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Speaker: John and Phil meet Bob

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  • Craig Young,

    Insofar as the euthanasia law review went, I suspect that's merely a dog whistle to any centre-right social liberals looking on with barely disguised revulsion. Given what's happened in the Netherlands and Oregon on this issue, I think we can safely assume that there'll be no real euthanasia law reform in New Zealand until the NZMA et al change their professional opinion. As professional interests, their opinions are more valuable than those of godbots.

    Have to say that I'm far more interested in what Key had to say about the whole question of welfare policy and whether the likes of Parents Inc and Destiny Church will get more dosh from the government. Although I am quite disgusted in his pandering to the anti-abortion lobby over 'parental notification', let it be noted.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Just when the CGT thing seemed to be going so well, as if someone in Labour had grown a spine and someone else had finally understood how the media works, this happens.

    Ah, Labour, you never fail to let me down. Just when the faintest scintilla of an intimation of the hypothetical potential of my considering entertaining the possibility of letting the merest hint of the thought of voting for you again even rouses from its slumber and in a half-somnolent state imagines that it might, almost as if by accident, cross my mind, you go off and do something stupidly vile once again.

    As for Key, well, try as I might, I find it absurd to hate him. A smallpox virus is certainly a bad thing, but it isn’t sentient and therefore what’s the point in hating it?

    Some people involved in Labour, so I hear, are sentient, so I do want to know what their excuse might be for this latest exercise in ham-handed cynicism.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It was an onstage interview format with McCoskrie asking the questions, and Patrick Gower's report for 3 News gives the impression that Key had a shocker.

    He was reluctant to offer firm answers and he didn't have any answer at all for questions on same-sex adoption and prostitution law reform, which weren't exactly hard to see coming. He squirmed.

    Goff seemed better prepared. The one question he's shown answering -- on parental notification in abortion cases -- he answers clearly, and without giving ground to the questioner.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kracklite,

    Some people involved in Labour, so I hear, are sentient, so I do want to know what their excuse might be for this latest exercise in ham-handed cynicism.

    I wonder if the organisers will post their own pictures. I'd actually like to see how Goff handled the rest of it, because the one bit that was on the news rather defied my expectations.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Goff seemed better prepared. The one question he’s shown answering – on parental notification in abortion cases – he answers clearly, and without giving ground to the questioner.

    That was surprising and hopeful. Less hopeful was Gower's summary at the end of said article:

    While Mr Key and Goff don't really share the views of the religious right and made no actual commitments, both were only too happy to go along today and make the right noises. That's because there might be something in it for them – votes.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I’d actually like to see how Goff handled the rest of it, because the one bit that was on the news rather defied my expectations.

    He seemed extremely comfortable with his position. I was very impressed, and I’d like to think that wasn’t the result of very low expectations. Key on the other hand was trying to say nothing and everything

    Julie Fairey has a response on The Hand Mirror.

    I believe politicians should try to accept every invitation they get, particularly the ones where they are being asked clear transparent questions about their policies and views in public. To oppose politicians speaking at the Family First or Destiny conferences is akin** to believing they shouldn’t speak at the Gay Auckland Business Association pre-election debates, or indeed the Suffrage Eve Debate the team here organised in 2008.

    How can we make informed decisions about who to vote for if politicians are not upfront about their intentions?

    It’s one I largely agree with. So long as politicians are being honest with everyone, it isn’t a problem. Her conclusions however point to the same knowledge gap that I had coming into this. If we conclude that the Goff segment we saw was representative, then the viewpoints he put to the crowd are consistent with the ones he and his party put to the public. This is a good thing. Key, on the other hand, seems to want to know what the popular position on any given issue is, and was desperate to give non-answers for that reason.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the one bit that was on the news rather defied my expectations.

    I'll be the first to admit - proclaim, even - my cynicism, so my question now might well be, "Where is the real Phil Goff and how have you managed to produce a substitute who hints at competence and why did you wait so long?"

    And if you so much as even so much as hint at me even intimating at the possibility of the hypothetical etcetera of "credit given where where credit is due", I will hunt you and your family down and do horrible, horrible things to you all with a cheese grater, a blowtorch and Justin Bieber CDs.

    @James.

    That’s because there might be something in it for them – votes.

    Oh yes, that...

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Kracklite,

    Well for that one question at least, Goff appears to have been considering the votes of his supporters and potential supporters, rather than the votes of those sitting in the room. I'd like to see the whole session, though, before getting my hopes up too much.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kracklite,

    And if you so much as even so much as hint at me even intimating at the possibility of the hypothetical etcetera of “credit given where where credit is due”, I will hunt you and your family down and do horrible, horrible things to you all with a cheese grater, a blowtorch and Justin Bieber CDs.

