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Speaker: The Government you Deserve

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  • David Hood,

    As I am familiar with the New Zealand census, I was looking through the British census for variables to look at. One of the reported categories is "social class" which just made me go wut?

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell,

    The problem for Corbyn now is that he lacked authenticity on Brexit. He has been a long term critic of the EU, campaigned half-heartedly for the Remain camp and then came out immediately after the poll demanding that Britain invoke article 50 immediately. No wonder some in his own party are speculating that he voted Leave.

    Of course, many in the Labour caucus never supported him to start with, but Brexit has given them the opportunity to do something about it. Saying there is "some constituency" that doesn't support him is a massive understatement. At the last count I think over 40 of his MPs resigned from shadow cabinet/spokesperson roles. I think we can confidently call this a failure on his part to convince the caucus that he is the right man for the job. What the party members will make of it is another matter.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell, in reply to David Hood,

    As I am familiar with the New Zealand census, I was looking through the British census for variables to look at. One of the reported categories is “social class” which just made me go wut?

    Because we don't have social class in NZ?
    At least they admit it in Britain...

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew, in reply to Nick Russell,

    Because we don't have social class in NZ? At least they admit it in Britain...

    Because everyone knows their place well enough to be trusted to self-report it?

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I don't deny we (an often nebulous) social class in NZ. But it is not a reporting category in primary statistics about every region of the country.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Adam H, in reply to Nick Russell,

    If I come across a bit pro-Corbyn it's really meant to be more of a "look if you wanted anti-establishment there was an alternative"...

    He could have quite easily played that up. I suspect he was trying not to appear out of kilter with the main messaging from the Stay camp.

    I think Mr. Birmingham is much more eloquent than me...

    Auckland • Since Oct 2014 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    My experience of UK education is that while it was (at the time) functional, it was also a process designed to perpetuate social division and produce an ignorant and unthinking populace.

    My year was the first to enjoy comprehensive education, but at least in the south-east, state schools were mostly populated by the lower middle and working classes (joined by those in the middle classes who had parents too idealistic, cheap, or both to send their kids to private school). The middle classes attended a range of schools, ranging from famous public schools down to those whose main function was to keep the more retarded offspring of the gentry out of trouble until they became army officers (boys) or married an army officer (girls).

    Despite being nominally comprehensive, a sifting process operated at every stage - pupils were assessed and streamed by ability (and of course pre-selected by social class) at 14 (GCE or GCSE exams, now rebranded as separate papers), 16 (staying of for A levels) and then at university.

    The selective university system is the final filtering process in the UK. University courses are ranked by UCAS points, with Oxbridge at the top and places like Luton at the bottom. Unless you are either brilliant or well coached (e.g. went to public school) you won't get to fuck pigs at Oxbridge and will wind up somewhere down the list - and the list very accurately mirrors social class.

    So basically, everyone outside a tiny minority (who run the country and write the media) gets failed by the education system. Add to that they way the system rewards conformity (because docile kids allow a school to get good results in the various league tables) and prioritises cramming for exams, it's pretty unsurprising you've got a population of disgruntled failures.

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

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Nick Russell,

    Because we don't have social class in NZ?
    At least they admit it in Britain...

    NZ does have a class system, but not in the formalised British sense. What we have in NZ is more like the informal Nouveau Riche-driven class structures of America and other former New World colonies. And while Britain still retains the old class structures, the Nouveau Riche has made inroads into it. And strangely enough:

    Today, one of the few things US politicians on the right and the left agree on is social mobility in their country has calcified. It is actually lower than in Britain, as the New York Times noted last year.

    From my own experiences, it's too easy to slip a few rungs on the ladder if you hail from an affluent family but have a disability and/or mental illness. It speaks true of some of my friends too. It's also made me realise that the Nouveau Riche thing is deep down an exercise in cherry-picking, dumb luck and survivorship bias.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to David Hood,

    The UK would analyse its census categories by occupation using the NRS system:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NRS_social_grade. This reflects one aspect of social class but not the caste-like system that pervades England - e.g. a working class FX trader would be in AB, while a posh gardener would be in C2D.

