Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: So long, and thanks for all the fish ...

365 Responses

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  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    When is Labour going to get over treating ethnic and social groups as voting blocs?

    Seen an electoral map of New Zealand lately? It looks like a bloc to me – a solidly blue one. Labour doesn’t exist outside the main centres. Amongst blue collar males, Labour’s vote has collapsed to mickey mouse minor party levels. For a party that calls itself Labour, that is simply not viable in the long term.

    A party leader has to articulate in their person the vision of the party. the leader is the party to most voters. He or she has to be the symbol of what that organisation stands for. The leader needs to be the shorthand for the narrative that party wants voters to see the party through.

    Whether we like it or not, Labour needs to convince large sections of blue collar New Zealand that it is still the Labour party, and not the assorted social minorities with an axe to grind party.

    At this juncture, Labour needs to get back to it’s knitting. Being brand “Labour” that means whatever you want it to mean might work for Josie Pagani, but I think Labour implies a set of core values that it needs to rediscover. Labour doesn’t have the luxury of picking a new leader that doesn’t appeal to what should be it’s core constituency.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Smart, organised, ambitious, articulate, conversant with Labour principles.

    And completely invisible. She hasn't landed a blow. To be fair, she isn't alone on that score. But she needs to be a bit less organised and ambitious and a bit more filthy mongrel in taking on Bennett before I would consider her for promotion to anything.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Max Rose, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Seen an electoral map of New Zealand lately? It looks like a bloc to me - a solidly blue one. Labour doesn't exist outside the main centres.

    I find electorate-by-electorate maps very misleading, since the electorates themselves are often so divided. I know that breaking things down geographically by booth is statistically dodgy, but it reveals much more complex patterns within cities, and ones that don't quite back up your theory that "blue collar" areas have deserted Labour.

    Whether we like it or not, Labour needs to convince large sections of blue collar New Zealand that it is still the Labour party, and not the assorted social minorities with an axe to grind party...I think Labour implies a set of core values that it needs to rediscover.

    Huh. I hadn't realised that "pandering to bigots" had become a core Labour value. I was under the impression that "standing up for the oppressed" and "supporting human rights" were core Labour values, but I stand corrected.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2011 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Torchbearer...
    I'm never comfortable with the idea of a 'Leader', per se, with an intelligent, engaged and cooperating caucus, what's needed is a believable 'lightning rod' to stand up to the flash of public storms and still conduct her/him-self positively, graciously and efficiently...
    Why tie up a policy wonk with excessive public engagement or paragon status?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Tom: Yes because you can’t be a gay man and do that. Obviously.

    (Also you know that’s basically the Pagani line you’re taking there?)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Labour doesn’t exist outside the main centres.

    And doesn't need to if support holds up in the main centres, which is where the vast majority of New Zealanders live. It's all about the party vote. Failure to turn that out in the cities is a big part of Labour's struggles in the last two elections.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I hadn’t realised that “pandering to bigots” had become a core Labour value.

    Oh fuck off. Am I to believe you think blue collar provincial males are all bigots who are beneath your cultured urban contempt? that is so dripping with arrogance. I am completely over having wallys wailing “BIGOT” when you point out the bleeding obvious – that the Labour party no longer appears to appeal to those who actually do the labouring.

    Winning those people back does not mean you have you go around being a bigot. It just means you need to start talking about what is relevant to those who labour. Housing. Wages. the cost of living. Those sorts of issues. Labour has lost those who labour. Pointing out that making a gay machine politician from Wellington central leader will do nothing to win them back is not being a bigot.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Also worth saying that this is pretty good timing, I think. Labour leadership will dominate media till conference, and then it’s basically the run into the election campaign. (Allowing that the leadership contest stays positive etc.) It’s like Obama/Hillary, the contest will likely end up positive for the contestants + party.

    [ETA: Tom, mate, Labour's been talking a lot about housing. Been a bit of a theme, actually.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    And Grant was a union leader for some years before becoming an MP. Isn't that all about wages and the cost of living? Silly me for thinking people might be concerned about that, rather than who the guy chooses to sleep with.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Pointing out that making a gay machine politician from Wellington leader will do nothing to win them back is not being a bigot.

    Certainly did seem to imply that Labour's core constituency is still a touch on the bigoted side.

    It just means you need to start talking about what is relevant to those who labour. Housing. Wages. the cost of living.

    Alright, my view from 11,000km away may be a little skewed, but I was under the impression Labour had been talking about that, and like what Keir said, housing in particular. Like, for example, saying they won't let non-resident foreigners buy houses...

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    It just means you need to start talking about what is relevant to those who labour. Housing. Wages. the cost of living. Those sorts of issues. Labour has lost those who labour. Pointing out that making a gay machine politician from Wellington leader will do nothing to win them back is not being a bigot.

    Can't a labour leader do all those things at once, and without being an asshat?
    I really don't understand why it is impossible for a "gay machine politician" to address those issues.

    Seriously though, I'm confused by your labels. Is he a robot? New Zealanders in any sort of collar might vote for a terminator - it worked in California.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Tom, you do seem to be claiming that "a gay machine politician" cannot talk convincingly about issues that matter to blue collar provincial males. Is that mis-representing you?