    I would expect no less of you, sir.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to George Darroch,

    To oppose politicians speaking at the Family First or Destiny conferences…

    Well, for entertainment’s sake, I’d love to see one say, “Well, I’m here today to say that I think that I abhor every word you have ever said in your entire worthless lives from the very first ‘Gaaaah, boo-boo’ you uttered as babies and you should all be buried under fourteen point five tones of badger manure, have stakes driven through the point where your hearts would be if you had any, buried at crossroads and have salt sown in a circle about your so-called ‘resting places’ before the USAF sends a B-2 to nuke the site you utter, utter fundamental orifices, so there.”

    Then I would applaud.

    Key, on the other hand, seems to want to know what the popular position on any given issue is, and was desperate to give non-answers for that reason.

    If I may indulge in some psychobabble – and thank you, I will – that seems to be his fundamental flaw. He displays, as T’ Standard would say, the characteristics of a psychopath (and I would know – I used to work for Massey University, which is a superb and compendious menagerie of personality disorders). Many think psychopaths are slick masterminds, like Palpatine or Lecter, but really, they are aimless, deeply needy people and what strikes me most about Key, apart from his desire for self-aggrandisement, is his desperate need to be liked by everyone.

    “You can fool all of the people some of the time…” and so on, as the saying goes. In Key’s case, if he knew, it’s “You can be liked by…”

    But not everyone, and not forever.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Well for that one question at least, Goff appears to have been considering the votes of his supporters and potential supporters

    It's a wonder what people will say when there are cameras in the room.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I would expect no less of you, sir.

    Come to think of it, would you settle for Huey Lewis and the News?

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Kracklite,

    I'm here today to say that I think that I abhor every word you have ever said in your entire worthless lives from the very first 'Gaaaah, boo-boo' you uttered as babies...

    Is it completely bright-eyed and bushy-tailed of me to think that there might be some in the audience who are there because someone from their church/playgroup/whatever invited them along, and they have a family, and a forum for families sounds like a nice thing to be part of, who up to that point might have been thinking, in an artless kind of way "well, I'm not sure I want to agree with that, although it all sounds like it makes sense ... I can't quite put my finger on what's wrong with it ... but it's very persuasive ... and everyone else here seems to agree with it, so there must be something to it really ... ", and then someone on stage just sort of sensibly says "well, I understand that's how you think about it, but I (and many of the people I represent) think this way instead". And then this artless soul can see that it is okay to not think in the same way as Family Fist. They probably won't go home and say Family First should have stakes driven through their chests, but nor will they have been sucked into it all.

    In contrast, a response along the lines suggested by Kracklite would be more likely to antagonise, and make Artless sympathise with FF.

    I'm not quite bright-eyed and bushy-tailed enough to think that that possibility is what really took Goff there, but I like to hope it might be at least a small part of it. 'Course, unless someone tells me what he actually said (rather than just reporting John Key's comments - as if his lack of commitment to any actual position is any kind of surprise) I can't tell whether he was taking that line anyway.

    [Unfortunately the 3news video doesn't seem to want to load for me, so if there's any Goff in it I'm none the wiser].

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 580 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    In contrast, a response along the lines suggested by Kracklite would be more likely to antagonise, and make Artless sympathise with FF.

    Oh yes, I do know that, which is why I would be utterly unelectable if I were ever to think that I didn’t have better things to do than aspire after a Crown BMW with a seat-warmer.

    I’ll leave it to that great fictional statesman (and aren’t all great statesmen fictional?), Francis Urquhart. The universal response to any question regarding his motives he had was, “You might very well think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment.”

    Oh, the elegance of it.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Still, running after the “Waitakere man” (whoever he is… and where’s Waitakere woman?) vote and losing more votes than are gained (none) seems to me to have been at best a pointless endeavour anyway, so antagonising a few rednecks doesn’t seem so disastrous after all. IMO, it’s the fear of antagonising the rednecks which led Labour along the path of least resistance, which as everyone should know, inevitably leads downwards. No-one will ever appeal to everyone.