    NZ collects the same information, it just presents it differently http://www.stats.govt.nz/datavisualisation/treemap/occupation.html. You could extract the NRS information from summary/meshblock data and I'm sure people do, but not Stats I don't think...

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

  • martinb,

    Are you suggesting that Shearer has the same consistent record of principles that Corbyn has?

    Shearer was happy to be associated with the Third Way and Blair.

    Corbyn is a career politician- Shearer is certainly not that.

    I think Shearer would be horrified to hear himself described as like Corbyn.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    I tend to think of authenticity in NZ as Clark, Goff, McCully and English. Long serving politicians who represent their communities and are pretty much what it says on the box.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Nick Russell,

    At least they admit it in Britain…

    ... and enquire as to whether one knows one's place!

    Saying there is “some constituency” that doesn’t support him is a massive understatement. At the last count I think over 40 of his MPs resigned from shadow cabinet/spokesperson roles.

    One gets the impression that many of these new 'Labour' MPs don't have a hell of a lot to do with their constituents or local party members. Blair created a lot of wannabes...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to martinb,

    Corbyn is a career politician

    Your definition of this being...?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • NoFace, in reply to Rich Lock,

    .

    Since Dec 2007 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Career politician is meant to be disparaging, usually. Although it shouldn't be in all cases.

    A common refrain from non Corbyn Labour members to the new Corbyn era members is "how many leaflets did you deliver?" and from what little I've seen in London, there is some truth to that. Whilst noting I've met some hard working Momentum people helping Remain/StrongerIn.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    It seems to be that within the Labour membership there is a strong difference of opinion about what it takes to win elections. It isn't just about having a new leader who wants to bring Labour back to a more socialist path. It is about how elections are fought on the ground

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Ben Austin,

    Career politician is meant to be disparaging, usually. Although it shouldn't be in all cases.

    If it's intended to mean something like: 'puts self-advancement ahead of other considerations, including those of his/her electorate and the greater good, and is fully willing to compromise own principles to do so', then it's a rather odd thing to say about a person who was first elected as an MP in 1982, who has held the same seat since, and who had, until the leadership election last year, never been in a cabinet position.

    A common refrain from non Corbyn Labour members to the new Corbyn era members is "how many leaflets did you deliver?".

    Well, I'm sure that made them feel very welcome within the warm embrace of the people's party.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Indeed. But the point is, Labour is all about getting out the vote. That's what it is good at. It needs loads of active members to do that. Obviously there is a lot more to a party and indeed needs to be to reach all the other people/voters. However in London's case, one reason why the party is doing ok is that all of those middle class members that don't really get the rest of England/UK actually go out and get the vote out, for months before the actual election.

    My Labour friends have been solidly working, 2-5 times a week for the last 6 months or so on getting their voters ready for the mayoral, assembly and various other local elections. They're the ones who are increasingly angry at Corbyn as they don't' see his conviction or beliefs actually delivering them new voters. Nor his supporters helping them get out their current voters. These people resent being lectured by Corbyn supporters who in some occasions (see Gipsy Hill council by election) even campaign against the Labour candidate, let alone not voting for them.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    We will one day view neo-liberal dogma as a fantasy invented by social scientists masquerading as mathematicians. Marx was an economist, and it is another bunch who have invented their own nonsense. This is at the root of our problems, because it fundamentally fails to consider us as a social species. It is an ideology that assumes everyone is a sociopath (which is why it tends to be sociopaths who float to the top of it).

    Actually, neo-liberal dogma is based on the assumption that the individual acts in their own self interest and is a rational decision maker. However, I think that what has happened in the UK by leaving the EU is actually a victory against neo-liberal dogma. I suggest that you read Matt Ellis 'The Left should celebrate Brexit: UK just kicked Neoliberalism in the nuts' to understand the reality.

    http://rationalradical.me/

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    I fear that we have been insufficiently careful to distinguish “neoliberal global establishment” from “amoral robber barons who will use outright fascists as shock troops if it furthers their interests.” Murdoch, who, along with Richard Desmond, is as responsible for this result as anyone, has now come out saying how pleased he is with Brexit.

