Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The epitome of reason

151 Responses

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  • Dave Hansford,

    What if there were nothing Labour could do to attract voters back? Not because Labour has dropped any ball, or because it's somehow lost touch, but because the populace itself has moved on.

    What if first-time voters were coming on stream now that grew up in the new neoliberal, gimme-gimme-gimme century, that have never known anything like liberal socialism or common good? Fundamental capitalism is all these young people have ever experienced. Might they simply assume that's how the world is?

    What if older voters were actually much more aware than we think, that in fact, we're all fucked from here on out? What if they are, unconsciously or otherwise, starting to circle their wagons? This is simply human nature – when times get tough, when the writing's on the wall, the donations to Oxfam stop and the hire purchases begin. What if peoples' hearts are hardening?

    Are those of us staring at the microcosm – trying to make sense of two disappointing election results – looking the wrong way, while some irreversible social tide goes out?

    Nelson • Since Apr 2008 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to George Darroch,

    How would Waitakere Man / Waikanae Woman be convinced that this is an issue worthy of their emotional energy, and then that this emotional energy should be directed against the Government and for a particular opposition party?

    Safety is a pretty simple thing to message around, and even these mythical creatures of west auckland work with hazards. However, I’m not holding my breath after years of rank incompetence.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    Too many poor people not spending seems to be causing ruin to the economies of the West as the 1% are not able to keep things moving, so maybe this will force the politicians to consider redistribution of wealth again. Like UKIP someone here will eventually create an organisation that will appeal to enough people to get elected. Hopefully not redolent of the 1930's though....

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Ianmac,

    The issues that emerge come so thick and so fast that the whirlwind means that Opposition feels obliged to swat and far too many targets. The result for we voters is that it is no longer clear what to see as important or what the Opposition parties stand for. Try catching a whitebait with one hook. Is it possible that National have a cunning plan to scatter shoals of rather nasty whitebait deliberately?

    It seems to me that Helen had a very clear philosophy and could pick the critical issues and we could respond accordingly. Andrew has to learn to pick his shots.

    Bleneim • Since Aug 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I’m saying they don’t have the same factional control over selection processes

    Are you sure?

    Mythologising any of New Zealand's (or Britain's) political parties isn't helpful. They all have faults. These faults are either constraints, or things they succeed in spite of. For parties which are rejected by 9 in 10 voters it's probably the latter.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to George Darroch,

    Well, when I bothered to be a financial member of the Greens, some while ago, nobody asked me to join their faction, or suggested I should vote for X because she/he was on their team?

    If you believe they have factions, what are they called and who's in them?

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

  • Moz, in reply to George Darroch,

    For parties which are rejected by 9 in 10 voters it's probably the latter.

    That's a nonsense measure of anything to do with a political party, especially under MMP. What counts is support, measured by votes gained. If you measure by non-support there have been periods in NZ history where we should have had no elected government. And right now the UK doesn't have one, as the Conservatives have 63.2% opposed compared to Labour with 69.6% opposed (that's counting voters rather than citizens, residents or any of the other more democratic options).

    What matters in representative democracy is how many representatives a party has, and how important their bloc is. It's perfectly possible for a single-member "party" with less than 1% of the vote to have enormous influence (Ricky Muir, for example, or Brian Harradine). That's got obvious problems, but that's what we have.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    The problem was there was nothing even slightly mysterious about the policies Labour had been presenting consistently for the best part of a year from Clark and Cullen all the way down.

    Which is in stark contrast to the chaos the Labour MPs have disseminated of late.

    The problem is not that people are voting for National, the problem is they are choosing to not vote at all rather than vote for the clowns that Labour have decided should be MPs.

    There is no Waitakere man at all. No Labour voter that has decided after all that National are wonderful. The data is really clear on that. The National vote has not changed. Instead there are Labour voters who rightly enough have decided that the MPs chosen do NOT represent them.

    It's hard to blame them for that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to George Darroch,

    I believe their are broad factional influences that keep people like Browning on the list, but the degree of control in the process you'd see in say Labour or the Nats isn't obvious from the outside.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ianmac,

    Helen had a very clear philosophy

    and one which her colleagues agreed to respect. Two differences there.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sacha,

    your #3 does not apply to the Greens, right?

    Um explain Steffan Browning then?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to George Darroch,

    More New Zealanders will be injured and experience worse health, and some employers will have more money than they would otherwise.

