Posts by Caleb D'Anvers

  • Hard News: All Change, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    Last year the “Market model” of HE bit hard. There is the possibility that while students wait for free fees it will bite harder. When permanent staff are made redundant, in important, but unpopular areas of study, NZ loses academic capital and capability. We lose the how, the experience and we are unable to bring in new ideas

    Yes. I actually think the new government would be better off essentially borrowing Corbyn’s tertiary fees policy and fast-tracking their elimination. A lot can go wrong very quickly during a lengthy transitional phase in funding arrangements.

    I’ve been pretty shocked over the past year or so to hear about potential academic staffing cuts in long-established, highly regarded Arts departments due to falling enrollments. Aside from the clear (and no doubt deliberate) disincentive to take “non-commercial” courses that the high fees regime evidently creates, this also leads me to wonder what’s been going on under National at secondary level. Is the secondary curriculum directing students towards vocational or professional courses and away from the arts and humanities?

    But, yeah. I very much understand the apprehension. In the UK, scrapping tertiary fees would only work for academics if the corresponding block teaching grants were immediately restored at a viable level so as to compensate for the loss of income. If universities’ ability to raise revenue via fees were taken away and not replaced by, at the very least, equivalent direct government funding, then the results could be bleak for academic staff. Then again, were the market model dismantled, there might be less pressure on universities to spend so much money on shiny new buildings and student services, so perhaps there'd be a change in emphasis.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to WH,

    Cool! Yes, I really like SE16. The always changing moods and colours of the river; the views across to Wapping and Canary Wharf; the repurposed warehouses; the foreshore and the churches and the brickwork everywhere. I lived in East Greenwich for a while when I first moved to London, but much prefer the Peninsula.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report

  • Hard News: The next four years,

    We're well into this territory by now:

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report

  • Speaker: The Government lost the election, in reply to simon g,

    Reward the strong, punish the weak

    I’d agree that that there’s a strong (growing?) appetite for this in a lot of Anglosphere nations, though I think support for the monarchy is a bit of a red herring in this context. The British monarchy have been largely powerless ceremonial figureheads since the Hanoverian settlement.

    What I think is going on here is the bedding in of a kind of pop Social Darwinism, which blames the victims of neoliberalism for their own demise and, conversely, regards the trappings of material success earned through market activity as signs of spiritual election and moral authority. And of course, Social Darwinism acquires some pretty malign racialist aspects in a former colony of settlement.

    I don’t doubt that this is part of the psychology underlying at least some people’s apparently “visceral” distaste for beneficiaries or their refusal to extend any form of empathy towards the sick, the homeless, or children born into poverty. This form of state-administered violence towards the bodies of the “weak” is part of the unfolding logic of Social Darwinist settler neoliberalism.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report

  • Legal Beagle: Election 2017: the Special…, in reply to Ross Mason,

    The US has infiltrated us. Hearing the suspect truthiness and responding “La la la la not listening”.

    Yeah. I was thinking something along the same lines reading this utterly sick-making apologia from Simon Wilson in the Spinoff:

    Now we know what it takes to win.
    … just lie. But what’s more important than the lie is the confidence with which you refuse to accept you are wrong. National’s claim that Labour had an $11 billion hole in its budget was preposterous nonsense, but its steely resolve in never backing off, even a single inch, gave it enormous authority. Toughing it out is a political virtue.

    In his speech last night, English said the attacks on the government had been hard, but “the more of it there was, the better we responded”. He was talking about the way they just stared down all the accusations of lies and scaremongering and he was right.

    So moral authority, "political virtue" even, stems from the ability to knowingly lie, and then see those lies amplified by “friendly” media? Holding to a line of systematic falsehood engineered for you by a PR firm is now “toughing it out”? English was “right” to lie, because the ends justify the means?

    People are just lapping this stuff up on Facebook, but the conclusions being drawn here make me very uneasy.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report

  • Hard News: Where are all the polls at?,

    What I'm seeing suggests that the Greens are in fact electoral poison with the non-Left bloc. "Centrists" might consider voting for a right-dominated Labour Party if the other options have lost all credibility, but they won't countenance voting for a Labour Party that would go into any form of coalition with the Greens.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report

  • Hard News: Where are all the polls at?,

    I have to say, I’m not that convinced by elements of Danyl’s analysis there. I don’t think it’s actually the case that NZ and UK Labour’s tertiary fees policies are “very similar.” Corbyn offered current students the concrete material benefit of not paying any fees for the coming academic year, with a total abolition kicking in from October 2018. NZ Labour’s policy won’t actually bed in fully until 2024, meaning its first full beneficiaries are currently about 11. And even then, it will only pay 3 years of tertiary education. I can’t really see the logic of charging fees for graduate and postgraduate degrees (which is often where the really significant “value added” of tertiary education starts to accrue), or the final years of conjoint degrees, or the clinical or practice years of longer courses like medicine or law. Just get rid of the failed fees regime altogether. There’s no rationale for keeping it under any circumstances.

    So I can understand why NZ students’ response to the policy might be more lukewarm than those of students in the U.K. They’re not being offered anything like the same benefits.

    Similarly, I don’t think NZ First and UKIP are equivalents. It’s still unclear what UKIP is, or was, exactly. A racist revanchist party? Grubby opportunists? A cult of personality built around the media image of one man? A pure protest vote? All of the above? NZ First, at least, has seen power and we know pretty much what it is: a cult of personality, yes, but also a kind of reheated Muldoonism. Not really much like UKIP at all.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report

  • Hard News: Where are all the polls at?,

    I think it's worth pointing out that one of the reasons practically all the polls before the 2017 UK general election were wrong was because they systematically under-represented the youth vote. That was deliberate: after the polling debacles of 2015, the pollsters made adjustments to their sampling to reflect what they expected turnout to look like, based on who actually turned up to the polls two years earlier. So polling samples were weighted towards older voters, on the assumption that most of the young wouldn't vote.

    We now know that that was completely wrongheaded. It made no allowance for young voters' enthusiasm for Corbyn-style Labour policies that had not been on offer in 2015 (in particular, the abolition of tertiary fees). And it didn't anticipate the success of Momentum and other Labour-affiliated organisations and campaigns in mobilizing the youth and student vote, particularly around residential university campuses. That's why the Conservatives unexpectedly lost seats like Canterbury (main campus of the University of Kent) and, perhaps, Ipswich (home to the newly established University of Suffolk).

    Could something similar happen in NZ? It's quite possible, but one of the reasons UK Labour was so unexpectedly successful in June was because it offered a complete break with the status quo. It promised an end to all student fees, starting in October 2017, for instance, not a "sensible" graduated abolition over several years. I do wonder if NZ Labour's residual tendency towards compromise and "sensible" options might blunt that message and prevent the kind of unanticipated "youth quake" we saw here 3 months ago.

    But the only way of really proving the pollsters and the conservative newspapers and broadcasters wrong is to actually turn up and vote tactically for a change of government.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report

  • Hard News: Campaign 2017: Buy a…,

    This is how the story's being reported in the UK:

    The prime minister, Bill English, told reporters he had been aware of Yang’s background and did not believe the Chinese politician had tried to hide it. However, in a Chinese-language interview with the Financial Times, Yang reportedly asked repeatedly that information about his academic past in China be omitted from any article about him. “You don’t need to write too much about myself,” he reportedly said.

    Tom Phillips, China-born New Zealand MP denies being a spy, Guardian (13 September 2017).

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report

  • Hard News: Campaign 2017: Buy a…,

    The implied allegation is he’s currently disloyal to NZ.

    No, I think the implied allegations are much more serious than that.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report

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