Posts by BenWilson

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  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?, in reply to Sacha,

    “Yes We Can”

    “Make Amerka Great Again”

    “Brighter Future”

    “Lotto is our best hope”

    Yes, herein lies the futility of the call for the big idea, and why this thread turned into guys making dildo jokes. If slogans are the best we can do in the big idea stakes then it's no wonder that electoral turnout is crashing.

    I do not think that the "Left" has a big idea at its core. By "Left", I mean the half of people in this country whose political positioning is further from National than they are from Labour. This group has huge numbers of people in it who vote National. Likewise there are many on the "Right" (same definition, but backwards) who vote Labour. The positioning of Labour and National I define as the center of the position of people who vote for them, not where the parties claim to be, or based on some political theory. There are people who sit exactly on these centroids and vote for the other party. In other words their political positioning is right on the Labour centroid, they represent the exact perfect mean Labour voter, and they vote National. And vice versa. People far to the right of National vote Labour. People far to the Left of Labour vote National.

    Like the housing crisis, voter choice is a very complex mix of a great many factors. There are no silver bullets for either one. There are piecemeal bits and pieces that will take a few percent here and there. A sustained effort with a dozen of them might make a real difference, if applied for a very long time, but our political system does not have the kind of memory required to do that. In fact, large change is the one thing that it is most resistant to.

    Of course large change happens anyway, but it comes from outside the system. We have had a very large change in the fundamentals of our housing situation in NZ. But almost nothing has changed in the institutions dealing with it. It keeps weakly swimming against a huge outgoing tide. Small moves are made here and there, most of which have only made things worse. The same goes for poverty, which I think in NZ is now almost entirely driven by the housing crisis. When a basic fundamental of survival starts slipping out of reach, that is the very definition of poverty creeping in.

    Large demographic change is happening. From the passage of time, generations die and new ones are born. From the passage of immigration, the ethnic makeup of the country alters. But the taps that are turned by government are never decisive in any way. Even if they screw one setting down, causing 10,000 less of a particular kind of person to be able to enter the country per annum, that affects the overall demography by 0.25% per annum. It would barely be noticed for 20 years in official statistics. It's certainly not going to have an appreciable effect during an election cycle, except on the people it denies entry to NZ for.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10361 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    People vote for big ideas, not policy papers.

    Not sure about that either. Could you give an example of a big idea that people vote for? My understanding is that voting is mostly kinda tribal and demographically driven. Couple of years ago I set some data mining software ripping on the way people vote based on their opinions. Guess what the number one difference between Labour and NZF voters was? NZF voters were less likely to trust internet banking. I took that to be a proxy for demographics (which I had not fed into the covariates being explored). Opinion wise it was pretty difficult to tell them apart from Labour voters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10361 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Why is this so hard for ‘third way’ advocates to see?

    That's some British thing, right? I guess the main problem is that policy and positioning only seem to have quite a small influence on the way people vote.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10361 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?,

    We've become Twitter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10361 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Yes, that's enough groksucking from me. It's really against the spirit of the English language to insist on any rules at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10361 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?, in reply to william blake,

    Collective noun of dildi: a parliament.

    Owls already took that one. Also - clutch is taken by eggs, and hand is taken by cards.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10361 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?, in reply to Emma Hart,

    OK, I'm going to stop feeling guilty about taking the call for a big idea seriously and failing to even deliver a small one. Maybe, just maybe, it will actually be dildos that save the world. The Dildocalypse is coming. Dildogeddon, when consciousness emerges in the Dongularity. Good Vibes coming!

    But! Beware the Dickening!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10361 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What's the Big Idea?,

    You've nailed it Emma. I don't know whether to write an epic post or continue just sorting out the minutiae ATM. I do know this - I won't write it while I'm paying for parking, and I really should fix that fucked door handle in my tenant's bedroom and fix the fuse that's blown first. Then it will be kids and dinner and homework and assignments and shitloads more statistics study, and then it will be Friday evening, my one night out with the lads. Perhaps I should do it after then. Or perhaps not at all. I haven't felt so indecisive about writing in 20 years. I don't know if this is a middle-aged thing, an X-gen thing, a Left wing thing, a cautious statistician thing or dismay at international politics.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10361 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: We need to talk…,

    There’s another reason we need to be talking about this more seriously. And that’s that cannabis is everywhere. It’s in the culture in a way it has not been before.

    It's high time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10361 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Every option has costs, every…, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Doesn’t this tend to support the prime minister’s comments that unemployed kiwis are all lazy or on drugs?

    No, it doesn't. That's quite ridiculous. You'll need to provide a bit more evidence for that claim than a third hand story about a guy hiring cheap immigrants in his kitchen and no Kiwis.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10361 posts Report Reply

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