    After Georgina Beyer's successful political career I don't think we can be dogmatic about who has appeal in the provinces.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • anth, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    With all those PI voters who Labour need to get to the polls in 2014 needing some convincing, Labour electing a gay Wellington based machine politician as leader would be a disaster.

    Yeah, just like with all those farmers that National needs it'd be a disaster if they picked as their leader an Auckland based money trader.

    Since Nov 2006 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Tom: Yes because you can’t be a gay man and do that. Obviously.

    Does Labour have the luxury anymore of testing your hypothesis?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    And completely invisible. She hasn't landed a blow. To be fair, she isn't alone on that score. But she needs to be a bit less organised and ambitious and a bit more filthy mongrel in taking on Bennett before I would consider her for promotion to anything.

    As an aside, this sort of attitude is what's turned a lot of people I know (myself included) completely off politics - the idea that it's all about scrapping and sticking it to the opposition, which culminates in the high-school-level cringefest that is Question Time.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Scott A,

    I don't think Robertson's sexuality will be a problem if he becomes leader. Yes, it'll give the talkback radio callers and Cameron Slater a big old sexy topic to run with, but those callers and Whaleoil commentators aren't going to vote Labour anyway.

    Otherwise, I'd imagine most of the mainstream media would be leery of accusations of homophobia and probably keep it a non-issue - or even a positive issue.

    I'd be more concerned about Robertson being the right person to wipe the sheen off Key. Has he got the steel to do so? I've had my doubts, but he's been performing well of late, so maybe...

    The wilds of Kingston, We… • Since May 2009 • 132 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Does Labour have the luxury anymore of testing your hypothesis?

    Because now is unlike any time before, so drastic measures are called for and the abandoning of long held principles is a necessary part of that.

    Are you sure you're aren't still thinking about the GCSB bill?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Tom, you do seem to be claiming that “a gay machine politician” cannot talk convincingly about issues that matter to blue collar provincial males.

    I think that the phone is off the hook with that constituency at the moment, and appointing Robertson as leader will simply keep it off the hook for as far as I can see. There is a degree of complacency about all this that I find quite frightening. Do people in the Labour party really still have their ears painted on?

    I don’t think Robertson’s sexuality will be a problem if he becomes leader.

    that isn’t the point. If Robertson was a lumberjack who got a degree whilst chopping down trees and playing rugby it wouldn't matter to anyone he happened to be gay. What I am trying to say is appointing leader of the Labour Party a man who is a careerist politician AND a machine politician AND who is from Wellington Central AND who is gay sends a powerful symbolic message to the electorate about the priorities of the Labour party that feeds a belief that it has lost it’s way and no longer represents “normal” New Zealanders.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    The fact Robertson is a Wellington insider is more a problem than his sexuality, NZ is over that sort of thing
    The fact that he started his run for the job by appearing on TV this morning saying Shearer was sick isn't a good look
    Men used to be booted out of the old Labour party for that sort of thing

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    And in how many ways do you need people like me and many of us here to tell you that "blue collar" workers (such as they are; I'm going to assume you also mean service workers) also includes the ebil gays, women, people of ALL ethnicities, transgender people, etc etc etc.

    Shall I draw a Venn diagram with little intersecting circles?

    If you're too stupid politically to put down the dog whistle and direct debate along the lines of "a fair go for everyone" while pointing the finger at those who are really fucking up "blue collar" workers' quality of life, you don't deserve any gains in power.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Tom, my party's not going to pander to bigots, especially bigots hiding behind the supposed concerns of others. That's the first point. The second point is that really, Tom, where have you been for the past five years?

    Anyway, I'm kinda bored of talking about that. Grant's sexuality's not going to be a negative, and it might be a positive. It's certainly not going to be that big a deal.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Max Rose, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Oh fuck off. Am I to believe you think blue collar provincial males are all bigots who are beneath your cultured urban contempt? that is so dripping with arrogance. I am completely over having wallys wailing “BIGOT” when you point out the bleeding obvious – that the Labour party no longer appears to appeal to those who actually do the labouring.

    I'm not saying that: it's you who seem to be implying that, by saying that "assorted social minorities with an axe to grind" are mutually exclusive with Labour's "core constituency". And it's hard not to read "assorted social minorities" as being a dogwhistle for "anyone who's not a straight white able cis bloke".

    It's quite possible that there are some "assorted social minorities with an axe to grind" who actually do some labouring. And that people who are concerned about the whole spectrum of human rights are able to spare some brain-space from worrying about piffling things such as discrimination, violence and suicide and care about wages, too.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2011 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    I hope Cunliffe will step up and that he gets support this time. He is the only one who can stand toe to toe with Key.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 364 posts Report Reply

  • Max Rose, in reply to TracyMac,

    Shall I draw a Venn diagram with little intersecting circles?

    I suspect that Tom's Venn diagram consists of two non-intersecting circles: a big blue collar labelled "Waitakere Man" and a scary pink ring labelled "gay machine politicians".

    Wellington • Since Sep 2011 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    … who met his husband at the rugby.

    I don’t think GR would have any worries on that front.

    Certainly not. If the government was elected on the basis of a sports-themed pub quiz, Labour would hose in :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

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