    Still, respect to Lucy; I’d never be a successful advisor.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I'm leaning towards Lucy's point - I think if you did this well, it would be a good opportunity to put a wedge between the organisers and the soft "families are important" message they hide behind. Something like this: "Families are the building block of society - they're part of all our lives. Supporting families means doing the best for the coming generations. Religious organisations like yourselves have a lot to offer families (cite inoffensive programme like pre-marriage counselling), but while we're all part of families, only 2/3 of NZers profess a religion. We need to support all families, and part of that is recognising that the world's religions don't have all the answers for all time. While I applaud the support you do in your communities, the government is for everyone - for people who want to choose when they start a family, for children growing up in families that can't provide for or protect them, for people whose families need to change shape: all families. "

    Ya de ya. Keeps the base on board and might pull a few moderate opponents away from the "lesbian conspiracy to put all our children in state-run orphanages" camp and into the "well, we all have different points of view, can't argue with their good intentions" camp. I'm pretty sure the latter is a big one.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to George Darroch,

    To oppose politicians speaking at the Family First or Destiny conferences is akin** to believing they shouldn’t speak at the Gay Auckland Business Association pre-election debates, or indeed the Suffrage Eve Debate the team here organised in 2008.

    With all due and sincere respect to Julie, bullshit. I worked for a backbench list MP, and I’ll tell you as a point of fact that there is no way any MP accepts every invitation that comes their way. And, sorry for the semi-Goodwin, but don’t tell me that Key or Goff would attend (or allow any candidate/MP to show up at) any event organised by Kyle Chapman no matter how many registered voters were in the room.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I'm not at all sure why they would have both bothered, though. It wasn't that many people to be talking to in the first place, and it would worry me, and I would imagine a number of Labour supporters, greatly if I thought that they were pandering to the religious right in any form. I see Julie's point that politicians should accept all invitations to speak, I do. And that's the explanation that makes most sense. But. If all they did was utter inanities - which Key was bound to do, and it seems as if Goff didn't really say anything different to what he usually says - why bother? Their motivations confuse me, I have to admit.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to B Jones,

    I'm leaning towards Lucy's point - I think if you did this well, it would be a good opportunity to put a wedge between the organisers and the soft "families are important" message they hide behind.

    I'm not sure the audience that was that engaged with the answers. Patrick Gower said to me via Twitter that Key's evasive style, including those couple of irritable refusals to answer at all, "seemed to work, family first didn't seem to realise there were no commitments."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    To my biassed mind, Goff comes off better in this Herald report.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    And it sounds, to my likewise biased ear, that he thinks about these things carefully. Which is a bit of a relief.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to B Jones,

    B. Jones:

    Sorry, but can't all that be said from the bully pulpit of campaign season without lending spurious legitimacy to a paleo-con jamboree that (I suspect) wouldn't have gotten anywhere near as much media attention without the presence of the fraking Prime Minister and Opposition leader? (Which McCoskrie was perfectly well aware of, given how their attendance had pride of place in the PR.)

    I'll say this again: I don't believe for a moment for that Key and Goff would accept an invitation to a wannabe Nuremberg Rally organised by Kyle Chapman. And if they did, I sure as shit wouldn't buy the spin that it was outreach to the "softer" elements in the audience and an effective platform to denounce racism. Even if that was all true, it wouldn't outweigh giving media oxygen (and spurious legitimacy) to bigots.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Actually, I've warmed to both men:

    But on the moral issues that concerned Mr McCoskrie, they were surprisingly akin. Both were prepared to look at same-sex adoptions, both supported a split drinking age of 20 at bottle stores and 18 in pubs, both were sympathetic towards euthanasia, and neither had any stomach for changing the laws on smacking or abortion.

    I disagree with them both on the so-called "drinking age' and too vague for comfort about same-sex adoption. Nor should anyone be too surprised they're not going to resile from the "smacking law" they both voted for, and (I suspect) don't want to touch abortion law with the proverbial barge pole.

    Still wish they'd had prior engagements elsewhere, but it could have been worse.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Key’s evasive style, including those couple of irritable refusals to answer at all, “seemed to work, family first didn’t seem to realise there were no commitments.

    There seem to be some politicians, such as Key and George W Bush, who are superb receptacles or projection screens for people’s expectations. They can simply allow themselves to be assumed to be whatever their audience wants them to be. The very shallowness that so frustrates some instead allows others to believe in them because they appear and use the right body language, smile and nod and make the right eye contact, they could read a takeaway menu (in the right tone of voice, with a few crucial and uncontroversial key words).

    I don’t mean to patronise the people who go to such meetings with genuine good intent and who don’t have PhDs, but much communication is based on nonverbal (and nonliteral) cues, that once they have been assimilated, can be hard to shift. Goff may win on points when one scans a transcript, but Key may get the gestalt.

    By the way, I love this trailer:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/video/2011/jul/07/iron-lady-margaret-thatcher-trailer

    I’m no fan of Thatcher, but this looks like a film I’ll be seeing.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Kracklite,

    I'm no fan of Thatcher, but this looks like a film I'll be seeing.

    Jesus, that was horrible.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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