour have never gifted Jim a seat the way National have Act, and in fact pointedly didn’t keep the Alliance alive in ’02.

    You can't say the tone on the ground in Wigram wasn't, er, somewhat more pragmatic in 2008. On the other hand, we were actually actively working to promote the Labour candidate, so there's that. On the third hand, I still voted for Jim and told all my flatmates to as well.

    But you're absolutely right that there wasn't an institutional attempt to hand him the seat or even a suggestion that we should, it was a much more individual people reading the political weather sort of thing.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    You can't say the tone on the ground in Wigram wasn't, er, somewhat more pragmatic in 2008.

    I wouldn't know --- I wasn't there yet! But yeah, there was a fair bit of pragmatism (to put it mildly) floating around Wigram, and the mayoral election certainly showed that Labour's quite happy to work with Jim.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I wouldn’t know — I wasn’t there yet! But yeah, there was a fair bit of pragmatism (to put it mildly) floating around Wigram, and the mayoral election certainly showed that Labour’s quite happy to work with Jim.

    Weren't you? I'd totally forgotten. But let me put it this way: when I walked into the Young Labour election party that evening I said "Okay, hands up, who voted for Jim?" and every person in the room who lived in Wigram put their hand up. We did the volunteer hours for Labour, but we weren't taking any chances. (We also all felt kind of guilty about it.)

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to slarty,

    good to see you back, by the way

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15762 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    a honne/tatemae (as they would say in Japan) vote split

    love how they have words for it

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15762 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Sacha,

    Oh yes; in Japan there’s a general appreciation that politics is fundamentally two-faced.

    (As just one specific example of what happens when people take part in any society valuing any degree of conformity. Still, as you’d expect, it translates into fatalism and very low voter turnout – often as low as 40%.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 808 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I wouldn't vote for Jim if the other candidates were Don Brash, Peter Dunne and George W Bush. Just sayin.

    (ok, maybe if his only opponent was Lhaws. Think I'd go skiing on election day in that circumstance).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4221 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I wouldn’t vote for Jim if the other candidates were Don Brash, Peter Dunne and George W Bush. Just sayin.

    (ok, maybe if his only opponent was Lhaws. Think I’d go skiing on election day in that circumstance).

    Which is of course your right and privilege, but I don't think it's a big secret that it's not how left-leaning - Labour or not - voters in Wigram felt about it. We weren't exactly holding our noses - it was more that the Labour candidate was just so goddamn nice it seemed a shame to vote-split on her.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    It’s an interesting question though: Would FDR’s adultery and Churchill’s heavy drinking and severe depressive episodes make them both unelectable today? And would the world have been a better place if the media then was more like it is now?

    Many Americans were unaware that FDR spent much of his time in a wheelchair. There were hardly any press conferences - Eisenhower was the first President to make them commonplace, and the most contact citizens would normally have had with FDR was his fireside radio talks.

    Different age, comparisons aren't especially useful to the modern world of politics and the media.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks, in reply to Richard Grevers,

    And yet there were “microphones pressed against the glass” next to the leaders hoping to pick something up. They could see them yet did nothing about stopping it, and if one of those had gotten a recording it would clearly have been intentional. The claim of privacy is effectively destroyed, methinks

    Richard, I don't know if you saw it, but Campbell Live had a segment on this issue (as I said on another thread). It was more than even just cameras against the glass; at least one cameraman positioned himself where there was no window between him and the two politicians. I think he was a bit further away and I don't if he even attempted to record audio, but conceivably he could have, and he wasn't asked to move.

    It's clearly not a situation that should be considered 'private' in the sense we usually mean it. Certainly not in the sense that it could reasonably be compared to bugging someone's phone.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1122 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    I don’t if he even attempted to record audio,

    Probably not, except general atmos. Because a/ who'd think they were saying anything worth recording and b/ tv folks are fussy about audio quality- a camera mic, even a good shotgun, isn't ideal to record lowish conversational voices in a noisy scrum, even from quite close.
    Of course as soon as the audio has a news interest in itself, the quality issues go out the door, but again, who'd have imagined that it would?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1354 posts Report Reply

  • martinb, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    well yes-

    we've had three years of government built on personal charisma and the absence of any real journalistic pressure apart from the BBC and when it does it's time to focus on trade? Not a chance.

    Key's credibility, capability, ability to handle pressure and lead our country is the most by far the most important at this time.

    National's policy has been very light, they have focused on beneficiary bashing and scarcely risked any of their other politicians getting scrutiny when God knows Bennett, Tolley, Brownlee and Wilkinson to name but a few sure as heck deserve it.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • martinb, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    well yes, we've reached a case of Craig v thread. He seems to have replied to almost every post here.

    And Muldoon would have been a closer to home example. Berlusconi is innaccurate because- unless Key holds a whole whack of media shares in those blind trusts- Berlusconi really didn't need the police, he already owned the show personally. And with AC Milan the All Blacks to boot.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • martinb, in reply to linger,

    Japan can't get laws passed over night though. It's bicameral. A common complaint about politics is the slowness of any change.

    Unbridled power is no joke in NZ, as we should be aware with the recent back dated authorisation of the police taping, CERA, controversial policy passed under urgency and so on. I think these set really unfortunate precedents for government behaviour we may really come to regret.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    Ergh, no edit function. The above another reason for the fatalism and low turnout, as well as any political deceit. Policitians can't just get on and sell assets or whatever or make reforms.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Meanwhile, from the Herald:

    Despite being the one to call in the police over the teapot tapes saga, Prime Minister John Key says he has "no clue'' about their operation

    There's not being good on details, and then there's abject cluelessness.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 808 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to martinb,

    Japan can’t get laws passed overnight though. It’s bicameral.

    I know: but there is a provision which lets the lower house vote once again and override the upper house, which was used several times under the LDP after Koizumi.
    The glacial speed and need for cautious consensus-building has more to do with the fact that both of the two largest parties are really loose coalitions of factions, distinguished more by competition for power than by any huge differences in policy direction.
    The level of public disengagement also has a lot to do with the fact that politicians of the main parties behave as largely interchangeable empty suits (that’s tatamae again), and are perceived (with some justification) as being nobs divorced from reality.

    P.S. There is an edit function; it’s available for up to 15 minutes after you post (you’ll see it if you hold the mouse over the screen to the left of “Reply” on your own post).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 808 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to martinb,

    I think these set really unfortunate precedents for government behaviour we may really come to regret.

    Another reason some have found the lack of a useful challenge upsetting. Unprincipled scumbags will do whatever you let them get away with the last time they tried.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15762 posts Report Reply

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