    What would you do differently? How would Waitakere Man / Waikanae Woman be convinced that this is an issue worthy of their emotional energy, and then that this emotional energy should be directed against the Government and for a particular opposition party?

    This is where I perennially struggle. Why can't people be nerdy like me and look at the evidence and conclude it's a terrible idea?

    Mind you, I write about evidence-based drug policy. I'm basically choosing to be perennially disappointed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The thread over on http://publicaddress.net/envirologue/fool-me-once-lessons-on-the-tppa-from-free/ is going to become, along with climate degradation, more and more relevant as we are seen to suffer the deprevations they will both cause. This may speed change, but to what? Can't see our armed forces being visionary enough to impose sense.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m basically choosing to be perennially disappointed.

    not if you apply your evidence based standards to one or multiple sporting codes and start your discourse from there - then you'll find an audience, one prepared to be engaged.. politics... and the stuff of the world are distractions the general public seem to have little appetite for, they will vote on a vibe cause you know... stuff

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 537 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    There's a vote. People vote for the candidates they like. Some of them are Steffan Browning.

    I'd say this points to the absence of a factional system, on an evidence basis.

    (Also, if you don't like the list, you could join up and vote/campaign for different people to get electable list positions).

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

  • Robert Fox, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Focusing on the marginals is a complete no-brainer in the UK under FPP. Mandelson Gould and Powell understood this, and its the trick that kept Blair's centrist New Labour in power with large majorities, for so long. Although marginal constituencies are not an issue under MMP I'm sure Key's advisers realise that occasionally playing to the middle and even to the left, as English did with last weeks budget, helps retain popularity with swing voters. After all, under MMP, isn't NZ just one great big marginal constituency.

    Since Nov 2006 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • llew40,

    I may not agree with how Matthew has framed it, but I think he has a real point. I can't help but think of the way that the Democrats have been so much more successful in the last two presidential elections than the Republicans, by understanding the electorate numbers better and wasting less energy or resources on the already decided.

    While the Nats for good reason drive many NZers crazy, many of those NZers were never going to vote for them anyway .... I think Matthew has a valid broader point about the need for Labour to do a better job of appealing beyond those they already appeal to.

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I'm a Waitakere Man now? Admittedly I don't party vote Labour. But I don't think Waitakere Man was meant to be a Green voter, was he?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    But of course the Pt Chev liberals controlling Labour has never been more true. Russell and Jolisa, we’re looking at you. Release the Labour Party!

    ETA: And Danyl and Gio in Wellington should also stop meddling.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    There’s a vote. People vote for the candidates they like. Some of them are Steffan Browning.

    The context there is a tendency for Green candidates and MPs to become very focused on appealing to the their internal membership rather than the voters, because the members are the people that get them into Parliament via the list.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Seriously, who the fuck are all these Pt Chev liberals controlling Labour? And could an actual Waitakere Man please step forward (I can't because despite fitting the demographic profiling I have nothing in common with the supposed mindset).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    But of course the Pt Chev liberals controlling Labour has never been more true. Russell and Jolisa, we’re looking at you. Release the Labour Party!

    I might point out that National won the party vote at three of our suburb's four booths. And Labour only won the other one by three votes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to llew40,

    I may not agree with how Matthew has framed it, but I think he has a real point. I can’t help but think of the way that the Democrats have been so much more successful in the last two presidential elections than the Republicans, by understanding the electorate numbers better and wasting less energy or resources on the already decided.

    That's true. But ... it's very expensive and the Democrats didn't have to contend with a centre-right party claiming the centre. The Republicans have been going the other way, off into moonbat land.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • llew40,

    To be sure - didnt mean to suggest Labour is in Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul land .... the analogy only holds so far :)

    And the Republicans have only been dragged further to their right by the Tea Party crazies from within, as opposed to Labour being squeezed from the Left by the Greens, and from the Centre Right by the Nats ...

    But I think the point is right that winning elections is a numbers game, and Labour needs to find a way to either appeal to more NZers, or for more NZers to decided to find their way to them (disenchantment with incumbents etc). While the adage that Governments lose elections still holds, I still think Labour has to broaden its base.

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to George Darroch,

    Worth the hour of your life, if you do any kind of political campaigning...

    Speaking on Newsnight, Ken Lingingstone describes Lynton Crosby as "one of the most successful propogandists since Goebbels."

    "It's all about fear."

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

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