Poll Dancer by Keith Ng

Bloggers in Action

Funny thing happened while I was taking out the trash earlier this evening. I was out the back of the house when I heard someone shout "someone stop that guy!" on Aro Street. I bolted out to see David Farrar and Labour Party hack Greg Stephens sprinting down the road (yes - this really did happen!). At the moment of recognition, I feared that the blogosphere has finally manifested itself in the real world, like one of those Twilight Zone episodes where the TV people jump out and enact TV violence upon the stupefied viewers.

It was quite the opposite, actually!

Apparently, someone hit Marian Hobbs and stole her camera after the Aro Street candidates meeting. I hurried back to the meeting to see if she was okay, but she'd already left by that stage. Bumped into Jordan Carter further up the road, and it turns out, contrary to the account I had just heard, she just had some yogurty-substance thrown at her, and he suspected it was one of the anarchist kids.

Farrar and Stephens didn't get the guy - he disappeared down the end of a dark driveway - but good on them for their bipartisan crime-fighting efforts, anyway.

Crime-fighting bloggers - man, that would make a great TV show. (Or have they done that already? Did the Lone Gunman have a blog? Well, they didn't have a partisan one.)

Speaking of crazy investigations, the Greens claim they have discovered that the recent sets of "smear" pamphlets against them were produced by the Brethren church! Crazy-nutballs! What's next? Spam from the Almish? They also say that the pamphlet campaign is "aimed at getting Don Brash and the National Party into power"; while this is strictly true, I think it's a bit uncharitable of them to link National in with the Brethren church just because they're both anti-Green and anti-Labour.

Come to think of it, I reckon that National is owed an apology over this, given how they've been receiving the evil-eyes from the Greens over this. And really, (to add the positive reinforcement here) if any of the parties are capable of being civil and admitting when they were wrong, it's the Greens. Come on, take the moral high-ground - you know you want to.

And how'd they find out, anyway? Did an old-fashioned gumshoe hand Jeanette a brown paper (recyclable) envelope with some names? Does the Greens have a mole inside the Brethren church? Oh, the possibilities are endless (and priceless!).

Speaking of high horses, how about that Michael Cullen, eh? Actually, I'm a bit disappointed about the news coverage of Cullen's lecture, particularly Tracy Watkins' write-up in the Dom today (slightly unwise of me to say this, since I may well be hitting her up for a job in the not-so-distant future). It's partly to do with the restriction of the style in which newspaper articles are written, but the coverage of the debate over the affordability of tax cuts remains a partisan talking-heads affair - i.e. Cullen says "no surplus", Key says "big surplus".

The truth is out there, but nobody seems willing to take up the task of explaining cash vs operating surpluses and funding of expenditure from cash vs funding via debt. There's a perfectly rational debate, with logical and arguable cases on both sides, but Key is only interested in yelling "$8b surplus" (which is not true in a practical sense), while Cullen is only interested in fudging the books to fit with his counter-cyclical agenda (which is not nearly as sinister as it sounds).

To this end, I hope to produce (and I'm aware of the hubris involved, especially given my previous balls-ups) a comprehensive yet concise explanation of the tax debate next Wednesday.

But, to Fairfax's credit, I've just found that they put the full Fairfax/AC Nielsen poll results on Stuff. Must say, it's very generous and transparent of them to open up their books to be scrutinised (a task which I'll be taking up soon, probably this weekend - if anyone has a good go at them in the meantime, I'll be more than happy to link instead).

As E-Day approaches, I've got the following things lined up:

Thursday: Interview with Darren Huges, Junior Whip for Labour and bright young ginga from Otaki. He articulates the social vision of Labour and pins down the nebulous idea of national identity and Labour's role in its formation.

Friday: For your Friday reading, I'll be posting hot lesbian photos. (No, really, I will. You'll see.)

Monday: Interview with Tom Scott about the state of politics and, in particular, the Press Gallery. The man is permanently hilarious, and his insights into the human emotions and human beings in the political arena is nothing short of unique. (It was originally intended to be part of a feature article on the Press Gallery, but self-preservation and laziness conspired to sink that idea - however, the interview was much too good to waste away.)

Speaking of Tom Scott and stuff-ups, he's got a cartoon in one of his books (see the gallery link below) that I took some solace from after my $12.8b stuff-up. The guy in the cartoon is Scott himself, after a hugely embarrassing - and very costly - stuff-up while he was a columnist for the Listener, when he was still in the Press Gallery. If you get a chance, you should look up his book, Ten Years Inside - the story to go with that cartoon is priceless.