    This is our Waldo Moment. (It’s no mistake that Waldo himself is a bluish purple: an animated Farage.) We may be about to discover that there are plenty worse political arrangements than neoliberalism. My fear is that, in five or ten years’ time, we’ll find ourselves looking back on the pre-June 23 world with the bitter pang of nostalgia and regret.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Adam H, in reply to martinb,

    I think Shearer would be horrified to hear himself described as like Corbyn.

    It was more that I was trying to point out we see these situations where there is a clear distinction: I would pick a humanitarian worker over a currency trader any day, simply because of the innate lack of morality necessary to function in the financial markets.

    We were faced with that choice and it seemed to me that Shearer was hounded for somehow not being 'corporate' enough. I think we've had the neo-lib doctrine pushed so long it means people have come to believe it is somehow a fundamental truth rather than a socio-economic doctrine.

    I think the Third Way was a response to that: Blair and New Labour tried to occupy Thatcherite ground. It was a sign of defeat. And if there's a good side to what we've seen in the UK is that people seem to feel Blair duped them (even thought it was what they wanted).

    Auckland • Since Oct 2014 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Adam H, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    My dirty secret is that I would probably have voted Brexit for that very reason. But I don’t think the majority of the 52% did. I suspect it was much more basic than that: a sense of manipulation perhaps.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2014 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Adam H, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    I fear that we have been insufficiently careful to distinguish “neoliberal global establishment” from “amoral robber barons who will use outright fascists as shock troops if it furthers their interests.”

    I like your phrase. I guess I've become cynical. The 'best' ones seem to be very good at manipulating and skirting the balancing mechanisms. Most of the rest are "just following orders". There are some pockets of genuine loveliness, but I notice they tend to be older and on a good financial footing before they let their morals resurface.

    It is a systemic problem - what good arises from a system that focuses decisions on individual rationality without the moderating balance of a crowd?

    So a currency trader can make a decision that has massive leverage (we've seen banks taken down, and Soros famously broke what was formerly the worlds 4th biggest economy). Single men (yes, so far it's basically been men).

    I think this is the fundamental flaw in the neo-lib agenda. It uses the mathematical equivalent of homeopathy to justify focusing these decisions down to a point that our social system struggles to cope with - it ignores the social imperatives.

    It's like the branding around 'realism' - people kinda rolling their eyes and while proudly saying they are realists. To me, what they are saying is "I don't understand how people feel so I've going to pretend they are machines"

    Auckland • Since Oct 2014 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jim Cathcart,

    I suggest that you read Matt Ellis ‘The Left should celebrate Brexit: UK just kicked Neoliberalism in the nuts’ to understand the reality.

    Hmmm. There’s a lot of stating of self-evidence here:

    Extant political expressions of racist views are in no small part due to the economic hardship and falling living standards inflicted on Europeans by the neoliberal agenda and the resulting GFC. What to speak of the military adventurism that is a key facet of the EU’s role within the Western power structure, and its creation of a global refugee crisis following more than a decade of military intervention in the Middle East.

    There can be no mistaking the fact that the EU itself and its undemocratic policies and actions are largely to blame for the contemporary rise of racism on the continent. That is the depressing irony of majority leftwing opposition to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. The unsavoury elements of the Brexit campaign are largely caused by the results of EU membership.

    And:

    ... its embrace of austerity economics in service to financiers and rent-seekers, and its embrace of Russian/Chinese isolationism in service to US hegemony and neoconservative warmongering.

    The EU aligns with an orthodoxy, but the idea that this orthodoxy will magically reform itself when the EU is destroyed seems quite fanciful. It seems at least as likely things will be worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Adam H,

    I think this is the fundamental flaw in the neo-lib agenda. It uses the mathematical equivalent of homeopathy to justify focusing these decisions down to a point that our social system struggles to cope with – it ignores the social imperatives.

    It’s like the branding around ‘realism’ – people kinda rolling their eyes and while proudly saying they are realists. To me, what they are saying is “I don’t understand how people feel so I’ve going to pretend they are machines”

    Good explanation. People mostly use "neoliberalism" as an all-purpose boogeyman, so it's nice to see the problem actually described.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

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